This comes on the back of strong growth over the past few years. NMBS/SNCB transported 224 million passengers in 2012, increasing to 226 million in 2016 and a further 3.6% in 2017 to 235 million.

Growth was recorded across all passenger segments in 2018, with the number of passengers travelling with a season ticket increasing even more than in 2017. Growth in other segments was accelerated with the introduction of several new special discount tickets, such as the ‘Happy Yicket’ at the end of the year or the mobility pass for the Sunday without Cars on September 16 2018.

Other new ticket products like Rail Pass, the Senior Ticket and Weekend Pass appeared to be well received by travellers.

The number of services operated by SNCB increased by 5.1% with the start of the 2018 timetable, with an extra 200 services daily, while suburban services were also extended. There are more operations to ‘shopping towns’ on Saturdays while on Sundays, services are timed to better serve students.