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8. A few milestones

1835 Inauguration of the Brussels - Mechelen railway line. First train on the European continent.
1870 The State manages 863 km of railway lines. Private companies operate 2,231 km.
1912 The State railway network is 4,786 km long. 275 km are still privately owned.
1926 Founding of NMBS/SNCB.
1931 NMBS/SNCB introduces the first metal carriages. The interior was designed by the renowned Belgian designer and artist Henry van de Velde.
1932 First tests with light signals between Charleroi and Namur.
1933 The continuous automatic air brake on freight wagons enters general use. The profession of brakeman – there were approximately three thousand – disappears.
1935 Electric trains between Antwerp and Brussels.
1938 The powerful type 12 locomotive, the Atlantic, makes its entrance and establishes a speed record for steam locomotives the following year. The Atlantic races from Brussels to Ostend in 57 minutes with an average speed of 121 km/h and reaches a top speed of 165 km/h.
1945 End of the Second World War. The railway network finds itself in a disastrous condition.
1948 The Belgian railway network is the most dense in the world with a length of 5,034 km.
1956 The third class is abolished in international rail traffic. In domestic traffic the first class was already abolished on July 1, 1952. The second and third classes were re-designated as first and second class.
1956 NMBS/SNCB introduces the first car-sleeper train on the European mainland.
1957 Introduction of the fast and comfortable Trans Europ Express (TEE).
1963 The Brussels - Paris connection goes fully electric on September 9.
1965 The container makes its entrance in freight transport.
1966 NMBS/SNCB officially says goodbye to steam traction with a festive journey between
Ath and Denderleeuw.
1969 The first intermodal train and metro station, Schuman, is opened in Brussels.
1970 Electric trains can now run to Zaventem airport.
1975 Introduction of the train + bike formula.
1977 First automatic train wash.
1984 Introduction of the IC/IR plan. From now on trains will run according to a fixed timetable.
1989 The NMBS/SNCB presents its STAR 21 plan for the future.
1994 Eurostar connects Brussels to London via the Channel Tunnel.
1996 Thalys is put on the tracks.
2005 The NMBS/SNCB is split into the coordinating SNCB-Holding, railway operator NMBS/SNCB and infrastructure manager Infrabel.
2009 Belgium is the first country in Europe to complete its high-speed network.
2010 Belgium celebrates the 175th anniversary of its railway system.
2011 Desiro trains arrive on the network. These lightweight trains are used for regional passenger transport.
2014 NMBS/SNCB and Infrabel become two independent companies. SNCB-Holding is discontinued.
2015 Launch of the suburban S-service in and around Brussels.

 

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