THE transport minister of France, Mr Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, and his and Belgian counterpart, Mr Georges Gilkinet, signed two Declarations of Intent concerning the reopening of cross-border railway lines on December 9.

The 15km Givet, France, - Dinant, Belgium, line will reopen to passenger traffic, although the Grand Est region of France has also promoted the line as a freight route. The line, which follows the Meuse valley and has significant tourist potential, closed to passengers in 1988 and freight in 1989, although a tourist service ran until 2000.

Reopening of the 20km single-track line from Valenciennes, France, to Mons, Belgium, to freight traffic will involve the reinstatement of less than 2km of track between Blanc Misseron, France, and Quievrain, Belgium, which closed in 1984. The remainder of the line will also be modernised.

The line is electrified within Belgium and has an hourly passenger service from Quievrain to Brussels. In France the line serves Alstom’s plant at Crespin, near the border, and a Toyota car building plant at Onnaing. The reopened line will allow Toyota to dispatch cars for export via Zeebrugge or Antwerp.

No dates have been set for reopening.