Brussels Rail Network Paralyzed by Strike image

A 24-hour strike by Belgian rail workers, which started last night, October 2nd, paralyzed train traffic in the country as well as high-speed services to London and Paris.

The rail workers started the strike last night to protest against the plans to streamline three transport businesses and by the morning tens of thousands of commuters saw themselves forced to take the traffic-choked highways to get to work or into the capital. Even if traffic jams were reported, they were not as bad as initially expected. Both Eurostar and Thalys canceled their services to Brussels today.

“In Brussels, the strike is a success, around 80pc-90pc of the people are on strike,” said Philippe Peers of the socialist CGSP trade union. “Many of the stewards as well are on strike, so I can tell that there will be not a single train in Brussels.”

The rail service is expected to get back to normal later today and reach its full service on Thursday morning. Although the companies offered a weeklong warning, the strike still caused plenty of hardship. For example Matthieu Regibout took the last train to Brussels and slept in the office to avoid the strike and Georgina Saldena, a Mexican tourist in Brussels, was heading towards the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport and had troubles until she found a bus to take her there, complaining that there were no signs to offer her alternative options.