Belgian Rail Network as a Model for European Rail Safety

Infrabel coordinates the rail traffic on the whole Belgian network, allocates train paths to all rail operators, and also maintains, modernizes and develops the Belgian rail infrastructure.

Due to its central location in Europe, Belgium fulfils a strategic role for passengers and freight transport. Every day, approximately 4.000 trains run on the Belgian network, among them 130 international passengers’ trains passing through Brussels towards London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and other European cities. The Belgian railway network consists of 6.500 km of main lines and is one of the busiest European networks. “A well-maintained rail network is the foundation of a safe, high-quality and reliable service for all our customers”, CEO Luc Lallemand points out. Moreover, Belgium was the first country in Europe to have a complete high-speed network from border to border. Belgium is also involved in several international freight corridors and its ports serve as logistic access portals.

Considering the difficult economic circumstances which are putting pressure on public finances and therefore on the railway sector, Infrabel is constantly seeking ways to improve its asset management. Rationalization and a digital transformation of the rail infrastructure and the traffic management systems are playing an important role in securing the future of the rail, but safety remains the number one priority. “Infrabel is progressively implementing the European Train Control System (ETCS), and the Belgian rail network will be a model for European rail safety”, Luc Lallemand explains. The second priority and biggest challenge is the further improvement of punctuality, which is the key when it comes to customers’ satisfaction. Other priorities are providing the required capacity, a financially healthy company as a basis for good operational management, and corporate social responsibility. “As a state-owned company, we serve the society completely”, Luc Lallemand emphasizes.

“The strengths of our country include a high quality of life, a rich historical heritage and culture, well-developed logistics networks and superb services”, Luc Lallemand concludes and invites all to come to Belgium.