Published on August 19th, 2018 | by James Drew0
Train World, the showcase for the railways of yesterday, today and tomorrow, is the new tourist attraction in Brussels. The site is located a few minutes by train from Brussels Central station (near the Grand’Place).
Here you are able to admire the loveliest pieces from the collection of historical locomotives and carriages from the Belgian railways, but it also illustrates the significant role of the train in the mobility of today and in future. Train World is more than a museum: it will be an experience centre. An original scenography – designed by artist François Schuiten –provides an experience in which you can look, listen, touch and be surprised by scintillating stories from the world of trains.
The site, alongside the very first rail track on the European continent, comprises the renovated Schaerbeek station, where the ticket office is located, and a new 8,000 m² building. The ancient station building, from 1887, is one of the masterpieces of Belgian railway architecture and is a listed monument. A restaurant and a book & gift shop in the station completes the offering.
Something for everyone
There is much to discover at Train World! For instance, you can see the oldest preserved steam locomotive in Belgium, the “Pays de Waes”. Or the streamlined “Type 12” steam locomotive, which set the world speed record of 1939. You can admire the splendor of authentic royal carriages, or wander around in a stainless steel Trans-Europe Express (TEE) carriage – the predecessor of the high speed train – that once crisscrossed Europe. Feel like driving a train? Then have a go at one of the train simulators… or study the changing environment of railways from yesterday and today from a driver’s cabin.
There are also hundreds of objects from the world of trains, such as uniforms, paintings or models of trains and stations, together with an abundance of photos and film fragments. The presence of an authentic ‘gatekeepers house’ that has been included in the new building is also remarkable. It is furnished with decor from the 1950s and the attic contains a landscape with miniature trains. Schools and families with young children can enjoy a specific offering, with attention for the educational as well as playful aspects. Children can enjoy themselves on the ‘climbing train’, a half-buried steam locomotive.
Thanks to co-operation with train constructors, modern technology and future developments are also on offer. Examples of this are the three, life-sized train noses of the very newest trains.