The European Rail Freight Association (ERFA), which is critical of rail reform in France, applauds the reform plans unveiled by Belgium, on 9 January. Belgium's Minister for Public Enterprises, Paul Magnette, announced that the current holding company structure that groups the different Belgian rail players will disappear on 1 January 2014, to be replaced by two independent entities: Infrabel for network management (development, maintenance, management and train path allocation) and the SNCB for transport (including management and maintenance of rolling stock). A joint SNCB-Infrabel subsidiary will be set up for personnel management. Belgian trade unions, which defend the single structure option, are up in arms over the reform.

The ERFA has slammed the rail reform under way in France, denouncing a model "controlled totally by the SNCF" that will hinder the entry of firms wishing to compete with the incumbent operator. But it welcomes...

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