Antwerpen-Centraal railway station

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SNCB logo.svg Railway Station
Antwerpen Centraal station 12-07-2010 14-04-17.JPG
Station statistics
Address Koningin Astridplein, Antwerp
Coordinates 51°13′02″N 4°25′16″E / 51.21722°N 4.42111°E / 51.21722; 4.42111Coordinates: 51°13′02″N 4°25′16″E / 51.21722°N 4.42111°E / 51.21722; 4.42111
Line(s) 4, 12, 25, 27
Levels 4
Platforms 14
Other information
Opened 11 August 1905
Station code ANTC
Owned by National Railway Company of Belgium
Entrance hall
The different levels

Antwerpen-Centraal (Antwerp Central) is the name of the main railway station in the Belgian city of Antwerp. The station is operated by the national railway company NMBS.

History and architecture[edit]

The clock at the upper level

The original station building was constructed between 1895 and 1905 as a replacement for the original terminus of the Brussels-Mechelen-Antwerp Railway. The stone clad terminus buildings, with a vast dome above the waiting room hall were designed by Louis Delacenserie and the vast (185 metres long and 44 metres high) iron and glass trainshed by Clement van Bogaert. The viaduct into the station is also a notable structure designed by local architect Jan Van Asperen.

The station is now widely regarded as the finest example of railway architecture in Belgium[citation needed], although the extraordinary eclecticism of the influences on Delacenserie's design had led to a difficulty in assigning it to a particular architectural style. In W. G. Sebald's novel Austerlitz an ability to appreciate the full range of the styles that might have influenced Delacensiere is used to demonstrate the brilliance of the fictional architectural historian who is the novel's protagonist.

In 2009 the American magazine Newsweek judged Antwerpen-Centraal the world's fourth greatest train station.[1] In 2014 the British-American magazine Mashable awarded Antwerpen-Centraal the first place for the most beautiful railway stations of the world.[2]

Expansion for high-speed trains[edit]

In 1998 large-scale reconstruction work began to convert the station from a terminus to a through station. A new tunnel has been excavated between Berchem station in the south of the city and Antwerpen-Dam station in the north, passing under Central station, with platforms on two underground levels. This allows Thalys, HSL 4 and HSL-Zuid high-speed trains to travel through Antwerp Central without the need to turn around (the previous layout obliged Amsterdam-Brussels trains to call only at Berchem or reverse at Central).

The major elements of the construction project were completed in 2007, and the first through trains ran on 25 March 2007.

This complete project has cost approximately €1.6 billion.[citation needed]

The station was awarded a Grand Prix at the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards in 2011.[3][4]

Station layout[edit]

Station atrium showing the four levels

The station has four levels and 14 tracks arranged as follows:

  • Level +1: The original station, 6 terminating tracks, arranged as two groups of three and separated by a central opening allowing views of the lower levels
  • Level 0: Houses ticketing facilities and commercial space
  • Level −1: 7 m below street level, 4 terminating tracks, arranged in two pairs, also featuring the world-famous twin level escalators that start off at a gradient, then become level, then resume a gradient again.
  • Level −2: 18 m below street level, 4 through tracks, leading to the two tracks of the tunnel under the city (used by high-speed trains and fast domestic InterCity services).

Train services[edit]

The following services currently call at Antwerp-Centraal:

Tramway in front of the station

International services[edit]

  • 1x/(2) hour high speed service Thalys Amsterdam - Rotterdam - Antwerp - Brussels - Paris
  • 2x per day high speed service Thalys Amsterdam - Rotterdam - Antwerp - Brussels - Lille
  • 1x/ hour international service Amsterdam - Schiphol - Den Haag HS - Rotterdam Centraal - Roosendaal - Antwerp - Brussels Airport - Brussels
  • 1x hourly Stoptrein (regional service) Antwerp - Roosendaal (calls at all stations to Roosendaal; last station before Dutch border: Essen)

National services[edit]

  • Intercity (C) Antwerp - Sint Niklaas - Gent-Sint-Pieters - Kortrijk - Lille-Flandres
  • Intercity (G) Antwerp - Gent-Sint-Pieters - Brugge - Oostende
  • Intercity (I) Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels - Charleroi Sud
  • Intercity (N) Essen - Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels - Charleroi Sud (weekdays)
  • Intercity (P) Antwerp - Gent-Sint-Pieters (weekdays)
  • Intercity (Q) Antwerp - Brussels Airport - Landen (weekdays)
  • InterRegio (b) Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels - Nijvel (weekdays)
  • InterRegio (c) Antwerp - Hasselt - Liège
  • InterRegio (d) Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels - Geraardsbergen/Doornik - Kortrijk (weekdays)
  • InterRegio (e) Antwerp - Mol - Neerpelt/Hasselt
  • InterRegio (g) Antwerp - Herentals - Turnhout
  • InterRegio (i) Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels - De Panne (weekdays)
  • InterRegio (s) Antwerp - Noorderkempen
  • local service Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels (weekdays)
  • local service Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels (weekends)
  • local service Roosendaal - Antwerp - Puurs (weekdays)
  • local service Roosendaal - Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels Airport (weekends)
  • local service Antwerp - Herentals - Mol (weekdays)
  • local service Antwerp - Aarschot - Leuven
  • local service Antwerp - Lokeren
Preceding station   NMBS   Following station
toward Paris-Nord
toward Lille Europe
Thalys (winter)
Intercity (NS/NMBS) 9200
Terminus IC C
toward Oostende
IC G Terminus
IC I Terminus
toward Essen
IC P Terminus
Terminus IC Q
toward Landen
toward Nivelles
IR b Terminus
Terminus IR c
toward Courtrai and Grammont
IR d Terminus
Terminus IR e
toward Neerpelt or Hasselt
Terminus IR g
toward Turnhout
Terminus IR i
IR s Terminus
Terminus SNCB-NMBS L
toward Lokeren
toward Roosendaal
toward Puurs
toward Roosendaal
Terminus SNCB-NMBS L
Terminus SNCB-NMBS L
toward Mol
Terminus SNCB-NMBS L
toward Leuven

In popular culture[edit]

A staged "flash mob"-like event at the station in early 2009, featuring the song "Do-Re-Mi" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music, became a viral video. It was performed by 200 dancers of various ages, along with several dozen waiting passengers who just jumped in and joined the dance themselves. The video was produced to publicize Op zoek naar Maria, the Belgian TV version of the BBC talent competition programme How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, about the search for an actress to play the lead role in a stage revival of The Sound of Music.[5]

The station is used in Agatha Christie's Poirot episode "The Chocolate Box" to represent a station in Brussels.

The beginning of Austerlitz, the final novel of the German writer W. G. Sebald is set in the station.


External links[edit]

Media related to Antwerp Central Station at Wikimedia Commons