Rail collision in Antwerp disrupts freight traffic

Rail freight transport within the port of Antwerp has been seriously disrupted due to a collision of a locomotive and a freight train at the entrance of the Liefkenshoek rail tunnel. This piece of infrastructure, also known as the Antigoon tunnel, connects the Antwerp Left Bank with the Antwerp-North marshalling yard on the Right Bank, and with the Belgian rail network.

The repair of the damage will take some time, at least a few days. The freight train that was hit carried several empty wagons and some of them fell off the rails. Rail infrastructure manager Infrabel has confirmed that the wagons were empty. However, one of the drivers has been injured.

Great hinder

It quickly became evident that rail transport will be hindered significantly by the obstruction. An estimated 80 per cent of the rail transport between the two banks of the Scheldt moves through the Antigoon tunnel. An additional complication is that the Lillo Bridge, another important rail freight link, was closed end of last year due to excessive wear.

Infrabel is investigating whether rail freight traffic in the port can be diverted. The old route via the Kennedy rail tunnel south of Antwerp could be an option. The route via the Liefkenshoek rail tunnel was built to servce as a faster alternative to that route.

Author: Rob Mackor

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