Tunnel is missing rail link between Belgium and France
Last Friday, a 33-meter-long tunnel has been moved across Avenue de l’Europe, a vital road artery in Aubange (South-East Belgium). It’s the missing link for a railway connection between Belgium and France.
Thanks to this connection, the Athus Terminal Container (TCA) can become an international hub for railway freight between Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. The tunnel part weighs 3 000 tons, and measures 33 meters in length, is 8,6 meters wide, and 9,2 meters in height.
The TCA is situated in Belgium but is very near to Luxembourg and France. One of the three European freight corridors, the Rail Freight Corridor North Sea-Mediterranean (RFC NSM) linking the port of Antwerp to the Mediterranean Sea, is nearby.
The doubled link with France allows serious traffic growth along this corridor, and can also link the Brussels-Namur-Arlon railway line to the French network.
Doubling freight volume
This link is essential for the railway freight companies to achieve their goal of doubling the freight volume between now and 2030. It is commonly accepted that rail transport is consuming six times less energy and producing nine times fewer emissions than road transport.
The total investment in this missing link ‘Athus-Mont-Saint-Martin’ is €20,2 million. Almost half of it (€9,2 million) comes from the Belgian railway infrastructure provider Infrabel. The Walloon region invests €5,1 million, and the rest comes from Europe and local partners.