Over the past decade, Belgium's rail company SNCB sold 59 of its stations across the country, including 15 in the past year alone, La Dernière Heure reports.
“Some have lost their usefulness over time,” said Marianne Hiernaux, spokesperson for the railway company. “The SNCB is therefore selling various buildings which it no longer needs for its public service. The objective is to give these characterful buildings a second life.”
Indeed, some buildings once owned by the SNCB have made their way onto auction sites listed as commercial property. SNCB has its own website dedicated to selling off its old buildings. Currently up for grabs are: stretches of land, period station buildings, and even old depot buildings.
“Contracts are systematically made with the local authorities in order to draw up reconversions which can integrate with the needs of the locality. The condition of our decision is that the station and its environment must be made as much of a living space as possible. A station should not be a place disconnected from daily affairs and must be integrated into its environment,” the spokesperson added.
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Old buildings that have been sold in sites such as Uccle, Graide, Quaregnon, Tilleur, Sclaigneaux, Lebbeke, Balen, Pieton, and Beervelde. An additional two station buildings – one at Hamoir for €138,000 and another in Jemeppe-sur-Sambre for €159,000 – are still up for grabs.
Ten more station buildings will go up for sale this year. This includes stations at Bornem, Erquelinnes, Florenville, Manage, Melreux-Hotton, Moustier, Poulseur, Quiévrain, Temse, and Willebroek.