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Old February 26th, 2014, 05:00 PM   #401
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The NMBS/SNCB is currently doing some "roadshows" in the several provinces of Belgium explaining its plans for the new train schedule that'll come into action in December.

The plan contains a re-branding of the InterRegio (IR) trains to either the InterCity (IC) or Local (L) label, depending on the amount of stops the train makes. The plan should take into account the increase in passengers over the past few years (+60% since 1995) and should take into account the new rails that have become available since 1998 (when the previous blueprint for the plans was made).

As it is currently almost impossible to stick to the schedule in the North-South connection in Brussels due to more people getting off and on the trains, 2 extra minutes in total have been added to each train driving through the connection. As such, the plan will reduce the overall commercial speed of the train service with 1%. Additionally, more trains will drive during peak hours and less during off-peak hours. Sadly enough this sometimes means that the first or last train of the day will get scrapped (which has happened before over the past few years).

The main reason for the decrease in service for some people is tied to politicians: the amount of train kilometres must remain stable as the subsidies will be lowered slightly and each extra train kilometre costs money.

The slideshows used during the roadshows can be found here, currently only 2 presentations are there as only two roadshows have been done (Oost-Vlaanderen - Dutch, Luxemburg (the province) - French)
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Old February 26th, 2014, 06:43 PM   #402
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I bet they won't do one in Limburg won't they.....
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Old February 26th, 2014, 07:00 PM   #403
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They will have a roadshow in every province, Limburg included. I wouldn't trust too much on the news that most connections will take on average 10 minutes extra. That comes from the same source that claimed that the train from De Panne will take a lot longer to get to Brussels, completely neglecting that passengers can actually gain time compared to now by changing trains in Ghent.

That said, it wouldn't surprise me if the new plan would indeed be worse for Limburg.
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Old March 10th, 2014, 03:30 PM   #404
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Punctuality today reflect the plan of 1998 and nobody would leave things as they are. The Brussels Junction has achieved his maximum capacity with 86/90 trains per hour (six tracks). There will be no other extra trains. I work myself for this Junction and the extern grill of Brussels-Midi. The extra traffic can be diverted only by the line 26 and can reaches Etterbeek and Schuman and then Schaerbeek or the national airport via new Josaphat tunnel.

For the country, the architecture IC/IR was a hourly copy-past of the old architecture "Direct" and "Semi-direct" at the time of our grand-parents. Contrary to that many newspapers say, many people today go to station by car or bike, for 5 to 10 km. For this reason, many little station are not so used, except for schoolboys morning and afternoon.

Many people get all excited with the future plan of SNCB. For what ? It's a draft and many changes would be adjusted before, and after december. I'm remember in february 1999 that many changes already were being undertaken to improve the new plan after only two months, which was too generous. Today, we see many municipal councillors who speak and gesticulate everywhere in the medias. We don't forget the elections for next 25 may....
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Old March 10th, 2014, 03:45 PM   #405
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Oh indeed, I hadn't even made the connection with the upcoming elections Generally speaking, the plan seems to be an improvement over what we currently have.

Also, the roadshow for Limburg took place last week and the slides showed that the train from Hasselt to Brussels will take 12 minutes less than it currently does. To Antwerp 8 minutes can be gained if one of the peak trains is used. Otherwise it'd take 10 additional minutes to change trains in Aarschot. (Source of the presentation)
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Old March 10th, 2014, 04:12 PM   #406
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I've read presentations : today three online. An inconvenient truth is that 80% take railways at rush hours ! That confirm that railways are the fifth wheel of the carriage and not the first choice. It's a big problem for the dream of the modal shift....
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Old March 10th, 2014, 04:54 PM   #407
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Not necessarily... Most people also drive during the rush hour. Not because they want to, but because that is the time they need to travel at.
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Old March 12th, 2014, 07:46 PM   #408
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I don't see why this information affects the idea of a modal shift in any way? Modal shift doesn't mean to shift ALL car traffic to other forms of transportation, it just tries to move a part of it. The idea behind modal shift is to put people and goods on the type of transport that is best for them and for everybody else. The problem is that people usually default to using the car to get somewhere, no matter which other options are available. Often just walking or using a bicycle is sufficient to get the job done and for some trips it may even be faster. The idea behind modal shift doesn't say that using a car is wrong, but just tries to make people consider another modes of transport as well.

The fact that 80% of all passengers take the train during rush hour is basically a normal reflection of the peak in people moving around. It's exactly at this point that public transport should play a vital role to handle the massive amount of traffic.

Also, the presentations of the plans for Hainaut and Antwerpen have become available at http://www.belgianrail.be/nl/corpora...plan_2014.aspx
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Old March 29th, 2014, 11:50 AM   #409
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Old March 29th, 2014, 02:47 PM   #410
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Two days ago, the presentation of the new transport plan for the Brussels region was shown. Here are some interesting images from that presentation (can be found here):

An overview of all train lines in Belgium as of the end of the year (can't find an image with better quality, sadly enough):


An overview of the daily train passengers in the Brussels area. Especially Brussel-Kapellekerk/Bruxelles-Chapelle with its 80 passengers a day stands out in a negative way (the stations with around 80 passengers were still quite new when that data was compiled in 2012):


The presentation also contains the investment plans for the coming years in the Brussels stations:
  • Brussels North (€50 million): new entrances, renovation of the underpasses, parking, better facilities for cyclists, lifts and escalators.
  • Brussels South: presentation of several plans in the pipeline, but I'd be surprised if they'd actually get executed in this decade...
  • Brussels Schuman: enlargement of the station so part of the station is visibly located just above the metro line (currently under construction)
  • Etterbeek: new station building with a new pedestrian bridge connecting the two universities with the train station. Especially important seeing that Delta station will get less trains in the future, while Etterbeek will get more (both stations are quite close to the VUB and ULB):
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Old March 31st, 2014, 09:48 AM   #411
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I'm surprised that all the rail transport axis in Brussels are more or less aligned north-south. Isn't there any travel in the east-west direction? Would a new line from say Brussels South via Luxemburg, Schuman to Merode make sense?
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Old March 31st, 2014, 10:29 AM   #412
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M-NL View Post
I'm surprised that all the rail transport axis in Brussels are more or less aligned north-south. Isn't there any travel in the east-west direction? Would a new line from say Brussels South via Luxemburg, Schuman to Merode make sense?
The problem of Brussels is a city cut in two parts. The western part is poor and does not have a high concentration of offices. By contrast, the eastern part is covered by a large area of offices, especially on the side of the Schuman and the “Gare du Luxembourg” stations (European square…), + underground between Gare du Midi to Rogier via Louise and Arts-Loi stations. Railway line L50 (not L50A) through Jette and Bockstael interested especially traffic from Aalst, Kortrijk or Ghent ... even to Schuman and Luxemburg. In addition, three main Brussels universities are in the East (VUB, ULB and UCL at underground station Alma, + high schools like La Cambre and many others…). The evidence is that we get commuters where they are going, not where politicians dream.
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Old March 31st, 2014, 10:38 AM   #413
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The city has an extensive subway/light-rail network though.
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Old April 8th, 2014, 10:22 AM   #414
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Whats the story behind this photo?

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Old April 8th, 2014, 10:33 AM   #415
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a fireman posted this on his fb/twitter, joking that his firehoses were now protected against any trains. But it turned out that railway was temporarly closed.
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Old April 8th, 2014, 11:26 AM   #416
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M-NL View Post
I'm surprised that all the rail transport axis in Brussels are more or less aligned north-south. Isn't there any travel in the east-west direction? Would a new line from say Brussels South via Luxemburg, Schuman to Merode make sense?
Although not immediately visible, Brussels lies in a valley which is more or less
North-South oriented. So this is also the most natural orientation for railway lines.

Also in Brussels you have the (in)famous north-south junction, which
concentrates most of the through traffic. At the time this was made,
nobody anticipated that the 6 tracks of this junction could ever become saturated...
So the lines converging to Brussels were almost all redirected towards
Brussels North or Brussels South.

One can indeed see that the trains to Luxemburg make a large detour
between Brussels South and Etterbeek. A direct line between those two
stations would probably make sense, but it will never be built : the trauma
caused by the construction of the North-South junction (which lasted for
half a century) is still quite vivid in people's memories, and nobody, politicians
included, is ready to live through that one more time - even if today's
tunneling techniques allow to do that with much less disturbances nowadays.

In the east-west direction, there is a reasonably performant subway line
which fills the gap left by the railway. Metro lines have also been quite
problematic to build in Brussels, because the city is essentially built on a tick
layer of sand, which is quite difficult to tunnel through, because of its natural
unstability.

Today, with its 1000 trains per day, the north-south junction is saturated so
a new tunnel in the east of Brussels is getting readied. To have this project
accepted by the local population, it has been decided tu build this tunnel
under an existing road tunnel, so the local nuisances, both for construction
and for future operation, are reduced to a minimum.
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Old April 8th, 2014, 03:06 PM   #417
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I have rapidly worked about the new Junction project. Summary : 2 x 3 tubes from Uccle (L124), Forest Audi (L96) and Anderlecht Petite Ile (L50A) which go to the Midi station at -80m under Fonsny avenue. They continue to Central station where a new station was proposed under the basements of Ravenstein building. 2 tubes go directly to Schuman station and Etterbeek, the 4 others continue to North Station and Schaerbeek, to join L36 and L25N. This project was of course refused due to his enormous cost...
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Old April 10th, 2014, 09:12 AM   #418
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M-NL View Post
I'm surprised that all the rail transport axis in Brussels are more or less aligned north-south. Isn't there any travel in the east-west direction? Would a new line from say Brussels South via Luxemburg, Schuman to Merode make sense?
When railways were constructed in Belgium in the 19th century Brussels got two main stations: North and South. Both were terminal stations. Then after decades of planning and building they got joined by a through railway in the 50ies.

The main metro axis is East-West though. And a Metro line from Brussel Zuid to Schumann is seriously being considered.
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Old April 10th, 2014, 09:16 AM   #419
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glodenox View Post
An overview of the daily train passengers in the Brussels area. Especially Brussel-Kapellekerk/Bruxelles-Chapelle with its 80 passengers a day stands out in a negative way (the stations with around 80 passengers were still quite new when that data was compiled in 2012):
How are passengers counted? The numbers seem quite low. I live in a town of 130000, and our main station has about 250000 passengers a day. If Brussel Centraal has only about 56000 this can only mean that NMBS counts in a very different way from SBB...

I went to high school near Kapellekerk, and I do remember that when school was out we did fill the platform quite nicely. Certainly more than 80 boardings on the one train that left right after school finished...
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Old April 10th, 2014, 09:27 AM   #420
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K_ View Post
a Metro line from Brussel Zuid to Schumann is seriously being considered.
A dream which exists since 60's : I have find a first idea (1969) in a history of TGV. A second idea was proposed end of 80's with "Eurometro". The last idea is the new Junction project as mentionned in a post above..
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