Belgian rail CEO threatens to suspend all train travel to coastal destinations
Share article:
Share article:

Belgian rail CEO threatens to suspend all train travel to coastal destinations

Credit: Belga

The CEO of Belgian rail company SNCB, Sophie Dutordoir, is threatening the government with the suspension of train traffic to coastal stations if it does not review measures affecting train travel.

During the last Consultative Committee, the government imposed a measure on train travel stating that only window seats can be used on trains to tourist destinations (such as the coast) to limit the number of seats during weekends and holidays.

“As has been pointed out on numerous occasions, the implementation of the latest decisions of the Consultative Committee will place the SNCB in a situation where risks will become unmanageable if other urgent and binding measures are not taken by the public authorities,” Dutordoir told Le Soir.

On Wednesday, she sent a letter to Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden, and Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet in which she questioned the decision.

Related News


The SNCB has given the government an ultimatum to lift the limitation measures that prevail for tourist destinations, if necessary and after consultation with the Crisis Centre, or to introduce an urgent public order measure to strictly limit train travel to the coast, and is threatening to stop traffic to the targeted destinations if the government does not act.

The letter came in the wake of reports of train stations facing a large influx of people looking to travel to the coast during this week’s warm days, resulting in the train company advising people not to go to the coast on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the high number of commuters.

“The situation observed on the ground shows that the agreements made under the coordination of the National Crisis Centre and the combined efforts made so far by all parties (mainly the police, local authorities, and the SNCB) are not enough to stem the flow of passengers,” she said.

She warned that such incidents can directly jeopardise the maintenance of public order and the safety of passengers, staff, and the police, despite the efforts made by all parties involved.

The rail company published its ‘Easter plan’, at the request of the government, which will reduce the number of passengers on trains to the coast to 50%, will include crowd management at stations and permanent consultation with federal and local authorities and police, and also emphasised the window seat rule.

The window seat rule would go into effect from Saturday 3 to Sunday 18 April, as well as on the weekend of 24 and 25 April, and would apply for people aged over 12 years old on outward journeys to these destinations.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Cost of breast cancer still too high for many patients
Breast cancer still carries too high a cost for patients when one in nine women in Belgium will face the disease before reaching 75, according to a ...
Person hit by train in Brussels
A person was hit by a train in the tunnel between Brussels North and Brussels Central at around 10:20 AM on Monday, railway network manager Infrabel ...
Belgium in Brief: Rules For A Fourth Wave
It's the news that nobody wants to hear, but here we go again. Belgium’s council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss ...
Belgian grandparents to walk across Scotland for COP26
A group of Belgian grandparents has set off on a 100 km hike that will take them from Belgium to the Scottish city of Glasgow, just ahead of the ...
Gare Maritime: Brussels’ most exciting new architectural project
A generation ago, the Gare Maritime in the Tour & Taxis industrial site was an abandoned wasteland. It is now a model for urban renewal and ...
Rise in fuel prices will bring Belgian State €547 million in tax, say Workers Party
The sharp rise in fuel prices that have been felt across the continent will bring an additional €547 million to the Belgian State, the Workers' Party ...
Amid backlash, Brussels police chief promises to do better for sexual assault victims
After multiple rallies against sexual violence took place in Brussels last week, with victims offering testimony of poor treatment from police when ...
Hire bikes and scooters: Brussels Parliament wants to restore order
Majority parties in the Brussels Parliament plan to enact new rules allowing communes to set specific and mandatory parking spaces for hire bikes and ...
‘Fourth wave’ has begun: These are the rules
The expected fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic has begun, according to Belgium’s Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit). Belgium’s ...
Coronavirus: Ending the pandemic is ‘a choice,’ says WHO chief
The Covid-19 pandemic will end “when the world chooses to end it” because “all the tools” are now available to fight the virus, the World Health ...
‘Can’t keep count’: Instagram page for sexual assault testimonies overwhelmed
An Instagram account compiling testimonies in an effort to give a voice to victims of sexual violence in bars and nightclubs has been overwhelmed ...
Increase in number of people ‘asking King for mercy’ through royal pardons
More and more people living in Belgium have been seeking royal pardons, mainly for fines, largely as a result of it now being possible to send in ...