A signal failure occurred near Jabbeke around 7 p.m. As a direct consequence, only one of the two tracks between Ostend and Bruges could be used. Since it was the hottest day of the year so far, many day trippers had come to the coast. This also applies to Ostend, where a crowded crowd crowded its way towards the platform around 7 p.m.
However, due to the problems on the track, several trains were delayed and the situation got out of hand. The police had to intervene so that day trippers would not climb over the crush barriers to walk to the (stationary) train. Eventually, all train traffic had to be stopped due to the dangerous situation and the station was even evacuated for a while. The situation had not normalized until around 10.30 pm, both Mayor Bart Tommelein and the NMBS confirm.
Friday night was immediately screamed murder and fire because a crowded crowd, not everyone of whom was wearing a mouth mask, is the ideal breeding ground for spreading the new coronavirus. “Come on NMBS, fix this,” was the tone of the messages on Twitter and Facebook.
Tommelein pointed a finger at the rail: ‘We as a city cannot do much about that. This was Murphy. ” The mayor wants to consult with the federal mobility minister François Bellot ‘to draw up an emergency plan for this type of situation’.
The NMBS responded on Saturday Radio 1 stating that there is indeed an emergency plan and that it has been applied. “We are entering into a dialogue with Mayor Tommelein and his police zone to see how it went yesterday,” said Dimitri Temmerman, spokesman for the NMBS. ‘Because the police shut down train traffic for two hours, the number of travelers waiting for it rose. The trains could run again at 9.30 pm. ‘
“We carried out the emergency plan. As SNCB, we would have deployed extra capacity so that we could let one train after another leave to get those travelers out of there. We then worked very well with the police to spread the passengers over the different trains. ‘