Liège / Luik / Lüttich
(Highest position on Explore: #244 on Sunday, March 14, 2010)
Station / Gare Liège-Guillemins is the main station of the city of Liège, in eastern Belgium. It is one of the most important hubs in the country and is on the high-speed train network. The station is used by 36,000 people every day.
In 1838, only three years after the first continental railway, a line linking Brussels and Ans, in the northern suburbs of Liège, was opened. The first train station of Liège-Guillemins was inaugurated in May 1842, linking the valley to the upper Ans station. In 1843, the first international railway connection was born, linking Liège to Aachen and Cologne.
The station was modernized and improved in 1882 and in 1905 for the World Fair in Liège. This station was replaced in 1958 by a modern (for that time) one that was used until June 2009, a few months before the opening of the new Calatrava designed station.
The new station by the architect Santiago Calatrava has now been openend. It has 9 tracks and 5 platforms (three of 450m and two of 350m). All the tracks around the station have been modernized to allow high speed arrival and departure.
The new station is made of steel, glass and white concrete. It includes a monumental dome, 200 meters long and 35 metres high. The building costs were € 312 million. The station was officially opened on September 18 2009 with a show by Franco Dragone.