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     HSL 2

HSL 2 near Hoegaarden alongside A3/E40
Overview
Type Heavy rail
System Belgian HSL
Status In operation
Locale Belgium
Termini Leuven
Ans
Stations 0
Operation
Opened December 15, 2002
Owner Infrabel
Operator(s) Thalys, ICE, SNCB/NMBS
Rolling stock Thalys PBKA, ICE 3M, Class 13 + I11
Technical
Line length 64 km (40 mi)
No. of tracks 2
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) Standard gauge
Electrification 25 kV, 50 Hz AC
Operating speed 300 km/h

The HSL 2 is a Belgian high-speed rail line between Leuven and Ans. 64 km (40 mi) long, all of it dedicated high-speed tracks, it began service on 15 December 2002. As a part of the Belgian railway network, its formal owner is the Railway Infrastructure Fund.[1] It is operated and maintained by Infrabel.

Now the extension to the German border is complete (the HSL 3), the combined eastward high speed line has greatly accelerated journeys between Belgium and Germany. HSL 2 is currently used by Thalys and ICE trains as well as fast internal InterCity services.

Contents

Route

HSL 2 near Berloz alongside A3/E40

From Brussels-South, trains travel northwards over Line 0 through Central and North stations. At Schaarbeek the route splits in two; northward bound trains continue over line 25/27 (later, line 25N) to Antwerp and from there over line 12 (later, HSL 4) to the Dutch border, eastward bound trains continue over line 36/36N to Liège and from there over line 37 (later also HSL 3) to the German border. Between Schaarbeek and Leuven there are four tracks; the two central tracks (line 36N) were planned for 200 km/h (124 mph) direct service, the two outer tracks (line 36) for slower local trains. But the four tracks have platforms at each station and they permit 160 km/h (99 mph) speeds for now.

At Leuven, trains pass through the existing station at 160 km/h (99 mph). Just outside, HSL 2 proper commences with a speed initially limited to 200 km/h (124 mph). After the Bierbeek tunnel (758 m),[2] maximum speed is increased to 300 km/h (186 mph) alongside the E40 motorway. Over the last few kilometers, curbing away from the E40, speed is limited to 220 km/h (137 mph). After quitting HSL 2, trains pass through Ans station at 140 km/h (87 mph). Between Ans and Liège-Guillemins station, passenger trains run on the modernised line 36 at a speed of 70 (downwards to Liège) or 140 km/h (87 mph) (EMU's upwards to Ans).

Other

HSL 2 is used by 300 km/h (186 mph) Thalys PBKA sets, 320 km/h (199 mph) ICE 3M EMU's and 200 km/h (124 mph) domestic InterCity services run by sets of Class 13 locomotives with I11 carriages. From 2009, trains with the new SNCB Class 18 locomotives will start appearing on the line.[3]

Maintenance bases for the line are situated at Leuven and Ans.

The Belgian cabin signaling system TBL 2 has been installed on the HSL 2. It is operated from Block 12 in Brussels.

HSL 2 is standard gauge, double track, electrified at 25 kV, 50 Hz AC.

See also

References

External links

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