If you want to travel by train within Belgium, you will normally travel with the NMBS in the Flemish region. In Wallonia, this is called the SNCB, but it’s the same company.
Train transport in Belgium is provided by the Belgian National Railway Company, also known as the NMBS. In French, this is the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges, abbreviated as SNCB. Both are therefore managed by the Belgian government.
In this article, you will find more information about the NMBS, such as travel conditions, prices, and timetables.
Trains of NMBS Belgium are very well-equipped, with toilets, trash cans, and air conditioning. You also have the option to buy a first-class ticket if you want more comfort or want to be sure of a seat during peak hours.
There are different types of trains at NMBS, each with a different function:
- InterCity (IC) trains connect the major cities of Belgium. They only stop at the main stations.
- During rush hour, you will find P trains.
- The P trains are designed so that everyone can travel during peak hours.
- Local trains or L trains are used to connect major cities and stop at every station along the way.
- S trains are suburban trains that connect a major city with neighboring municipalities.
- NMBS International also takes passengers beyond the borders of Belgium, such as to Paris. The service is provided by other companies, such as Thalys and Eurostar.
The NMBS timetable is enormous, as they serve the whole of Belgium. Via their website or app, you can easily plan your next trip. This way, you can see exactly what time the next train departs, from which platform, and what the expected occupancy is on the train.
If you would like to travel abroad from Belgium, you can compare available trips on the NMBS International website. The service is provided by other train companies. For example, if you want to go to France, you are likely to travel with Thalys.
There are more than 1,000 destinations available to book through SNCB Europe, where you can reach your final destination in less than 6 hours. Popular destinations include Disneyland Paris and the French Alps.
Luggage policy on NMBS trains
You don’t have to worry about your luggage when traveling on an NMBS train.
The following luggage can be transported for free:
- backpacks and suitcases
- strollers for children
- folding bikes, to be folded before boarding
- portable musical instruments sports equipment
If you bring a bicycle, tandem, trailer or Segway on the train, you will have to pay an extra € 4.
Where to buy a train ticket for NMBS trains
If you want to travel by train in Belgium, you can easily buy a train ticket or subscription from NMBS. The company has a website and a mobile app, so you can get a ticket with just a few clicks. NMBS also offers many ticket offices and vending machines if you prefer a paper ticket.
No need to stress if you can’t get a ticket in time, you can also buy a ticket on board the train by paying an extra € 7 on top of the normal fare.
Cancellation policy of NMBS
Online purchased tickets cannot be refunded. If you have purchased a ticket for Belgian trains at the counter or at an ATM and have not used it, you may be able to get your money back:
“Refund is possible until the day before the validity date for pre-sale tickets and within 30 minutes of purchase for tickets purchased on the same day. Go to the counter for more information.”
It is impossible to give you a price, as fares depend on the distance of the journey. However, there are a number of discounts depending on your age or profession. Especially children, youth and young adults travel at a cheaper rate when traveling by train in Belgium.
Traveling from Antwerp Central to Brussels Central in second class costs € 8.40 as standard. Discounted rates apply to passengers under 26 or over 65 years old. Children under 12 also travel cheaply, even with a 50% discount on the standard ticket.
Are pets allowed on board?
Your pet can travel on SNCB Belgium trains, as well as NMBS. A fee of € 3 per trip applies for a leashed pet. A pet in a cage with dimensions no larger than 30x55x30cm can travel for free. You also do not need to buy a ticket for your service dog.