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More trains between Brussels and Antwerp from next month

14:08 22/08/2023

More trains will run between Antwerp and Brussels from September in a resumption of previous levels of service.

Belgian railway company SNCB reduced IC connections between the two cities due to staff shortages back in early 2022.

But from 4 September onwards, four IC trains an hour will once again run between Antwerp-Central and Brussels-Midi, SNCB announced.

The IC train that stops in Mortsel-Oude God, Mechelen-Nekkerspoel and Vilvoorde, among others, will be back in service.

On other lines, however, continued insufficient staffing means fewer trains. One example is the S53 between Gent-Sint-Pieters and Lokeren, which will not run after the summer holidays end.

The SNCB is also scrapping a large part of the S32 trains between Antwerp-Central and Essen. Some P-trains in the Antwerp region also remain cancelled.

“SNCB is busy recruiting new people, including a lot of train conductors,” said spokesperson Dimitri Temmerman. “Filling all these vacancies is not easy in a tight labour market such as we have today in a number of regions.

"Continuous efforts are being made, but it does take time – once hired, new train supervisors go through a training process of about four months before they can be effectively deployed.”

In terms of prioritising the Antwerp connection, SNCB added: “The shortage of staff is so great that priority is given to the most problematic regions, where there is the most demand, and this was the case for Antwerp.”

SNCB was also able to find more train driver candidates in Antwerp. The railway company has been struggling with its recruitment efforts for more than a year now.

Written by Helen Lyons