In Belgium the railways strike often. When the unions announce a day of strikes, the strikes usually run from 22.00 pm the previous until 22.00 pm on the day of the strikes.

I will be arriving on Brussels airport on a day of railway strikes at 21.45. So in theory if the strikes end at 22.00 I can take the train to continue my journey, but can I? How quickly after the end of a strike do the trains return to a normal schedule?

  • 2
    Surely this would depend on each strike, the size, and time of day that it ends? Resuming in say, rush hour, with a massive backlog would be different to an 11pm resumption.
    – Mark Mayo
    Dec 10 '14 at 7:13
  • The strikes always end at 22:00
    – user141
    Dec 10 '14 at 7:16
  • 1
    @andra not always, but in >90% of the cases you are correct. As a counterexample: tomorrow (December 11th) there is a strike of a minor union from 3am to 3am. Dec 10 '14 at 8:40

Strikes usually end officially at 10 p.m., but don't count on any train after that time. There might be an odd train, but usually there is not. In reality the normal schedule resumes the next morning with a few cancelled trains still possible. Source: I take the train daily in Belgium and have seen my share of strikes.

If you are referring to the upcoming strike on December 15th, keep in mind that the train schedule changes completely on December 14th, making December 15th the first weekday of the new schedule. With the strike, in reality that will become December 16th. For this reason, I think it is wise to allow sufficient margin in your planning, even on December 16th. Source: just my gut feeling. Nobody really knows.


The reason for the strike ending at 22h is so they can attempt to get all the material at the required destinations for the next day, e.g. they need x amount of trains in Gent or Oostende so they can handle the morning traffic the next day. Note that this is not a guarantee for success, I've often experienced delays the day after a strike because not all trains were available or even "complete".

Expecting to get a ride after 22h is unwise, since most likely there will be no personnel available to "accompany" the train (checking tickets etc.) since these people often use the train to arrive at the trains they're supposed to accompany. In the past year I've often experienced some delay because there was supposed to be a replacement driver available in the station for the train I was taking, but he was delayed because his train had a delay.


Make sure you have different means of transport. It is very doubtful that you will see a train that day. I suggest you take a cab, at that hour there shouldn't be too much traffic. And it's not too hard to get one in Brussels.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy