Brussels Central Station

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Brussels Central
SNCB logo.svg Railway Station
IMG 6013 Brussel-Centraal.JPG
Main hall of Brussels-Central railway station
Location Carrefour de l'Europe/Europakruispunt, 1000 Brussels
Coordinates 50°50′44″N 4°21′25″E / 50.84556°N 4.35694°E / 50.84556; 4.35694Coordinates: 50°50′44″N 4°21′25″E / 50.84556°N 4.35694°E / 50.84556; 4.35694
Owned by SNCB
Line(s) North–South connection
Platforms 3 (central)
Tracks 6
Construction
Architect Victor Horta, Maxime Brunfaut
Architectural style Modernism
Other information
Station code FBCL
Website Official website
History
Opened 4 October 1952 (1952-10-04)
Services
InterCity(IC), Tourist (ICT), Peak Hour (P), RER/GEN(S)
Location
Brussels Central is located in Brussels
Brussels Central
Brussels Central
Location within Brussels

Brussels Central Station (French: Bruxelles-Central, Dutch: Brussel-Centraal) is a metro and railway station in central Brussels, Belgium. It is the second busiest railway station in Belgium[1] and one of three principal railway stations in Brussels, together with Brussels-South and Brussels-North (See: List of railway stations in Belgium). First completed in 1952 after protracted delays caused by economic difficulties and war, it is the newest of Brussels' main rail hubs.

History[edit]

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Brussels North and Brussels South were the primary railway stations in Brussels (Brussels North slowly supplanted the original Groendreef/Allée Verte Station near the same site). However, they were joined only by an inadequate single track running along what is today the route of the Brussels inner ring road. Many proposals were put forward to link the two stations more substantially. A law was finally passed in 1909 mandating a direct connection.

Draft of Brussels Central Station by Victor Horta

The architect Victor Horta was awarded the design of the Central Station building complex in 1910. He finished the initial version in 1912. Plans for the station originally featured a major urban redevelopment project, for which land was purchased and over 1,000 buildings demolished in the 1920s.[2] The Putterie district began to be razed to make way for the underground station and building complex. However, work was halted by the First World War. Financial constraints limited work after the war, and in 1927, the government suspended the project altogether. In 1935, a new office dedicated to the project was set up and work resumed. The Central Station was planned as a hub in the connection. However, the Second World War slowed construction again. The interruptions and delays to construction left large areas filled with debris and craters for decades.[3]

Horta returned to work on the Station after the end of World War II. The building was completed according to Horta's plans by an architectural team led by Maxime Brunfaut, who expanded Horta's plan by adding a new train line to the national airport and several underground passageways for pedestrians.[4][5]

An Islamic jihadist attempted to detonate a bomb in the station in the June 2017 Brussels attack.

Railway station[edit]

The railway station has six tracks, served by three island platforms. These are underground, beneath the city blocks within the "Boulevard de l'Impératrice/Keizerinlaan" (Empress Avenue), "Rue de l'Infante Isabelle/Infante Isabella straat" (Princess Isabella St.), "Kantersteen" (square stone) and "Rue de la Putterie/Putterijstraat" (Puttery St.).

The main entrance and ticket office are at ground level on Keizerinlaan/Imperatrice, and there are several other entrances on the other streets. The station was renovated between 2004 and 2010 in an attempt to better equip the station to present levels of usage (which can reach 150,000 passengers/day on the busiest days). Two new entrances were created, and the main entrance was extensively renovated. The "Carrefour d'Europe", a pedestrianised square, was created in front of the station.[6] Plans are underway for the renovation of the tunnel which links the main station with the metro stop. It has been described as dilapidated, dirty, and permanently tinged by the smell of urine.[7] An architectural firm had been retained in 2010 to implement the project designed to make the hallway a better "window" to Brussels for the many travellers who begin their journey there. Shops and a more luminous, graffiti resistant environment were planned, pending final planning approval.

Although Brussels' central station is at the very heart of the city, its capacity is not adapted to present usage levels (ca. 70,000 passengers on a weekday), let alone future levels. The interior and the platforms have been renovated in recent years, but the main problem (i.e. lack of capacity) has not fundamentally been addressed. There have been suggestions to expand the station, but none of them has gained widespread acceptance. Today, at peak times, about 96 trains an hour use the six platforms of the station. With passenger growth expected to average 4% per year in the coming decade, Infrabel, the administrator of the Belgian rail network, has determined that an expansion of the rail capacity and of the Central Station will be necessary.[8] The CEO of Infrabel has estimated the cost of an adequate expansion at least a billion euros, and has said it will be necessary to complete the project by 2020.[9] However, the task of getting all relevant authorities to agree on a plan has so far proved difficult. Some credit a general taboo against discussions of expanding the North-South rail axis as a result of the history of extended delays and widespread destruction of neighbourhood blocks that the initial construction brought between 1911 and 1952.

Train services[edit]

The station is served by the following services:

  • Intercity services (IC-35) Amsterdam - The Hague - Rotterdam - Roosendaal - Antwerp - Brussels Airport - Brussels
  • Intercity services (IC-16) Brussels - Namur - Arlon - Luxembourg
  • Intercity services (IC-01) Ostend - Bruges - Gent - Brussels - Leuven - Liege - Welkenraedt - Eupen
  • Intercity services (IC-03) Knokke/Blankenberge - Bruges - Gent - Brussels - Leuven - Hasselt - Genk
  • Intercity services (IC-05) Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels - Nivelles - Charleroi (weekdays)
  • Intercity services (IC-06) Tournai - Ath - Halle - Brussels - Brussels Airport
  • Intercity services (IC-06A) Mons - Braine-le-Comte - Brussels - Brussels Airport
  • Intercity services (IC-11) Binche - Braine-le-Comte - Halle - Brussels - Mechelen - Turnhout (weekdays)
  • Intercity services (IC-12) Kortrijk - Gent - Brussels - Leuven - Liege - Welkenraedt (weekdays)
  • Intercity services (IC-14) Quiévrain - Mons - Braine-le-Comte - Brussels - Leuven - Liege (weekdays)
  • Intercity services (IC-17) Brussels - Namur - Dinant (weekends)
  • Intercity services (IC-18) Brussels - Namur - Liege (weekdays)
  • Intercity services (IC-20) Gent - Aalst - Brussels - Hasselt - Tongeren (weekdays)
  • Intercity services (IC-20) Gent - Aalst - Brussels - Dendermonde - Lokeren (weekends)
  • Intercity services (IC-22) Essen - Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels (weekdays)
  • Intercity services (IC-22) Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels - Halle - Braine-le-Comte - Binche (weekends)
  • Intercity services (IC-23) Ostend - Bruges - Kortrijk - Zottegem - Brussels - Brussels Airport
  • Intercity services (IC-23A) Bruges - Gent - Brussels - Brussels Airport (weekdays)
  • Intercity services (IC-23A) Gent - Brussels - Brussels Airport (weekends)
  • Intercity services (IC-26) Kortrijk - Tournai - Halle - Brussels - Dendermonde - Lokeren - Sint Niklaas (weekdays)
  • Intercity services (IC-29) De Panne - Gent - Aalst - Brussels - Brussels Airport - Leuven - Landen
  • Intercity services (IC-31) Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels (weekdays)
  • Intercity services (IC-31) Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels - Nivelles - Charleroi (weekends)
  • Brussels RER services (S1) Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels - Waterloo - Nivelles (weekdays)
  • Brussels RER services (S1) Antwerp - Mechelen - Brussels (weekends)
  • Brussels RER services (S1) Brussels - Waterloo - Nivelles (weekends)
  • Brussels RER services (S2) Leuven - Brussels - Halle - Braine-le-Comte
  • Brussels RER services (S3) Dendermonde - Brussels - Denderleeuw - Zottegem - Oudenaarde (weekdays)
  • Brussels RER services (S6) Aalst - Denderleeuw - Geraardsbergen - Halle - Brussels - Schaarbeek
  • Brussels RER services (S8) Brussels - Etterbeek - Ottignies - Louvain-le-Neuve
  • Brussels RER services (S10) Dendermonde - Brussels - Denderleeuw - Aalst
Preceding station   NMBS/SNCB   Following station
Terminus
IC 16
toward Luxembourg
Intercity Direct 9200
Terminus
toward Oostende
IC 01
toward Eupen
toward Blankenberge and Knokke
IC 03
toward Genk
IC 05
weekdays
toward Tournai
IC 06
toward Mons
IC 06A
toward Binche
IC 11
weekdays
toward Turnhout
toward Kortrijk
IC 12
weekdays
toward Welkenraedt
toward Quiévrain
IC 14
weekdays
Terminus
IC 17
weekends
toward Dinant
Terminus
IC 18
weekdays
From Monday to Friday, except holidays
IC 20
From Monday to Friday, except holidays
toward Tongeren
On weekends and holidays
On weekends and holidays
toward Lokeren
From Monday to Friday, except holidays
toward Essen
IC 22
From Monday to Friday, except holidays
Terminus
On weekends and holidays
On weekends and holidays
toward Binche
toward Oostende
IC 23
toward Brugge
IC 23A
toward Kortrijk
IC 26
weekdays
toward Sint-Niklaas
toward De Panne
IC 29
toward Landen
From Monday to Friday, except holidays
IC 31
From Monday to Friday, except holidays
Terminus
On weekends and holidays
On weekends and holidays
S 1
weekdays
toward Nivelles
Terminus
S 1
weekends
S 1
weekends
Terminus
toward Leuven
S 2
toward Dendermonde
S 3
weekdays
toward Oudenaarde
toward Schaarbeek
S 6
toward Denderleeuw
S 8
Terminus
toward Aalst
S 10
toward Dendermonde

Gallery[edit]

Metro station[edit]

(STIB-MIVB) Panneau GARE CENTRALE.png
GareCentrale.jpg
Owned by STIB/MIVB
History
Opened 1976
Services
Preceding station   Brussels Metro   Following station
Line 1
Line 5

Five minutes' walk from the railway station through a pedestrian tunnel, there is a Brussels Metro station, also called Gare Centrale - Centraal Station. It is located under the "Marché au bois/Houtmarkt".

This was first opened as a premetro station on 17 December 1969 on the tram line between De Brouckère and Schuman. This premetro line was upgraded to full metro status on 20 September 1976 and today lies on the joint section of lines 1 and 5 that cross Brussels from east to west.

See also[edit]

Media related to Brussels Central station at Wikimedia Commons

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gares : Bruxelles-Centrale en tête". La Libre. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Aubry, Françoise; Vandenbreeden, Jos (1996). Horta — Art Nouveau to Modernism. Ghent: Ludion Press.
  3. ^ State, Paul (2004). Historical dictionary of Brussels. Scarecrow press. p. 122. 
  4. ^ Aubry, Françoise; Vandenbreeden, Jos (1996). Horta — Art Nouveau to Modernism. Ghent: Ludion Press.
  5. ^ M. Nilsen; Railways and the Western European Capitals: Studies of Implantation in London, Paris, Berlin, and Brussels, Springer, 2008, p. 156.
  6. ^ "Bruxelles: la nouvelle gare centrale a été inaugurée". rtbf.be. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Durant, Jerome (6 May 2010). "Le couloir de la gare centrale enfin rénové". rtbf.be. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Ysebaert, Tom (26 September 2008). "Brussel-Centraal heeft extra spoortunnel nodig". Nieuwsblad.be. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "Infrabel consults on Brussels bottleneck". Railway Gazette. 26 September 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2011.