In addition to a lot of passenger traffic Belgium has nowadays a lot of cargo traffic and much of it is actually handled by private operators. This one is a cargo train bound for Belgium, but photographed at the Mönchengladbach-Wickrath station in Germany. This is a second generation Bombardier multisystem Traxx of class 186 owned by the locomotive leasing company Alpha Trains, but used by the Belgian state railroads SNCB. Photo 10.7.2015 by Ilkka Siissalo.

FUNET railway pictures archive - Belgium

Belgium is a small country, but due to its huge harbours and constant cross-border traffic, it has actually quite a lot of interesting trains for the photographer to see. The state railways is the SNCB, Société nationale des chemins de fer Belges. But there is a lot of traffic handled by the neighbours: the German DB, the Dutch NS, several French and Swiss companies and then there is of course the Thalys, which is a joint venture of the French, Belgian and German national railways. And there is the Eurostar, another joint venture of French SNCF, Belgian SNCB and the LCR.

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Vlaamse Vervoersmaatschappij De Lijn, the Flemish transport company The Line, is owned and operated by the goverment of Flanders, a state within Belgium. De Lijn has over 3500 buses and operates also the tram networks of Gent and Antwerpen, but the name is famous because of "The Line", a tram line along the coast of Belgium between De Panne by the French border and Knokke-Heist in the north. The length of this tramline is 68 km and it is often mentioned to be the longest tram line of the world - which, by the way, is surprising, since Europe's longest tram line is supposed to be the No. 10 tram line around Basel. (Nowadays the rumours claim the Swiss line to be only the 3rd longest.) Anyway, De Lijn is a quite normal tramline with metre gauge rail and 600 V DC overhead catenary electricity, but immensely long. The company De Lijn, which also operates the Antwerpen and Gent tram services has over 350 trams in use. Picture of a De Lijn coastline tram 8.7.2004 by Ilkka Siissalo.

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