Anyone searching for information about their rights as a rail passenger or as a user of the railway infrastructure (e.g. station car park).
Anyone who has a complaint concerning a railway company (or one of its subsidiaries) operating within Belgian territory.
You can also contact us for complaints about an international train journey.
Are you unsure whether we can handle your complaint? Don't hesitate to contact us and, if necessary, we will refer you to the appropriate body.
In addition to providing information about your rights and interests, the Ombudsman service can also mediate in disputes between you and the railway company.
During the investigation of your complaint, not only do we check whether laws and regulations have been respected. The ombudsmen and women are also guided by the principles of fairness and justice.
All railway companies (and subsidiaries) operating within the Belgian territory. This is currently SNCB, Thalys, IZY, Eurostar, NS (Dutch Railways), the SNCF (French Railways) and DB (Deutsche Bahn). Does your complaint concern another railway company? We will refer you to the relevant Ombudsman service.
No. If the problem relates to one of the railway companies operating in Belgium (see above) and the departure, arrival or correspondence station of your train journey is in Belgium, this will suffice. Even if you bought your ticket for an international journey from a Belgian railway company, you can also contact us.
The Ombudsman service is an appeals body. This means that we can only intervene after you have first lodged your complaint with the railway company. The railway company has 1 month in which to respond.
If you do not receive a response within 1 month, or if you are not satisfied with the response, you can contact us again. We will then initiate an appeal procedure.
- Via the form on this website;
- Via e-mail to email@example.com
- Send a letter to Ombudsrail, North Gate II, Koning Albert II-laan 8 bus 5 B-1000 Brussels. Letters do not need to be sent via recorded delivery;
- You can visit our offices on working days from 9am to 5pm, continuously;
- Via fax to the number +32 2 221 04 29.
If you have problems lodging your complaint via one of the above channels, you can contact us by telephone:
- general free-phone number: 0800 25 095
- from abroad, on the paying number:
- Dutch: +32 2 221 04 10
- French: +32 2 221 04 11
- German: +32 2 221 04 22
- English: +32 2 221 04 22.
Yes. On working days, you are always welcome from 9am to 5pm, continuously. If you prefer, you can make an appointment in advance by telephone. Bring all documents that may be useful for handling the complaint (correspondence with the railway company, original tickets, detected irregularities, etc.).
It is best to provide us with as much information as possible about your complaint. On this page you will find some examples of data that we may use in our investigation.
In order to handle your complaint, we always need your identity and address.
However, if you prefer, we can ensure that your complaint is submitted anonymously to the railway company.
Yes, you can authorise someone else to act on your behalf. For example, a family member, a mandated person, a lawyer or someone close to you.
No, the handling of your complaint is completely free.
The Ombudsman service will first examine whether your complaint is admissible (whether it meets a number of formal requirements) and then whether it is well-founded. To complete the dossier, we also request all the elements of the case from the railway company, and ask for its position.
Once the dossier is complete, the mediation can start.
The various steps of this process can be found here.
Keep these documents in a safe place. We will request these if necessary for the handling of your case.
When your dossier is complete, we initiate the mediation.
We then aim to find a solution within 90 days. In complex cases, this term may be extended. Of course we will keep you regularly updated about your case.
No, neither the way in which a complaint is lodged (e.g. by e-mail) nor the subject matter are such as to give priority to the complaint.
We will start handling your complaint as soon as we have received it. Only when a situation raised cannot be delayed, can a case be handled as a priority (for example, because you wish to buy a product that you will need very soon, or because there is an acute safety problem or because the damage or disadvantage increases over time).
No, we have no authority in such cases.
We only handle disputes between the railway company and its customers.
However, a staff member of a railway company may lodge a complaint in his or her capacity as a passenger.
No. The law (Dutch / French) is clear in this respect. As soon as the Ombudsman service has been solicited, the railway company must suspend the collection procedure as long as the mediation is ongoing.
Please note: The Law on policing the railways of 27 April 2018 entered into force on 1 November 2018. As soon as SNCB informs you by registered letter that it intends to impose an administrative fine on you, our intervention will no longer suspend this procedure.
If you are not acting in the capacity of passenger or user, we cannot handle your complaint (even if it is justified).
This relates to, for example, complaints from local residents about noise pollution caused by infrastructure works, vibrations caused by passing trains, the maintenance of railway embankments, etc. In these specific cases, we will forward your complaint to the responsible railway manager (Infrabel). Did you already do this, and did you not get a response or were you not satisfied with the response? Then we will forward your case to the ombudsman or woman who can handle your complaint. For complaints about Infrabel, this is the Federal Ombudsman (Dutch / French).
No, the Ombudsman service is completely independent and does not receive instructions from any body.
The ombudsmen and women are not employees of a railway company, and can propose solutions in complete freedom.