National Railway Company of Belgium

National Railway Company of Belgium
SNCB Group
Type Government-owned corporation
Industry Rail Transport
Founded 1926
Headquarters Brussels, Belgium
Products Rail Transport
Revenue increase 3.010 billion (2005)
Operating income increase 43,2 million (2005)
Net income decrease -116 million (2005)
Employees 37,865 (2005)
Subsidiaries SNCB Logistics
and more
National Railway Company of Belgium
Infrastructure company Infrabel
Ridership 206.5 million per year [1]
Passenger km 9.9 billion per year [1]
Freight ~60 million tons per year [2]
System length
Total 3,374 kilometres (2,097 mi) [3]
Double track 1,878 kilometres (1,167 mi)
Electrified 3,002 kilometres (1,865 mi) [3]
Main 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
High-speed 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
3000 V DC Main network
25 kV AC High-speed lines, recent electrification
No. stations 546 [4]

The National Railway Company of Belgium, known as the About this sound Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegen (NMBS) (Dutch) or the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges (SNCB) (French) is the Belgian national railway operator.

It is usually referred to in English as "Belgian Railways" or the SNCB.[5][6][7][8]


History and description

NMBS/SNCB trains in Antwerp-Central

It was created in 1926. The SNCB is an autonomous government company. 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 SNCB itself to manage the freight (B-Cargo) and passenger services, and 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, SNCB Logistics began operating as a separate business.[9]

In 2008 the SNCB carried 207 million passengers[10] 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).

Tickets are relatively cheap and service frequent, in part due to the high population density, and in part to large government subsidies.

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 Paris and Lille (and London beyond that), HSL 2 runs from Leuven to Liège, 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 Antwerp to Rotterdam. All lines are equipped with ERTMS (ETCS level 2 + GSM-R, access and fall-back in level 1).

See also


  1. ^ a b NMBS/SNCB (2008-05-29) (in dutch) (PDF), Jaarverslag 2007, Brussels: NMBS Public & Corporate Affairs (published July 2008), pp. 32, 46,, retrieved 2008-10-26  (these numbers exclude DB ICE trains to/from Belgium)
  2. ^ Kerncijfers
  3. ^ a b Infrabel (2008-05-05), Benoit Gilson, ed. (PDF), Annual Report 2007, Brussels, pp. 6,, retrieved 2008-10-26 
  4. ^ (in Dutch) Lijst van NMBS-stations,, retrieved 2008-12-11 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Railway Gazette: SNCB Logistics gains independence". Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  10. ^

External links

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