Brussels-Congress railway station
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|Location||Boulevard Pacheco/Pachecolaan 25, 1000 Brussels|
|Opened||4 October 1952|
Brussels Congress (French: Bruxelles-Congrès, Dutch: Brussel-Congres) is a train stop on the North–South connection in the city of Brussels, Belgium. It is located on Boulevard Pacheco/Pachecolaan. Opened in 1952, it served as a train station for 50 years. In 2002, the ticket offices closed and it was downgraded to a train stop. With only few passengers a day using Brussels Congress, plans were being made to close it completely. However, up to now, none have been executed.
Brussels Congress opened as a station in 1952, as part of the subterranean North–South connection. It served as a ventilation shaft for the connection, which was then still used by steam trains. In 1958, the construction works of the State Administrative City (French: Cité administrative de l'État or CAE, Dutch: Rijksadministratief Centrum or RAC) started, a building which was to accommodate all of the country's administrative services. The construction took 27 years and the building, at its peak, could accommodate 14,000 civil servants. Consequently, the Congress station became of significant importance for the commuting workers. However, with the rise of workers commuting by car, and later on the abandonment of the CAE/RAC building, the station got more and more out of use.
Since April 2002, when the ticket offices closed, it has only been in use as a train stop. In 2009, the Belgian Railways (SNCB/NMBS) counted 1187 people boarding at Brussels Congress every weekday. In 2010, this number was said to be 1499. Even though the number of passengers increased, it remains very low. Because of this and the fact that several other transportation facilities are available in the vicinity, SNCB/NMBS are thinking of closing the Brussels Congress train stop completely, this mainly to improve the accuracy of the trains[clarification needed] on the North–South connection. However, no final decision has been communicated yet.
The station building was designed by modernist architect Maxime Brunfaut at the end of the 1940s. It exists mainly of an above-ground ventilation shaft for the underground North–South connection, which Brunfaut smartly used as the basis for his monumental design. The main design features are the stumpy tower and the large cantilevering shed over the entrance. The tower is five floors high and exists of a central bay sticking out of the front facade, housing the service stairs, and six bays to each side of this central one. The facade of the central bay is closed. The front facade of the other bays forms a rhombic net made from terracotta. This net is continued on the highest floor of the side facades. The lower floors of the side facades are closed. On both side facades bas-reliefs have been applied. The closed front facade of the central bay is also decorated with a bas-relief, made by Jozef Cantré. The underground entrance is accentuated by the large cantilevering shed with the station's name written on its edge.
Non-profit organisation Bruxelles-Congrès
In 2007, the non-profit organisation Bruxelles-Congrès was established by a group of eight enthusiastic volunteers. Their goal was to let the public become familiar again with the building by opening up rooms that were previously closed to the public and using them as exhibition spaces for different art forms. They organised different projects in the station building ranging from exhibitions to music concerts. Their last event was dated March 2012.
Brussels Congress has four platforms with numbers ranging from 3 to 6. Trains only stop at platform 5 and platform 6; the other two platforms being used by passing trains. Brussels Congress is only used as a stop on weekdays during the day. The first train departs at 06:22 am and the last train leaves the train stop at 06:49 pm. During morning rush hour, a maximum of four trains per hour stop in the direction of Brussels Central Station and five trains in the direction of Brussels North. During evening rush hour, five trains stop per hour in the direction of Brussels Central Station and only three in the direction of Brussels North. During the rest of the day, only two trains in each direction stop there per hour.
The station is served by the following service(s):
- Brussels RER services (S1) Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels - Waterloo - Nivelles (weekdays)
- Bellon, Michaël (7 July 2007). "Het Rijksadministratief Centrum: In memoriam RAC". Brusselnieuws. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- Wambacq, Johan (2009). Het paleis op de heide. Brussels: Academic and Scientific Publishers nv. p. 133. ISBN 9789054876281.
- Vandeput, Steven. "Vraag over "de mogelijke sluiting van de stations Brussel-Congres en Brussel-Kapellekerk"". Archived from the original on May 31, 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- Stevenheydens, Ive (11 July 2008). "Brussel-Congres: ambtenarenstationnetje gaat swingen". Brusselnieuws. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- Heymans, Djess (5 January 2014). "Een vergeten station in het hart van onze stad: Brussel-Congres". Retrieved 31 May 2014.
Media related to Brussels Congress Station at Wikimedia Commons