All Line Rover
A new offer for 2017 is the “Hi Belgium Pass”, promoted by Brussels Airlines. For €149/£129, it gives you return flights to Brussel with them (from Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Manchester or Heathrow), unlimited train travel in Belgium and activity vouchers for two cities (ideal if you are taking the family along too) – over any long weekend (from Thursday to Tuesday). I’ve not tried one of these out myself, but they seem really good value, as you will frequently be paying almost that for just the flights. It’s also less than the cost of a 4-day Interrail.
Although the traction variety is much reduced from what it was even a decade ago, if racking up as many different locos for haulage as possible is your aim, Brussel is definitely one of the places to be! There is a rover ticket that enables you to trawl up and down the main axis between Noord, Centraal and Zuid stations to your heart’s content – the Jump Card, at €7.50 for 24 hours. This is valid on all public transport in the city area including trains, trams and buses – one or two people have recently reported (early 2017) some difficulties with grippers on trains when presenting these tickets, however SNCB/NMBS’s own website confirms their validity.
These tickets are available from station booking offices and ticket machines in the Brussel area. However, on my most recent visit (February 2017), I found that the SNCB/NMBS ticket machines at Zuid and Noord only offered Jump Cards as an upload to a Mobib smartcard (Brussel’s equivalent of an Oyster card), and not as a standalone ticket. I had to go to the ticket machines in the metro stations, which did sell these tickets in standalone paper form. This is mildly inconvenient but not insurmountable.