ICE to Frankfurt (2/3) (La gare de Liège-Guillemins (26/27) )
German (Deutsche Bahn) high speed international express (ICE) running between Belgium and Germany on the Brussels Midi - Frankfurt (Main) Hbf service, stopping at the new Liège-Guillemins (Wallonia, Belgium) station in the Frankfurt direction.
PLEASE NOTE: For copyright reasons, #26/27 in this Liège-Guillemins series can now only be viewed on request.
We were in Liège for a conference and were able to spend an hour or so wandering around this astonishing new station just before we took our own train to Brussels, to go home. It's worth a visit to Liège in its own right. Having passed through Liège on quite a few occasions over the years, it has been interesting to see the old station gradually being replaced by this new structure.
This view looks more or less N on the E side of the station,and shows how open the station is to the streets of the city. The platforms are above street level. The spectacular main canopy is out of sight here except in the far distance (L) where its arch can be seen sloping down to meet the northern upper concourse and footbridge. This structure is a mirror image of the nearer (southern) upper concourse and bridge. The arch of the canopy is parallel to the platforms, whereas traditionally station canopies arch at right angles to platforms. The architectural contrast with the traditional (19th century?) street, glimpsed in the distance through the side of the station, couldn't be greater. Strangely perhaps, in some views like this (upper part of photo), this station somehow also reminds me of Piranesi's surreal engravings in his Baroque Carceri ('Prisons'), in its visions of vaulted spaces ever receding beyond vaulted spaces.
Jill is on the upper concourse just above the train.
BACKGROUND NOTE ABOUT THE STATION
This is one of Europe's newest and most spectacular larger railway stations. It was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, and opened in 2009, to replace an older one, and to incorporate track alterations to accommodate international high speed train services. The architecture is best appreciated in the photos on the architect's own website (see above), but I've tried to capture it too in other photos in this series. On Google Satellite it appears as a large space-age blister.
According to the Eurail website, "With a maximum speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) these ICE high-speed trains connect major German cities at hourly intervals. Also, international ICE trains connect Germany with Austria (Wien, Innsbruck), Belgium (Brussels, Liège), Denmark (Copenhagen, Arhus), France (Paris), the Netherlands (Arnhem, Utrecht, Amsterdam) and Switzerland (Zürich, Interlaken)." Although the trains are a German service and brand, ICE stands for 'Inter-City Express' in English.
This set (Tz 4607) bears the city name Hannover and is a third generation ICE (Series/Baureihe ICE 3M : Siemens Velaro D, German Railway Class 407). This is the 11:14 departure for Frankfurt. A year later we travelled on this same set in the opposite direction from Köln to Brussels, and took some more photos of this station (here in this same set) from the train as we stopped at Liège-Guillemins.
On L in the distance is an electric multiple unit (EMU) of the Belgian Railways (SNCB / NMBS ) class AM 96 #350
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