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Belgium hopes to restore Namur-Paris train link

21:32 15/02/2018

A direct train service from Wallonia to Paris could be restored next year, subject to a feasibility study being carried out by French and Belgian rail operators.

The SNCB is keen to restore the Franco-Belgian rail link, after Thalys axed the service from Paris to Mons, Charleroi, Namur and Liège in 2015 because it was not profitable.

According to L'Avenir newspaper, the SNCB and its French counterpart SNCF are looking at the socio-economic benefits of such a route and the technical feasibility, which would require Belgian trains to receive approval to run to the French capital.

If the outcome is positive, the route could launch next year, linking Namur to the French capital with stops in Charleroi and Maubeuge. This would also make it easier for residents in northern France to fly from Charleroi airport instead of Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle.

Federal transport minister François Bellot said: "The idea is a Belgian one, but the Hauts-de-France region is very interested in this opportunity.

"It will be slower than the Thalys, but also cheaper, not exceeding 60% of the Thalys ticket price. It could potentially be interesting for a broad range of passengers."