NMBS/SNCB is the National Railway Company of Belgium. It operates trains inside Belgium & few international routes as well. It is a great option to move around Belgium as it is pocket-friendly & fast.
My review is based on following routes:
1. Brussels – Bruges – Brussels
2. Brussels – Ghent – Brussels
Compared to many other European train operators, NMBS/SNCB offers tickets at much lower cost. In most of the regional trains, seat reservations are not required as well. The cost of tickets & even seat reservations (where it is mandatory), is quite reasonable.
Most trains we took were quite punctual. Trains never got delayed for a long time. The most it got delayed for us, was about 15 minutes. It is quite reliable while planning. Also, on all the train platforms, you will find a timetable of almost all routes which can also help you find the next trains quickly.
NMBS/SNCB trains are comfortable. It is definitely not comparable to Thalys, SNCF or Renfe for that matter, but stay assured that your journey is going to be comfortable & nice. The only frustrating thing on most trains of NMBS/SNCB is that its windows are not very clean which makes the journey blah because even if there are nice vistas outside, it is too difficult to enjoy it through the heavily scratched glass.
On most popular routes, there are a lot of trains available but it is advisable to plan your trips in advance to make sure you don’t miss out your trains.
Services in NMBS/SNCB
So we did not find many services on regional trains of NMBS/SNCB. However, that was not an issue for us because all the routes inside Belgium are quite short (30 minutes to 2 hours max). There are toilets, baggage racks in every coach. The staff is very friendly as well.
There is enough luggage space available on most of the trains of NMBS/SNCB. It is advisable to travel light if you are traveling during the tourist season because on popular routes of Belgium, there is a lot of rush. If you travel light, it will be easy for you to keep your luggage.
Book your NMBS/SNCB tickets from Rail Europe.