Belgian strike cripples train traffic to Europe neighbours

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A Belgian rail workers' strike forced the cancellation Monday of all high-speed Thalys train services linking France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, while also crippling domestic rail.

The 24-hour stoppage, which disrupted international services from 2000 GMT on Sunday, paralysed railways across Belgium with only a few trains running occasionally in northern Flanders, said a spokesman for Infrabel, which manages the SNCB network.

The strike triggered massive traffic jams on Belgian roads and also disrupted the services of the Eurostar train line which links London, Paris and Brussels.

Eurostar said trains between the northern French city of Lille and Brussels would be cancelled between Sunday at 2000 GMT to the same hour on Monday.

The Paris-London line would not be affected, Eurostar said. But the London to Brussels line will stop at Lille, where a limited bus service would be offered to the Belgian and European Union capital.

The socialist CGSP union, the biggest in Belgium's SNCB train company, announced a 24-hour strike to protest a deadlock in negotiations with the firm including over an unpaid bonus.

Details on the disruptions are posted on the websites of both companies, and

© 2010 AFP

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