Today sees the opening of the newly renovated central hall of the North station in Brussels, as the final stage of the works begins with the closure of the central passageway leading to the platforms. The station was built in 1952, with a monumental central hall which once housed the ticket windows, now moved elsewhere. According to reports, the hall now returns to the grandeur of its first days 66 years ago, with roof-high windows and the golden star which once adorned the wall above the ticket windows. The rail authority SNCB had planned to get rid of the star, arguing it no longer fits with the new station concept, but protests from admirers led them to change their plans.
Also today, the central passage will close for a thorough makeover. Access to trains will still be possible using the north and south passages, which were themselves renovated earlier. The closure will, however, affect the various businesses established in the passage, which include sandwich shops, coffee bars and a paper shop.
A new addition to the passage will be a lift connecting to the bus station on the lower floor. “In future, wheelchair users will be independently able to change from the bus to the train,” explained SNCB spokesperson Dimitri Temmerman.
Another lift will connect to the car park under the station, due to open later this year. Drivers will be able to pick up and drop off train passengers from the car park.
Renovations began in September 2014, and have seen the arrival of a new shopping gallery and improved bicycle parking facilities.