Belgium wants more trains in the morning, evening and weekend
Wednesday, 14 April 2021
The federal government wants the SNCB to run more early and late trains, and to extend its weekend offer. A minimum reception in stations would also be imposed, according to a list of demands that would be included in the new management agreement, obtained by De Morgen.
The list was recently approved by the Federal Council of Ministers. The management contract lays down which services the SNCB must provide in the next ten years in exchange for its subsidies.
The previous contract dated from 2008 and expired in 2012, but was extended each time due to political struggles, instead of being replaced. The SNCB is therefore currently working in an unclear framework, without a clear vision for the future.
Now, the federal government has set that framework for a new agreement. Negotiations will take place within it over the coming months.
Demands concerning reception in the stations were missing in previous management agreements, meaning Minister of Mobility Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo) was powerless when the SNCB recently decided to close 44 ticket offices.
In the meantime, the government has also approved a framework for railway infrastructure manager Infrabel. Demands include that the company must help create more and faster international train connections between European cities.
By 2030, twice as much freight must be transported by rail as is done currently.
Starting next week, the first working groups will examine the management contracts, which will come into force in December 2022.