Ostend’s Mayor calls on rail company to be better prepared

The Mayor of the West Flemish coastal city of Ostend Bart Tommelein (liberal) has called on the Belgian rail company NMBS to be better prepared for incidents like Friday evening’s technical issues that led to cancellations and delays to rail services from his city. The issues on Friday evening resulted in many hundreds of day-trippers that had travelled to Ostend to enjoy what was the hottest day of the year congregating at the Ostend Station. With no trains running for two hours long queues and large crowds gathered at the station. 

Mr Tommelein told VRT News that what happened on Friday evening was “not responsible”. He called on the Federal Transport Minister François Bellot (Francophone liberal) to draw up an emergency plan to deal with situations like that on Friday evening if they should arise.

Mr Tommelein added that the city authorities in Ostend make plans that are based on the assumption that the trains are running and “If the trains suddenly stop running while there are so many people in Ostend I believe that there should be an emergency plan in place that can be activated quickly".

On Friday evening technical issues put one of the two tracks between Ostend and Bruges out of use between around 7pm and 9:30pm. There were no services out of Ostend for around two hours. Eventually the police were called to ensure that the many hundreds of passengers that were waiting at the station in the hope of getting at train home could do so safely.  

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