In 2019, ProRail issued a map with a vision of 2030. ProRail manages the rail infrastructure in the Netherlands and is the equivalent of Infrabel in Belgium, Network Rail in Great Britain or SNCF Réseau in France.
There are also changes to the train connections between the Netherlands and Belgium visible.
The situation today
Today, you can reach the Netherlands from Belgium
- with the S32 omnibus Puurs – Antwerp – Roosendaal;
- with the Benelux, a.k.a. Brusselaar, a.k.a. Amsterdammer;
- with the S43 omnibus Hasselt – Liège – Maastricht;
- with the Thalys, Paris – Brussels – Antwerp – Rotterdam – Amsterdam;
- with the Eurostar, London – Brussels – Amsterdam.
So five options. You need to book a seat on Thalys and Eurostar in advance, so it offers less flexibility and improvisation.
On the 2030 rail map, there are more options.
- The S32 Puurs – Antwerp – Roosendaal;
- A fast Benelux, stopping fewer times;
- A ‘slow’ Benelux, stopping more often (as it does now);
- An Antwerp – Noorderkempen – Breda connection;
- The S43 would become a ‘tri-country train’, connecting Liège, Maastricht and Aachen in Germany.
- The 43XX train from Antwerp to Hamont would be prolonged to Weert;
- The Thalys;
- The Eurostar.
The map is ambition. In a conversation with Treinreiziger.nl, ProRail designer Klaas Hofstra explain the maps shows what is possible. “This map is not a wish, nor a promise by ProRail. It’s a base for conversations with our sector partners”.
These partners are the train operators such as the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS).
The 2030 is ambitious and perhaps even outdated. COVID-19 has delayed the arrival of new rolling stock and engineering works on the infrastructure. ProRail wants to switch from 1.5 kV to 3.0 kV (as in Belgium), but that is a costly and time-consuming venture. All NS rolling stock must be adapted.
The Weert connection and the tri-country connection have a topic for a long time, but there isn’t much movement in these projects.
NMBS / SNCB
On 1 February, Belgian train operator NMBS / SNCB announced the purchase of at least 24 Traxx electric locomotives by Alstom capable of going from Belgium to the Netherlands, to Germany, to Luxembourg and to France. Those locos will be able to ride at 200 kph.
Those could be used for a train from Brussels to Rotterdam stopping at Brussels Airport – Zavemtem, Mechelen, Noorderkempen and Breda. I11 coaches would be used.
So we’ll see what happens. We”ll keep you posted.
More on Benelux trains
- Brussels – Amsterdam ‘Benelux’ train service to be shortened by 40 minutes, skipping several stops in the Netherlands and Belgium.
- VIDEO | ICNG, the 2024 Benelux train from Amsterdam to Brussels.
- VIDEO | Brussels – Amsterdam with the Benelux-train (no reservations).
- Trying out the Benelux-intercity train from Antwerp to Breda.
- Benelux-intercity train from Brussels to Amsterdam changes route to Breda starting 9 April.
More on trains
- Trans Europ Express 2.0 advocates a renewed extensive European train network.
- International Railway Union working on facilitating night trains, but very aware of the many challenges.
- European Sleeper RailJet night train to start Brussels – Berlin – Prague services in summer 2022.
- EUROPEAN UNION | The Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and the European Transport Corridors.
- European Commission wants booking train tickets to be as easy as booking flights.
- Trenitalia Frecciarossa high speed train between Florence and Venice in Business Executive class.
- Orient Express La Dolce Vita: luxury train travel in Italy from 2023.
- ITALY | Turin hosts 2022 Eurovision Song Contest.
- By Red Arrow to Milan.
- Trenitalia aspires to run trains from Milan to Brussels and Amsterdam.
- ‘Green Speed’: Train operators Thalys and Eurostar to become one.
- GREEN SPEED | 2024 Eurostar – Thalys merger marks the end of Thalys brand.
- ‘Disney Express’ by Thalys to Disneyland Paris / Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy.
- REVIEW | Thalys Lounge at Brussels South/Midi station.
- Antwerp – Brussels – Paris in Thalys Comfort 1.
- Travelling in Thalys Premium.
- TGV Inoui Brussels to Lyon in Corona times.
- SNCF inOui (ex-TGV) Marseille to Lille.
- Eurostar ex-Thalys trains will keep ‘ruby’ red livery after 2024 merger.
- On board a TGV Atlantique from Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy to Bordeaux-Saint-Jean.
- Travelling on TGV to Avignon.
- Paris – Geneva – Lausanne with TGV Lyria first class on an Alstom TGV Duplex.
- London – Lille – Brussels in Eurostar’s refurbished e300 / Class 373 / TMST.
- Brussels – London with Eurostar in Standard Premier.
- CONFIRMED | 2022 RegioJet night train from Ostend to Berlin, Warsaw and Prague.
- SJ EuroNight announces 2022 night train service from Stockholm to Hamburg, no Malmö – Brussels for now.
- NIGHT TRAINS TO BERLIN | Stronger European Sleeper effectively takes over Moonlight Express.
- Moonlight Express and European Sleeper join forces under the brand European Sleeper.
- Malmö – Brussels night train to become Malmö – Brussels – Paris?.
- Moonlight Express wants a Barcelona – Perpignan – Brussels – Berlin night train.
- Ostende-Vienne Orient Experience plans tourist season night trains from Brussels and Antwerp to Salzburg, Innsbruck and Milan.
- GreenCityTrip: chartered night trains from Breda in the Netherlands to Venice, Prague, Milan, Vienna, Prague, Verona and Innsbruck.
- Not only Prague: RegioJet European Sleeper preparing Ostend – Warsaw night train.
- European Sleeper announces Berlin and Prague as destinations.
- Moonlight Express to offer night train services between Brussels, Liège and Berlin from April 2022.
- The couchette and sleeping cars for the Ostend – Brussels – Amsterdam – Berlin – Prague European Sleeper by RegioJet.
- ‘Hotel on rails’ Midnight Trains to link Paris to Edinburgh, Brussels, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Berlin, Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid and Porto.
- The couchette and sleeping cars for the Brussels – Liège – Berlin Moonlight Express.
- Moonlight Express to include bar / restaurant coaches and sustainable quality food on Brussels – Liège – Berlin night train.
- 2021, European Year of Rail.
- ‘Green Speed’: Train operators Thalys and Eurostar to become one.
- European Sleeper to launch night train services from the Netherlands and Belgium in April 2022.
- Nightjet Vienna/Innsbruck to Brussels, or how we got thrown off the train in Aachen.
- NIGHTJET | Austrian Federal Railways ÖBB and Swiss Federal Railways SBB-CFF-FFS present 2024 Austro-Swiss night train plans for Europe.
- Why the expensive ÖBB Nightjet is really not that expensive.
- Reliving the era of the great railway journeys, travelling overnight on Nightjet.
- How we plan a big rail trip.
- Ticket Distribution: the failure of railways to sell themselves.
- Malmö – Cologne – Brussels Night train.
- BOOK REVIEW | ‘Night Trains, The Rise and Fall of the Sleeper’ by Andrew Martin.
- To use night trains in Portugal and Spain or not?.
- Night trains in Europe.
- Low-cost, long-haul trains to conquer Europe?.
- Fly now before it’s taxed and consider using the train instead.
- A passengers train from Antwerp in Belgium to Shanghai in China?.
- Venice Simplon-Orient-Express comes to Brussels in June 2021 and April 2022.
- 2013 Scotland Rail Trip.
- 2016 America Rail Adventure.
- 2017 Eastern Europe, Balkan and Greece Rail Trip.
- 2018 Poland Trip.
- 2018 Rail Tour of France, Italy and Switzerland.
- 2020 Saxony, Bavaria and Tyrol Getaway.