Liefkenshoek rail link ready for service from 14.12.2014; a showpiece in infrastructure realisations in Antwerp

(Press release LocoRail and LocoBouw:) Antwerp, 9 December 2014 – Liefkenshoek rail link – a showpiece in infrastructure realisations in Antwerp – is ready for service from 14 December 2014.

The parties

LocoRail, an SPC set up to Design (D), Build (B), Finance (F) and Maintain (M) the PPP project Liefkenshoek rail tunnel, consists of CFE, Vinci Concessions and BAM PPP - PGGM and concluded in 2008 a DBFM contract with Infrabel, the infrastructure operator of the Belgian railway network.

The DB part of the contract was entrusted to the joint venture LocoBouw, consisting of MBG, CEI-De Meyer, Vinci Construction Grands Projets and Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau.

LocoRail organised the financing with the EIB (European Investment Bank) and six commercial banks: Bayern LB, Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten, BNP Paribas Fortis bank, ING, Banco Santander and Société Générale.

The DB works were started in late 2008 and ended in July 2013, perfectly according to the planning. The railway engineering works are now also completed.

Since January 2013, LocoRail has also started the maintenance of the infrastructure and installations and will continue this for 38 years in close consultation with Infrabel.

The project: a showpiece

The project creates an additional link between the left and right banks of the Port of Antwerp, and will meet the increase in freight transport resulting from the expansions of capacity of the port on the left bank of the River Scheldt.

The Liefkenshoek rail link project comprises the infrastructure and tunnel engineering installations for a complex 16.2 km connection, consisting of 4.27 km open and closed trench, the renovation of the existing Beveren rail tunnel, and a double bored tunnel of almost 6 km. The rail engineering installations were contracted out in separate lots, outside the DBFM contract.

The project is a showpiece, as regards both the PPP aspect and the constructional challenge.

The contract for its realisation was signed barely six years ago in the middle of a difficult economic period. The freight rail link was realised within a very tight planning and budget and featured some big technical challenges. For instance, it was necessary to drill at limited depth beneath the Kanaaldok and to install a protective slab for this, the Beveren Tunnel was renovated, enormous quantities of soil were shifted, all this in combination with high safety rules.

Key to success: integrated collaboration

It was the collaboration on all fronts that led to the true success of this project:


The partners’ great expertise and years of experience in tunnel drilling was a huge asset. Previously, they had together realised various high-speed train works for Infrabel and the major Diabolo Brussels Airport project. Naturally, this is an advantage in terms of communication and collective expertise. Within LocoBouw and LocoRail, the partners have a proportionate share, which supports the integrated approach.


Then there is the staff; hats off to those 600 people from over ten countries, who worked day and night as one integrated team to ensure that these complicated works were brought to a good conclusion.


The involvement of Infrabel, TUC RAIL and the constructive cooperation of all stakeholders, together with all the site personnel, resulted in the successful achievement of this unique public-private partnership.

Further information: Patrick Verswijvel,