Construction of Liefkenshoek rail tunnel completed

Publication date: 
03 Sep 2013

Construction work on the Liefkenshoek rail tunnel has now been completed, and Infrabel (the Belgian track operator) is now installing the rail equipment. This means the project is on schedule for the new goods line between the right and left banks of the Scheldt to begin operation in September 2014.

The Liefkenshoek rail link is 16.2 km long and includes some 6 km of tunnels under the Scheldt and the Canal dock, making them the longest rail tunnels in Belgium. The new link will greatly facilitate freight movements between the Deurganck dock and the Waasland port area on the left bank and Antwerp North marshalling yard on the right bank, as trains will no longer have to go the long way round via the Kennedy tunnel, Antwerp-Berchem and Antwerp-Schijnpoort.

Construction work on the Liefkenshoek rail tunnel began in 2008 and ended in the past month. Infrabel is now laying the track and installing the signalling equipment and overhead lines. The rail systems from the South Fan to the Beveren rail tunnel on the left bank are now practically completed, and work is continuing in the newly completed tunnel tubes on the right bank. The new rail infrastructure will undergo exhaustive testing as of the spring of 2014 so that the freight line can begin operation in September of that year.

  Antwerp is one of the largest rail ports in Europe, with some 250 freight trains passing through it every day. This volume is expected to rise sharply in future thanks among other things to the development of distributed transport within the port itself. The objective is to raise the proportion of rail transport in the port of Antwerp from the current level of 10% to 15% by 2030.