The new transportation plan applies to the period from December 2023 to December 2026 and should increase train kilometers traveled by 7.4 percent during that period. By the end of this period, an additional 2,000 trains are supposed to be running every week.
The first, and most limited, adjustments will be made today, December 10. NMBS announced in October that the number of kilometers traveled would increase by 1.3 percent in the first phase.
The first expansion is particularly notable in Wallonia, where Charleroi Airport is now more accessible via the renovated Fleurus station. From now on, the IC train will run seven times a week in both directions between Leuven, Fleurus and Charleroi Central. This train also stops at Heverlee, Waver and Ottignies.
What’s new in Flanders is that Norderkempen station will receive a second train per hour to and from Antwerp Central 24 hours a day on weekdays. Now the second train runs only during peak hours in the morning and evening. The S53 train runs between Ghent and Lokeren again, and on weekdays the route has been extended to Oudenaarde.
These S53 suburban trains did not run for some time due to staff shortages. Three S53 trains will not run on the new timetable, as there are not enough tracks available due to works at Gent-Sint-Pieters station. Alternatively, the IC train between Antwerp Central and De Panne will stop exceptionally at Baerveld when there is no S53 train.
The staff shortage has not been eliminated, as NMBS is instead reducing supply elsewhere. Some P trains around Geraardsbergen, Ghent and Oudenaarde will temporarily not run from December. The S32 line between Bors, Antwerp Central and Essen will also run less frequently than planned.
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