80% of Flemish rail services running

In Flanders eighty percent of Belgian rail services are operating today, while rail travel in Wallonia remains problematic as a result of strike action by Francophone trades unionists.

In Flanders most of the disruption is concentrated on services to and from Antwerp with only just over half of all scheduled services operating on the Brussels-Antwerp run.

In Wallonia many lines are affected, though 40% of services are now running. Two-thirds of services on the Liège-Brussels run are operating. In and around the city of Namur rail services are slowly returning to normal with travel possible between the Walloon capital and Brussels. 4 out of 10 trains are running here. There are also services from Brussels South to Nivelles. One service in four is running between Brussels and Charleroi.

A Belgian rail spokesman says that the situation in Flanders mirrors that during the past few days. Passengers are being urged to seek information before they travel.

Rail unions met with Belgian rail managers again on Friday, but parted without an agreement. The dispute centres on the number of compensation days awarded to rail staff. The management are prepared to make concessions, but are seeking concessions from the unions too. The unions intend to put the proposals to their rank and file. Disruption will continue at least until they have a response. On Tuesday further disruption is expected as a result of the general strike by public sector workers that many railway men and women are expected to join.

The strike that started on Thursday as well as the general disruption in France have also led to problems for TGV and IZY services. Tickets that cannot be used can be exchanged or refunded. Thalys says it's doing all it can to maintain services, but a number of changes to its schedule have been penciled in for Monday and Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the day of the Belgian general strike by public sector workers, all services between France and the Federal Republic of Germany will be cancelled. Several services between Brussels and Paris are being axed too.