Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Netherlands to Belgium: Liège-Guillemins and Maastricht

From Netherlands it is easy to travel to neighbouring countries, today I'm travelling to Liège-Guillemins train station in Belgium. That station is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world, so I have to find out if it's true.
 From Utrecht I'm taking NS Intercity train to Maastricht.
 In Netherlands, it is basically only 2 types of trains, Intercity and Sprinter. Here is one Sprinter train. The difference, is that Sprinter stops at all stations, while the Intercity stops at fewer stations.
 Cargo trains are also present here.
 NS VIRM train manufactured by a company called De Dietricht, which was later acquired by Alstom. The trains were delivered between 1994 and 2008.
The last stop is Maastricht. The trains are operated with high frequency in Netherlands, so in case one misses a train, does not have to wait long time until the next one, which is very different from Sweden.

 In Maastricht, the ticket machine for Belgian railways is present.
 Despite most lines is operated by state owned NS, there are other train companies present here too.
 Veolia is operating here the line between Maastricht and Heerlen.
 This train model is called Stadler Velios GTW. Famous dutch celebrities are painted on each train, here is Beppie Kraft.
 Inside the main hall of Maastricht station.

 Maastricht city centre.

 Dutch beer is good and well known.
 Sint Servaasbrug bridge.
 From Maastricht the Belgian regional train is taking me to Liege.

 Liège is a railway town connecting Brussels and Köln in Germany. High speed trains are passing here.
 Both Thalys and ICE trains are operating here. Thalys was created 1993 by French SNCF, Belgian SNCB, Dutch NS and German DB to operate a transnational railway service from Germany/Netherlands through Belgium to France. The decision was made at the same time as building the high speed railways in these countries.
 In Liege, the Thalys service is operating a service from Essen/Köln in Germany to Paris.
 This train is Thalys PBKA and it is a derived version from French TGV high speed train manufactured by Alstom. The train was build 1998, and it can reach speed of 300km/h.
 The new Liège-Guillemins railway station was build 2009 by Catalan neofuturistic architect Santiago Calatrava. He is famous for many buildings, among others the Turning Torso skyscrape in Malmö.
 The building is amazing, it is for sure one of the most beautiful train stations I have seen.

 An ICE train is arriving.

 Thalys to Essen Hbf.
 The station from outside.
 Heading back to Netherlands.
 The last stop in Belgium.

 NS ICM (Intercity Materieel) is another type and older type of Intercity trains in Netherlands, it was build in the early 1980's.
 Eindhoven station.
 Eindhoven city centre.
 Bike garage.

 The river Waal, which is the main distributary branch of the river Rhine through Netherlands.
 The Betuweroute is one of the newest railway lines in Netherlands opened 2007, but it is only used for freight traffic connecting Germany with port of Rotterdam. The built of this railway was criticised in Netherlands due to high cost and the competition with river barge transport.
 Here is one of the cargo trains coming from Betuweroute.
 Back to Utrecht.

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