Infrastructure operator Infrabel stipulated on Tuesday that “the aim of works being carried out is not to paralyse Brussels-bound traffic,” following revelations in L’Echo and De Tijd of the cutting from mid-October until mid-November of a hundred or so trans-Brussels trains.
According to Infrabel, it is currently impossible to determine the actual number of trains to be cut since discussions are still ongoing. Infrabel moreover regrets the “losses” set to affect “(…) the interests of customers who are now worried about knowing what the exact consequences of these works will be.”
Infrabel says it has been overwhelmed by these revelations because task forces are continuing to have exchanges concerning the works being carried out on the Nord-Midi junction. “The work is in its final stages. Decisions concerning the organisation of rail traffic should be forthcoming in the weeks to come. The aim is to limit the impact on travellers,” according to the network operator.
“So, we regret not being able to give an exact answer to travellers at this stage,” Infrabel explained. “Around 1,200 trains run every day on the very busy Brussels Nord-Midi line. That means it will be necessary to cut certain trains (L-, IC- or P-trains). The supply must be adapted to available capacity,” according to Infrabel.
The infrastructure manager also points out that modernisation work is essential. On the one hand, it is necessary to modernise out-of-date signalling on the Nord-Midi line, failing which reliability problems could result. On the other hand, it is necessary to proceed with the computerisation of signalling in order to install the ETCS train braking system, part of the plan worked out following the Buizingen rail disaster, to ensure better safety on the railways. “The works are major. They concern the digitalisation of all traffic management tools on the 22 tracks leading out of the Midi (station),” Infrabel pointed out.
Infrabel maintains that the works schedule was carefully considered. “This period was chosen for the two upcoming long weekends on November 1 and 11. But also because weather conditions like snow, for example, do not encourage travellers to take the train,” the infrastructure operator stated.