BELGIAN RAILWAYS

TRAIN SERVICES AND STATIONS

Belgium has one of the densest railway systems in the world. The railway system is most commonly abbreviated as SNCB, for the French name Societe Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges. French is spoken is the southern half of Belgium, while the Flemish dialect of Dutch is spoken in the northern Half of Belgium. The Dutch initials of the railway system are NMBS, or Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegen.

Covered here are the train operations at the largest stations in Belgium, including track numbers and services typically departing from each track. Typical track assignments are sometimes very general, and are most typical during middays.

Included are links to zoomable Google Maps for the stations. Maps include markings identifying the direction of the various lines, along with regional stations near the junctions with various lines. By zooming into the areas around the junction stations, one can see where the various lines diverge. Also included are English language Wikipedia links for each station, containing further information and history.

Belgian Railways - official SNCB Web site, English home page.

Sporenplan Online - fan web site including track diagrams of SNCB and other European railways. English is not always available, but the track diagrams can generally be understood without knowing Dutch. The information from that web site was valuable in understanding the layouts of the stations, including track numbers.


PRINCIPAL PASSENGER ROUTES

This list is somewhat arbitrary, highlighting express and international routes.

Brussels-Antwerpen-Roosendaal (Netherlands)
Brussels-Lille (France)
Brussels-Liege-Aachen (Germany)
Brussels-Gent-Brugge-Oostende
Brussels-Namur-Luxembourg


SNCB STATIONS

Brussels

Antwerpen

Gent

Liege


SNCB EXPLAINED
Brief history and explanation of SNCB services.

Main lines are electrified at 3,000 volts DC, overhead. In recent years, SNCB and other European railway systems have been constructing entirely new railway segments for high speed operation. Something which unfortunately has been severely lagging in the U. S. Amtrak's fastest trains are the Acela trains between New Haven and Boston. But those trains still use the same curvy New Haven right of way, with few segments capable of handling high speed operation.

For these stations, lines are primarily organized according to the basic direction from the station. For each end of the station, or from stub stations, lines are sorted by direction radiating from the station, in theory from lowest to highest station track numbers. And in some but not all cases, station track assignments may typically be accordingly, in order to minimize route conflicts outside the station.

The Belgian Railways use left hand operation.