Friday, September 27, 2013

Battle over Fyra trains contract intensifies

Written by  Quintus Vosman

THE battle between the Dutch and Belgian operators and the Italian supplier of the V250 electric trains for the aborted Amsterdam – Brussels Fyra service is intensifying.

Netherlands Railways (NS) filed a claim on September 25 against Finmeccanica, the parent company of train manufacturer AnsaldoBreda, as NS says the contract for the 16 V250 trains which it has cancelled Finmeccanica is the financial guarantor for AnsaldoBreda.

The cancelled contract is worth more than €200m, but NS says it is not only seeking reimbursement for the trains which it wants AnsaldoBreda to take back, but also damages and compensation for finding replacement trains, legal costs, and train stabling charges.

Belgian National Railways (SNCB) filed a preliminary claim for material damages against AnsaldoBreda on September 26 in the Court of Justice in Utrecht, Netherlands. The claim is worth €27m initially. SNCB is also expecting to receive €12.7m in fines for late delivery of its three V250 trains. In all, SNCB hopes to receive about €40m from AnsaldoBreda.

Meanwhile, AnsaldoBreda published an advertisement in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf on September 26 in the form of an open letter from its CEO Mr Maurizio Manfellotto to passengers saying that AnsaldoBreda is "in no way responsible" for the withdrawal of the trains.

"I assure you that it is possible to put Fyra back into service within a short time," says Manfellotto. He says proposals to modify the train were submitted to NS on September 16, and these include modifications to enable the trains to operate in "extremely bad winter weather (as in January of this year) although these changes were not provided in our contract with the NS." However, he says "it is imperative that NS will work with us again" in order to achieve this. "If that happens, within half a year we will have sufficient trains to start the timetable."

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