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Liefkenshoek Rail Link

Currently the transport capacity of the Port of Antwerp is being expanded, something made necessary through the considerable growth in freight traffic since the opening of the Deurganck Docks. The construction of the Liefkenshoek railway link represents an essential part of this scheme, which is being produced by the Locorail N.V. with private capital as a PPP project. This company is made up of BAM PPP (Netherlands), CFE (Belgium) and Vinci Concessions (France). The contract awarded to Locorail constitutes a so-called DBFM contract (Design, Build, Finance and Maintain), which embraces the planning, construction and financing of the new railway tunnel as well as servicing it over a period of 38 years. The PPP contract foresees that the client Infrabel is allowed to use the structure for 38 years by paying an annual fee. After this period elapses ownership will be turned over entirely to Infrabel. The construction work for the Liefkenshoek rail link was awarded by Locorail N.V. to the Locobouw consortium. The contract embraces the building of a 16.2 km long twin-track railway route, for which 4.8 km of fills and 4.2 km of cuttings made by cut-and-cover and top cover are to be produced. Furthermore it relates to redeveloping the Beveren Tunnel and driving two new tunnel tubes below the Schelde and the Port of Antwerp. Roughly 7.6 km of the new route is located on a normal railway track (ballast) and approx. 8.6 km runs underground. In the cut-and-cover section two culverts, one railway underpassage and 2 road underpassages as well as an aqueduct are to be built. In the mined section the existing 1,200 m long Beveren Tunnel is to be renovated. ln addition a 560 m long connecting structure is to be produced using the diaphragm wall construction method, two parallel 5,950 m long tunnels bored, a 760 m long access ramp produced also involving diaphragm walls and a motorway underpass created. The two bored tunnels possess an internal diameter of 7.30 m and are to be driven by two hydro-shields with 8.32 m diameter. The driving operations will take place in quaternary sand and Boom clay. Seven evacuation shafts and 13 cross-passages are foreseen for the bored tunnels. Construction work began at the end of 2008 and is due to end in July 2013. From 2012 till 2014 the track building, signal and catenary line work will be undertaken so that the project can become operational in mid-2014.


  • Country: Belgium
  • Region: Antwerp
  • Tunnel utilization: Traffic
  • Type of utilization: Main-line rail
  • Client: lnfrabel (Belgium Railways operator)
  • Consulting Engineer: TucRail
  • Test Engineer: SECO
  • Construction Supervision: TucRail
  • Contractor: Locobouw JV: MBG, Belgium/Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau AG, NL Benelux/CEI-De Meyer, Belgium/Vinci Construction Grands Projets, France
  • Main construction method: Trenchless
  • Type of excavation: Shield machine (SM)
  • No. of tubes: 2
  • Tunnel total length: 12,000 m
  • Cross-section: 54.4 m² (bored diameter)
  • Contract Volume: 680 mill. Euro
  • Construction start/end: End of 2008 till mid-2013