Disability access lacking in almost 90% of Belgian train stations

Disability access lacking in almost 90% of Belgian train stations
A body found on the tracks brought rail traffic between Liège and Bruxelles to a halt on Tuesday. © Belga

Out of the 550 NMBS/SNCB train stations in Belgium, only 64 (12%) were fully accessible for disabled people by the end of 2017.

To be fully accessible, all platforms must be at least 76 centimetres high, and all platforms that are not on the ground floor must have a lift or ramp. In addition, there must be blind guidance lines and at least one ticket machine

By the end of 2017, barely 64 of the 550 Belgian train stations and stops met all those criteria. The SNCB and Infrabel are adapting an average of five stations annually. "At that rate, we will have to wait another hundred years for every station and every stop to be accessible," complained Member of Parliament Jef Van den Bergh (CD&V) according to Het Nieuwsblad.

According to the NMBS, raising the platforms is the biggest challenge, as it puts the train tracks out of service for a long time. "Depending on the location and size of the station, such an adjustment can lead to construction times of an average of one year per platform," said SNCB spokesperson Bart Crols in Het Nieuwsblad. "The cost can go up to a million euros per platform," he added.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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