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Belgium has a high-speed rail network providing mostly international connections from Brussels to France, Germany and The Netherlands. The high-speed network began with the opening of the HSL 1 to France in 1997, since then high-speed lines have been expanded towards Germany with HSL 2 in 2002, HSL 3 from Liège to the German border in 2009, and HSL 4 from Antwerp to the Dutch border in 2009.

Contents

Services

Four high-speed train services currently operate in Belgium: Thalys, Eurostar, InterCityExpress (ICE) and TGV. Fyra service is expected by late 2010.[1]

All operators stop in Brussels-South railway station, Belgium's largest train station. Some services also stopping in Liège and Antwerp. Eurostar connects Brussels to London–St Pancras. The German ICE operates between Brussels-South, Liège-Guillemins railway station and Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof.

Lines

There are three high-speed lines in Belgium which support 300 km/h operation, and one that supports speeds up to 260 km/h.

HSL 1

HSL 1 connects Brussels with the French border. 88 km long (71 km dedicated high-speed tracks, 17 km modernised lines), it began service on 14 December 1997. The line has appreciably shortened rail journeys, the journey from Paris to Brussels now taking 1:22. In combination with the LGV Nord, it has also impacted international journeys to France and London, ensuring high-speed through-running by Eurostar, TGV, Thalys PBA and Thalys PBKA trainsets. The total construction cost was €1.42 billion.

HSL 2

HSL 2 runs between Leuven and Ans. 95 km long (61 km dedicated high-speed tracks, 34 km modernised lines) it began service on 15 December 2002. Combined with HSL 3 to the German border, the combined eastward high speed lines have greatly accelerated journeys between Brussels, Paris and Germany. HSL 2 is used by Thalys and ICE trains as well as fast internal InterCity services.

HSL 3

HSL 3 connects Liège to the German border. 56 km long (42 km dedicated high-speed tracks, 14 km modernised lines), it was completed on 15 December 2007, but trains did not start to use it until June 14th, 2009. HSL 3 is used by international Thalys and ICE trains only, as opposed to HSL 2 which is also used for fast internal InterCity services.

HSL 4

HSL 4 connects Antwerp north to the Dutch border where it meets the HSL-Zuid. It is 87 km long, comprising 40 km dedicated high speed tracks and 57 km modernised lines. Mostly completed in 2007, the opening of the line was been delayed till December 2009 due to problems with signalling. HSL 4 is used by Thalys trains and fast internal InterCity and NS Hispeed train service is planned for 2010. Between Brussels and Antwerp (47 km), trains travel at 160 km/h on the upgraded existing line (with the exception of a few segments where a speed limit of 120 km/h is imposed). At the E19/A12 motorway junction, trains leave the regular line to run on new dedicated high-speed tracks to the Dutch border (40 km) at 300 km/h.

Map

Réseau grande vitesse Belgique.svg

Stations

TGV and Thalys share a platform at Brussels-South Station

There are 3 stations in Belgium where high-speed trains stop:

See also

Notes








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