The ACOD Spoor union, which represents railway workers, called on Friday for an adapted transport plan that would automatically kick in whenever there is a code-orange or code-red heat alert.
“Railway transport should then only be done with modern equipment, which would limit the number of trains,” the Flemish union said in a press release.
Railway travel was severely disrupted on Thursday by the exceptionally high temperatures. Small fires were sparked and there was damage to some catenaries due to the heat.
On Thursday evening, the national railway company, SNCB, called in the rescue services to assist travellers from the Coast who felt ill because of the heat and lack of air on the crowded trains.
On Friday, the SNCB noted in its travel planner that because of the “extreme meteorological conditions” some P trains would not run during the day. The routes affected are those served by older trains, which have now been temporarily rested, leaving only more modern trains in which adequate circulation of fresh air can be guaranteed.
According to ACOD Spoor, “the imposed cost-cutting slowed the modernisation” of the trains.