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The Regional Express Network
Brussels is in a prime location, right in the centre of Europe. The city therefore faces serious mobility challenges. The many commuters travelling to and from Brussels every day cause a lot of traffic congestion and put huge pressure on public transport. Infrabel wants to tackle these mobility problems with a Regional Express Network, GEN for short. GEN stands for: more capacity, more trains and more comfort on the major railway lines to and from Brussels.
More and more commuters
Brussels is home to many national and European institutions. Many companies also have their base there. Employment in Brussels attracts many commuters and therefore complicates mobility, particularly during the rush hour. At peak times, the access roads to Brussels are completely congested. More and more people choose public transport to get to their destination: buses, trams, metro and trains. However, the capacity and complementary nature of these means of transport are insufficient to drastically reduce road traffic. The Regional Express Network (RER) aims to improve public transport within a 30 km radius of the capital.
RER combines speed and frequency. The separation of direct trains and slower local trains is therefore absolutely necessary. Infrabel will double the capacity on the major railway axes around Brussels. RER lines will have 4 tracks rather than 2 tracks. This allows RER trains that stop frequently to use their own tracks without affecting other direct train traffic.
The European district
In order to improve mobility in and around the European district Infrabel is building a new tunnel directly linking the Brussels-Namur (line 161) and Brussels-Halle (line 26) railway lines. The Schuman-Josafat tunnel aims to take some pressure off the Brussels rail network. Thanks to this key project and the newly constructed Diabolo line, the European district will receive a direct connection to the country's major cities and Brussels National Airport.
State of affairs
The necessary changes have already been completed on some railway lines and on other lines this work is still in progress.
Integrated public transport. The RER project is not just about expanding rail capacity in and around Brussels, it also includes the integration of the range of public transport: trains, trams, metros and buses. RER aims to ensure that these means of transports interconnect seamlessly, so that journey times are reduced considerably. This should allow us to move around the capital more easily.
The stops on the future RER lines will be thoroughly modernised and will evolve towards multimodal junctions where different methods of transport come together. It should offer commuters a comfortable, easy environment to get on, get off or change. Infrabel also opened a few new stops to meet the current mobility needs: Mouterij, Arcaden and Diesdelle. A new GEN stop at Anderlecht will also be opened on the Brussels-Denderleeuw railway line.