The Ghost Tunnels of Antwerp’s Abandoned Premetro Line

antwerp-premetro-unused-abandoned-2 (All images by Martino Zegwaard (see full Flickr stream), reproduced with permission)

Charleroi isn’t the only Belgian city to boast an urban transportation line constructed in the 1980s and never used.┬áThe Antwerp Premetro tells a similar story, albeit a subterranean one, in which an underground tram tunnel connects the ghost station at Astrid to the city’s eastern suburbs. Due to lack of funds the track was never laid and seven unused stations were all but abandoned, their dormant subterranean passageways never to appear on Antwerp’s premetro map.

The first stretch of the Antwerp Premetro – a German concept by which metro-style tunnels were constructed beneath city centres, initially served by trams and later, in theory, upgraded to a full rapid transit system – opened in 1975. Further sections had opened incrementally by 2006.


But a further branch was tunneled during the 1980s in a bid to connect the premetro network to Antwerp’s east side. Two stations on the route, Opera and Astrid, are only partially-opened and still house disused platforms. But the rest of the branch remains trackless, its darkened tunnels home to more than half a dozen ghost stations.

In 2004 the Pegasus Plan approved the construction of the line to the eastern suburbs utilising stretches of the abandoned 1980s tunnels.


Zegel station is set to open in 2015. But a cheaper, above-ground extension to complete the Antwerp Premetro will ensure that seven underground facilities – Carnot, Drink, Collegelaan, Morckhoven, Foorplein, Sint-Willibrordus and Stuivenberg – will remain abandoned, ghost stations amid the city’s forgotten subterranea.


About the author: Tom





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