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National Railway Company of Belgium

National Railway Company of Belgium
Native name
Dutch: Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegen
French: Société nationale des chemins de fer belges
German: Nationale Gesellschaft der Belgischen Eisenbahnen
Company typeStatutory corporation
IndustryRail transportation
FounderGovernment of Belgium
HeadquartersAvenue de la Porte de Hal/Hallepoortlaan 40, ,
RevenueIncrease €2,21 billion (2022)
Decrease €-438.30 million (2022)
Number of employees
30 000 (2023)
SubsidiariesBeNe Rail
Train World (BE)

The National Railway Company of Belgium (Dutch: Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegen, NMBS;[note 1] French: Société nationale des chemins de fer belges, SNCB; German: Nationale Gesellschaft der Belgischen Eisenbahnen) 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. From 1942 to 1944, amid Nazi Germany's occupation of Belgium, the company was paid 51 million Belgian francs by the Nazi Germany to send 28 trains carrying 25,843 Jews and Roma people to Auschwitz where only 1,195 survived.[1] The company also sent 16,000 political prisoners to concentration camps.[1]

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.[citation needed] In February 2011, NMBS/SNCB Logistics began operating as a separate business.[2]

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.[3]

NMBS/SNCB-Holding was merged into NMBS/SNCB in 2014 in order to simplify the structure of the Belgian railways.[4]

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


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 (2,197 mi) (of which 2,950 km (1,833 mi) are electrified, mainly at 3,000 V DC and 351 km (218 mi) 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 (2,238 mi) of main railway lines (or 6,399 km (3,976 mi) 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.[citation needed]

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



  1. ^ a b Siegal, Nina (15 December 2023). "Belgian Railway Earned Millions for Holocaust Trains, Report Finds". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  2. ^ "Railway Gazette: SNCB Logistics gains independence". Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  3. ^ "Reforms proposed to cut SNCB losses – Railway Gazette". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  4. ^ "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. ^ "L_2007315EN.01001401.xml". Retrieved 2 May 2023.
  8. ^ "National Enforcement Bodies in Europe for rail passengers" (PDF). European Commission. 28 July 2023.
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National Railway Company of Belgium
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