SNCB’s investments in 2023 exceeded EUR 850 million

SNCB’s investments in 2023 exceeded EUR 850 million and the Belgian rail operator’s financial results are encouraging.

SNCB's investments in 2023SNCB informed in a press release that it achieved good financial results in 2023, thanks to the increase in passenger numbers compared to 2022, cost reductions and compensation from the state, which has kept up with inflation, through the new public service contract.

At the end of January, Belgium’s state-owned rail operator announced that passenger numbers were up 7% on 2022 last year to 244 million. The increase is mainly seen in occasional passengers, SNCB said at the time.

Now the exact figures have come in, showing 244.6 million passengers, up 7.6% on the previous year. On weekdays, SNCB averaged 96% of the passenger numbers recorded in 2029, before the Covid-19 health crisis.

SNCB’s operating result amounts to EUR 142.2 million in 2023 (compared to only EUR 39.6 million in 2022). In parallel with the increase in passenger numbers, cost savings have been made at SNCB. Even though SNCB’s energy costs increased by 34% in 2023, this increase could be limited thanks to a series of energy-saving measures. As a result, SNCB’s energy consumption in 2023 has decreased by 2% compared to 2022.

SNCB’s investments in 2023, up 10% compared to the 2022 level

Under the public service contract, SNCB aims to increase passenger numbers by 30% and train supply by 10%.

To achieve this objective, the operator will renew half of its active fleet by 2032, double the number of stations accessible to people with locomotor or other disabilities to 176, and increase the number of bicycle seats on trains by 50%.

The year 2023 marked a first milestone in this plan, with a total of EUR 852.3 million invested in favour of passengers, an increase of almost 10% compared to the 2022 level. The largest amount, almost EUR 500 million, has been earmarked for the purchase and commissioning of new M7 multi-storey trains from Alstom (about half of the order of 750 carriages has already been delivered), the repair and maintenance of existing trains and the continued installation of the ETCS (European Train Control System) safety system. At the end of 2023, 92% of the rolling stock fleet was equipped with ETCS.

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