The largest rail strike in years will take place in Belgium on Wednesday and Thursday. It is expected that many trains will not run. Nevertheless, rail carrier NMBS assures that intercity and Eurostar trains to and from the Netherlands are expected to continue to run as usual.
The staff of both NMBS and rail manager Infrabel are on strike for two days out of dissatisfaction with their employer’s plans to do more work in less time. The halving of the start-up time for conductors in particular has led to dissatisfaction.
Although approximately half of the intercity trains and 40 percent of the trains between smaller stations are expected to continue running, on some routes there will be no trains available at all. Most stations remain accessible via detours or with transfer options.
Border region trains
Travelers who use the intercity from Amsterdam to Brussels and vice versa will not experience any inconvenience, according to an NMBS spokesperson. “All those trains will run.” It is also expected that “most” border regional trains between, for example, Maastricht and Liège and Roosendaal and Antwerp will function normally. Only “little disruption” is expected for international trains such as the Eurostar that travel through Belgium.
Looking ahead, the unions are already announcing a second 48-hour strike for next month. NMBS says it will enter into discussions with the unions in the coming days in the hope of preventing this strike.