Ten million euros and 10 days to renovate Ottignies – Leuven line
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    Ten million euros and 10 days to renovate Ottignies – Leuven line

    © Belga
    © Belga

    From 6 to 16 April, trains are no longer running on the Ottignies-Leuven line (L139), an important freight corridor in Europe. Infrabel, which manages Belgium’s railway infrastructure, is replacing 36 kilometres of rail and completely renovating two level crossings at Wavre and Grez-Doiceau in Wallonia. On the Flemish section of the line, five railway points and six level crossings will be renovated, and 2.5 km of suspension cables will be laid down.

    Total investment for this project, which will mobilize 500 persons working around the clock, is 10 million euros.

    The works, which were planned for a year now, in collaboration with the Belgian railway utility, SNCB, and the different communities concerned, and include installing deviations near closed level crossings. The total closure of railway traffic on this section of the line allows Infrabel’s technical teams to work in all safety and without losing time. The school vacation period was chosen to minimize the inconvenience to passengers: shuttle buses have been provided along the Leuven – Ottignies route to replace the passenger trains.

    “These works are indispensable to maintain the safety and quality of this line that straddles the linguistic border and is on one of Europe’s main freight corridors,” Infrabel explained. “About 500 persons are being mobilized for nine days. The teams, which can count on reinforcements from neighbouring areas, work in three eight-hour shifts.”

    The line will be reopened on the 16th of April, but up to the 29th of April, travelers will have to factor in an adapted train service due to limited speed because of the work done. Moreover, further down the L139 line, Infrabel will be replacing rails on the Gembloux-Auxerre section during the same period.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times