Belgian rail orders 200 extra M7 carriages
The Belgian railway company, NMBS/SNCB, has ordered 200 additional M7 double-deck carriages from Bombardier in Bruges. The order is positive news for Bombardier’s 500 employees. It represents one and a half or even two years of job security, Peter Boels, General Director of the Bruges site, told Belga press agency.
The production site is building 355 M7 carriages, of which some 40 are already delivered. The additional order gives the company a positive flow after some difficult years.
In May 2017, the management announced restructuring. At that time, almost 120 of the 450 jobs were at stake. Unions feared Bombardier was killing the Bruges’ factory slowly. Some activities were stopped, and Crespin (France) took over the management. “Today, we’re still closely cooperating with France, but we’re more evolving toward an autonomous site again,” Boels says.
This also means that some activities have restarted, like the painting department. In the meantime, the company also recruited more than 100 new employees. Today, Bombardier employs about 500 workers.
Wheelchairs and baby buggies
The new generation of double-decker trains, or ‘M7’ for short, offers more comfort to passengers and is equipped with the latest software and extra safety provisions. The ceilings in the new double-deckle trains, with a powerful engine that runs smoothly over two hundred km/hour, are higher.
There’s more room for luggage, and the new carriages will pay more attention to passengers with limited mobility like wheelchair users. 130 of the carriages will be ‘autonomously accessible’. Another 68 carriages will offer space for bicycles and baby buggies. The first deliveries are planned for 2024. The order will represent a €450 million investment.