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Old August 30th, 2016, 12:02 PM   #661
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What effect will this have on fast services between Antwerpen and Brussel? Will the speed go up / traveltime be shortened?
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Old August 30th, 2016, 07:22 PM   #662
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But that's the beauty of TBL1+. It is non-other then a switchable Eurobalise, that you are going to need in the future for ERTMS anyway.

So fit the balises now for added protection and reprogram them once you switch to ERTMS. A solid future proof solution if there ever was one.
And Italy and Switzerland are going exactly the same route, for the same reasons...
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Old August 31st, 2016, 03:05 AM   #663
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What effect will this have on fast services between Antwerpen and Brussel? Will the speed go up / traveltime be shortened?
I read that one of the goals is to improve TGV's speed from 100 to 160 km/h. 100 km/h is there because of the fork to line 25N, I suppose, because the rest of the layout seems mostly straight.

I re-revised the project and, although my doubts on its effectiveness are cleared, now I'm even more doubtful about its efficiency. In simple words: it looks horribly overengineered.

My concern comes from the fact that Mechelen has a total of 10 tracks on its southern side... and still 4 north of the node (lines 25 and 27). So I don't get the point of adding more and more through tracks and platforms if in the end capacity is limited by what happens towards Antwerpen.

IMHO this could have been solved in a much simpler way.
I'd have line 25N join line 25 south of Mechelen, with a very easy flyover parallel to the one used by line 27. It's in a perfect position.



With this setup the four tracks can reach the station already paired by direction and use efficiently the existing two island platforms. Much better for passengers: one platform to Brussel, the other to Antwerpen.

Nothing to touch north of the station, everything is already sorted out.
Voila, everything done at a fraction of the cost and with no hassle to line 27, 27B or anything else.

You want extra tracks towards Antwerpen, another platform, a connection to line 27, anything else? There's enough money spared to do everything, easy to add at a later stage...
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Old August 31st, 2016, 10:47 AM   #664
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No, the current 100 km/h was already present even before someone had thought of making L25N. It is there due to the relatively sharp corner that the trains need to make before crossing the bridges over the canal, the junctions before and after these bridges and because these bridges aren't designed for higher speeds. There's already a lot of cant applied to the tracks to increase the maximum speed, but any faster would be impossible without special trains. Also, the bridges are protected industrial buildings and probably couldn't be modified easily enough to allow for higher speeds without changing their looks.

In the past, local trains and intercity trains used to call at the same platform around the same time to allow people to switch trains. With the addition of the high-speed trains passing by this wasn't possible any more as they can't have both tracks in one direction blocked at the same time so often. These two new tracks would make this possible again and free up the tracks in the lower half of the station (the southern tracks are located a metre or so higher than the rest).

If your fly-over was added, they'd need to realign line 25 as you won't be at the same height yet at the corner and trains would probably have to slow down to ~90 km/h as applying cant in most of the corner will become impossible with the added junction for this fly-over. That realignment would make it impossible to ever add two more tracks to the station in the future, unless they'd find the money to tear down some of the factory halls next to the track.

Several parts of the project do indeed seem overengineered to me or could be made cheaper, but most of it doesn't seem like a waste to me. If they want to be able to overhaul the station, they'd need to take two tracks out of commission all the time to work on that 'slice' of the station. You'd need to cancel several trains to do that as the capacity currently simply isn't there. It was already difficult to get things done with one unavailable track during the construction of the underground parking next to the station.
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Old August 31st, 2016, 08:44 PM   #665
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I see your (well, their) points, but I'd rather focus on functionality than on pure transit speed.
In my opinion it's much worse to have poorly arranged platforms than to have a low speed for through services; which in the end are just a couple of trains every 2 hours, like 2% of L25 traffic?

The point of joining 25 and 25N before the station is that you can then arrange several connections at the same platform for trains using 25N, while this will be impossible now.
The extra tracks and platforms that they're building now would have been an expansion of the current station, also allowing to overhaul the old plaforms (build the new one, then close another for works).
Partly solving the speed problem, since it would have straightened all the southbound tracks (the most affected).

Also, I don't see a great advantage for 25N: a bit faster inside the station, but then it has 7 km of twists and turns before reaching the main line


What I don't like of this kind of projects is that they keep adding new parts without really improving the rest. I suspect this is a case of what I call BTS - Brownfield Terror Syndrome: typical of the Italian railways, it's a tendency to design any evolution works leaving as untouched as possible everything already in operation.
It makes a 10-year construction much easier, especially for current designers and administrators... but then leaves 150 years of disfunctional outputs behind it.

So now Mechelen will have a station composed of 3 different separate stations. A friend of mine said that it looks like when you're playing Railroad Tycoon 2 and traffic grows and you keep adding random lines until it's a complete mess
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Old August 31st, 2016, 10:26 PM   #666
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I think that Wilhem's proposal would have been much better than what is being built now. Line 25N would have joined line 25 not only grade-separately but also independently from line 27B. Certainly to allow speeds of 160 km/h for line 25N one would have needed to reconstruct line 25 through Mechelen as well. The extra costs would have been little in the ?? of the entire project.

Instead one has chosen to simply add lijn 25N without any alteration of the other three lines through Mechelen. And this despite the rather unfavourable at-grade crossing of line 27 and 53. This seem to be quite typical. The joined-up planning of the Dutch seem to be completely alien to the Belgians.
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Old September 1st, 2016, 12:37 AM   #667
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EDIT: sorry, I got the wrong image and wrote some messed up info, I'm correcting the first part of this post.

I found an image that shows pretty well the tight curves mentioned by Glodenox:



We are on the elevated platforms, part of line 25, facing north [not south]. We can see that the southbound track (used by that double decker) follows a more natural curve. Maybe in the original layout there were just two tracks? It looks like the northbound track was meant to be reached from the photographer's p.o.v.

Also seen at 20:00 of this video:


I believed this was the bridge over the canal south of the station, and I stated than a new bridge left of it would straighten the route. Which is true, but this is the bridge north of the station, and the new one is being built right of it.
I still keep the idea that functionality is more important than speed, but now I can see why it's so hard to speed up that bit.


Btw, thanks to Glodenox for his very well organized thread.
It's an otherwise interesting project: stunning design, a deep integration with the city, historical analysis... I like A LOT how the new canopy's design is insipired by the old bridges.
But who made the railway planning should really get on one of those trains and move a bit north, to learn what integration means (no offence to the Belgians).


There's one thing I can't understand from the renders, about platforms arrangement.
In some, it looks like there will be an island plaform next to the current last one (tracks 9+10):


Which would mean a total of 13 tracks.
Other sources show a total of 12, with two single platforms around tracks 11 and 12 (line 25N):




In this case the platform of track 11 would border track 10 without serving it.
Is this correct?
(if the answer is yes, prepare for a HUGE rant )
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Due to Photobucket f*cking up, most images won't be visibile in my old posts. If you need anything specific, please write me.

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Old September 1st, 2016, 11:25 PM   #668
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Are there any news on the tram-train hybrid project between Hasselt and Maastricht?

Also, I'd like to ask: which railway links between Belgium and France are operational as of now, even if no passenger train is currently using them?
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Old September 1st, 2016, 11:35 PM   #669
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As far as I remember :

- Mouscron Tourcoing
- Blandain Baisieux
- Wannehain (tgv)
- Quevy Feignies
- Erquelinnes Jeumont
- Athus Rodange

Only the first 3 still se scheduled passenger trains.

Envoyé de mon GT-I9505 en utilisant Tapatalk
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Old September 2nd, 2016, 05:16 PM   #670
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I'm not completely certain about the current plans concerning track placement. At the moment the first 6 tracks are located a metre and a half lower than the other tracks (see this Wikipedia image).
The trains running on the southern platforms need to go over the trains from the lower platforms. This is due to the Antwerp-Brussels connection which should have as few as possible junctions to have as much capacity as possible. This height difference will remain in the new station, though it'll be less visible with the canopy stretching the whole width of the station.

Those renders seem to suggest two extra tracks on the side of the city, which I haven't heard of yet. While there will be some extra space in the front of the station after the station building has been demolished, there doesn't seem to be enough space to the north of the station to add two tracks. Unless the platforms are made narrower, but I'm not sure whether that's a good idea... Therefore: I wouldn't look at those renders to get an accurate image of the track layout.

EDIT: I just realised they're basically moving the whole station about the width of a track to the southeast. That, combined with about 20 cm less for each double platform would make both the speed on the existing tracks faster and allow for two extra platforms at that side of the station. Considering there are plans to increase the frequency of some trains, that would probably be useful capacity.
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Old September 2nd, 2016, 07:33 PM   #671
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So this is much more than a cosmetic overhaul of the existing platforms, if they are shifting the whole thing.

Then I still have the same question, looking at the plans (not just the renders): why the last two tracks (11+12, dedicated to 25N) are NOT configured with a common island platform as the existing 7~10?

Al the plans show an arrangement like
7>
=
8>
9<
=
10<

=
11>
12<
=

Maybe they're keeping space for future extra tracks reserved to 25N? Like:
7>
=
8>
9<
=

10>
=
11>
12<
=
13<


It's my personal paranoia, I know. I'm a parallel paths junkie. But I'm still thinking that with a couple of fixes all this beautiful station can gain a big plus on functionality (without wasting what's being done).
Later I'll try to draw an example of what I have in mind.
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Well, sir, there's nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, electrified, six-car monorail!

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Due to Photobucket f*cking up, most images won't be visibile in my old posts. If you need anything specific, please write me.
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Old September 2nd, 2016, 08:17 PM   #672
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Do they have some long-term plans to upgrade the station Bruxelles-Chapelle? It looks really awful (I visited it couple years ago). I had noticed they were revamping the other atrocious-looking station in the city, Schaerbeerk.
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Old September 2nd, 2016, 09:48 PM   #673
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Do they have some long-term plans to upgrade the station Bruxelles-Chapelle? It looks really awful (I visited it couple years ago). I had noticed they were revamping the other atrocious-looking station in the city, Schaerbeerk.
It's probbly going to be closed. Almost no trains stop there and no-one ever takes a train there. It's famous with train spotters because on rush hours you can watch over 90trains an hour pass by the little station. And I bet you haven't seen it when it was on its worst:



Kapellekerk lies just 800 meters from where this is shot and in the middel of the tracks.
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Old September 4th, 2016, 03:56 PM   #674
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I do not understand why they won`t use that station for the new RER-System. I mean no wonder no one uses this station, when there are no trains stopping there except one. The same goes for Bruxelles-Congres. In an S-Bahn-System it`s not so important that the station is close to other larger stations.
I think travellers would use that station more, when more trains stop there. The station could be a nice addition to the new S-Bahn/RER-System.
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Old September 4th, 2016, 05:13 PM   #675
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I do not understand why they won`t use that station for the new RER-System. I mean no wonder no one uses this station, when there are no trains stopping there except one. The same goes for Bruxelles-Congres. In an S-Bahn-System it`s not so important that the station is close to other larger stations.
I think travellers would use that station more, when more trains stop there. The station could be a nice addition to the new S-Bahn/RER-System.
There are to few tracks. It's a serious bottleneck. In theory the tracks can handle 96 trains an hour but on peak hours more than a hundred trains try to pass on those tracks. This causes delays over the whole system. I doubt they could queeze more trains on that section.
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Old September 4th, 2016, 07:16 PM   #676
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Then I still have the same question, looking at the plans (not just the renders): why the last two tracks (11+12, dedicated to 25N) are NOT configured with a common island platform as the existing 7~10?
I wonder about this arrangement myself. I presume that it has something to do with the adjacent bridges and the speed that this line extension is designed for.
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Old June 7th, 2017, 09:58 AM   #677
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Does anyone know if there are any plans for refurbishment of the line between Brussels South and Antwerp Central or of consruction of a new high-speed line between these two towns?

Currently this route seems to be the slowest part of the lines connecting Amsterdam/Rotterdam/Antwerp to Paris and London.
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Old June 7th, 2017, 10:34 AM   #678
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There are no plans for that at the moment and I haven't heard of any long-term plans either.

There are however plans on reorganizing the traffic within the north-south tunnel under Brussels and the construction of a couple flyovers north of Brussels North that would allow for easier traffic management. High-speed trains usually take the route alongside the E19 on the new L25N, but the speed there is still limited to 160 km/h.

There is also work going on around the station of Mechelen by providing a bypass which raises the speed limit from 120 km/h to 160 km/h. North of Mechelen this bypass has to merge with the existing tracks again though, which will probably be at a slower speed again. Plans to reorganize that part of the tracks are also on the way, but shouldn't be expected too soon.

From there to Antwerp the tracks currently allow for 160 km/h and that will most likely stay so. If really needed there are certain sections they could probably improve to 200 km/h, but that will cost way too much for what it's worth as train stations along the route would require additional safety measures then. There is no room to lay high-speed train tracks here unless you'd want to slash half of the intercity traffic between Antwerp and Brussels, get rid of all cargo trains and local trains or pay several billions of Euros to make space around the tracks in one of the most built-up areas of Europe (aka: not going to happen).

So there won't be any high-speed lines in the foreseeable future on that segment, though there are several plans to at least improve the current situation a bit. There simply isn't enough space available, nor is there the political will to change much there.
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Old June 7th, 2017, 03:45 PM   #679
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There are no plans for that at the moment and I haven't heard of any long-term plans either.

There are however plans on reorganising the traffic within the north-south tunnel under Brussels and the construction of a couple flyovers north of Brussels North that would allow for easier traffic management. High-speed trains usually take the route alongside the E19 on the new L25N, but the speed there is still limited to 160 km/h.

There is also work going on around the station of Mechelen by providing a bypass which doesn't raises the speed limit from 120 km/h to 160 km/h. North of Mechelen this bypass has to merge with the existing tracks again though, which will probably be at a slower speed again. Plans to reorganize that part of the tracks are also on the way, but shouldn't be expected too soon.

From there to Antwerp the tracks currently allow for 160 km/h and that will most likely stay so. If really needed there are certain sections they could probably improve to 200 km/h, but that will cost way too much for what it's worth as train stations along the route would require additional safety measures then. There is no room to lay high-speed train tracks here unless you'd want to slash half of the intercity traffic between Antwerp and Brussels, get rid of all cargo trains and local trains or pay several billions of Euros to make space around the tracks in one of the most built-up areas of Europe (aka: not going to happen).

So there won't be any high-speed lines in the foreseeable future on that segment, though there are several plans to at least improve the current situation a bit. There simply isn't enough space available, nor is there the political will to change much there.
Certainly tha mount of traffic is large, but I suppose that there always can be space for a new pair of tracks. The most expensive railway project is probably the new high speed railway line between Euston and Birmingham. It is designed for speed of 250 mpf (400 kilometres per hour) and also passes through very densely populated areas which requires that significant part of the line is in twin tunnels or viaducts. The distance between Antwerp and Brussels is 4 times less, and even if this line has substantial parts in tunnels, it will not cost more than 2-3 billion euros as there will be just one station that needs to be modernised - Brussels Central (allowing for 1 new platform for the high speed services). However a new line could allow for travel times of 12-15 minutes between Brussels Central and Antwerp.Central and could be part of the project of modernisation of Brussels Central which seems to be neccessary anyway.

It is also important that Brussels particularly is well connected to the European high speed network because of its central location.

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Old June 7th, 2017, 04:04 PM   #680
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The distance between Antwerp and Brussels is 4 times less, and even if this line has substantial parts in tunnels, it will not cost more than 5 billion euros. However I suppose that this will require substantial modernisation of Brussels Central (allowing for 1 new platform for the high speed services) and similar modernisation of Antwerp Central where this could be rather challenging because of the lack of space. However a new line could allow for travel times of 12-15 minutes between Brussels Central and Antwerp.Central.
Even if it costs no more than 5 billion €, this is still useless. The time you'll win for such an amount of money won't be worth it. But if you have 5 billion € available, we will be able to buid a new Nord-South junction which will bring far greater benefits (capacity and time) to the whole belgian network.

The line between Brussels and Antwerp is already fit for 160 Km/h running for most of its length (line 25 from Vilvoorde to Mortsel), so upgrading it to 200-250 Km/h running would be damn expensive and would bring nearly no benefits (if you look at the distances between both cities).

Moreover, you'll still be restricted by capacity and conflicting train paths. Remodelling Mechelen station and eliminating this bottleneck is the best value for money solution on this line.

Others solutions would be cost prohibitive.
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