Reflections on the railway

Antwerpen-Centraal (Antwerp Central) is the main railway station in the Belgian city of Antwerp, Belgium 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. 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. This complete project has cost approximately 1.6 billion euro.

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