Antwerp: passenger trains along entire ring?
Every half hour
The NMBS/SNCB at first was reluctant. In April, it said it would prefer to improve the existing train services in and around Antwerp first. But now, the NMBS/SNCB is studying the possibility of running a train service with passages every half hour.
It is just one of the many possibilities the company is researching in preparation for its new service offering, which will be effective at the end of 2020. Others are direct trains between Antwerp and Hasselt or between Liège and Brussels Airport.
“We never vetoed the proposition,” says NMBS/SNCB spokesman, Dimitri Temmerman. “At the moment we are working on our new service offering and consulting several local administrations. Last week, it was Antwerp’s turn. One of the matters discussed was the Ring Track.”
The NMBS/SNCB will now study the proposal if the idea fits the company’s vision, whether or not the trains will be in demand, the technical feasibility, among other things. But also whether or not infrastructure management company, Infrabel, will grant permission to use the tracks and the financial implications.
The study should be ready by the end of this year. The company’s management board then has to decide whether or not to proceed. “It is not certain at all we will realize the proposal,” says Temmerman. “We will look at the potential ant the Oosterweel works will certainly be taken into consideration.”
The Port of Antwerp hasn’t communicated on whether or not it is a supporter of the plans. “We will contact the NMBS/SNCB and are open to being included in the study. We first want to see if it is possible and if there is enough support for the idea before expressing our opinion,” says Port of Antwerp Mobility Manager, Tom Verlinden.