Mechelen Railway Bypass almost completed, last piece for Belgian high-speed network
Belgian railway infrastructure manager Infrabel will carry out the finalising works on the Mechelen Railway Bypass in the upcoming weeks. On December 14th, operator NMBS will take the associated platforms 11 and 12 into service. The extra tracks and platforms should increase the capacity around Mechelen and it is an important infrastructure upgrade for the completion of the high-speed rail network in Belgium.
The Railway Bypass is a new ring track around the Belgian city of Mechelen of 3.2 kilometers long. It includes two additional tracks and two new platforms at the rear entrance of the station, which is covered with an arch structure and equipped with lifts and escalators for the travellers.
The Bypass connects to the Diabolo link, by which people can easily travel to Brussels Airport. The Rail Bypass will further optimize mobility to and from the Belgian capital and ensure a smoother flow on the strategic rail link Brussels – Mechelen – Antwerp – The Netherlands.
The Mechelen Rail Bypass is not only important for domestic, but also for international train traffic. This new infrastructure in Mechelen is the last missing piece of the puzzle for completing the high-speed network in Belgium, says Infrabel. In the future, after the platform tracks 7, 8, 9 and 10 have been completed, high-speed trains such as the Thalys, Eurostar, and Benelux will be able to travel at 160 kilometres per hour.
The project is the result of a collaboration between various parties, including Infrabel, TUC RAIL and Belgian National Railways NMBS. The construction works started in June 2013 and included the construction of the track bed, railway verges, retaining walls, foundations and the construction of six railway bridges. These works were completed in early 2018. After that, TUC RAIL started with the construction of the new rail infrastructure. For the construction of the rail bypass sound-absorbing rail pads were used to reduce noise of trains. Also, new platform tracks and new overhead lines were installed.
The final part of the Rail Bypass immediately marks the beginning of further renovation works. After 14 December, the transformation of the station itself will start, whereby platforms 1 to 10, among other things, will be gradually renovated.