More than 190 million tons of goods pass through the port of Antwerp annually. The Liefkenshoek rail tunnel was built to improve the accessibility of Europe’s second largest port. Heijmans subsidiary Van den Berg and Heijmans Civil were responsible for the safety installations and created an essential separation between people and sometimes dangerous goods.
The Belgian rail network manager Infrabel awarded the contract to Van den Berg for the design, realisation and the 15-year maintenance, including the supervision system for the railway tunnel.
Thanks to Heijmans Civil’s experience in designing technical tunnel installations, Van den Berg was able to win this contract. In cooperation with some partners, Van den Berg was able to hand over the installations according to planning.
Old and new
The Liefkenshoek railway connection is a combination of old and new. The existing, but never previously used Beveren tunnel (1200 m) was renovated, after which the newly built Liefkenshoek tunnel (two separate tubes each 6750 m) was linked to it.
The latest smart technologies are applied in the state-of-the-art installations. The automatic Gas and Fire Scenario System (GFRS) ensures safe and reliable functioning of all detection systems and controls the necessary fire-fighting means (ventilation, extinguishers, etc)
The Liefkenshoek rail link provides a better unlocking of the Antwerp-North station on the right bank of the port, where goods trains arrive, are combined and depart back inland. In doing so, the Waasland port on the left bank also achieves a higher import and export capacity by rail.