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April 3, 2017

SNCB gets €600m EIB loan to modernise rolling-stock

Belgium's state-owned Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges (SNCB) has secured a loan of €600m from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to invest in modernising rolling-stock.

Belgium's state-owned Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges (SNCB) has secured a loan of €600m from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to invest in modernising rolling-stock.    

Beginning September next year, the new trains are set to provide comfort, service and safety to rail users across Belgium.

The 25-year financing by EIB will cover part of the order placed by the SNCB with Bombardier-Alstom for 445 double-decker M7 railcars. This would be used to replace older rolling-stock and also expand the SNCB's services for users.

EIB vice-president Pim van Ballekom said: “A good quality and efficient service, and modern and reliable rolling-stock, are key to attracting and keeping customers.

"Getting on track new trains equipped with state-of-the-art transport technologies that provide more seats and ensure greater comfort and safety, and increasing the frequency of service, will help to boost the use of railways in both Belgium and its neighbours.”

"This will help to boost the use of railways in both Belgium and its neighbours."

Customers will now be able to travel on the new trains that offer more seats and are equipped with latest safety systems such as European Train Control System (ETCS).

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In order to refresh its rolling-stock, replace old trains and add more seats, the SNCB requires 190,000 additional places by 2030, including 105,000 by 2023.

The new double-decker M7 rolling-stock was selected primarily because of the limited capacity of the Nord-Midi junction, and expected to make a key contribution to this.

The order for 445 railcars includes a selection of different rolling-stock types consisting of a total of 90 double-decker trains.

In addition, M7 railcars will be compatible with the existing double-decker M6 cars.

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