Since Tuesday 24 January, SNCB passengers can choose to take seats onboard conventional carriages, where they can chat as usual with their friends, colleagues and family, or to sit in a quiet carriage where silence, and even focus and relaxation are required: to adapt to the needs of each passenger, until 31 May 2023 , SNCB is testing a “quiet zone” on some trains between Eupen and Ostend to start with, then between Brussels and Luxembourg later on.

On top of being a safe, sustainable and comfortable means of transport, travelling by train also means time for yourself: to read, relax or work. With this quiet zone project, passengers will now have the option to sit in a carriage where silence reigns, and enjoy the most pleasant travel experience possible.

Concretely, inside this carriage – recognisable through pictograms placed both outside and inside the carriage, it will be recommended to not speak out loud, nor make or receive phone calls, limit the volume of your headphones or ear buds, and switch your phone to silent mode.

Passengers who wish to talk with their friends, colleagues or family are asked to take seats in any other carriage of the train.

From Tuesday 24 January, a first carriage with a quiet zone will connect Eupen to Ostend. Then gradually, in the following weeks, all the trains on this line will be equipped with one of these carriages, and the same will apply to the Luxembourg – Brussels line.

During the test months, flyers will be regularly distributed to passengers in the quiet zone to gather their feedback on this experiment. The aim of this test is thus to study whether the customers enjoy the existence of this zone and assess the permanent implementation of this option on these two lines, and potentially in other trains with the capacity to allow it.

According to a study led by SNCB, both with regular and less regular train users, 7 passengers out of 10 like the idea and 30% affirmed they would travel by train more often if a quiet zone were offered. Still according to this survey, one passenger out of three declared having been disturbed by the noise of other passengers onboard a train.

This concept already exists on some trains in other European countries such as Switzerland, Austria, Poland, the Netherlands and Germany.

The quiet zone is an initiative of the Innovation Lab, an SNCB team who tests different projects. As an example, this team also initiated the online bicycle planner and the system that shows the expected occupancy onboard trains, available on the SNCB app.