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Woman locked inside Brussels rail station for an hour

22:41 23/10/2015

A rail commuter found herself locked inside a Brussels station for an hour in the height of the morning rush - and when she called for help, SNCB staff did not even know the station existed.

Cécile Buxin from Dendermonde has travelled daily for the past five years to Simonis, one of the capital's least-used rail stations with an average of just 72 passengers a day.

She got off her usual train on Wednesday at 8.45 to find she was trapped on the platform, with both exit gates locked shut.

"The call centre worker laughed out loud when I told her," Buxin said. "She didn't think to apologise on the SNCB's behalf, and said it was impossible that this could have happened."

Half an hour passed, and another phone call to the SNCB, where an assistant checked with colleagues and came back to confirm that Simonis station did not exist.

The passenger's husband then called Koekelberg police station, who alerted the Belgian rail police. It emerged that a communication mix-up meant no one had come to open the station in the morning.

After an hour had passed, the conductor of the next train opened the gates for her. Buxin has filed a formal complaint and is seeking documentation from the SNCB to explain to her employer why she was late for work. The Belgian rail operator has launched an investigation.

Photo: Google Streetview screengrab

Written by Paul McNally