Certainly there will be no fast tram between Maastricht and Hasselt. After more than 18 years of debate, the Flemish government backed away from the plan. Flanders is now choosing an electric tram bus between the two cities, but it is doubtful whether Limburg and Maastricht will agree.
Flemish Minister Lydia Peters announced the decision Monday afternoon during consultations with, among others, the province of Limburg and the Maastricht municipality in Hasselt.
Thus, the tram connection is definitively in the trash. The intention is for electric trams – a type of express bus – to run on the old Hasselt-Maastricht railway.
The plan to connect the intercity tram was launched in 2004, but it gradually turned into a headache. In the original plans, the tram would run from Hasselt station to Maastricht station. Until suddenly a problem arose: it turned out that the Wilhelminaburg in Maastricht was not strong enough for the tram, so the road to the market was shortened. Flanders did not agree to that plan. Later a problem arose in Hasselt, as a result of which the tram could not travel to the station there either.
Read also: Maastricht and the province demand compensation for the express tram
Minister Peters indicated earlier that she no longer liked the original plan and that she had made the decision now. The question is how Limburg and Maastricht will respond to the Flemish decision. Until now, the Dutch Limburg company has always said that there must be a tram connection, and therefore no tram bus. The tram subsidy has been promised by the government, but it can be canceled if a bus tram is replaced by a tram. In addition, Maastricht paid compensation to Flanders because the tram could not drive to the station.
Alderman Gert-Jan Krabbendam (GroenLinks) and Deputy Maarten van Gaans (D66) previously reported that they would seek compensation from Flanders if the trams were not connected. They have yet to respond to the decision made by Flanders on Monday afternoon.
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