- About Infrabel
- Rail operators
- Suppliers & contractors
The high-speed network
The Belgian high-speed network was the first high-speed, border-to-border network to be completed in Europe in December 2009. The network now covers a 314 kilometre-long railway track, 200 km of which are high-speed tracks. Three axes bring London, Paris, Cologne and Amsterdam ‘closer together’ for the traveller.
The HSL West connects Brussels to the French border and was put into operation in 1997. It is used by Thalys trains between Brussels and Paris; by Eurostar trains between Brussels and London; and by TGV trains to several destinations in France. The journey from Brussels to Paris takes 1 hour and 22 minutes, and it takes 1 hour and 51 minutes to get from Brussels to London.
This high-speed line brings Brussels closer to the German border and takes its travellers through rugged scenery. Infrabel built a number of remarkable tunnels and viaducts to enable train passage through the landscape. The route runs from Brussels to Leuven, across a modernised, existing line. From Leuven to Liege, the HST speeds over a brand new high-speed line. Several internal IC trains also use the new line and thus shorten journey times. It passes Liege at a speed of 260 km/h towards the German border. Both high-speed lines are located near the E40 motorway. The eastern branch of the high-speed network operates Thalys trains between Brussels and Cologne, and German ICE trains between Brussels and Frankfurt. Travel time between Brussels and Cologne is 1 hour and 57 minutes.
This line connects Brussels with the Dutch border. Thanks to the Antwerp north-south connection, the high-speed trains (HSTs) travel through a long tunnel below Antwerp and continue their journey above ground into the Netherlands. The creation of the tunnel transformed Antwerp Central station from a dead-end station with ten tracks into a transfer hub with no fewer than 14 tracks. The northern track accommodates Thalys trains between Brussels and Amsterdam. The journey takes 1 hour and 51 minutes.
300 kph on the Belgian rail
In 2009, Infrabel published a stunning reference about the Belgian high-speed lines entitled HSL, 300 kph on the Belgian rail. The corresponding photo-book really brought the high-speed lines to life. The well-known photographer Tom D’Haenens provided the photos.
A selection from the stunning photos in the photo book "HSL, 300 kph on the Belgian rail":