Infrabel ready to unlock key rail investments with €1 billion loan
Infrabel, the Belgian Infrastructure Manager, has reason to celebrate after securing substantial funds to carry out critical railway investments. The IM secured a one billion euro loan from the Federal Dept Agency (FAS) that will be used in projects benefiting domestic and cross-border rail freight greatly.
Infrabel had already secured sufficient project funding from the state for the 2023-2032 period. As the Belgian IM underlined, the government made available 16,4 billion euros for this period, 11 of which will be used for investments and 5,4 for network maintenance.
The one billion euro loan Infrabel will get to invest in projects will be deducted from this budget. Instead of being included in the yearly fund allocation, this one billion will be transferred directly to Infrabel to use as it wishes. The fund allocation will occur in two stages, with Infrabel expecting the first 800 million euros to be available in 2025.
Some of the projects that will benefit from this fund include the Axis 3 line between Ottignies and the border with Luxembourg via Gembloux, the Ghent-Bruges line, which will be expanded to four tracks, and rail infrastructure expansion works in the ports of Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels.
Doubling rail freight
This development comes just a couple of months after Belgium and Luxembourg declared their joint ambition to double their shared cross-border rail freight volumes by 2040. The plans of the two neighbouring countries entailed joint investments in railway sections that are critical for mobility between Luxembourg and Belgian ports.
The Axis 3 railway line is of central importance in this endeavour, considering that it is Luxembourg’s main gateway to Belgian infrastructure. With the Belgian side securing sufficient funds to develop this line, those plans are a step closer to fruition.