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SNCB plans major overhaul for Ottignies station

Photo from SNCB

One of Wallonia’s busiest train stations will be getting a major overhaul to the tune of €83.3 million, according to the National Railway Company of Belgium (SNCB).

The SNCB board of directors recently approved the ambitious renovation project for the entire site of Ottignies station, including the plaza where the bus station is located.

Plans center around making the station “a multimodal hub that is comfortable, functional and sustainable, accessible to all travellers,” the company said in a press release.

“The new station will include parking for 600 bicycles and more than 1,000 cars, a new passenger building, a new footbridge, lifts, completely refurbished covered platforms and all the facilities needed to provide fully independent access for people with reduced mobility,” said SNCB.

They hope to finish the project entirely by 2030, meeting smaller goals along the way.

The passenger building, platform footbridge, platform roof and the area around the entrance, for example (which will be largely dedicated to the bus station), are expected to be finished by the end of 2025.

The most striking feature of the new station will be a curved glass roof of approximately 10,000 square metres, whose uniqueness SNCB says will give the station its identity.

Photo from SNCB

The Ottignies station was first opened in 1855 and the station building built in 1884 was designed by Belgian architect Charles Licot, who notably oversaw the restoration of Wallonia’s Villers Abbey, which was founded in 1146 and is considered part of Wallonia’s Major Heritage.

Every weekday prior to the coronavirus pandemic, more than 400 trains passed through Ottignies station between 4.50 a.m. and 11.51 p.m., carrying more than 22,000 passengers to Brussels, Louvain, Namur and Liège.

Infrabel and the SNCB started the redevelopment of the platforms in 2019, including revamping the flooring, canopies, shelters, seats and benches, lighting, waste bins, illuminated timetables and signage.

These renovations will take place from 2019 to 2029.