The most beautiful treasures of the Belgian railway are now gathered in one place – Schaerbeek Station. The SNCB (National Railway Company of Belgium) announced the opening of “Train World” on Monday – a new museum where it will be possible to admire around twenty examples of rolling stock, including the oldest preserved locomotive in Europe, which went into service in 1844.
The site was not chosen at random, since the municipality is situated on the historic railway line between Mechelen and Brussels, where the first steam train went into service in 1835, explains the SNCB. Previously dispersed across five locations throughout Belgium, this collection of steam trains, royal carriages and other historical objects has been gathered in a new, 8,000-square-metre space.
“The museum was designed to give the visitor a true railway experience. We have intentionally left as many of the engines as possible accessible to the public, including the cabs,” stated Pieter Jonckers, director of Train World.
The scenography of the museum was designed by Expoduo and François Schuiten, a Schaerbeek-based artist and railroad history enthusiast. He is the author of the graphic novel “12 La Douce”, published in 2012, which centres around “The Atlantic” (Type 12), a 1939 steam engine, and one of Train World’s main attractions.
Some 25 million euros have been invested in this tourist attraction. The entrance fee is 10 euros and the organisers hope to attract 100,000 visitors annually. Train World will open its doors to the public on Friday following an inauguration on Thursday which will be attended by King Philip. Further information can be found on www.trainworld.be.