Belgium's high-speed rail link to France set for 10-year renovation

The oldest high-speed line on the Belgian rail network, the HSL1 from Brussels to France, is in need of renovation. Infrabel, the rail network manager, is investing 310 million euros in the work, which will take 10 years to complete. Every summer, the line will be completely closed for about two weeks and high-speed trains will run with delays, the company said on Wednesday.

The 74km high-speed line was opened in 1997. Around 100 trains per day travel along it at speeds of up to 300km per hour. In recent years, however, the line has shown signs of ageing. To ensure optimum performance and, more generally, the competitiveness of European railways, the various sections of the line will be renewed in the coming years, Infrabel announced at a press conference.

During the first phase of the work, the line will be closed to traffic in both directions from 12 to 30 August. This is the day after the closing ceremony of the Paris Olympic Games.

Half-hour delays

During the work, which will take place around the clock, high-speed trains to and from Paris and London will be diverted to the conventional line. As a result, journey times will be about half an hour longer than usual. Railway companies operating on the HSL1 will inform passengers of the changes to their timetables.

Belgium has a total of more than 200km of high-speed lines. In addition to the Brussels-France line, there is also the Leuven-Liège-Germany line (around 100km) and the Antwerp-Netherlands line (36km).



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