Thalys - Liège-Guillemins Station
Sobre Thalys - About Thalys
O Thalys é uma rede de comboios de alta velocidade construída em redor da linha de alta-velocidade entre Paris, Bruxelas, Colônia e Amsterdã. Esta linha é partilhada com os comboios da Eurostar que vão de Paris ou Bruxelas para Londres via Lille, pelo Eurotúnel e pelos comboios TGV da rede francesa.
O sistema é servido por dois modelos de comboios, o PBA e o PBKA, ambos pertencentes à família de comboios de alta velocidade TGV (train à grande vitesse), construídos pela Alstom na França, apesar de não serem muito parecidos com os TGV das linhas nacionais.
Thalys is an international high-speed train operator originally built around the high-speed line between Paris and Brussels. This track is shared with Eurostar trains that go from Paris or Brussels to London via Lille and the Channel Tunnel and with French domestic TGV trains. Thalys reaches Amsterdam and Cologne, and its system is operated by Thalys International. Its capital is divided up between SNCF (62%), NMBS/SNCB (28%) and Deutsche Bahn (10%).
The decision to build a high-speed railway between Paris, Brussels, Cologne and Amsterdam was made in 1987. On 28 January 1993, SNCF, NMBS/SNCB, NS and DB signed an agreement to jointly operate the axis through the brand Thalys, and in 1995 Westrail International was created by the French and Belgium national railways to operate the services. On 4 June 1996 the first train left Paris, taking 2:07 hours to Brussels and 4:47 hours to Amsterdam.
On 14 December 1997 the LGV Nord and HSL 1 lines opened, allowing the travel time from Paris to Brussels to be reduced to 1:25 hours. At the same time service commenced to Cologne and Aachen in Germany, and Bruges, Charleroi, Ghent, Mons, Namur and Ostend in Belgium. On 19 December 1998 the Thalys Neige service started to the ski resorts of Tarentaise Valley and Bourg St. Maurice. In May 1999, the new high-speed line serving Charles de Gaulle Airport opened, and Thalys started direct services from the Airport to Brussels, including code sharing agreements with Air France, American Airlines and Northwest Airlines. On 28 November 1999, the company changed its name to Thalys International. In 2000, the Thalys Soleil started services to the summer resort Valence—this service was extended in 2002 to Marseille and Avignon. In 2003, services started to Brussels International Airport and the Thalys Nuits d’Eté service to Marne-la-Vallée. Deutsche Bahn purchased 10% of the company in 2007. From 14 June 2009 nineteen minutes will be shaved off the journey time between Brussels and Cologne when a new high speed line (HSL 3) between Liège and the German border is opened. The new high-speed line will initially only be used by Deutsche Bahn's thrice-daily ICE trains running between Brussels and Frankfurt. Although HSL 3 was completed in 2007 Thalys trains have not so far been equipped with the modern signalling equipment necessary to use the new line. As a result Thalys trains will not use the new link until December 13, 2009 — once the necessary radio links have been installed. For this same reason, Thalys will not use the HSL 4/HSL-Zuid high-speed line between Antwerp and Amsterdam until December 2009.
About the Liège-Guillemins Station
Liège-Guillemins train station 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.
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 metres long and 35 metres high. The building costs were € 312 million. The station was officially opened on September 18th with a show by Franco Dragone.
In addition to the national traffic, Liège-Guillemins station welcomes Thalys and ICE trains, connecting Liège to Brussels, Paris, Aachen, Cologne and Frankfurt. Two new dedicated high-speed tracks have been built : HSL 2 (Brussels-Liège) and HSL 3 (Liège-German border).
There are also plans for Eurostar and ICE to link directly Liège to London
Liège-Guillemins is also a transportation hub for TEC Bus: more than 1,620 buses carrying 15,000 people serve the station everyday. It is one of the rare train station in Europe directly connected to the highway network (E40-E25).