BELGIAN infrastructure manager Infrabel has reached a key milestone in its €600m project to widen Line 50D between Ghent and Bruges from two to four tracks, with the completion of a third track on the 16km Bellem - Oostkamp section.

The new track will enter regular service at the start of summer 2024 timetable in early June.

Line 50D between Ghent and Bruges is the busiest on the Belgian national network, according to Infrabel, and is used by over 250 freight and passenger trains a day. It serves resorts on the Belgian coast, and carries freight to the ports of Ostend and Zeebrugge.

Four tracks have been in service between Ghent and Landegem since 2019, and are due to completed over the 38km between Ghent and Bruges in December 2027. Renewal of the existing tracks will follow, enabling full four-track operation to be introduced in December 2029.

The two new tracks for freight and local passenger services are being laid outside the existing double track, which will be used by Belgian National Railways (SNCB) inter-city (IC) passenger services. Other elements of the project include modification of the overhead electrification equipment and resignalling with ETCS.

Infrabel says that all seven stations between Ghent and Bruges line have been modernised, including rebuilding platforms to provide a higher boarding height and facilitate level access.

All 12 level crossings have already been replaced by three new overbridges, four tunnels beneath the railway for cyclists and pedestrians and one new road tunnel. Existing bridges have been modified to accommodate the two additional tracks.

The project is funded by the Belgian federal government and the European Union (EU)

“The construction of the third and fourth track is the largest railway construction project in Flanders and it is an important catalyst for mobility, modal shift and the economy,” says Infrabel CEO, Mr. Benoît Gilson.

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