Railway infrastructure manager Infrabel has opened the final link of the Belgian rail network that connects Brussels National Airport to major cities in France, the Netherlands and Germany.
The company has inaugurated the northern link of the Diabolo, an underground railway connection between Brussels and the dual-track railway line Schaerbeek-Mechelen.
The Antwerp to Brussels link is expected to attract an increase of 100,000 passengers every year to the airport. The news follows the commissioning of the eastern link in December 2005, which connects passengers in Liege, Limburg and Leuven.
Diabolo will now be directly connected to the high-speed network that links Brussels with Antwerp, Paris, Frankfurt and Liege.
The project has so far received almost €9.7 million in trans-European transport network (TEN-T) co-financing. Infrabel has also invested €388 million in the €678 million project.
European Commission vice-president in charge of transport Siim Kallas said: "I am delighted that this important project is becoming operational."
"It proves that the EU financial support to transport infrastructure generates further investment and employment and gives substantial benefits to citizens. With this new link we have created a more efficient intermodal hub at Brussels Airport."
The airport is currently accessible by a dead-end railway station, served by regional trains and local road networks, will help to improve accessibility and reduce congestion.
The next steps for Infrabel include the construction of a railway bypass by 2016 and a Watermael-Schuman-Josaphat railway tunnel by late 2015.