Belgian Rail Company scraps extra trains to the coast

The Belgian rail company NMBS has announced that a number of extra rail services that were to have run to and from the coast during the weekend are to be scrapped. The decision was taken after talks between the rail company, the Acting Governor of West Flanders and the Mayors of the costal municipalities on Tuesday evening. 

The changes to the timetable will be available in NMBS’ online route planner from Friday. The measures will only apply to the weekend of 15 and 16 August. A decision on whether the extra trains will be scrapped during the final two weekends of August will be taken some time next week.

Tuesday evening’s talks came about after last weekend saw overcrowded trains to the coast and incidents such as the violence on Blankenberge Beach. NMBS has agreed to better ensure that a maximum of 80% of capacity on its trains to the coast is occupied. Passengers planning a trip to the seaside will be subject to a “stop and go” system under which they will have to wait for a later train if the train they had wanted to take is already 80% full.

An NMBS spokesman told VRT News that if a train is already 80% full passengers will only be allowed to get off the train at the next station and those hoping to get on it will have to wait for the next train.  

Extra rail security staff from Securail and extra railway police will be drafted in to ensure enforcement of the system.

In addition to this “all authorities have given a commitment to dissuade the population from going to the coast en masse”.

 

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