The European Investment Bank (EIB), in partnership with Banque et Caisse d'Epargne d'Etat du Luxembourg (BCEE) announces a EUR 180 million loan to Société nationale des Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois (CFL) for capital projects to upgrade its rail facilities.

The finance contracts were signed by BCEE's Director General and Chairman of the Management Committee, Jean-Claude Finck, its Deputy Director General and Management Committee member, Michel Birel, and EIB President Philippe Maystadt.

The loan will contribute to financing the purchase of 85 double-decker passenger cars and 20 locomotives to replace old rolling stock and the installation of safety and maintenance facilities at Luxembourg City station. The project will create around 40% additional rail capacity, sufficient to accommodate the forecast growth in the number of cross-border commuters to Luxembourg, currently estimated at more than 100 000 a day. The aim of this major investment is to increase the reliability and quality of CFL's services on both the Luxembourg network and cross-border lines into German, Belgium and France.

The project forms part of the Luxembourg transport authorities' Mobilité strategy of actively promoting sustainable means of transport with the aim of achieving a 25% modal share of public transport by 2020 (against 13% today). The goal is to increase the attractiveness of rail travel so as to encourage the switch from road to rail in order to free up the roads and substantially improve mobility in and around Luxembourg City.

This investment programme will therefore also serve to foster the European Union's political priorities of protecting the environment and improving urban living conditions.

The project will likewise contribute to greater integration of the region comprising the Saarland, Lorraine, Luxembourg, the Rhineland-Palatinate and Wallonia, and especially the neighbouring towns of Arlon, Trier and Metz-Thionville.