Creating a modern intermodal transport hub in Ghent
Audience: Urban Center
Topic: Collective passenger transport
Step in the SUMP cycle: Step 10: Manage implementation
Ghent-Sint-Pieters is a 100-year-old train station with 50 000 daily visitors. Because of an increase in the number of people using the station, it is being remodelled into a modern multimodal hub where travellers can comfortably and efficiently transfer to train, bus, tram or bicycle. The changes include a renewed station, an integrated tram and bus station, indoor bicycle parking for over 10 000 bicycles and underground parking.
Even though the modernisation of the train station will not be finished before 2024, some major results have already been achieved. For instance, increasing the capacity of the train station is realized without increasing the number of train tracks. By reducing the number of switches, increasing the number of tracks being used to Bruges and the coast and by adapting the tracks technically, trains can enter and leave the station at a higher speed. In addition, broadening and lengthening the platforms allows for larger trains.
As the modernisation is a highly complex task, it was difficult to provide a detailed advance schedule. Combined with the fact that the station needed to remain in operation, this has extended the completion date from 2020 to 2024. One of the main challenges was organising traffic flow as commuters, residents, public transport and construction traffic need to use the station. This problem was tackled by having bi-weekly meetings called ‘Minder Hinder’ (reducing nuisance) where signalling, changes and traffic consequences are discussed. The project may well be transferred to other countries and cities, but it has to be kept in mind that the realisation of similar projects requires several partners and a long preparation time. Early and continuous communication is vital and public participation is necessary to make the project acceptable to commuters and residents.