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The “missing link” in Europe’s high-speed rail network out of service one month after launch

Jan 21, 2013 10:52 am

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Europe’s rail network eases travel for tourists and business travelers and remains the envy of U.S. train travelers, but the EU is looking for perfection in connecting every one of its major capitals.

— Samantha Shankman

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Peter Dejong  / AP Photo

A Fyra high-speed train, shunted by a locomotive, right, is seen at a railroad siding in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Monday Jan. 21, 2013. Peter Dejong / AP Photo


The new Fyra train connecting Amsterdam and Brussels was called the “missing link” in Europe’s high-speed rail network when it was proudly unveiled. Now the Italian-built trains are missing in action.

Technical problems have dogged the trains — which can go 250 kph (155 mph) — since they came into service last month. That has repeatedly delayed trips between the Dutch and Belgian capitals that were supposed to be more than an hour shorter than the regular service the Fyra trains replaced.

On Friday, Belgian officials said enough was enough and halted the service. Belgian rail executives were meeting Monday to discuss the next step. The Dutch transport minister, meanwhile, warned it could take months for Fyra trains to get back on track.

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