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The HSL 3 is a Belgian high-speed rail line currently under construction which will connect Liège to the German border. 56 km long (42 km dedicated high-speed tracks, 14 km modernised lines), it is scheduled for completion by the end of 2006.

Together with the HSL 2 and HSL 1 to the French border, the combined eastward high speed line will greatly accelerate journeys between Brussels, Paris and Germany. HSL 3 will be used by Thalys and ICE trains as well as fast internal InterCity services.


Trains leave Liège by the modernised classic line, at speeds which progressively rise to 160 km/h. Chênée marks the beginning of the dedicated high-speed tracks; these are expected to accommodate speeds of between 220 and 250 km/h. The line crosses the Vesdre, then traverses a 6.2 km long tunnel between Vaux-sous-Chèvremont and Soumagne (see below for details).

The line then parallels the E40 motorway; shortly after the village of Walhorn, it passes under the E40 in a cut-and-cover section, and rejoins the regular line. Trains run on the modernised classic line at 160 km/h, pass over the Hammerbrücke viaduct (entirely reconstructed for the project), and cross the border 2 km further on.

Beyond the border, high-speed trains will travel along modernised existing rail lines to Aachen station. Trains will use left-hand running along this section (as in Belgium), switching over to right-hand running at Aachen.


At Liège, a completely new station is being constructed to accommodate Thalys and internal InterCity services. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, it will be covered by an immense glass vault, and will include a shopping centre.


The most interesting construction project is the 6505 m long tunnel at Soumagne, which will become the longest railway tunnel in Belgium. The bored section is 5940 m, extended by covered sections of respectively 177 and 388 m. Dozens of geological layers of differing hardness must be tunnelled through, lime layers needing to be blasted through with dynamite. The tunnel will reach a depth of 127 m in some areas; it will have an average ramp height of 1.7%, with a maximum of 2% at the mouth in Soumagne. The free space profile in the tunnel is approximately 69 m², which will restrict speeds to 200 km/h.

Digging of the tunnel began on 14 May 2001, and was scheduled for completion by August 2005.

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High-speed rail
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High-speed trains: Acela ExpressAdvanced Passenger TrainAVEChina Railway High-speedEurostarInterCity 225InterCityExpressJR-Maglev MLX01HSTHSR-350xKorea Train ExpressMagnetic levitation trainsPendolinoShinkansenTGVThalysTransrapidTreno Alta VelocitàX2000

High-speed lines: Beijing-TianjinCTRL (London-Channel Tunnel)Cologne-AachenCologne-Frankfurt
French LGV linesHanover-WürzburgNortheast Corridor (Boston-Washington DC)Nuremberg-IngolstadtHSL 1 (Brussels-Paris)
HSL 2 (Leuven-Ans)HSL 3 (Liège-Aachen)HSL 4 (Brussels-Netherlands)HSL-Zuid (Netherlands)
Japanese Shinkansen lines

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