Antwerp Central Station
Antwerp Central Station Reviews
antwerp central station Feb 20, 2009
is the name of the main railway station in the Belgian city of Antwerp. The station is operated by the national railway company NMBS/SNCB.
The original station building was constructed between 1895 and 1905 as a replacement for the original terminus of the Brussels-Mechelen-Antwerp Railway. The stone clad terminus buildings, with a vast dome above the waiting room hall were designed by Louis Delacenserie and the vast (185 metres long and 44 metres high) iron and glass trainshed by Clement van Bogaert. The viaduct into the station is also a notable structure designed by local architect Jan Van Asperen.
The station is now widely regarded as the finest example of railway architecture in Belgium, although the extraordinary eclecticism of the influences on Delacenserie's design had led to a difficulty in assigning it to a particular architectural style. In W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz an ability to appreciate the full range of the styles that might have influenced Delacensiere is used to demonstrate the brilliance of the fictional architectural historian who is the novel's protagonist.
Since 1998 large-scale reconstruction work has been under way to convert the station from a terminus to a through station. A new tunnel has been excavated between Berchem station in the south of the city and Antwerpen-Dam station in the north, passing under Central station, with platforms on two underground levels. This will allow HSL 4 and HSL-Zuid high-speed trains to travel through Antwerp Central without the need to turn around (the previous layout obliged Amsterdam-Brussels trains to call only at Berchem or reverse at Central). The station now has four levels and 14 tracks:
* level +1 (the original station) has 6 terminating tracks, arranged as two groups of three and separated by a central opening allowing views of the lower levels
* level 0 houses ticketing facilities and commercial space
* level −1 (7 meters below road level) has 4 terminating tracks, arranged in two pairs
* level −2 (18 meters below road level) also has 4 tracks, the two central tracks leading to the tunnel under the city (used by high-speed trains and fast domestic InterCity services)
The major elements of the construction project are now complete, and the first through trains ran on 25 March 2007. Through high speed services are anticipated to begin in December 2008.
This complete project has cost approximately 1.6 billion euro.
In February 2009, the American newspaper 'Newsweek' found that the station deserved a 4th place as world's most beautiful station.
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