NMBS releases details of S-train express network

Summary

The long-awaited GEN network of rail connections, now known as S-trains, will launch in December, with faster connections between Brussels and other cities

Service from 13 December

National rail authority NMBS has revealed its plans for the regional express network (GEN) in and around Brussels. The plans include the opening of the Schuman-Josaphat tunnel after eight years of works. That tunnel will provide a new and faster link to other lines, including a connection to Brussels Airport, Vilvoorde, Mechelen and points further east.

The plan for the new “S-trains”, which comes into effect on 13 December, also includes two new stops, at Mouterij in Elsene and at Tour & Taxis in Laken. The Mouterij stop has been in place for several years, but has so far not seen any passengers. The Tour & Taxis stop is adjacent to Pannenhuis metro and hasn’t been used for 30 years. Because of the development of the Tour & Taxis site, including the arrival of Flemish government administration, the site is being reopened.

The new routes include express links to and from Brussels to other cities, including Louvain-La-Neuve, Mechelen, Leuven, Aalst and Dendermonde. They will correspond with MIVB transport where possible, said NMBS, but integration of tickets is not yet on the agenda. Travellers transferring from the Brussels metro to the S-train, for example, will have to pay for two tickets. But fare for the network can be loaded on the region’s Mobib card. 

NMBS

Belgium’s national railway system was established in 1926 and is the sole provider of passenger train traffic in the country.
Overhaul - Starting in 2014, the railway system will operate under a two-pronged structure with transport division NMBS and infrastructure operator Infrabel. The umbrella organisation, NMBS Holding, will disappear.
Trio - NMBS comprises three organisational units: NMBS Mobility, NMBS Europe and NMBS Technics.
Criticism - The rail authority has frequently made headlines with continuing delays. The most common causes for delays are malfunctioning trains and infrastructure glitches.
223

million travellers in 2012

87

percent of trains on time in 2012

43

percent increase in female employees since 2005