Moby train: Brussels entrance gets artistic visibility

Brussels gets a new landmark. For its 100th anniversary, the Belgian railway company SNCB wil turn an old locomotive into a large whale-shaped sculpture. The sculpture, called 'Moby Train', should be finished by 2026 and will be located near the Train World museum, on the Van Praet roundabout.

The Van Praet bridge is a household word among people who want to enter Brussels via the north and according to Brussels minister Sven Gatz the neighbourhood still needed a landmark. "The Brussels-Capital Region wants to give the entrance a strong artistic visibility, just as monumental gates used to mark the entrance to cities," reads a press release from Gatz.

'Moby Train' (after the novel 'Moby Dick') is designed by artist François Schuiten and French sculptor Pierre Matter and will incorporate the shell of an old diesel locomotive (5204 Gros Nez). The whale refers to the nearby port of Brussels, the train to the railway museum Train World.

"Brussels needs artistic sculptures that highlight the capital's significance to the world and the surrounding area," said Brussels Minister Gatz. He expects the work to become "a new popular icon for Brussels residents, commuters, and domestic and foreign tourists."

The decoration of the Van Praet roundabout is 80 per cent (2 million euros), funded by the Brussels government. The rest will be raised through sponsorship and crowdfunding.

"'Moby Train' draws attention to the great importance of rail transport in making it easier to get to and around our capital city, but also recalls that Brussels was the first capital city in the world to be served by train," Brussels Prime Minister Rudi Vervoort states in the press release.


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