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The HSL 1 is a Belgian high speed rail line which connects Brussels with the French border. 88 km long (71 km dedicated high-speed tracks, 17 km modernised lines), it began service on 14 December 1997.

The line has appreciably shortened rail journeys, the journey from Paris to Brussels now taking 1:22. In combination with the LGV Nord, it has also impacted international journeys to France and London, ensuring high-speed through-running by Eurostar, TGV, Thalys PBA and Thalys PBKA trainsets.

The total construction cost was €1.42 billion.


Trains leave Brussels-Midi station via the traditional line, which has been upgraded to support speeds of up to 220 km/h. At Forest the train passes the depot where inspections of Thalys and Eurostar trains may be carried out. At Halle (km 13) the TGV enters its own cut-and-cover section before crossing the Brussels-Charleroi canal; at km 17 the high speed line proper begins at the Lembeek Viaduct, supporting 300 km/h speeds.

Between Rebecq and Enghien the line parallels the A8 autoroute, separated by a security fence. At Enghien the line parallels the regular Brussels-Tournai line for approximately 10 km.

The maintenance depot "Le Coucou" is located near Ath. This station served as the operations base during the construction of the line (from 1993 to 1998) and currently serves as the maintenance depot for HSL 1. Slightly further on is the 2005 m long Arbre Viaduct (one of the longest rail viaducts in Europe) between Ath and Chièvres; it passes over the Ath-Blaton canal, the Dender River, the Mons road and the Ath-Jurbise railway.

At Antoing there is a connector to the Mons-Tournai line, used by the Thalys between Paris and Namur. After passing over the 483m Scheldt River Viaduct, and through the 365m Bruyelle cut-and-cover section, the line crosses the Belgian-French border at Wannehain, km 88. 11 km further on, the Fréthun triangle splits the LGV Nord towards Paris or Lille.

The French cabin signaling system TVM-430 has been installed on the HSL 1.

See also

External links

High-speed rail
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