Belgium - Lines with Obscure or Sparse passenger services

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Introduction

This list is being updated based on the timetable period commencing 13 December 2020. Standard abbreviations are explained in General Information. References to IC and a number refer to the IC services which use that number as a prefix, for example, 'IC22' means ICs 2205 to 2221 and 2227 to 2244.

Unless otherwise noted, it may be assumed that high speed trains (TGV, DB ICE, Thalys, Eurostar and domestic IC) make maximum use of high speed lines on their line of route: Bruxelles/Brussel - Lille, Leuven - Ans (- Liège ) and (Liège -) Chênée - Hergenrath (- Aachen).

Map references for each route entry are given in parentheses ( ). References prefixed "ERA-E" refer to the European Railway Atlas (All-Europe Edition) by M.G. Ball. References prefixed "ERA-R" refer to the European Railway Atlas (Regional Series - France and Benelux) by M.G. Ball.

Obscure services: Lines with regular use

Bruxelles/Brussel — Antwerpen via line 27

[25] (ERA-E 36B2-B3; ERA-R 59C3-C5) BE21/1

This line is effectively four-tracked throughout. However, the two pairs of tracks follow different alignments over some sections, to the extent that they are accorded different line numbers by NMBS/SNCB: the "fast" route is line 25, the "slow" route line 27. By default and in the absence of engineering work, IC services use line 25 and S services use line 27. Noteworthy exceptions are as follows;

  • Line 27 between Schaarbeek / Schaerbeek and Y Machelen may be used by S1 services that do not call at Buda on line 25. These are alternate service SSuX and all services SSuO.
  • IC34 (Binche-Turnhout SSuX) and P trains to/from stations beyond Lier use line 27 between Mechelen-Nekkerspoel and Y Duffel (see line 27B below)
  • Line 27 between Y Drabstraat and Antwerpen is used, under normal circumstances, by all services between Antwerp and Lier and beyond

Engineering work may result in ICs using line 27 or S using line 25.

Related to line 27 are the following;

  • line 27A which runs north from Y Liersesteenweg through Antwerpen Berchem platforms 1 and 4 to Antwerpen Docks. This has no regular service but parts of it may be used due to engineering work, see BE21/55 and BE21/56.
  • line 27B is used SSuX from Y Sint-Katelijne-Waver to Mechelen-Nekkerspoel by southbound IC34 and P trains from Lier to Mechelen as part of crossing from line 27 to line 25 in order to call at the high level platforms at Mechelen. From Mechelen-Nekkerspoel to Y Muizen see BE21/3. From Y Muizen to Y Weerde is used SSuX by S7.

Mortsel-Liersesteenweg (Y Liersesteenweg) — Mortsel (Y Drabstraat)

[15, 25] (ERA-E 36B3, not shown fully; ERA-R 61C1) BE21/2

This route (part of line 27) acts as a connecting spur between the Antwerpen - Lier line (the middle line of the three between Antwerpen-Berchem and the Mortsel area) south of Mortsel, and the Antwerpen - Bruxelles/Brussel main line north of Hove. It is used by S1 services between Mechelen and Antwerpen which call at both Hove and Mortsel (believed to be all of them).

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map

South of Berchem.jpg


Mechelen-Nekkerspoel- Y Muizen - Muizen

[27B] (ERA-E 36B3; ERA-R 59C4) BE21/3

This route is a connection between line 27 north of Mechelen and line 53 to Leuven, a Mechelen "avoider". Since the Antwerpen - Leuven ICs were diverted via Brussels Airport - Zaventem it is used only by two trains provided for students returning to Leuven university on Sunday evenings.

D1 SuO P8219 Mol - 19:32 Mechelen-Nekkerspoel - Heverlee
D1 SuO P8220 Hamont - 20:31 Mechelen-Nekkerspoel - Heverlee


D1: In theory, these trains operate Sundays except before a public holiday, additionally on 24.V and not on the 20., 27.XII, 31.I, 11.IV.. They will not operate during the holiday seasons - 19.12.20 → 02.01.21, 03.04.21 → 17.04.21 and 03.07.21 → 29.08.21. In practice they are often disrupted by engineering work and may reverse at Lier and run non-stop to Leuven via Aarschot or be cancelled completely. Operating via the booked route may happen in less than 10 Sundays in a year but running via the curve would be confirmed by a stop at Platform 6 at Mechelen-Nekkerspoel.

This route is also used due to engineering work.

  • When line 16 is closed due to engineering work between Lier and the Aarschot area. ICs between Antwerpen-Centraal and Liège-Guillemins via Heist-op-den-Berg and Aarschot are diverted between Antwerpen-Berchem and Aarschot via this route and either line 53/1 (BE21/65) or reversal in Leuven.
  • ICs between Antwerpen-Centraal and Hasselt via Brussels Airport-Zaventem may be diverted between Mechelen-Nekkerspoel and Leuven via this route due to engineering work on the normal route.

In either case, trains may (or may not) have an extra stop in Mechelen-Nekkerspoel on tracks 5 or 6 depending on direction. On June 19th/20th 2021, both the above diversions happened with the Antwerpen-Centraal - Liège-Guillemins ICs running non stop between Antwerpen-Berchem and Aarschot and the Antwerpen-Centraal - Hasselt ICs calling at Mechelen-Nekkerspoel and reversing in Leuven.

Aarschot avoiding line: Begijnendijk (Y Noord Aarschot) — Langdorp (Y Oost Aarschot)

[16, 35] (ERA-E 36C3; ERA-R 60A4) BE21/4

A west to east link (part of line 16) avoiding Aarschot station.

SSuX P8214 Antwerpen-Centraal - 17:18 Heist-op-den-Berg - Hasselt
SSuX P8215 Antwerpen-Centraal - 18:18 Heist-op-den-Berg - Hasselt
SSuX P7214 Hasselt - 06:23 Diest - Antwerpen-Centraal
SSuX P7215 Hasselt - 07:23 Diest - Antwerpen-Centraal

Schaarbeek (Y Albertbrug) — Y Machelen-Noord — Mechelen (Y Abeelstraat) via line 25N

[25] (ERA-E 36B2-B3; ERA-R 59C3-C4) BE21/5

This high speed line Between Schaarbeek and Mechelen, opened in June 2012, follows the course of the A1 motorway, to the east of the existing line 25.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

BN1.png


Only Thalys and Eurostar services use the entire line. The section north of Y Machelen-Noord is used also by trains between Brussels Airport - Zaventem and Mechelen or Antwerpen. The section south of Y Machelen-Zuid is also used by trains between Brussels Airport - Zaventem and Brussels Nord - see some of the services listed in the next entry.

Schaarbeek (Y Machelen-Zuid) — Brussels Airport - Zaventem (Y Brucargo)

[25, 36, 36C] (ERA-E 34A5; ERA-R 62B2) BE21/6

This is the south curve of the Machelen triangle of the high speed line between Schaarbeek and Mechelen.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

BN2.png


It is used by:

  • IC services between Bruxelles Nord/Brussel Noord and Leuven (and beyond) via Brussels Airport - Zaventem.
  • IC services between Brussels Airport - Zaventem and Mons, which take 10 or 11 minutes between Brussels Airport - Zaventem and Bruxelles Nord/Brussel Noord.
  • IC40 services from Brussels Airport - Zaventem to Charleroi-Sud (SSuX, in that direction only).
  • IC25 services from Brussels Airport - Zaventem to Dinant (SSuX, in that direction only).
  • IC40 services between Leuven and Braine-l'Alleud / Eigenbrakel (SSuO: in both directions)

It is not used by IC services to/from Amsterdam, taking 13 minutes for the journey, as these run non-stop via Zaventem.

To identify whether a train runs via this curve or non-stop via Zaventem, look up the timetable for the train concerned under "departure times by train station or train number" then scroll down to find "Real-time info by train number". Enter the train number and then look at the resulting " Map of route". Trains using this curve will be shown with a straight line between Schaarbeek (or Haren) and the airport. Trains non-stop via Zaventem will have Zaventem as an intermediate point between the same two locations.

Brussels Airport - Zaventem (Y Machelen-Zuid) — Haren (Y Keelbeek Nord)

[26, 124, 161] (ERA-E 34A5; ERA-R 62B2) BE21/7

This east <=> south curve links the high speed line between Brussels Airport - Zaventem and Schaarbeek with line 26 (the through Mechelen - Halle line avoiding central Bruxelles/Brussel on the east side). It is used by:

  • IC40 services from Brussels Airport - Zaventem to Charleroi-Sud (SSuX, in that direction only).
  • IC25 services from Brussels Airport - Zaventem to Dinant (SSuX, in that direction only).
  • IC40 services between Leuven and Braine-L Alleud (SSuO: in both directions)

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map

Brussel Luchthavn.jpg


Please see the previous route for the details of how to confirm if any particular train is booked to run non-stop via Zaventem or not. Trains using this curve will be shown with a straight line between Brussels Airport and Bordet or Haren.

Haren (Y Harenheide) — Diegem (Y Diegem West)

[26, 36, 161] (ERA-E 34A5; ERA-R 62B2) BE21/8

This connection (line 36C) links line 26 (the through Halle - Mechelen line avoiding central Bruxelles/Brussel on the east side) with line 36, the main Bruxelles/Brussel - Leuven - Liège-Guillemins line. Note that it forms a grade separated junction at Y Diegem West.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

BN4.png


It is used by:

  • IC40 services from Charleroi-Sud to Brussels Airport - Zaventem (SSuX, in that direction only).
  • IC25 services from Dinant to Brussels Airport - Zaventem (SSuX, in that direction only).
  • S9 between Leuven and Braine-l'Alleud (hourly SSuX)

Delta (Y Etterbeek) — Boondaal (Y Boondaal)

[26] (ERA-E 34A5; ERA-R 62B1) BE21/9

This line, part of line 26 (the through Halle - Mechelen line avoiding central Bruxelles/Brussel on the east side), forms the third side of a triangle, avoiding Etterbeek station.
Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

BS4.jpg


It is used by an hourly service of S7 trains, SSuX, shown in table 26 as not calling at Etterbeek.

St. Job (Y Linkebeek-Halle) — Linkebeek

[26, 124] (ERA-E 34A4-A5; ERA-R 62B1) BE21/10

This flying connection (line 26/5) enables trains from the east side stations in Bruxelles/Brussel to proceed direct, via Etterbeek, to the Charleroi line.
Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

BS5.jpg


On SSuX it is used by hourly IC40 trains between Brussels Airport - Zaventem and Charleroi Sud via Bruxelles/Brussel-Luxembourg and by hourly S9 service between Leuven/Louvain and Braine l'Alleud. On SSuO it is used used by the hourly IC40 services that only run between Leuven/Louvain and Braine l'Alleud.

Leuven avoiding line: Herent (Y Wilsele) — Wezemaal (Y Holsbeek)

[34, 35] (ERA-E 36C2; ERA-R 60A3) BE21/11

This west <=> north curve (line 35/2) links the Bruxelles/Brussel - Leuven "slow" line (line 36) and the Aarschot line, enabling direct trains to avoid reversal at Leuven. It is used SSuX by all trains running non-stop between Bruxelles/Brussel-Nord and Aarschot - the hourly IC22 and a few P trains. Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

Leuven North 2.jpg


Herent — Leuven via "fast" line viaduct

[36] (ERA-E 36C2, not shown; ERA-R 60A3, not shown) BE21/12

Between Herent and Leuven, the "fast" line (part of line 36N) follows a route on a viaduct to the south-west of the "slow" line (the original line 36). Line 36 makes a burrowing junction with line 36N at each end of this section. "Fast" line 36N is typically traversed by trains using Leuven platforms 1-4, including Thalys, DB ICE and IC services. "Slow" line 36 is typically used by trains to or from Leuven platforms A-C and 5 upwards, including S and L services. Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

Leuven North 1.jpg


Schaarbeek — Diegem (Y.Diegem-West) via line 36N

[36] (ERA-E 34A5; ERA-R 62A2) BE21/13

This "fast" line viaduct rises up on the west side of the main lines at Schaarbeek, but to the east of Schaarbeek-Vorming/Formation (yard), and flies over the eastbound “slow” line (the original line 36) and the Antwerpen line (line 25) to form the centre tracks of the four track main line to Leuven.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

BN5.png


It is typically used by trains using Leuven platforms 1-4, including IC K (Gent - Genk) services but not normally IC A (Oostende - Eupen) services. In the peak a number of P-Trains also use the line, those using the low numbered platforms at Bruxelles-Nord/Brussel-Noord. Confirmation of any specific service routed this way would be welcomed by the compilers.

Leuven — Heverlee (Y Tivoli) via diveunder line

[139] (ERA-E 36C2, not shown; ERA-R 60A3, not shown) BE21/14

There are two routes between Leuven and the line towards Ottignies. The diveunder line (line 139/1) is generally much rarer than the direct route into platforms D or 1 (line 139). At the time of writing, the S20 services between Leuven and Ottignies use line 139 and platform D with a few exceptions. However they have used line 139/1 and higher numbered platforms at times - probably due to the continuing engineering work at Leuven station. The following S20 services are shown as arriving at Leuven using high numbered platforms which makes them a candidate to use this line.

SSuX S20 6468 Wavre - 19:31 Heverlee - Leuven
SSuX S20 3069 Ottignies - 19:58 Heverlee - Leuven
SSuX S20 6470 Ottignies - 21:31 Heverlee - Leuven
SO S20 3071 Ottignies - 21:58 Heverlee - Leuven
SO S20 3072 Ottignies - 22:58 Heverlee - Leuven

The Sunday P trains to Heverlee in BE21/3 are booked to use high numbered platform 7 so should use line 139/1 as would any through trains from the Brussels direction to the Ottignies line. An example of the latter being Brussels/Namur services when these are diverted via Leuven due to engineering work on the direct route. On Public Holiday Monday 11 November 2019, the earlier P train to Heverlee used ladder connections from its booked P7 across to the Platform D exit line so any reports of other journeys would be appreciated by the Compilers.

Most through trains to Wavre / Bierges-Walibi for the Walibi theme / amusement park approach via Ottignies (reversing if needed). The exceptions are ICT 6937/8/9/40/41 which are booked to terminate in platform 4 at Leuven. Use of line 139 would seem more likely than line 139/1.

Ottignies — Wavre [— Leuven]

[139] (ERA-E 36C2, not shown; ERA-R 60A3, not shown) BE21/15

There are two routes from Ottignies towards Wavre with terminal platforms and sidings in-between. Most services to/from Leuven use the northern pair of lines to/from bay platform 6 which is alongside loop platforms on the Brussels - Namur main line. The following use the alternative 1.5km [of which 0.9km are parallel] to/from the through tracks towards Charleroi.

Use is by arrivals at 06.05 from Wavre, 07.05, 08.38, 15.05, 21.05, 22.05 and 23.05 SSuX from Leuven or departures to Leuven at 05:22, 05:55, 06:22, 07:22, 08:55, 15.22 SSuX some of which are limited through services to or from Charleroi.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

Ottignies.jpg


Bruxelles/Brussel-Schuman (Y Josaphat) — Schaarbeek

[26, 124, 161] (ERA-E 34A5; ERA-R 62A2) BE21/16

Trains running north-west of Bruxelles/Brussel-Schuman normally use the line into Bruxelles-Nord/Brussel-Noord or BE21/17 to Jette. However peak-hour only route S81 runs to/from Schaarbeek via this route (part of line 161). Note that this line is accessible only from platforms 3 and 4 at Schaarbeek. It is used by the following trains.

D SSuX S81 7658 07:50 Schaerbeek - Louvain-la-Neuve
D SSuX S81 7659 Gembloux - 07:18 Brux.-Schuman - Schaerbeek
D SSuX S81 7665 Ottignies - 07:51 Brux.-Schuman - Schaerbeek
D SSuX S81 7660 Ottignies - 07:18 Brux.-Schuman - Schaerbeek
D SSuX S81 8659 16:36 Schaerbeek - Ottignies
D SSuX S81 8660 17:36 Schaerbeek - Ottignies

D - Not during the holidays. 19.12.20 → 02.01.21, 03.04.21 → 17.04.21, 03.07.21 → 29.08.21.

Bruxelles/Brussel-Schuman (Y Josaphat) — Bockstael (Y Zennebrug)

[50, 161] (ERA-E 34A5; ERA-R 62A2) BE21/17

Most trains running north-west of Bruxelles/Brussel-Schuman use the line into Bruxelles-Nord/Brussel-Noord, but this route (line 161/1) provides a direct connection to the Jette line.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

BN6.png


On SSuX it is used by hourly S4 local trains between Vilvoorde and Aalst via Schuman and Jette.

Tour & Taxis (Y Pannenhuis) - Y Laken/Laeken - Y Zennebrug/Pont-de-la-Senne - Schaerbeek/Schaarbeek

[28, 50] (ERA-E 34A5; ERA-R 62A2) BE21/18

This route has been replaced between Y Zennebrug/Pont-de-la-Senne and Schaerbeek/Schaarbeek. The former route, part of line 28, was at ground level. That line has now been completely lifted - also the continuation north of Schaerbeek/Schaarbeek. The replacement route (line 26B - tbc) uses a dive-under built many years ago but without track being laid. This replacement dives under line 36 and joins up with line 161/1.

The former route was used by Thalys 9403 to Köln Hbf M-F however Thalys services to Germany are now suspended until further notice due to Coronavirus. This routing was believed to be due to lack of paths on the tunnel through the city centre.

When the lines south of Brussel-Zuid / Bruxelles-Midi were blocked by engineering work over the two long weekends at the start of November 2019, the former route was used by an hourly S1 between Antwerp Central and Charleroi-Zuid diverted between Vorst-Oost / Forest-Est and Schaarbeek / Schaerbeek calling at Brussel-West/Bruxelles-Ouest, Simonis and Thurn En Taxis. The former route was also used by ICs between Gent and Leuven when the tunnel between Brussel-Zuid / Bruxelles-Midi and Brussel-Noord / Bruxelles-Nord was completely closed for engineering work.

Y Zennebrug/Pont-de-la-Senne - Schaerbeek/Schaarbeek

[28, 50] (ERA-E 34A5; ERA-R 62A2) BE21/19

This route is part of BE21/18. See BE21/18 for details about the replacement of the ground level line 28 with a new line diving under line 36.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

BN7.png


One P train was diverted away from its normal route via Mechelen to use the former curve on odd dates in Spring 2020 at least.

Note A SuO P8900 Poperinge - 20:51 Dendermonde - Sint-Joris-Weert
SSuX THA9403 07:55 Bruxelles Midi - Köln Hbf

Note A: 8 & 29 March, 19/26 April, 3 May 2020

The former curve was used by an hourly IC service diverted between Schaarbeek and Denderleeuw via Jette when the lines south of Brussel-Zuid / Bruxelles-Midi were blocked by engineering work over the two long weekends at the start of November 2019.

Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid — Anderlecht

[50] (ERA-E 34A5, not shown; ERA-R 59B3) BE21/19A

The "new" main line between Bruxelles/Brussel and Gent (line 50A) has been upgraded to 4 tracks between Anderlecht and Y Sint-Katherina-Lombeek, which lies east of Denderleeuw. East of Anderlecht, the outer tracks (now named line 50C) use the previous route into Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid. The inner tracks (now named line 50A) dive under the eastbound line 50C and run parallel with line 96A from Bru.-Petite-Ile / Bru.-Klein-Eiland into Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid.
The new line 50A replaces the former line 50A/1, which connected line 96A to line 50A and provided a route from the low numbered platforms at Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid towards Liedekerke/Gent. Line 50A/1 was lifted soon after the new line 50A was available for traffic from Brussels.

Line 50A is used by trains to and from the low numbered platforms at Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid. Line 50C is used by trains to and from the high numbered platforms

Anderlecht (Y Sint-Katherina-Lombeek) — Gent (Y Welle)

[50] (ERA-E 34A5, not shown; ERA-R 59B3) BE21/20

This line bypasses Denderleeuw to the north. It is used by trains running non-stop between Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid and Gent-Sint-Pieters or Bruges.

Anderlecht (Y Sint-Katherina-Lombeek) — Liedekerke

[50] (ERA-E 36B2; ERA-R 59B3) BE21/21

This burrowing junction (line 50A/2) is the connection between the east end of Denderleeuw station and the "new" main line to Bruxelles/Brussel. It is used by trains in table 50 either calling at Anderlecht or running non-stop between Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid and either Denderleeuw or Liedekerke.

Denderleeuw — Gent (Y Welle)

[50] (ERA-E 36B2; ERA-R 59B3) BE21/22

This flying junction (line 50A/3) is the connection between the west end of Denderleeuw station and the "new" main line to Gent. Click on the thumbnail for a full size map. It is used by the following trains:

Denderleeuw — Gent (Y Welle).jpg


SSuX P7973 Geraardsbergen - 06:53 Denderleeuw - Gent St Pieters
SSuX P7975 Geraardsbergen - 07:51 Denderleeuw - Gent St Pieters
SSuX P8972 16:46 Gent St Pieters - Geraardsbergen
SSuX P8974 17:45 Gent St Pieters - Geraardsbergen

This connection is also used by non-stop services between Bruxelles Midi and Gent St. Pieters when those services use line 50 from Bruxelles to Denderleeuw for any reason and then line 50A for the remainder of the journey.

Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid or Denderleeuw (Y Meulewijk) — Melle (Y Melle, Blok 27)

[50] (ERA-E 34A5, not shown; ERA-R 59B4) BE21/23

This flying junction (line 50A/4) is the connection between the "new" main line towards Bruxelles/Brussel and the Zottegem line, at the eastern end of the Gent area. It is used by trains shown non-stop between Bruxelles/Brussel or Denderleeuw and Melle on table 50. Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

Y Meulewijk to Y Melle.jpg


SSuX P8013 Schaarbeek - 17:31 Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid - Gent-Dampoort - Sint-Niklaas
SSuX P7013 Sint-Niklaas - Gent-Dampoort - 08:02 Melle - Schaarbeek

This flying junction is also used when engineering work blocks either line 50 between Denderleeuw and Melle or (less frequently) line 50A between Y Meulewijk and the east end of Gent-Sint-Pieters station.

Merelbeke (Y Oost Ledeberg) — Gent-Dampoort (Y Noord Ledeberg, Blok 29)

[50, 59] (ERA-E 36A3; ERA-R 59B4) BE21/24

This curve (part of line 58) allows trains to run direct between the Bruxelles/Brussel and Antwerpen directions, avoiding Gent-Sint-Pieters station. Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

Y Oost Ledeberg to Y Noord Ledeberg.jpg


SSuX P8013 Schaarbeek - 18:04 Merelbeke - Sint-Niklaas
SSuX P7013 Sint-Niklaas - 07:51 Gentbrugge - Schaarbeek

Gent-Sint-Pieters — Drongen (Y Assels)

[50a] (ERA-E 36A3, not shown; ERA-R 59A4) BE21/25

This is the more northerly route (line 50A/6) between the west end of Gent-Sint-Pieters station and the Oostende main line, running to the north of the line 75 tracks, and then having a grade-separated junction with the main line westwards. West of Y Assels the line 50A/6 tracks become the "slow lines" (line 50D), although crossovers allow westbound trains to cross to line 50A and eastbound trains to cross from it. Click on the thumbnail for a full size map (but note that the map does not yet show the diveunder at Y Assels used by westbound trains).

Gent-Sint-Pieters - Drongen (Y Assels) revised.jpg


This route is used by trains between Gent-Sint-Pieters and Brugge which use platforms 1 to 5 at Gent-Sint-Pieters; any trains using platforms 1 or 4 at Drongen must also go this way. This comprises the following:

  • hourly IC18 trains between Antwerpen and Oostende;
  • on Mondays to Fridays only, hourly L trains between Mechelen and Zeebrugge: all eastbound trains are routed this way, but only about a third of westbound trains are (westbound trains alternate between platform 4 and platform 9 at Gent-Sint-Pieters);
  • a handful of other trains, including summer-only services between Antwerpen and Blankenberge.

Oostkamp (Y Oostkamp) — Brugge

[50a] (ERA-E 38C3, not shown; ERA-R 58C5) BE21/26

This is a grade separated junction (line 50A/5) linking the Gent main line to the northern platforms at Brugge, in common with part of the Kortrijk line and allowing multiple simultaneous arrivals and departures to/from the Gent direction. This is likely to be used by services using the low numbered platforms at Brugge, particularly the local services to and from Gent (the hourly L trains between Mechelen and Zeebrugge). Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

Oostkamp - Brugge.jpg


Mouscron (Y Bethune) — Ingelmunster (Y Leiebrug)

[66/1] (ERA-E 38C2; ERA-R 58C3) BE21/27

This curve avoiding Kortrijk station (line 66/1) is used by one train in each direction during the summer holidays from 03.07.21 → 29.08.21


D SSuX ICT6704 Charleroi-Sud - 09:25 Mouscron - Blankenberge
D SSu ICT6704 Charleroi-Sud - 09:20 Mouscron - Blankenberge
D ICT6754 Blankenberge - 19:08 Lichtervelde - Charleroi-Sud

Saint-Ghislain — Ville-Pommeroeul via Ligne 78, Voie 1bis

[78] (ERA-E 36A1, not shown; ERA-R 59B1, not shown) BE21/28

This spur from Saint-Ghislain's Quiévrain line platforms (3, 4 and 5) to the Tournai line runs independently on the south side of the main lines. Note that a traveller in April 2019 found the previous middle route lifted and dewired so all trains using this obscure route must now use what was the line further south from Saint-Ghislain yard to the Tournai line, (with a separate level crossing west of the station).

The following train is still booked to use platform 3 at Saint-Ghislain but as a traveller in November 2019 found it re-platformed to P2 as P3 and this connecting line was to be used by a re-platformed R4693 Tournai - 22:59 Saint-Ghislain - Mons service instead, the compilers would greatly appreciate receiving any reports of attempts to travel this routing. Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

Saint-Ghislain revised.jpg


SSuX IC943 Namur - 22:56 Saint-Ghislain (platform 3) - Tournai

Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid — Forest-Midi/Vorst-Zuid via line 96N

[96] (ERA-E 34A5, not shown; ERA-R 62A1, not shown) BE21/29

This flyover (the saut de mouton du Midi) provides a connection between the low numbered platforms at Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid and the main line towards Halle (line 96).
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It is used by Eurostar, Thalys and TGV services and also by some services on Table 94 [Tournai and Mouscron] and Table 96 [Mons, Quiévrain and Quevy] - those leaving the low numbered platforms at Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel Zuid - although their routing will be determined by operational circumstances and they may run straight on to Line 96. The next entry (line 96A) provides another alternative.

Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid — Forest-Midi/Vorst-Zuid via line 96A

[96] (ERA-E 34A5, not shown; ERA-R 62A1, not shown) BE21/30

This line, to the west of the main line, round the back of the yard at Forest/Vorst, provides an alternative route at the south end throat of Midi station for trains to and from Halle which use the lower numbered platforms at Midi. There is a flying junction at the south end.
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In previous years, some IC37 services have regulary used this route except when delayed (e.g. IC3707 and IC3735). The route is occasionally used by Eurostar and Thalys although the previous entry (via line 96N) is much more common.

Part of this line was used in October and November 2019 by trains diverted owing to engineering work south of Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid. See BE21/62.

Bracquegnies (Y La Paix) — La Louvière-Centre

[118] (ERA-E 36B1; ERA-R 59C2) BE21/31

This curve (part of line 118) has a very limited service:

D SSuX P7774 Manage - 06:54 La Louvière-Centre - Quévy
D SSuX P8775 Mons - 16:41 Bracquegnies - Manage

Note these trains run School Days only. The curve is also used by IC trains between Brussels or Namur and Mons when engineering work closes the direct route.

Familleureux (Y Familleureux) — Manage

[117] (ERA-E 36B1; ERA-R 59C2) BE21/32

The L trains that previously used this side of the Familleureux/Manage/La Louvière triangle have been diverted to La Louvière-Sud from the December 2017 timetable change. What remains is 3 P trains from Manage to Braine-Le-Comte in the morning and 3 P trains back in the evening.

SSuX P7781 06:39 Manage - Familleureux - Braine-Le-Comte
SSuX P7782 07:13 Manage - Familleureux - Braine-Le-Comte
SSuX P7783 07:39 Manage - Familleureux - Braine-Le-Comte
SSuX P8781 Braine-Le-Comte - 16:56 Familleureux - Manage
SSuX P8782 Braine-Le-Comte - 17:38 Familleureux - Manage
SSuX P8783 Braine-Le-Comte - 18:04 Familleureux - Manage

(Ath) - Lens - Y Lens - Y Jurbise - Masnuy-St-Pierre - (Braine-le-Comte)

[96/2] (ERA-E 36A1; ERA-R 59B2) BE21/33

This connection permits through trains between Brussels / Braine-le-Comte and Cambron-Casteau / Ath without reversing at Jurbise and occasional use commenced in Spring 2019 and the same pair was scheduled in 2020.

D SSuO IC6903 Schaerbeek - 09:56 Soignies - Cambron-Casteau
D SSuO IC6953 17:46 Cambron-Casteau - Schaerbeek

In 2021 these are scheduled to run on 03.04.21 → 17.04.21 and 03.07.21 → 29.08.21.

Cambron-Casteau is famous for a wildlife park with elephants and pandas and has a miniature railway.

This connection is not normally used when line 94 is closed between Ath and Halle. Typically Tournai / Brussels and v.v. ICs only run between Tournai and either Ath (for buses to Halle) or Jurbise/Jurbeke (for connections). The only train that has sometimes been diverted via this curve is P8500, the 1755 Su Mouscron - Louvain-La-Neuve.

This connection may be used when there is engineering work somewhere between La Louvière Sud, La Louvière Centre, Familleureux, Braine-le-Comte and Halle. On Sunday May 17 2021, P8700, the Binche - Louvain-La-Neuve Sunday evening student train is diverted after Ecaussinnes via line 96/1, Soignies, line 96/2 and Ath (reverse). No other services are diverted.

Namur - [Beez] - Marche-les-Dames not using the underpass

[125] (ERA-E ; ERA-R ) BE21/34

At Namur, most services between Namur, Marche-les-Dames and stations to Statte and Liège-Guillemins use a double-track underpass to cross underneath lines 154 to Dinant and line 162 to Arlon and Luxembourg. There is also a single track connection from the north side of Namur station that drops down to join the lines going through the underpass. The two routes do not appear to have distinct numbers in the Belgian route-numbering system, both are line 125. The single line connection is parallel to line 162 for some distance and some may not consider it a separate route.

In theory any train can use either route. In practice most trains use the underpass. The single track connection is used by trains using the high numbered platforms at Namur, particularly the M-F hourly IC services from Brussels to Liège via Namur that are normally booked to use platform 11 at Namur.

Obscure services: Lines used on an occasional basis for engineering work diversions

Fleurus — Auvelais

[130, 140] (ERA-E 36C1; ERA-R 60A2-A1) BE21/51

This line, line 147, has been used in the past (usually only in one direction) when line 161 is blocked by engineering works between Ottignies and Gembloux where all intermediate stops between between Ottiginies and Namur are deleted but journey time extended. The line between Ottignies and Gembloux is advertised as being closed from Saturday 13th to Sunday 21st February 2021 inclusive. Brussel-Zuid - Namen - Luxembourg ICs are diverted and the journey planner is showing these trains as not having any timing points between Fleurus and Auvelais. On previous occasions when such a diversion was advertised (weekends from September 1st to October 7th 2018, 25-26/07/2020 and 1-2/08/2020), trains ran via Charleroi-Sud and normal passenger lines in both directions. On these occasions, the journey planner showed timing points such as Charleroi-Sud which is does not (yet) show for 13-02-21 to 21-02-21.

Jemeppe (Y Jemeppe-Froidmont) — Moustier

[130, 144] (ERA-E 36C1; ERA-R 60A2) BE21/52

This line, line 130/1, has been used in the past when line 161 is blocked by engineering works between Gembloux and Namur. Most recently it was used in connection with engineering work between Namur and Rhisnes on line 161 that ran from September 2016 to December 2017. On some days in the middle of the week, the last trains from Brussels to Namur would be diverted this way. There were also two weekends in this period when Brussels to Arlon/Luxembourg services were diverted this way all weekend and other services replaces by buses. Use of this route results in a 20 minute increase in the normal journey time.

Mechelen (Y Keelbeek Zuid) — Brussels Airport-Zaventem (Y Diegem Oost)/Leuven

[25, 36] (ERA-E 34A5; ERA-R 62B2) BE21/53

This line, line 36/1, has been used in the past when engineering work prevents the Amsterdam - Bruxelles/Brussels IC services from reversing at Bruxelles/Brussel Midi/Zuid.
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From 29 April to 1 May 2017 these services were diverted from line 25 via lines 26/1, 36/1 and 36 to enter Brussels Airport-Zaventem from the south. The northbound IC services ran directly from the Airport to Mechelen.

On Sundays 14, 21, 28 January, 4 and 11 February and 11th March 2018, due to the direct line between Mechelen and Leuven being closed for engineering work, this line was used by P8219 and P8220. The map in the SNCB/NMBS journey planner showed these services running via Vilvoorde and Diegem making this curve the obvious route.

Voroux (Y Voroux) — Kinkempois — Liege Guillemins (Y Val-Benoît) / Angleur (Y Aguesses)

[36A, 125A/37/1] (ERA-E 37A1-A2; ERA-R 61B4-B3-C3) BE21/54

This route has been used in the past when Liege bank was closed due to engineering work.

Normally when this occurs over a full weekend, ICE services use this route stopping at Angleur instead of Liège-Guillemins and run 30 minutes late going to Brussels and leave Brussels 30 minutes early. Oostende / Eupen ICs are similarly diverted and do not serve Eupen due to the extended journey times. Thalys however reverse in Liège-Guillemins station.

This route has also been used overnight with only the last eastbound ICs diverted. For example, in August 2016, IC521 ran non-stop from Waremme (0002) to Angleur (0030) and then called at Verviers-Central (0048) and Welkenraedt (0100). (IC522 terminated at Liège-Guillemins (0151) with buses for passengers to/from Ans for both trains as appropriate).

Antwerpen-Berchem — line 27A — Y Krijgsbaan — Y Aubry — Lier

[27A] (ERA-E 36B3, not shown; ERA-R 61C1) BE21/55

This line provides an alternative route between Antwerpen-Berchem and Lier to the normal route through Mortsel on line 27. For example, in June 2016, this route was used on Saturdays when line 27 was shut immediately south of Antwerpen-Berchem, i.e. preventing access to platforms 5 and 8 from the South. The IC29 services to/from Liege and the DMUs to/from Hamont used platforms 1 and 4 at Antwerpen-Berchem and then line 27A and the flying junction from Y Krijgsbaan to line 15. Platforms 1 and 4 at Antwerpen-Berchem and line 27A have not had a regular passenger service since the December 2014 timetable change. Previously, in October 2014, this route was used in combination with BE21/59 with trains from Antwerp using this route and trains to Antwerp using that route. Platforms 5 and 8 at Antwerpen Berchem were used with trains joining line 27A at Y Zuid-Groenenhoek.

Antwerpen-Berchem P1/4 — Antwerpen-Oost — Antwerpen-Centraal

[27A,12] (ERA-E 36B3; ERA-R 61C1) BE21/56

This route has been used in the past on Saturdays when line 27 was shut immediately south of Antwerpen-Berchem, i.e. preventing access to platforms 5 and 8 from the South. For example, in June 2016, the IC29 services to/from Liege went between Antwerpen-Berchem P1/P4 and Antwerpen-Centraal via a reversal at Antwerpen-Oost. The line from Antwerpen-Centraal to Antwerpen-Oost lost its regular passenger service at the December 2011 timetable change when the L trains between Antwerpen-Centraal and Roosendaal were diverted to use the new tunnel.

Antwerpen-Berchem P1/4 — Antwerpen-Oost — Antwerpen-Luchtbal

[27A,12] (ERA-E 36B3; ERA-R 61C1) BE21/57

This route (one pair of tracks being line 12 and the other two line 27A) may be used if engineering work blocks the tunnel through Antwerpen Centraal. Trains to and from the Netherlands were diverted this way at weekends from 9 February to 3 March 2019 and a number of weekends between March and June 2019.

Schaerbeek/Schaarbeek — line 26 — Y Keelbeek-Zuid/Sud

[27,26] (ERA-E 34A5; ERA-R 62A2-B2 ) BE21/58

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This route was used during engineering work between Y Josaphat and Bru.-Schuman in August 2017 and again following severe flooding in the same area a few weeks later. Different trains were diverted on the two occasions. From Schaerbeek the route was via line 27D and through the yards to join the remains of line 26 (which no longer connects to line 26A). Towards Schaerbeek, line 27F was used instead of line 27D.

Lier — Line 13 — Y Kontich

[13] (ERA-E 36B3-C3; ERA-R 59C4) BE21/59

This route is used when the direct route between Mortsel and/or Y Aubry and/or Lier is blocked by engineering work or where single line working is in operation but there are not enough paths. In October 2014, this route was used in combination with BE21/55 with trains from Antwerp using that route and trains to Antwerp using this route.

(Mol —) Y Noord Dr. Hasselt — West Dr. Hasselt (— Leuven)

[35/1] (ERA-E 37A2; ERA-R 60B4) BE21/60

This curve, line 35/1, avoids Hasselt station and enables trains to run direct between Genk or Mol and Aarschot. Most recently, on Sundays 18 and 25 February and 4 March 2018, due to engineering work between Lier and Herentals, P8218 and P8220 were non-stop from Mol to Leuven. The map in the belgianrail.be journey planner showed them running on line 15 and line 35 rather than via Hasselt and this curve was used.

(La Louviere-Sud —) Y Ecaussinnes — Y Soignies (— Mons)

[96/1] (ERA-E 36B1; ERA-R 59B2-C2 ) BE21/61

This curve, line 96/1, has been used when the direct route between La Louviere-Sud and Mons was closed due to engineering work. On weekends in August 2018, while most trains were replaced by buses, ICT 6704 and ICT 6754 were diverted via this curve.

This curve may be used when there is engineering work somewhere between La Louvière Sud, La Louvière Centre, Familleureux, Braine-le-Comte and Halle. On Sunday May 17 2021, P8700, the Binche - Louvain-La-Neuve Sunday evening student train is diverted after Ecaussinnes via line 96/1, Soignies, line 96/2 and Ath (reverse). No other services are diverted.

(Liege-Guillemins —) Visé — Y Longchamps — Y Berneau — Montzen — Welkenraedt

[24/1, 24/2, 24, 39] (ERA-E 37A2-B2; ERA-R 60C3-61A3) BE21/62

When line 37 through Verviers-Central is closed due to engineering work, ICs between Liege-Guillemins and Welkenraedt can be diverted via Visé and the freight line by Montzen yard.

The hourly Oostende / Eupen ICs were diverted via this route from Saturday 31st October 2020 to Sunday 15th November due to engineering work at Olne (between Trooz and Pepinster). The Brussels / Vienna NightJet was also diverted (when not cancelled due to Covid) - running non-stop between Liège and Aachen (and vice-versa) however it ran via Welkenraedt with a Belgian loco working to and from Aachen as normal. Normal Belgian electric locos cannot work to Aachen West due to the location of the changeover to the German electrification system. The same happened on the weekend of 22nd / 23rd May 2021.

Following the Walloon floods of July 15th 2021, line 37 was closed between Liege-Guillemins and Welkenraedt. The hourly Oostende / Eupen ICs are diverted via this route. Infrabel have estimated this closure to continue until August 30th.

Trains towards Visé have been observed to join the line from Aachen West to Visé at the East end of Montzen yard and use the normal tracks of line 24 past the yard area. Most trains towards Welkenraedt also used the junction at the East end of Montzen yard however one left the line from Visé to Aachen West at the West end of Montzen yard and ran through the middle of the yard.

(Anderlecht — ) Y Bru.-Petite-Ile/Bru.-Klein-Eiland OR Forest Midi/Voorst Zuid — Y Cureghem/Y Kuregem (— Bru.-West/Bru.-Ouest)

[28/2] (ERA-E 34A5; ERA-R 62A1) BE21/63

The lines south of Bru. Midi / Zuid were blocked for the two long weekends at the start of November 2019 and there was an hourly service between Brussels Nord and Ghent via Merelbeke (etc), Liedekerke and Brussel-West/Bruxelles-Ouest. Note that there has been extensive engineering work in the area where line 96A, line 50A/1 and line 28/2 converge and the current route of line 28/2 may be different from what was there some years ago.
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Ahead of the above engineering work, a number of P trains were diverted via Brussels West instead of Midi/Central/Nord.

Vorst-Oost/Forest-Est — Y Cureghem/Y Kuregem — Bru.-West/Bru.-Ouest

[28/3] (ERA-E 34A5; ERA-R 62A1) BE21/64

The lines south of Bru. Midi/Zuid were blocked for the two long weekends at the start of November 2019 and this flyover was used by an hourly S1 service between Antwerp Central and Charleroi-Zuid, diverted between Vorst-Oost/Forest-Est and Schaarbeek/Schaerbeek, calling at Brussel-West/Bruxelles-Ouest, Simonis and Thurn En Taxis. While the structure of the viaduct between Vorst-Oost / Forest-Est - Y Cureghem / Y Kuregem was completed a while ago, the track and electrification have been completed only recently.
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(Antwerpen-Berchem - Mechelen-Nekkerspoel - Muizen - ) Y Dijlebrug - Y Holsbeek (- Aarschot)

[34, 35] (ERA-E 36C2; ERA-R 60A3) BE21/65

This north-east to north-west curve links the line between Leuven and Mechelen (line 53) with the line between Leuven and Aarschot (line 35). It has been used by hourly ICs between Antwerpen-Centraal and Hasselt / Liège-Guillemins when the direct route between Antwerpen-Berchem and Aarschot via Lier and Heist-op-den-Berg is closed due to engineering work. On 19th/20th June 2021, the ICs ran non-stop between Antwerpen-Berchem and Aarschot via this curve, line 53, Muizen, line 27/B (BE21/3), Mechelen-Nekkerspoel and line 27.

Trams

See Belgium - Tram services over obscure routes

Other sparse services

The following lines have few trains (relative to service levels generally in this country) - fewer than seven trains each way on at least three days a week - or do not run each weekday:

15 [Mechelen -] Duffel (Y Duffel) - Lier No service at weekends.
26 Meiser - Merode - Y Boondaal / Boondael No service at weekends.
26 [Mechelen -] Muizen - Eppegem (Y Weerde) No service at weekends.
50a Zwankendamme – Zeebrugge Dorp or Zeebrugge Strand Different terminal stations located on two different branches are used - Zeebrugge Dorp on Mondays to Fridays outside the tourist season (late June - end of August) but Zeebrugge Strand at weekends and during the tourist season.
82 Aalst - Burst No trains at weekends or during school holidays.
96 Mons - Quévy No service at weekends.
144 Gembloux - Jemeppe-sur-Sambre Four trains each way Monday to Friday; none at weekends.
163 Libramont - Bastogne All services are provided by bus.
165 Virton - Athus No service at weekends.
165 Arlon - Athus No service at weekends; Athus - Rodange has CFL trains at weekends.

Deletions since previous edition

BE20/28 Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid — Liedekerke (Y Petite Ile/Klein Eiland) via line 50A/1 This has been replaced by the new line 50A, the inner tracks of the four tracks between Brussels and Y Sint-Katherina-Lombeek (BE21/20). Instead of joining line 96A as line 50A/1 did, these tracks run parallel to it.
BE20/33 Aubange SNCB (Y Aubange) — Rodange CFL In July 2019, CFL stopped operating across the border from Rodange to Virton due to the GSM-R systems on their 2200 series units not being acceptable in Belgium. Local media reports suggest there are no plans to introduce any replacement.

See also