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Belgian railway staff get a uniform makeover

© SNCB

The 4,300 or so staff of the stations and trains of the national rail authority SNCB are to have a new look.

Gone is the dull grey uniform; in comes a smart navy blue replacement with a sky-blue trim on headgear and neckwear.

The change affects public-facing staff: train conductors, station chiefs and ticket window staff. All those affected were given the opportunity to contribute their opinions on the changes. Train users were also polled on the various options.

In November last year, a group of 30 staff wore the prototype of the new uniform for a month, during which the uniform itself was put through its paces, but staff and public were able to evaluate the proposed change.

The experiment led to design changes to the headgear, as well as the uniform’s jacket and trouser pockets.

The uniform comes in a summer and a winter variant. For women, there is now also a choice between a skirt and a dress – as well as the trousers available to all.

The old grey uniforms will disappear after ten years, and be replaced with what the SNCB described as “modern and timeless, functional and elegant” as well as practical for wearers and easily recognisable for members of the public.

And for the current situation, the standard uniform is accessorised with a face-mask in uniform blue, bearing the SNCB logo.

And as well as the blue theme, the uniform also has a shade of green: uniforms no longer fit for wear will be recycled by the manufacturer – Belgian fashion house Xandres – to make insulation materials or other sustainable products. The company that won the contract also commits to recycling the grey uniforms currently work by staff.

The switch to the new uniform should be complete by 1 June 2021.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times