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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 6 (October 1, 1930)

The Belgian State Railways

The Belgian State Railways.

The Belgian State Railways comprise about 3,100 miles of line, of the standard European gauge of 4ft 8 1/2in. Although Government property the Belgian Railways are administered by a company styled the Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer Belges, which took control on September 1st, 1926.

The characteristic feature of the Belgian Railway undertaking is its great length in proportion to the area of the country. Including narrow-gauge railways, Belgium possesses 5,780 miles of track to an area of about 11,600 square miles, or .35 miles per square mile, a far higher ratio than that of any other country in the world. Owing to the density of the population—665 inhabitants to the square mile—the number of stations and halts is very large. On the State Railways there are 1,367 stations, or one station for every 2.15 miles of line. For the same reason, and because of the small area of land, hauls are very short and marshalling yards numerous. Station sidings total 3,000 miles—practically as high a figure as that of the running lines —illustrating this feature of Belgian railway operation.