Disruption to rail services in Brussels this autumn due to engineering work

There is bad news for those that commute to work in the capital by train. The company responsible for the management and maintenance of Belgium’s rail infrastructure Infabel is to carry out engineering work that will impact capacity in the rail tunnel that links Brussels North and Brussels South Station. The railway running through the tunnel is the busiest in Belgium and any disruption to services through it has a knock-on effect far beyond Brussels. 

Infabel says that between mid-October and mid-November dozens of trains will be scrapped as a result of the reduced capacity in the tunnel caused by the engineering work. A report in Tuesday’s edition of the daily ‘De Tijd’ says that tens of thousands of rail commuters will be hit.

For a number of years Infrabel has been working on the renewal of infrastructure at Brussels South Station. In spring 2017 the points and signalling system was renewed on the side of the station nearest to the rail tunnel. In the autumn the other side of the station will be done.

Infrabel’s Frédéric Petit told journalists that “The work is essential in order to guarantee punctual and safe rail traffic. This is the busiest rail hub on the network. Around one third of all passenger trains travel through the North-South Rail Tunnel.   

Look for solutions to help passengers

Infrabel realises that there will be a lot of disruption. “We are currently looking at what will provide the best solution for the rail traveller. It is not the case that all P-trains (special commuter services during rush hour) will have to be scrapped”, Mr Petit added.   

It will be up to the rail operator NMBS to draft a revised timetable. NMBS told ‘De Tijd’ that it was only told about the work three months ago. However, Infrabel denies this and says that talks about modernisation work have been going on since November 2017 and numerous meetings have been held.