For many years, the Belgian railway network has seen a regular increase in the number of trains (and by extension train-kilometres): in 2011 train-kilometres reached the 100 million mark for the first time – 800,000 km more than in 2010.
Despite this growth in traffic, the number of signals passed at danger dropped from 130 (in 2010) to 129 (in 2011). These stable figures reveal that overall safety levels improved significantly last year.
The encouraging results of the number of signals passed at danger are a reflection of the efforts made by Infrabel and SNCB since their establishment to constantly improve overall safety levels. As of 31 December 2011, the Belgian infrastructure manager had fitted 71% of major rail hubs with the TBL1+ automatic braking system – that is 3% more than in the accelerated implementation plan presented to the Belgian parliamentary committee on rail safety.
By the end of 2012, all the key locations across the network will be fitted with this automatic braking system. This is a system which, following various software changes, will migrate towards the European ETCS standard set to equip the whole of the Belgian railway network by the end of 2022.