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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Dutch minister resigns over Fyra failures

Dutch infrastructure minister Wilma Mansveld has resigned following the publication of a highly critical report on the failings of the Fyra high-speed rail fiasco.

The report, which was led by CDA parliamentarian Madeleine van Toorenburg, said that passengers had been “left out in the cold” by the HSL-Zuid project.

It concluded that ministers had been too focussed on the programme’s financial return during the tendering for the line’s construction and NS had prioritised its desire to retain its monopoly on rail services in the country over the needs of passengers.

The report levelled further criticism over both the original decision to pursue the project in 1996, taken without a solid agreement with Belgian authorities, and the delivery of the line itself, which cost more and was completed later than originally planned.

Mansveld said she took responsibility for the failures identified in the report.

The inquiry was launched after Fyra services were suspended in January 2013. The entire fleet of V250 vehicles were withdrawn and an additional order cancelled after an independent report found a number of issues with the design and build of the trains.

The report estimated the total cost of the cancellation of Fyra at almost €800 million.

Again, it believes the financial advantages of withdrawing the service altogether, and putting in place a replacement timetable with half the number of high-speed, cross-border trains to Brussels, was put before passengers.

NS released a statement welcoming the report, adding that it wanted to use the investigation to learn lessons for the future.



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