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Belgium: Two NMBS/SNCB Class 18 electric locos leave Gent Sint-Pieters in

26 Sep 2021

Two NMBS/SNCB Class 18 electric locomotives (1824 Front / 1843 Rear) leave Gent Sint-Pieters station in "Top and Tail" formation working train IC439, the 1649 Welkenraedt to Kortrijk.
Clip recorded 4th October 2018.

The SNCB/NMBS HLE 18 (Siemens class ES60U3) are a series of four axle Bo′Bo′ multivoltage electric Siemens EuroSprinter locomotives ordered in two batches of sixty in 2006 and 2008.

The locomotives were supplied for use by SNCB/NMBS (Belgian national railways) on passenger services.

96 of the class form the HLE 18 class, 24 units fitted with an automatic central coupler form the SNCB HLE 19 class.

The locomotives were ordered to replace SNCB Class 13 and Class 27 locomotives on passenger intercity services.

Locomotive number 1860 was officially presented at InnoTrans in 2008. The first unit, number 1801 was transferred to the Velim railway test circuit for testing in December 2008.

On March 3, 2009, the first unit (roadnumber 1802) was officially delivered to SNCB/NMBS for test and homologation purpose. Homologation issues delayed commercial introduction (originally planned for the summer timeschedule - May 2011), as a result Siemens was obliged to pay the maximum amount of penalties (€ 21.12 million).

In July 2011 the first revenue earning Intercity services ran, under temporary approval. The type received homologation certification for use in Belgium in late 2011.
Gent-Sint-Pieters is the main railway station in Ghent, Belgium, and the third-busiest in Belgium, with 17.65 million passengers a year.

The origins of the railway station is a small station on the line Ghent-Ostend in 1881. At that time the main railway station of Ghent was the South railway station built in 1837. At the occasion of the 1913 world exhibition in Ghent, a new Sint-Pieters railway station was built. It was designed by architect Louis Cloquet and finished in 1912 just before the World Exhibition.

The station is built in an eclectic style with a long corridor dividing the building in its length which provides access to diverse facilities. A tunnel (designed by ir. P. Grondy) starting from the entrance hall provides access to the 12 platforms. This gives the station its cross-form design. The original waiting rooms for second and third class now serve as a buffet and restaurant.

The station was classified in 1995. In 1996 the station was renovated, with the renovation of the interior of the western wing completed in 1998.

In the middle of 2007 the project entered a new phase to make the station more customer-oriented. The work is planned to be completed by 2022. This eventually will lead to the removal of several period features that are not part of the classified main building, like the platform canopies, waiting rooms, and the tunnel by P. Grondy.

In 2007, the tower at the entrance of the station has been renovated. In 2008 a new glass canopy was placed at the main entrance. In 2010, the murals of the main entrance hall have been renovated.
Ghent is a city and a municipality in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province, and the second largest municipality in Belgium, after Antwerp.The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie and in the Late Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe, with some 50,000 people in 1300. It is a port and university city.

As one of the largest cities in Belgium, Ghent has a highly developed transport system. The municipality of Ghent comprises five railway stations:
Gent-Sint-Pieters Station: an international railway station with connections to Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp, Kortrijk, other Belgian towns and Lille. The station also offers a direct connection to Brussels Airport.
Gent-Dampoort Station: an intercity railway station with connections to Sint-Niklaas, Antwerp, Kortrijk and Eeklo.
Gentbrugge Station: a regional railway station in between the two main railway stations, Sint-Pieters and Dampoort.
Wondelgem Station: a regional railway station with connections to Eeklo once an hour.
Drongen Station: a regional railway station in the village of Drongen with connections to Bruges once an hour.

Ghent has an extensive network of public transport lines, operated by De Lijn.
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