Photo courtesy of
light rail (le Vicinal)
Opened in 1887*, the Charleroi light rail (Métro
Léger) was originally part of the "Vicinal", an
interurban network of trams that covered Belgium like a spider web,
reportedly more than 5,000 km of tracks. The 4 line light rail section
of the tram network currently covers 35.2 km, including 9 underground
stations. From Pétria station, trams not
considered part of the subway continued on to the town of Anderlues. In 2012, the downtown loop was completed.
Originally intended to be a large underground loop, with many
"antennae" radiating from the loop, it is now just three quarters of a
loop with three antennae. Many doubt the MLP, the subway's operating
authority, will expand the line any further, let alone finish off the
abandoned above ground and underground stations that situnused
for decades due to lack of funds.
In July 2002, tram2000 reported that the regional government of Wallonie has decided
to complete the decade-long project of the Charleroi light metro. The
project was to be completed in 5 years, with a budget of EUR 76.5
We all know how well that went, but the extension plans ar still the same.
1) The circular route around the centre of Charleroi will be completed:
the route will surface just beyond Luxembourg to continue along the
Place Tirou to the river Sambre. This will be crossed by means of a
curved bridge, after which a private right of way will lead to the Gare
du Sud, following a stretch of old TEPCE/STIC route. The Sud terminus
will have to be rebuilt again.
2) The Gilly route will be extended to Soleilmont.
3) The Gosselies route, formerly route 62, will be reopened.
4) The Châtelet route will not be completed
The newest development for the Charleroi Metro occurred in 2013, brining an addition of 7.2 km of street running to a terminal at Faubourg de Brouxelles.
The Charleroi area also has a "TAU" (Transport Automatisé
Urbain) test track 5 km north in nearby Jumet. (see below). The
being developed by ACEC, a division of GEC Alsthom. From this design,
allegedly, came the hybrid light rail--guided-bus, or "light
braile", that now operates in Nancy, France.
Photo thanks to Guy Demeulder
Transit Gloria Mundi
has an excellent documentary about the Vicinal called Mines, Mills
* The subway section opened in 1981.
Build it and they won't come - the Charleroi light metro
Unofficial Vicinal Home Page
Youtube abondoned stations from Urbex
Metro lgere de Charlerois - abandonded
Schepdaal - The Vicinal
official home page!
ASVi - A rail museum running
trams between Lobbes and Thuin
The Tramways of Charleroi is one of my favourite sites. Make sure you
take the tour by clicking on the stations of the map.
The Lost Rail Vehicles of
Automatisé Urbain) photos from the ERS