Belgian rail strike: will trains run at rush hour?

Belgian rail strike: will trains run at rush hour?
Rail traffic within Belgium is running, for now. Credit: © SNCB

Despite a strike reducing Belgium's rail service by two-thirds on Thursday, the remaining trains are said to be running smoothly as rush hour approaches. 

To help facilitate easier transport, SNCB had drawn up an alternative transport plan on the basis of the staff members who indicated that they were not taking part in the strike. In effect, this means about a third of trains will run. 

On Thursday morning, Belgian media reported that this guaranteed service was running smoothly, something which has been continued into the afternoon, Bruzz reports. 

Furthermore, this smooth service is expected to continue into rush hour on Thursday, although travellers are advised to check the app for the latest information. 

The Strike Plan

From Wednesday 22:00 until the same time on Thursday Belgian's national rail will be on strike, with disrupted services throughout the country. 

How will this impact passengers? 

IC trains, which run between the major cities, will be given priority. This means that travels from Ghent to Antwerp or from Ostend to Brussels will likely feel the strikes the least, although the frequency will drop, according to reports. 

Some IC trains, however, will not run at all - including Antwerp to Leuven - with travellers advised to check the app for the most up to date information.

One-third of the suburban S and L trains will run, while the majority of P trains - used at peak times - will not run, as previously reported. 

International travellers looking to start in Belgium could also face disturbance from the strike, on top of ongoing disturbances as a result of striking in France. 

Thalys: has advised all travellers to check Thalys traffic updates before their departure and to postpone their journey if possible - offering ticket exchanges, subject to availibity, or refunds. 

Eurostar is "making every effort to reduce the impact of this strike as much as possible," but has announced some cancelled Eurostar trains (especially between London and Paris). On top of that, trains departing from Brussels will not be calling at Lille and Calais, as the Intra-Schengen terminal at Brussels-Midi station will not be staffed. 

Trains to Brussels, however, will keep serving Calais and Lille.  

Jules Johnston

The Brussels Times

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