A “train service of national interest” applicable from Monday at the SNCB


This plan should remain in effect until April 5 at least.

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SNCB and Infrabel are organizing, from Monday, a “train service of national interest”, which must guarantee customers a transport offer across the country despite the health crisis of the new coronavirus. The rail offer is however considerably reduced.

The establishment of an adapted train service is “the only possibility allowing the maintenance of a robust, stable and predictable offer in the long term”, say SNCB and Infrabel, while absences due to illness of staff of railways iron multiply. The absenteeism rate of SNCB train attendants more than doubled in two weeks, reaching up to 30% in certain regions.

However, such an absence rate could cause unexpected train cancellations and therefore have an impact on the occupation of the next train.

This specific train service is therefore intended to offer “real mobility solutions for people who absolutely have to travel by train and for which safe travel must be guaranteed”, indicate SNCB and Infrabel. It provides for around 75% of the number of places compared to the usual offer on a normal weekday. Concretely, between one and two IC trains run (s) per hour, while two to three L and S trains are provided during peak hours. After 8:00 p.m., many trains are cut, drastically reducing the rail supply.

SNCB and Infrabel ensure that there will be enough space inside the trains to maximize the distance between passengers, the current occupancy rate being between 8 and 10%.

SNCB recalls that it cleans its trains and stations daily, with particular attention to the surfaces with which travelers are in contact, such as shelves, handles, dustbins, vending machines, ramps, etc.

The new rail offer has been developed in consultation with the government. This plan should remain in effect until April 5 at least.

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