King Albert II inaugurated the new Diabolo railway structure in the presence of several Ministers, the CEOs of the project partners and numerous guests. Brussels Airport will be easier to reach by rail thanks to the northern railway access from June 10th onwards.
Festive inauguration by King Albert II and the Diabolo partners
H.M. King Albert II inaugurated the new Diabolo railway infrastructure during the days festivities. The King arrived at the refurbished Brussels-National-Airport station through the railway tunnels aboard a special train. The Diabolo was then symbolically opened after a visual spectacle and a push on the button.
The event was attended among others by Prime Minister Elio di Rupo, Minister for Public Enterprises Paul Magnette, Secretary of State for Mobility Melchior Wathelet, several mayors and politicians, a few hundred guests, numerous employees of the project partners and dozens of journalists from Belgium and abroad.
The CEOs and representatives of the various project partners also attended the event (Bert Hofstee of Northern Diabolo NV, Luc Lallemand of Infrabel, Marc Descheemaecker of SNCB, Jannie Haek of SNCB-Holding, Franck Gervais of Thalys, Arnaud Feist of The Brussels Airport Company, Dirk Demuynck of TUC RAIL, Johan Mignon of THV DIALINK, Herwig Persoons of Eurostation and representatives of the European Union).
Diabolo: a faster and direct railway connection
Diabolo is the brand-new railway connection between Brussels-National-Airport station and the new Schaerbeek – Mechelen line (line 25N) on the central reservation of the E 19 motorway. Thanks to this northern railway access Brussels Airport is now connected to the major routes of the Belgian railway network and various European cities to become one of the best served airports by rail in Europe and the world.
At present - during week days – the airport is serviced directly by four hourly connections from Brussels and two from Leuven. As from December 2012, the airport will be serviced by a total of eight direct connections, significantly increasing the options available to the traveller.
As from June 2012, during week days, the existing connections will be reinforced by a direct InterCity - train from Antwerp (which also calls at Mechelen station) and an IR-train connecting the airport to Mechelen. Starting in December 2012, a second direct connection will link Antwerp to the airport, via extending the abovementioned IR-connection to the port city. Passengers travelling from Antwerp will reach the airport in just over 30 minutes (effectively cutting the duration of the trip in half).
In practical terms, Diabolo will provide Thalys and rail travellers with direct, high speed access to Bruxelles-Midi station, Paris, Liège, Cologne, Amsterdam, etc.
Diabolo is the first public-private partnership for the Belgian railways and represents a total investment of 678 miljoen euros (at 2012 price level), and includes works financed with private investment (Northern Diabolo NV) in the PPP as well as with public investment (Infrabel).