Query re Any Belgian Station ticket

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rochefort10

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I recently travelled with a Eurostar ticket which included travel to 'Any Belgian Station'. However, a rail strike started on the day that I arrived. I was able to get as far as Namur, but there were no connecting trains running to my destination (Dinant). There were no replacement buses and I had to get a taxi (I would guess this is about a 20 mile journey). Long story short - the strike continued for the entire duration of my trip (1 week) so I hired a car to get back to Brussels.

I contacted Eurostar who have refunded me for the small amount I paid for travel within Belgium.

It appears that Belgian Rail doesn't have any obligation to get passengers to their final destination when trains aren't running, unlike here in the UK. I'm curious whether others have also found themselves in this situation, or support was provided? I would certainly think twice before relying on trains within Belgium in future.
 
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Quakkerillo

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During strikes, the right to alternative transport sadly doesn't exist. You can get the money back you paid for the tickets, but that's about it. And with the Belgian system, you'd get them in a "personal e-account", only to be used to buy new Belgian rail products.

Alternative travel further isn't possible, as the strikers would block that. A local bus company who was going to substitute for trains and local buses in Liège was forced to stop offering that, after the company, and their staff, received serious threats in person and via online stalking.

During normal situations, they'll always provide alternatives, although it may take longer than you're used to in the UK, as it can take a few hours before enough buses are available, as they're always taken from the pool of buses and drivers from the local public transport company (De Lijn in Flanders, TEC in Wallonia), and not using coach companies.
 

Tetchytyke

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It appears that Belgian Rail doesn't have any obligation to get passengers to their final destination when trains aren't running, unlike here in the UK.

It is force majeure, and the same rules apply in the UK. UK TOCs suffering strike action don't have to provide alternative transport.
 

tannedfrog

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Alternative travel further isn't possible, as the strikers would block that. A local bus company who was going to substitute for trains and local buses in Liège was forced to stop offering that, after the company, and their staff, received serious threats in person and via online stalking.
That's shocking - surely allowing passengers to travel by replacement bus wouldn't detract from the point being made by strikers.
 
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