Brussels Metro

The Brussels Metro (French: Métro de Bruxelles, Dutch: Brusselse metro) is a rapid transit system serving a large part of the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. It consists of four conventional metro lines and three premetro lines. The metro-grade lines are M1, M2, M5, and M6[1] with some shared sections, covering a total of 39.9 kilometres (24.8 mi),[1] with 59[citation needed] metro-only stations. The Brussels premetro network consists of three tram lines (T3, T4, and T7) that partly travel over underground sections that were intended to be eventually converted into metro lines.[5] Underground stations in the premetro network use the same design as metro stations. A few short underground tramway sections exist, so there is a total of 52.0 kilometres (32.3 mi) of underground metro and tram network.[1] There are a total of 69 metro and premetro stations as of 2011.[1]

Public rapid-transit system serving the Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium
Brussels Metro

Brussels Metro train (M6 “Boa” series) at Erasme/Erasmus metro station
Overview
Native name Métro de Bruxelles  (French)
Brusselse metro  (Dutch)
Locale Brussels-Capital Region
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 4 metro lines (M1, M2, M5, M6)[1]
3 premetro lines (T3, T4, T7)
Number of stations 59 (metro only)
69[1] (with premetro)
Annual ridership 138.3 million (2013)[2]
Website STIB/MIVB
Operation
Began operation 20 September 1976; 45 years ago (1976-09-20)[3]
Operator(s) STIB/MIVB
Number of vehicles 66[4]
Technical
System length 39.9 km (24.8 mi) (metro only)[1]
55.7 km (34.6 mi) (with premetro)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (

4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge

Electrification 900 V DC third rail
System map

Most of the common section of the first two metro lines (between De Brouckère metro station and Schuman station) was inaugurated on 17 December 1969 as premetro[6] tramways, converted in 1976 to the first two lines of the metro, then considered as one line with two branches, between De Brouckère and Tomberg and De Brouckère and Beaulieu.[3] The metro is administered by STIB/MIVB (French: Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles, Dutch: Maatschappij voor het Intercommunaal Vervoer te Brussel). In 2011, the metro was used for 125.8 million journeys,[7] and it was used for 138.3 million journeys in 2012.[2] The metro is an important means of transport, connecting with six railway stations of the National Railway Company of Belgium, and many tram and bus stops operated by STIB/MIVB, and with FlemishDe Lijn and WalloonTEC bus stops.

On 22 March 2016, Maelbeek metro station was bombed, killing about 20 people and injuring 106. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility.

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Development of the Brussels metro up to 2006

STIB/MIVB was created in 1954. The first underground tramway (or premetro) line was built between 1965 and 1969, from Schuman to De Brouckère. In 1970, a second line was opened, between Madou and Porte de Namur/Naamsepoort. An underground station at Diamant was opened in 1972 and the “outer ring” line was extended from Diamant to Boileau in 1975. This underground tramway section has not been developed further, and it is used by tramway lines 7 and 25. Rogier station was inaugurated in 1974.

On 20 September 1976, the first metro opened. One branch went from De Brouckère to Beaulieu (in Auderghem), and the other one linked De Brouckère with Tomberg (in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert). The same year, the North-South Axis (premetro) was opened between the North Station and Lemonnier. In 1977, two new stations were built; Sainte-Catherine/Sint-Katelijne, which replaced De Brouckère as the last stop in the municipality of Brussels, and Demey, which replaced Beaulieu as the last stop of the southern branch.

The next extension was the opening of stations in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (Beekkant, the new terminus, Etangs Noirs/Zwarte Vijvers and Comte de Flandre/Graaf van Vlaanderen). In 1982, line 1 was split into line 1A from Bockstael (in Laeken, a former municipality now merged with Brussels) to Demey (Auderghem) and line 1B from Saint-Guidon/Sint-Guido (in Anderlecht) to Alma (at the Université catholique de Louvain campus in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert). Three years later, line 1A was extended to Heysel/Heizel (near the site of the 1958 World’s Fair and the Heysel Stadium) at one end and to Herrmann-Debroux at the other. That year also saw the opening of Veeweyde/Veeweide on line 1B, and Louise/Louiza on the premetro line under the small ring (from Louise/Louiza to Rogier).

This line was extended to Simonis the next year and opened as metro line 2 in 1988, from Simonis to the South Station. Crainhem/Kraainem and Stockel/Stokkel also opened that year[8] on line 1B. At the other end of this line, Bizet opened in 1992. It was then the turn of line 2 to reach Clemenceau in 1993. The premetro section known as the North-South Axis, sometimes referred to as line 3, was extended to Albert that year with five new premetro stations (South Station, Porte de Hal/Hallepoort, Parvis de Saint-Gilles/Sint-Gillis Voorplein, Horta and Albert).

In 1998, Roi Baudouin/King Boudewijn opened on line 1A. Four stations opened in 2003 on line 1B; La Roue/Het Rad, CERIA/COOVI, Eddy Merckx, and Erasme/Erasmus.[9] With the opening of Delacroix in September 2006, line 2 was extended beyond Clemenceau. A further extension to Gare de l’Ouest/Weststation in April 2009 closed the loop of line 2 and led to a major restructuring of metro service.

On 22 March 2016, the Islamic State bombed Maalbeek/Maelbeek metro station in a terrorist attack that coincided with another bomb attack at Brussels Airport. The bombing at Maalbeek station killed twenty people. The incident prompted the temporary closure of the entire system, and a major reduction in service for several weeks. A fundamental review of security procedures on the metro is underway as of 2016.[10]

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