At the start of the new school year, according to MP Jef Van den Bergh (CD&V), the services provided by the NMBS in the Antwerp region will remain substandard. Many trains have been canceled due to staff shortages. “The NMBS takes initiatives, but they come much too late,” says Van den Bergh.
Sacha Van Wiele
Yesterday at 2:40 PM
Due to the staff shortage at the NMBS, one IC train runs less every hour between Antwerp and Brussels. A number of P-trains between Herentals and Antwerp and between Herentals and Lier have also been cancelled. The announced half-hourly arrangement between Noorderkempen and Antwerp is delayed. One of the two S32 trains between Essen and Antwerp has also been cancelled. The S32 series will run twice in the morning and twice in the evening. In this way, the NMBS is responding to school-age children who take the line between Antwerp and Essen.
“We can only applaud those efforts,” said Member of Parliament Jef Van den Bergh. “However, it is regrettable that not enough sense of urgency was, despite cries of alarm in the spring and before the summer. First everything would be solved by the summer, then the NMBS gave 1 September as a perspective. And trains are still cancelled. In this way, it is impossible for the train to fulfill its role as an attractive alternative for connections between, for example, the north or east of Antwerp and Antwerp City.”
Shortage of train conductors
The NMBS confirms that journeys have been canceled on some lines. The reason is the shortage of train conductors. The NMBS wants to By 2022, approximately 1,300 new employees will be recruited.
“We have already filled half of our vacancies,” says NMBS spokesman Bart Crols. “It just takes a while before these people actually get to work. The training takes months. Of course, we hope to be able to offer normal services soon, but until then we ask travelers for patience.”