Earlier this month Georges Gilkenet the Belgian Transport Minister gave a very positive interview at the RailTech 2023 conference held in Brussels. He outlined the long-term commitment his Government has made to develop the rail network over the next 10 years. During the interview he made clear the importance of rail in helping the Belgian Government meet their targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He also confirmed his commitment to develop Brussels as a night train hub by announcing that night trains will pay no track access charges or energy costs in Belgium for the next 2 years.

You can find out more here at: https://www.railtech.com/all/2023/06/09/belgian-minister-gilkinet-talks-rail-challenges-night-trains-and-more/, where he gave a 12-minute interview in English.

This is in marked contrast to the sense of drift in the UK where the Government shows no sense of urgency in dealing with the serious climate change issues. Track access charges on HS1 – our one and only rail link with Europe are among the highest in Europe – yet the Government has no plans to deal with this. Eurostar still cannot run a full service due to limited capacity for post-brexit border controls at London St Pancras, Paris and Amsterdam.

“Eurostar’s shrinking ambitions 7 years after the Brexit vote” were reported recently in The Guardian at : https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/jun/23/eurostar-brexit-cross-channel-tunnel-disneyland-paris-amsterdam

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