On Thursday 28 February 2019, Luxembourg's national railways, the CFL, held a press conference addressing the various transformation projects being undertaken and planned.
The press conference followed a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Mobility and Public Works earlier that morning.
The CFL is in a phase of profound transformation with the company investing the maximum in order to improve its services. This transformation is evident from the challenges it faces. Two key factors explain the problems faced by the CFL on a daily basis: the exponential growth in the number of passengers and the star-shaped rail network, operated as a mixed passenger / freight network, which generates the formation of bottlenecks including in Luxembourg-gare; also, cross-border traffic is intensifying more and more.
Thus, with an average of 1,000 trains per day, the network operates at maximum capacity during peak hours, with sustained speeds. The slightest internal or external incident generates a domino effect on the other trains. Once the accumulated delays become too great, the operation can no longer be stabilised without resorting to train deletions. The measures taken to face the challenges means that CFL reacts with a very precise vision to these challenges and many large-scale projects are to be realised in a very short time.
• In terms of the extension and reliability of their infrastructure: major infrastructure projects are underway and planned over the coming years, with considerable investment efforts, including the extension of Luxembourg-gare, the construction of a new Luxembourg-Bettembourg line without forgetting the removal of level crossings. At this level, 2019 will mark the conclusion of two major projects: the construction of the new second Pulvermühle viaduct and the doubling of the Luxembourg-Sandweiler-Contern section. It is important to note that the financial investments made in the development of Luxembourg's rail infrastructure are the highest in comparison with countries neighbouring the Grand Duchy.
• At the level of modernisation and extension of passenger rolling stock: in December 2018, an order for 34 new trains, i.e. 11,600 additional seats, was made. They will be delivered and put into service between the end of 2021 and the end of 2024.
• In terms of improving supply and the robustness of schedules: at the end of 2017, a new schedule was created. It has introduced a new offer with the commissioning of the Pfaffenthal-Kirchberg stop, the commissioning of the Howald station, the implementation of transversal trains and various adjustments to take account of the network overload. The efforts do not stop there, however. The feedback is done and the new schedules are still adjusted to always aim at improving the robustness while allowing the progress of the work.
• In terms of customer information: a "Traveler Information" action plan with no less than 26 major projects is underway.
The regular publication of punctuality figures on the www.cfl.lu website is an initiative that emphasises transparency and openness to customers. In a simple graph the results of a transparent calculation method are presented.
100% of planned trains are subdivided into 4 cases that a customer can encounter, in this case a train on time, a train late, a train deleted on part of the route or a train totally deleted. All delays and deletions, whatever their causes, are considered in the calculation. The delay is calculated at the arrival of the train. This calculation method differs from the methods used previously. It wants to be as close as possible to the feeling of travellers.
As for the causes of the delays and deletions suffered by the customers, it is a mixture of factors, including domino effects, external causes, delays imported from neighbouring networks or problems with the availability of services, rolling stock or railway infrastructure.
Faced with the challenges identified, in addition to the significant financial investments made, each of the 4,600 employees of the CFL works daily to achieve the ambitious goals by 2024 and beyond, for the benefit of the customer.