World’s longest artwork to arrive in Brussels on Wednesday


Noah’s Train, a series of 10 rail cars each painted by a European urban artist, will be parked at Schaarbeek train station for three weekends to call attention to climate change

Rail for the climate

“The world’s longest mobile artwork” will arrive in Brussels on Wednesday as part of a campaign to promote the environmental benefits of rail freight transport. After its inauguration in Katowice during the UN climate change conference, Noah’s Train travelled to Vienna, Berlin, Paris and is now on its way to Brussels.

The name of the train is inspired, say the organisers, by the world’s oldest tale of environmental activism. In each city, well-known street artists will paint two of the rail cars. In the case of Brussels, that will be Antwerp artists Smok and Rise One.

The theme of each urban artwork must be climate change, the future, life or sustainability, arguably a broad spectrum. It is up to each artist to interpret and give expression to the theme.

The train is a symbol for Rail Freight Forward’s vision to make freight transport more sustainable and climate friendly. RFF is a coalition of European rail freight companies that are committed to drastically reducing the negative impact of freight transport on the environment.

Nine times less CO2

“Train users protect the environment in both passenger and freight transport,” said Deutsche Bahn’s Alexander Doll. “Through our cargo operations alone, we save some five million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. This is just about the amount of CO2 that the cities of Aachen and Kassel produce together in a year.”

The coalition would like to see the use of rail freight increase from 18% to 30% by 2030. With rail freight emitting nine times less CO2 than road freight, according to the organisation, the shift from road to rail would be a crucial step in helping the transport industry reach its climate targets as defined in the Paris Agreement.

Platform three at Schaerbeek train station, one of the very first train stations in continental Europe, will be the scene for the train’s arrival on 20 February. Visitors can see the train on 23-24 February, 2-3 March and 9-10 March from 9.00 to 18.00.

After that, the train will continue to travel across Europe, in the fleets of their respective rail freight companies. That way, they will continue to draw attention to the cause.

Other rail freight companies are being invited to join the coalition and will each add two more painted rail cars to the fleet. By the end of the year, the containers will be reassembled again as a longer version of Noah’s Train for the next climate conference.

Photo courtesy