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Brussels Airport is one of Belgium’s largest economic industrial hubs, accommodating thousands of train passengers travelling to and from Brussels every day. For this reason, Infrabel has been investing heavily in sustainable and customer-friendly mobility to and from the airport in recent years. The Diabolo project will turn Brussels Airport into one of the most accessible airports in the world.
Thanks to Diabolo, the airport has a direct connection with the large axes of the Belgian railway network and with different European cities via the international axes Frankfurt – Liege – Brussels – Paris and Amsterdam – Antwerp – Brussels – Paris. Following on from the commissioning of the Belgian high-speed network in 2009, the Diabolo project sees Infrabel once again taking up a strategic position at the heart of Europe.
Late 2005 saw the Nossegem curve connected to the railway axis Liege – Limburg – Leuven, ensuring eastern access to the airport. The northern approach via the railway axis Antwerp – Mechelen – Brussels constituted the next important step in better access of the airport. This route allows train passengers from Antwerp to avoid Brussels city on their way to the airport. The train travel time from Mechelen has been reduced to a mere ten minutes as opposed to the previous forty minute train ride.
New railway infrastructure
For the realisation of the Diabolo access route Infrabel has installed a number of new railway lines. At Brussels National Airport station, a new underground railway track runs via the Diabolo tunnel to the new railway line along the central reservation of the E19 between Schaerbeek and Mechelen (L25N). In Zemst the railway departs from the central reservation of the E19 via a new 150-metre long bridge across the motorway to connect with the existing railway line in the direction of Mechelen.
In Mechelen we aim to install a new railway bypass for further capacity enhancement on the Brussels-Antwerp line by the end of 2015. Infrabel is also planning two additional tracks and two new platforms at the back of Mechelen station as part of the Mechelen station project.
The rail bypass is also crucial for the Regional Express Network, which will contribute to considerable improvement of mobility in and around Brussels. The future railway connection Schuman-Josaphat is a key component in this project: the railway tunnel ensures a direct connection between the European quarter and Brussels Airport by the end of 2015.
Intermodal and multifunctional
Diabolo guarantees optimum connections between air and railway transport. At the same time, the project is in keeping with Infrabel's three key priorities:
- Optimisation of safety via implementation of ETCS and a series of safety measures along the entire railway route
- Improvement of train traffic punctuality
- Enhanced capacity of the railway network
You can also watch our videos on the Diabolo project: