Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Brussels Metro

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Transit type  Rapid transit
Annual ridership  138.3 million (2013)
Brussels Metro
Native name  Brusselse metro Métro de Bruxelles
Locale  Brussels-Capital Region
Number of lines  4 metro lines (M1,M2,M5,M6) 3 premetro lines (T3,T4,T7)
Number of stations  59 (metro only) 69 (w/ premetro)

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 with some shared sections, covering a total of 39.9 kilometres (24.8 mi), with 59 metro-only stations. The 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. 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. There are a total of 69 metro and premetro stations as of 2011.


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 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. 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, and it was used for 138.3 million journeys in 2012. 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 Flemish De Lijn and Walloon TEC 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) have claimed responsibility.


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 (near the site of the 1958 World Fair and the Heysel Stadium) at one end and to Herrmann-Debroux at the other. That year also saw the opening of Veeweyde 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. Kraainem/Crainhem and Stockel/Stokkel opened in 1988 on the 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. 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 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.

Lines and stations

There are four conventional metro lines, and as of 2008 59 stations (not including premetro stations). Most stations are underground though some on lines 5 and 6 are at ground level. On 4 April 2009, the connection at Gare de l'Ouest/Weststation that enables line 2 to form a circular line was put into service. As a consequence, the metro network was significantly reorganised. The development plan for this change and related tram and bus network changes was approved by the Brussels Capital Region in July 2005.

As of 4 April 2009 the four lines are as follows:

  • Line 1 from Gare de l'Ouest/Weststation to the west to Stockel/Stokkel at the east end (formerly part of line 1B);
  • Line 2 is a loop starting and ending in Simonis via the eastern side of the small ring road (an extension of former line 2 from Delacroix north-bound to Simonis);
  • Line 5 from Erasme/Erasmus to the south-west to Herrmann-Debroux to the south-east (combines parts of former lines 1A and 1B);
  • Line 6 from Roi Baudouin/Koning Boudewijn to the north-west to Simonis (including the loop of the newly extended line 2; combines the former line 2, the new connection, and a branch of the former line 1A).
  • Premetro

    Line 3 and Line 4 are tram lines using the North-South Axis tunnel which crosses the city center from Brussels-North railway station to Brussels-South railway station and Albert premetro station. Line 3 runs from Churchill in the south to Esplanade in the north. Line 4 runs from Brussels-North railway station to the Stalle car park in the south.

    Line 7 is the main line of the greater ring, replacing Tram 23 and Tram 24 as of 14 March 2011. It services the Heysel/Heizel, runs under the Laeken Parc and then via the greater ring to the terminus of Line 3 to terminate one stop later at Vanderkindere for connections to tram lines 3, 4 and 92.


    MoBIB is the STIB/MIVB smart card, introduced in 2007. It uses contactless technology based on the Calypso-system, comparable with London's Oyster card. All Metro stations, buses and trams have MoBIB readers. It is possible to buy monthly passes, yearly passes, 1 and 10-trip tickets and daily and 3-day passes. Customers cannot buy these on the Internet except the yearly pass. GO vending machines accept coins, local and international chip and PIN credit and debit cards.

    Rolling stock

    The Brussels Metro is served by 217 carriages of M1-M5 series, manufactured by La Brugeoise et Nivelles, ACEC, Bombardier Transportation, Alstom and CAF and delivered between 1976 and 1999, as well as 21 six-car trainsets of the new M6 series (also known as "Boa"), manufactured by CAF and delivered between 2007 and 2012. A new train type known as M7 series will be commissioned on lines 1 and 5 in 2018 and will be fully automated.


    The STIB/MIVB had plans to make lines 1 and 5 fully automatic by 2016 which would have allowed a significant increase in the frequency of trains.

    A new metro line will be created from Brussels-North railway station through Schaerbeek towards Bordet railway station. The plan was finally approved in 2013, aiming to start construction in 2018 and operation in 2022. Eventually, this would be linked up with a new southbound line to Uccle (Héros/Helden), which will not be finished before 2025. At this moment, the axis of lines 3 and 4 is being transformed in a new metroline 3. For this, the existing stations will be upgraded. The present station Lemonnier though will be replaced with a new station Constitution/Grondwet.

    In 2004, STIB/MIVB commissioned a planning document called STIB/MIVB 2020. More suggestions were made as to future plans, but these will not be enacted before completion of the north- and southbound lines. One suggestion included the construction of a new branch from Merode to Troon via Brussels-Luxembourg Station. This would help to relieve congestion on the central parts of Line 1/5. There may be a further metro line running south-west from Brussels-Luxembourg Station to Ixelles, the Chaussée de Waterloo/Waterloosesteenweg, and the Place Vanderkindereplein. Brussels-Luxembourg Station would become one of the major transfer points of the metro. The plan also hopes to make the railway stations more inter-connected, allowing for easier transfers from Brussels-South railway station, Schuman station, and Luxembourg.

    The metro will be complemented by an RER network serving the broader metropolitan region. This is scheduled to begin operations in 2025 (from 2012 in the conception phase), and should help make the railway stations of the city more inter-connected, allowing for easier transfers between them.


    Brussels Metro Wikipedia

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