National Railway Company of Belgium

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National Railway Company of Belgium
NMBS/SNCB (the SNCB abbreviation is increasingly more used recently in English language publicity)
Native name
Dutch: Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegen
French: Société nationale des chemins de fer belges
Statutory corporation
IndustryRail Transport
Founder Government of Belgium
HeadquartersAvenue de la Porte de Hal/Hallepoortlaan 40,
1060 Brussels
ProductsRail Transport
RevenueIncrease2.svg € 2.296.6 billion (2012)
Increase2.svg € 6.306,5 million (2012)
Decrease2.svg € -152.3 million (2012)
Number of employees
18,688 (2005)
Subsidiaries NMBS/SNCB Logistics
and more

The National Railway Company of Belgium (Dutch : Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegen, or NMBS; [note 1] French : Société nationale des chemins de fer belges; SNCB) is the national railway company of Belgium. The company formally styles itself using the Dutch and French abbreviations NMBS/SNCB. The corporate logo designed in 1936 by Henry van de Velde consists of the linguistically neutral letter B in a horizontal oval.



NMBS/SNCB is an autonomous government company, formed in 1926 as successor to the Belgian State Railways. In 2005, the company was split up into three parts: Infrabel, which manages the railway infrastructure, network operations and network access, the public railway operator NMBS/SNCB itself to manage the freight (B-Cargo) and passenger services, and NMBS/SNCB-Holding, which owns both public companies and supervises the collaboration between them. Essentially, this was a move to facilitate future liberalisation of railway freight and passenger services in agreement with European regulations. Several freight operators have since received access permissions for the Belgian network. In February 2011, NMBS/SNCB Logistics began operating as a separate business. [1]

Faced with rising losses, in June 2012, the Belgian transport minister announced further reform: NMBS/SNCB Holding would be split up, so NMBS/SNCB (the train operator) would be separate from Infrabel (the infrastructure owner). Unions oppose the reform. [2]

NMBS/SNCB-Holding was merged into SNCB in 2014 in order to simplify the structure of the Belgian railways. [3]

NMBS/SNCB holds a Royal Warrant from the Court of Belgium. [4]


Route map Belgium railroad map.svg
Route map

In 2008 NMBS/SNCB carried 207 million passengers [5] a total of 8,676 million passenger-kilometres over a network of 3,536 kilometres (of which 2,950 km are electrified, mainly at 3000 V DC and 351 km at 25 kV 50 Hz AC). In 2017, that number rose to 230 million passengers carried, [6] and Belgium has a rail network of 3,602 km of main railway lines (or 6,399 km of mainline tracks).

The network currently includes four high speed lines suitable for 300 km/h (190 mph) traffic: HSL 1 runs from just south of Brussels to the French border, where it continues to a triangular junction with LGV Nord for Paris Nord and Lille Flandres (and London beyond that), HSL 2 runs from Leuven to Ans and onward to Liège-Guillemins, HSL 3 runs from Liège to the German border near Aachen and HSL 4 connects with HSL-Zuid in the Netherlands to allow services to run from Antwerpen-Centraal to Rotterdam Centraal.

National enforcement body

Sometimes passengers are not satisfied with the answer of railway companies or passengers do not receive any answer in one month, [7] in which case they can seek the assistance of the Federal Public Service Mobility and Transport. [8]

See also


Related Research Articles

Transport in Belgium

Transport in Belgium is facilitated with well-developed road, air, rail and water networks. The rail network has 2,950 km (1,830 mi) of electrified tracks. There are 118,414 km (73,579 mi) of roads, among which there are 1,747 km (1,086 mi) of motorways, 13,892 km (8,632 mi) of main roads and 102,775 km (63,861 mi) of other paved roads. There is also a well-developed urban rail network in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Charleroi. The ports of Antwerp and Bruges-Zeebrugge are two of the biggest seaports in Europe. Brussels Airport is Belgium's biggest airport.

<i>Eurostar</i> International high-speed railway service connecting the United Kingdom with France, Belgium & The Netherlands

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Thalys A French-Belgian high-speed rail operator

Thalys is a French-Belgian high-speed train operator originally built around the LGV Nord high-speed line between Paris and Brussels. This track is shared with Eurostar trains that go from Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam to London via Lille and the Channel Tunnel and with French domestic TGV trains. Thalys also serves Amsterdam and Cologne. Its system is managed by Thalys International — 70% SNCF, 30% NMBS/SNCB — and operated by THI Factory — 60% SNCF, 40% NMBS/SNCB.

Nederlandse Spoorwegen national rail operator of the Netherlands

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Rail transport in Belgium

Belgium has an extensive rail network. It is a member of the International Union of Railways (UIC). The UIC Country Code for Belgium is 88.

North–South connection railway line in Belgium

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HSL-Zuid Dutch section of the High Speed Line Schiphol - Antwerp

The HSL-Zuid, is a 125 kilometre-long Dutch high-speed railway line running between the Amsterdam metropolitan area and the Belgian border, with a branch to Breda, North Brabant. Together with the Belgian HSL 4 it forms the Schiphol–Antwerp high-speed railway. Originally scheduled to be in service by 2007, the first public operations began on 7 September 2009, after a ceremony on 6 September.

Eurostar International Limited (EIL) is the railway company operating the international Eurostar train services between London, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel. Eurostar was previously operated by three separate companies in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, but this structure was replaced by EIL as a new single management company on 1 September 2010. EIL is owned by SNCF (55%), Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) (30%), Hermes Infrastructure (10%) and NMBS/SNCB (5%).

HSL 2 Belgian high-speed rail line

The HSL 2 is a Belgian high-speed rail line between Leuven and Ans and is 66.2 km (41 mi) long, all of it on dedicated high-speed tracks, which began service on 15 December 2002. As part of the Belgian railway network, it is owned, technically operated and maintained by Infrabel.

NS International railway company

NS International, formerly NS Hispeed, is the rail operator in the Netherlands that operates international inter-city and high-speed train connections to Belgium, France (Thalys), Germany and Switzerland (Intercity-Express).

Infrabel railway infrastructure companies of Belgium

Infrabel is a Belgian government-owned public limited company. It builds, owns, maintains and upgrades the Belgian railway network, makes its capacity available to railway companies, and handles train traffic control. It was created on 1 January 2005 from the split of the once unitary SNCB/NMBS. On 31 December 2009, it had 12,875 employees. CEO is Luc Lallemand.

High-speed rail in Belgium

Belgium's high-speed rail network provides mostly international connections from Brussels to France, Germany and The Netherlands. The high-speed network began with the opening of the HSL 1 to France in 1997, and since then high-speed lines have been extended towards Germany with HSL 2 in 2002, HSL 3 from Liège to the German border in 2009, and HSL 4 from Antwerp to the Dutch border in 2009.

Rail transport in the Netherlands

Rail transport in the Netherlands uses a dense railway network which connects nearly all major towns and cities. There are as many train stations as there are municipalities in the Netherlands. The network totals 3,223 route km on 6,830 kilometres of track; a line may run both ways, or two lines may run on major routes. Three-quarters of the lines have been electrified.

Fyra European high-speed rail service

Fyra was an international high-speed rail service between the Netherlands and Belgium using the AnsaldoBreda V250 (train). The service used the HSL-Zuid and HSL 4 railway lines to connect Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Brussels. Continuous technical difficulties suspended the service, and it was eventually permanently halted due to reliability and safety concerns.

Halle train collision 2010 Belgian train wreck

The Halle train collision was a collision between two NMBS/SNCB passenger trains carrying a combined 250–300 people in Buizingen, in the municipality of Halle, Flemish Brabant, Belgium, on 15 February 2010. The accident occurred in snowy conditions at 08:28 CET (07:28 UTC), during rush hour, on railway line 96 (Brussels–Quévy) about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from Brussels between P-train E3678 from Leuven to Braine-le-Comte and IC-train E1707 from Quiévrain to Liège. A third train was able to come to a stop just in time. The collision killed 19 people and injured 171, making it the deadliest rail accident in Belgium in over fifty years.

Brussels Regional Express Network suburban rail system in Brussels

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History of rail transport in Belgium aspect of history

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The Lage Landen Lijn was a proposed international rail service between The Hague and Brussels, which was to be introduced on 15 December 2013.

Crossrail Benelux Belgian rail freight company

Crossrail Benelux is a Belgian rail freight company, a subsidiary of Crossrail AG ; operating in Belgium.


  1. "Railway Gazette: SNCB Logistics gains independence" . Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  2. "Reforms proposed to cut SNCB losses – Railway Gazette". Railway Gazette International . Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  3. "History of the Belgian railways". Infrabel. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  5. (in French) Jobs B-Rail.
  6. (in French) 230 millions de voyageurs ont pris le train en 2017. SNCB Corporate.
  7. "1371/2007/EC".
  8. "National Enforcement Bodies in Europe for rail passengers" (PDF).
  9. Larry Elliott (13 October 2014). "UK government to sell Eurostar stake before general election". The Guardian.