Netherlands cancels orders for faulty Finmeccanica trains

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch train operator Netherlands Railways said on Monday it would stop using trains made by Italian manufacturing group Finmeccanica and cancel outstanding orders due to technical failures.

Netherlands Railways (NS) spokesman EricTrinthamer said the decision would lead to the cancellation of an outstanding order for seven more trains, out of an initial 19 jointly ordered by the Netherlands and Belgium.

We have asked our legal experts to “study all avenues” to recover 120 million euros already paid to the Italian producer, he said.

The Dutch decision came after Belgium said on Friday it was cancelling orders for three trains and would seek an alternative for high-speed rail service between Brussels and Amsterdam.

“Based on extensive testing, the NS has concluded that continuing with the V250 would be irresponsible and undesirable for travellers,” a statement issued by the company said. “We are therefore unable to provide our passengers with reliable service.”

NS said earlier Monday its chief executive, Bert Meerstadt, would resign.

The V250 trains, made by Finmeccanica unit AnsaldoBreda and dubbed the Fyra, suffered a series of cancellations and delays when launched by Dutch railways in December and proved so unreliable in a cold snap in January that they were withdrawn.

The Italian manufacturer was unable to meet a three-month deadline to provide a solution for technical problems, the NS said in the statement.