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3rd and 4th track between Gent and Brugge
The coastal region is both a magnet for tourism and an important economic access point to the ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend. Trains play a crucial role in ensuring that both travellers and freight can be transported efficiently in this region.
On peak days, about 300 passenger and freight trains travel along the line between Gent and the coast. This number of trains is set to rise in the future. The port of Zeebrugge handled 26.4 million tons of containers in 2010 and this figure is expected to double by 2020.
In order to accommodate this increase and ensure that trains can move around smoothly in the future, Infrabel is investing in the creation of a 3rd and 4th track between Gent and Brugge. Quick traffic will then travel on the central tracks and slower traffic will travel on the outer tracks, preventing the different trains from hindering one another.
In addition, Infrabel is also investing in solutions for capacity problems:
- Expansion and modernisation of the Zeebrugge formation yard
- Installation of a 3rd track between Brugge and the Dudzele branch line
The 3rd and 4th tracks between Gent and Brugge will be laid over a stretch of 41 km. This will not be completed in one go. The project has been split into different sites where work is carried out at different times, allowing train travel to continue uninterrupted.
The work runs according to a similar pattern:
- Carry out ground work in order to expand roadbed for a 3rd and 4th track
- Expand the existing bridges and tunnels
- Lay the tracks
- Carry out catenary and signalling work
The five stops (Drongen, Hansbeke, Bellem, Maria-Aalter and Oostkamp) and 3 stations (Landegem, Aalter and Beernem) on the railway line will be retained. The platforms, covers, shelters and bicycle storage facilities will be updated but keep the same visual style.