Twenty railway lines threatened in Belgium: “This raises fears of job losses”

Fearing the closure of lines, the CGSP calls on the federal government to revise their funding upwards, representatives of the CGSP Cheminots LVHW said on Monday.

The CGSP points to the SNCB service contract and the Infrabel performance contract by pinning the amounts of 115 million euros for 2023 and 100 million euros for 2024 while, according to the union, “250 million euros are needed to maintain the network in 2023 and 2024”.

Fears are thus being heard about divestment on certain lines targeted according to their state of maintenance. According to the CGSP, about 25 lines in Belgium, representing 750 km, are threatened.

In the province of Liège, the lines concerned are the L34 Glons-Liers, L39 Montzen-Welkenraedt, L49 Welkenraedt-Eupen, L37 Liège-Aix, L44 Pepinster-Spa, L42 Rivage-Gouvy and L43 Liège-Marloie. “If there is no question of outright closing of lines, knowing that this is prohibited by law, we will stop maintaining and therefore, this could lead to a shutdown for safety measures. In the end, there could be unusable lines from 2024”, underlines Laurent Brock.

In this context, lines 42 and 43 (Amblève region towards Luxembourg) could be the first to be impacted.

In addition, the CGSP deplores a decrease in employment of 20 to 25% within the railways due to non-replacements. “Which also raises fears, indirectly, of job losses vis-à-vis subcontractors in the Liège region. In addition, if we close lines, we will increase traffic congestion, ”notes Thierry Coune of the socialist union.

As for his colleague Anthony Signorino, he points out that there are already difficulties in providing all the trains due to lack of personnel, despite recruitment campaigns. “At this stage, 12,000 rest days cannot be granted for 2022,” he said.

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