All change on Belgium's railways
The Belgian railway company NMBS has introduced a new timetable for its services. The new timetable should benefit 24,700 rail passengers, while some 4,000 people will be put out.
NMBS conveys 375,000 passengers on an average day.
In future rail services will once more stop at the stations Brussels West and Simonis in Brussels. This is one of the improvements for travellers on the Brussels - Dendermonde line. There will also be more services between Ottiginies (Walloon Brabant) and Leuven (Flemish Brabant).
The changes are intended to benefit the GEN regional express network for Brussels that will ensure improved services between the city and the suburbs.
In future passengers travelling between Tournai (Hainaut) and Kortrijk (West Flanders) will not have to change train. There will also be more services between Brussels and Luxembourg and at the weekend between Brussels and Antwerp.
The rail company is axing 20 services. Recently there have been protests against the abandoning of the Aarschot-Leuven- Schaarbeek service. For hundreds of passengers their journey time will double as a result.
TrainTramBus, the organisation that defends the travelling public, is disappointed by lack of progress on expanding weekend services.
"Quicker in Holland"
From this Sunday there will also be faster Thalys services to Amsterdam (journey time = 1 hour 53) and Cologne (journey time = 1 hour 47) thanks a new high-speed rail track.
In comparison with existing timetables journeys will be reduced by up to 50 minutes. Tickets prices will rise by 25%.