Train travel in Belgium is both easy and popular since its regional system is extensive and offers connections between most cities around the country. There are really only a few villages in the Ardennes that are somewhat more tricky to reach by belgian train network, though these are still well-connected by TEC bus services. Located in the heart of Northern Europe, Belgium makes for an ideal base for exploring neighbouring capitals like London, Paris and Amsterdam, all of which are accessible within 3 hours of travelling by Eurostar trains or SNCB.
From popular destinations and train times to information about train companies and how to buy cheap train tickets, this page provides an overview of everything you need to know about train travel in Belgium and Belgian trains.
The NMBS/SNCB - Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegen (NMBS) in Dutch or the Société nationale des chemins de fer belges (SNCB) in French - is Belgium’s national operator, providing an extensive service across Belgium and connecting Brussels with France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Germany via high-speed trains. The NMBS/SNCB is an autonomous government company which was formed in the 1920s as a successor to the Belgian State Railways, though this situation is likely to change in 2019 when European rail should be open to competition.
Belgium’s rail network consists of 4 main types of trains. The InterCity (IC) trains are the fastest services, linking the larger cities such as Brussels, Liege and Antwerp. The InterRegio (IR) trains serve medium-sized train stations and connect regional cities like Antwerp and Brussels. There are also peak-hour (P) commuter trains. Eurostar, Thalys, ICE and TGV International operate high-speed services on to nearby European destinations.
The major traffic hubs for Beligian trains are Brussels-South which is the capital’s largest station, Brussels Central, Belgium’s busiest station and Gent-Sint-Pieters, the main railway station in Ghent. The Ghent-Brussels route is one of the country’s busiest domestic routes, along with connections to Leuven and Antwerp Central. There are also a number of popular international routes from Brussels-South on to Paris, Amsterdam, London and Cologne.