Two new stations join Brussels city rail network

Summary

As the opening of Schuman station is postponed, two new GEN network stations open in Brussels

Schuman opening postponed

Yesterday should have seen the grand opening of the new and long-awaited tunnel linking Schuman railway station and the Halle-Vilvoorde line 26. But that opening has been postponed until April because of delays caused by the heightening of the terror alert in Brussels last month.

Instead, federal mobility minister Jacqueline Galant, together with her Brussels counterpart Pascal Smet, were present for the opening of two other new stations: Mouterij in Elsene and Tour & Taxis in Molenbeek, adjacent to the Pannenhuis metro station. Both stations form part of the rail authority NMBS’s new urban S network, part of the planned Regional Express Network known as GEN.

Mouterij station, at Kroonlaan and Brouwerijstraat, was built in 2007 but never before used; the Tour & Taxis station, which is about a kilometre away from the Tour & Taxis site (and the MIVB stop of the same name) was built in 1983 and was used briefly for goods traffic before being closed in 1994.

The entire S-network will be fully operational once the Schuman tunnel is opened in April. The service will include direct links to Brussels Airport, Leuven, Mechelen and Liège.

Photo: Brussels mobility minister Pascal Smet (centre) and federal mobility minister Jacqueline Galant (right) attending the openings of Brussels’ two new train stations

NMBS

Belgium’s national railway system was established in 1926 and is the sole provider of passenger train traffic in the country.
Overhaul - Starting in 2014, the railway system will operate under a two-pronged structure with transport division NMBS and infrastructure operator Infrabel. The umbrella organisation, NMBS Holding, will disappear.
Trio - NMBS comprises three organisational units: NMBS Mobility, NMBS Europe and NMBS Technics.
Criticism - The rail authority has frequently made headlines with continuing delays. The most common causes for delays are malfunctioning trains and infrastructure glitches.
223

million travellers in 2012

87

percent of trains on time in 2012

43

percent increase in female employees since 2005