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BKV, Alstom must cooperate another six months for metro train permit

The Budapest transport company BKV and French train-maker Alstom are obliged to cooperate for another six months under their contract in order to obtain the permit from Hungary's transport authority for the new Alstrom trains on the city's M2 metro line, Budapest mayor Gábor Demszky told journalists.

Hungary's national transport authority NKH refused to grant the operational license for the Alstom underground trains which the city of Budapest ordered for the Metro 2 line in 2006, citing the braking system's differences from relevant Hungarian standards among reasons.

Demszky said that the only question mark concerned whether Alstom would act on its right to appeal.

The city's development and economic committee discuss the matter on August 16 -- after Alstom's decision whether to appeal will be taken -- , and a proposal offering solution is expected to be put on the agenda of a plenary meeting of the municipal assembly on August 26, the mayor said.

In connection with the supply of trains for the M4 metro line, he said that several months were available to resolve the situation and avoid that the city would have to pay back EU funds for the project.

The city council decided on June 3 to dump the Alstom contract if the Metropolis trains failed to obtain the permit by the end of July.

Demszky noted that Alstom has not taken the issue of Hungarian regulations seriously enough, although these regulations were probably outdated. He cited a Hungarian experts' study that the Alstom trains were safe.

The city will not lose either way as the advances paid were guaranteed by banks, Demszky said. BKV had paid around HUF 30 billion or close to half of the total train order for the two lines, worth around HUF 65 billion, to Alstom to date, in line with the contract.

If Alstom were to carry out the required minor changes to the trains' braking system changes, BKV could save HUF 3.5 billion because it would avoid having to upgrade the current Soviet-made rolling stock, he noted, Attila Gulyás, chairman of the city public transport workers' union, told MTI. In Gulyás' view the best course of action would be for BKV, Alstom and the transport authority to negotiate on how to modify the trains in order to fulfill safety criteria. (MTI – Econews)