The Schuman-Josaphat tunnel
The Schuman-Josaphat railway tunnel is a new direct link between the Brussels-Schuman station and the Halle-Vilvoorde railway line, also referred to as the Eastern orbital railway around Brussels. This new link will connect the European Quarter directly to the North of Brussels, the airport and the main cities in the country. The new Schuman-Josaphat rail link will also relieve the North-South rail link in Brussels.
New rail link for Brussels
The new Schuman-Josaphat railway runs between Brussels-Schuman station and the Halle-Vilvoorde railway line (Brussels Eastern orbital railway, line 26). This new railway line is completely underground and 1250 metres in length. The railway tunnel runs under Avenue de Cortenbergh and Place Jamblinne de Meux before connecting to the existing railway tunnel under Square Eugène Plasky.
A direct rail link saves time
The Schuman-Josaphat tunnel directly connects the European Quarter to Brussels Airport and major Belgian cities such as Antwerp, Mechelen, Leuven and Liège. The new railway infrastructure offers quicker access to Brussels and relieves the saturated North-South rail link in Brussels. The railway tunnel also perfectly complements the Diabolo railway line, inaugurated in June 2012. The Schuman-Josaphat tunnel reduces travel time between Ottignies and Brussels airport from 50 minutes to 30 minutes, as it is no longer necessary to change trains in Brussels-North.
Spectacular underground works
The construction of the Watermael-Schuman-Josaphat railway link is one of the biggest underground projects Brussels has ever seen. The site presented an extraordinary challenge to Beliris and our engineering firm TUC RAIL, which managed and implemented the railway equipment work.
The new railway tunnel was constructed completely underground without any open trenches, under one of the most densely populated areas in the country. The underground zone is extremely complex, as it is already used by the metro and a road tunnel. The workers dug a large section of the railway tunnel by hand. For the entire duration of the works, nearby homes were monitored 24 hours a day with measuring equipment to immediately detect any possible subsidence.
The new multi-modal Brussels-Schuman station
Brussels-Schuman station is an important travel link in Brussels. Brussels-Schuman is being completely modernised andtransformed into a multi-modal urban junction that seamlessly connects the railway and metro networks. The new station has three underground levels, all filled with ample natural light. The platforms are raised to make boarding easier.
The total cost of the works detailed above has come close to € 365 million. On top of this figure, € 266 million went towards laying four tracks between Watermael and Schuman stations.
Having invested € 537 million in the works (€ 33 million of which came from European grants), Infrabel has been the principal contributor to this project. Beliris has provided € 60 million, mostly allocated to the intermodal hub. Finally, Brussels Mobilitycontributed additional financing (€ 12 million from the Region) for improvements to the metro station and renovating the Loi tunnel.
Vital link for the Brussels Regional Express Network
The Schuman-Josaphat railway link is an integral part of the Brussels Regional Express Network. Infrabel aims to increase railway services in and around Brussels with the Regional Express Network. The five main axes into and out of Brussels will be expanded from 2 to 4 tracks within a 30 km radius of the capital. This increase in capacity will allow more frequent train services and greater convenience.