Light rail subway, dead project, tram in planning
This site (now dead) claimed a 22.8 km light rail subway under construction. The Book Metros der Welt ((Transpress Verlag, 1992, in German) also reported a subway in Liege, showing a photo of a train on a test track and a tunnel station. Investigation indicates that in the late 80's, there was a premetro project in Liege that was underway. A tunnel was partially built. This is all we know for certain. There is no evidence of either trams or subways on the Liege transport website.
In 2012, tenders were invited by Wallonia Regional Transport for a 12.5 km, 21 station tram line. Some think they are just a bunch of Walloons, while others believe the project will bring Liege it's first tram line.
Société de transport en commun
Rue du Bassin, 119
4030 LIEGE BELGIUM
Tél : + 32.4.361.91.11
Which scenario is most likely? Read below and decide for yourself when contemplating this Atlantis of Metros!
Photo courtesy Guy Demeulder
One person claims the tunnel section was part of a test track in Jumet (see above photo), the start of a 16 km, 27 station north-south line from Licour/Herstal to Jemeppe using a VAL-like system known as the T.A.U.. The trains now reside in a transport museum in Natalis, patiently awaiting the day they may rise to the glory they were cheated of.
Other messages from the alt.misc.urban-transport newsgroup indicate a somewhat different scenario:
"There was going to be a subway in Liege, based on system similar to the VAL in Lille. But the project got scrapped. A few hundreds of meter of tunnel were built though, and subsequently never put to use..." - Krist
"One little known item of information is that there really is a tram inside the Liège tunnels, and it has been there for many years. The body of SNCV autorail AR.6 (series AR.5-10, Carel et Fouché/De Dion Bouton, 1929) is stored inside the tunnel at St-Léonard,awaiting restoration."
third scenario also exists. According to the tram museum
site, a premetro existed with a tunnel section, where rolling
stock built in 1935 actually said "subway" on them. The line, which
extended to Jemeppe closed in 1967. Then, when the TAU began testing in
Jumet, near Hainault, a second the tunnel, complete with station, was
built as part of the test track.