Expatica news

NMBS: optimistic about new schedule

11 December 2007 – The new train schedule went into effect on Sunday. Few problems have been reported, according to Jochem Goovaerts, the spokesman of Belgian Rail (NMBS). Some travellers complain that their trip takes them longer- up to twice as long.

There were delays of up to 1/2 hour Monday morning on trains of the Antwerp-Brussels and Brussels-Leuven lines. (Belga) According to the NMBS, the delays were caused by technical problems and not the new schedule.

The ombuds service of Belgian Rail has received some 500 complaints regarding the new schedule over the past week.

The Association of Train, Tram and Bus users (BTTB) has received 300 complaints about the news schedule, 50 of them came Monday morning. The new schedule
The number of trains running has increased. At the same time, some trains have been eliminated.  There are many complaints regarding the Brussels-Antwerp and the Brussels-Turnhout connections. (Belga) Other problematic bottlenecks include poor connections in Mechelen for people going to Antwerp or Leuven, especially for people who have to connect with the first train from Roosendaal (in the Netherlands) which now leaves 1 1/2 hours later than it did with the former schedule.

The BTTB points out that some poor connections have still not been improved. Belgian Rail has appointed a committee to study the complaints that come in from Monday. In January the NMBS promises to evaluate the situation and make more adjustments if necessary. (Belga) The Regional Express and Thalys
The change in train schedule is happening in conjunction with modernisation activities. For example, at different stations around Brussels a fourth track is being laid in preparation for the development of the GEN (Regional Express).

The yet to be constructed GEN Regional Express is intended to improve connections from the Province of Flemish Brabant with Brussels and with the airport.

Since Sunday, the Thalys high speed train from Paris no longer stops at Antwerp-Berchem, but rather goes on to the renovated Antwerp Central. From there the Paris Thalys will be connected with the Thalys to Amsterdam.

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