Liège Transportation

  • Transportation
    by BillNJ
  • Transportation
    by BillNJ
  • Transportation
    by BillNJ

Most Recent Transportation in Liège

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Old trams in the transport museum

    by Nemorino Updated Jun 21, 2014

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    1. La motrice 43
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    Like most cities, Liège made the mistake of phasing out its extensive tramway system in the second half of the twentieth century. Fortunately some of the old trams (aka streetcars) were saved and are now on display at the Museum of Public Transport.

    Now, in the twenty-first century, planning is well underway to construct a completely new tram system in Liège, following the example of numerous French cities which have installed swift, modern tramway systems in recent decades. (See my Strasbourg, Lyon and Paris transportation tips for examples of these.)

    Second photo: Tram number 366.

    Third photo: A green tram with first and second class sections.

    Fourth photo: La motrice 193, the white tram from line number 4, went into service in the year 1930.

    Fifth photo: The museum in the old tram garage.

    Rue Richard Heintz, 9 - 4020 Liège
    GPS 50°37'42.46" North; 5°35'0.77" East

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    Museum of Public Transport

    by Nemorino Updated Jun 21, 2014

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    1. The Transport Museum at dusk
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    The French name of this museum is Musée des Transport en commun du Pays de Liège. It is located in the old tram depot in the district of Vennes-Fétinne.

    The museum includes public transport vehicles from two centuries, starting with a horse-drawn stage-coach (diligence) and including horse-drawn trams, electric trams, buses and trolleybuses. When I was there in 2001 they also had a temporary exhibit called “5000 years of the history of the wheel” in cooperation with the archeological museum and the Museum of Wallonian Life.

    The transport museum is open nine months a year, from March 1 to November 30, from 10:00 to 12:00 in the mornings and from 13:30 to 17:00 in the afternoons. On weekends and public holidays it is only open in the afternoons from 14:00 to 18:00.

    As of 2011, the regular entrance fee was 4 Euros (3 Euros for students and seniors), including an interesting and comprehensive audio guide.

    Second photo: A horse-drawn stagecoach, known in French as a diligence, was the kind of vehicle that Victor Hugo travelled in when he came to Liège as a tourist in 1840. Unlike many of the other passengers, Hugo enjoyed sitting outside on one of the upper seats of the impériale, where he could have a better view of the passing landscape. He wrote:

    Yesterday at nine in the morning, as the coach from Liège to Aix-la-Chapelle [=Aachen] was getting ready to leave, a good Wallonian citizen caused an uproar by refusing to climb up to his seat on the impériale. The energy of his resistance reminded me of an Auvergnian peasant who said he had paid to be in the box, not on the roof. I offered to trade places with this worthy traveler; I climbed up onto the roof, peace was restored and the diligence departed. I was very pleased. The road was cheerful and charming.

    (From Letter VIII of Le Rhin by Victor Hugo, my translation.)

    From his seat up on the roof of the stage coach, Victor Hugo had a clear view not only of the lovely countryside, but also of the many construction sites where bridges and tunnels were being built for a new means of transportation that would soon replace the stagecoach entirely – the new railroad that was being built from Liège to Verviers.

    Third photo: Horses and trams.

    Fourth photo: A horse-drawn platform for installing and repairing overhead wires.

    Fifth photo: And old tram, not yet restored and repainted.

    Rue Richard Heintz, 9 - 4020 Liège
    GPS 50°37'42.46" North; 5°35'0.77" East

    >>Next: Old trams in the transport museum

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  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Buses in separate bus lanes

    by Nemorino Updated Jun 21, 2014

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    Since the old tramway lines were eliminated half a century ago, and the new tramways have not yet been built, Liège for the time being has to make do with buses for its public transport within the city.

    This is far from being an ideal solution, but they have made the best of it by marking off bus lanes on many streets. In the city center they even have physically separated bus lanes to ensure that the buses no longer get stuck in traffic jams caused by private cars.

    >>Next: Museum of Public Transport

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    RAVel 1 for pedestrians and cyclists

    by Nemorino Updated Jun 21, 2014

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    1. RAVel 1 going under a bridge
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    I really wanted to like RAVel 1. I really did, because it sounded like a great idea to give pedestrians and cyclists a way to walk or ride along the right bank of the Meuse without getting run over by speeding automobiles.

    The trouble is, the Liège section of RAVel 1 is too narrow to handle all the pedestrians and cyclists who try to use it. In my photos there are no people, because it was a cold and drizzly day, but when the sun comes out the path is full of pedestrians, often in groups of eight or ten, plus cyclists going in both directions, so it just doesn’t work.

    The name RAVel stands for « Reseau antonome de voies lentes » meaning roughly “Autonomous network of slow routes”. These are paths or tracks that were established and signposted by the regional government of Wallonia, which is also responsible for their upkeep. In rural areas the RAVel routes often follow disused railway lines.

    Second photo: RAVel 1 by the Convention Center in Liège.

    Third photo: RAVel 1 at dusk.

    >>Next: Buses in separate bus lanes

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    Blue Bikes

    by Nemorino Updated Jun 21, 2014

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    1. Blue Bikes at Guillemins station
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    Throughout Europe, in fact throughout the world, different bike sharing programs keep appearing, some intended for tourists, some for locals and some for both.

    The Blue Bikes, which are available at 41 railway stations in Belgium, are intended mainly for people who do a lot of travelling by train within Belgium and want to use a bike when they arrive in each Belgian city. They pay 10 Euros per year plus 3.00 for each bike rental of up to eighteen hours – which is very reasonable if you do it often but not particularly advantageous if you only do it once or twice.

    These prices are as of 2013. They are lower than the prices I noted in 2011.

    Actually I was surprised to see the Blue Bikes in Liège, because the Blue Bikes are mainly a Flemish project. Of the 41 Belgian railway stations that have Blue Bikes, only four or five are in Wallonia (if I have counted correctly), four are in Brussels and the rest are in Flanders. It is unusual for Wallonians to take part in a Flemish project (or visa-versa), but I think it’s a good thing.

    As a tourist I did not use the Blue Bikes, but just went into the Bike Point at Guillemins Station and rented a bike at the counter.

    Second photo: Entrance to the Bike Point at Guillemins Station in Liège.

    >>Next: RAVel 1 for pedestrians and cyclists

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    Bicycle storage in the station

    by Nemorino Updated Jun 21, 2014

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    1. Bicycles parked in the storage room
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    Next door to the Bike Point there is a new bicycle storage room which also has some lockers that can be used by anyone (not just cyclists) for the storage of luggage.

    There is a small fee for the use of the luggage lockers, but bicycle storage is free. The room is unguarded, and reportedly there have been isolated incidents of vandalism at night or on weekends, but lots of people do park their bicycles in here on the assumption (probably correct) that it is safer inside than out on the street. You do have to lock your bike to the stand, of course.

    The people from Pro Vélo who work next door at the Bike Point go through the storage room four times a day to check that everything is in order.

    Second photo: In the wall between the Bike Point and the storage room there is a big window, so that in theory the people who work in the Bike Point can keep an eye on the storage room. In practice they are usually too busy to do so, and in any case the window only gives them a view of the luggage lockers, not the parked bikes.

    GPS 50°37'32.40" North; 5°33'55.99" East

    >>Next: Blue Bikes

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  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Bike Point at the station

    by Nemorino Updated Jun 21, 2014

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    1. In the Bike Point at Guillemins Station
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    The new Bike Point in Guillemins Station opened on June 1, 2011 – just in time for my visit to Liège, as it turned out.

    The Bike Point is officially called the “Maison des Cyclistes de Liège” (House of the Cyclists of Liège) and is run by the organization Pro Vélo. The opening hours are somewhat limited, so it is best to arrive during the afternoon of a working day, before 19:00. The Bike Point is also open some mornings, depending on the time of year, but is generally closed on weekends and public holidays.

    I arrived on a Friday afternoon. After checking in to my hotel I went over to the Bike Point and rented a bicycle for the weekend, until Monday afternoon. They charged me their weekend price of 26 Euros, and I had to leave a deposit which I got back when I returned the bike.

    The bike was in fine condition and the people at the Bike Point were totally friendly and helpful, so I can highly recommend renting a bike from them.

    Second photo: Lots of bicycles available for rental. (But the golden one hanging from the ceiling is just for decoration, I assume.)

    Third photo: Repair shop in the Bike Point.

    Fourth photo: Bike Point symbol in the window. (A big M for Maison, with blue and green bicycle wheels.)

    GPS 50°37'32.40" North; 5°33'55.99" East

    >>Next: Bicycle storage in the station

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    Cycling in Liège

    by Nemorino Updated Jun 21, 2014

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    1. Cycling at Guillemins Station
    3 more images

    In case you have never heard anything about Liège being a big bicycle city, that’s because it isn’t.

    But they are working on it. The city has a five-year plan (for 2010-2015, which is actually six years) to improve their bicycle infrastructure and provide incentives for people to travel to work by bike, for instance.

    They say that for the past several years, bicycle use in Liège has been increasing at the rate of over ten percent per year. (Starting at a very low level, but still.)

    Second photo: Riding past the station.

    Third photo: A family on bikes.

    Fourth photo: Waiting for the light to change.

    >>Next: Bike Point at the station

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    InterCityExpress (ICE)

    by Nemorino Updated Jun 21, 2014

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    1. ICE from Brussels approaching Li��ge
    2 more images

    For my return trip from Liège to Frankfurt am Main I took a German InterCityExpress (ICE) train.

    Currently there are four ICEs per day (one every four hours) running from Brussels to Frankfurt am Main by way of Liège, Aachen, Cologne and Frankfurt Airport. The journey from Liège to Frankfurt takes just over two and a half hours, leaving Liège at 7:14, 11:14, 15:14 and 19:14.

    These trains can theoretically reach a speed of two hundred and eighty kilometers per hour, but only on special tracks that are designed for such high speeds, like the new line from Cologne to Frankfurt. In practice, the high speeds on some sections of track in Germany are made up for by poor maintenance on other sections, forcing the trains to go slower. Also they lose a quarter of an hour because of an unnecessary stop at Frankfurt Airport and because they have to take a slow loop from the airport to Frankfurt Central Station.

    Second photo: ICE in Guillemins Station, Liège.

    Third photo: ICE leaving for Cologne and Frankfurt.

    GPS 50°37'27.90" North; 5°33'59.97" East

    >>Next: Cycling in Liège

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    Thalys trains

    by Nemorino Updated Jun 21, 2014

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    1. Boarding the Thalys train in Li��ge
    2 more images

    These Thalys trains look like French TGV trains, which essentially is what they are.

    The Thalys company is a joint subsidiary of the French, Belgian, Dutch and German railways, with the French having the largest share and the Germans the smallest. Up to now Thalys has only served two German cities, Aachen and Cologne, but they have recently started running one train a day via Cologne to Düsseldorf, Duisburg and Essen. From anywhere else in Germany you have to change in Cologne, which is what I did on my recent trip to Liège.

    I have also taken the Thalys trains to and from Brussels.

    THALYS is not an acronym, by the way. It doesn’t stand for anything, but is just a word they made up because they wanted a name that could be easily pronounced in all three languages, French, Dutch and German.

    Second photo: On the platform in Liège.

    Third photo: A Thalys train leaving Liège for Brussels and Paris.

    GPS 50°37'27.90" North; 5°33'59.97" East

    >>Next: InterCityExpress (ICE)

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  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Gare des Guillemins

    by Nemorino Updated Jun 21, 2014

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    1. Guillemins Railway Station
    2 more images

    A good way to start a conversation in Liège is to ask people what they think of the new Guillemins Railway Station.

    The answers I got typically started: “Well, it looks really nice, but . . .” followed by complaints about the high cost (312 million Euros) and especially the cost overruns. As in Germany, people in Belgium seem to be getting more and more annoyed about the fact that large public building projects typically turn out to cost much more than they were supposed to.

    While some people believe this impressive new building will help kick-start the economy, others feel that a region with high levels of poverty and unemployment can’t afford the luxury of such an expensive railroad station.

    I personally find the station exhilarating and fascinating. It has a huge arched roof but no sides, so it has lots of fresh air and will never be stuffy. The downside of this is that it can get very windy, which I imagine is not so exhilarating when you have to wait for a train on a stormy winter night. (In this regard, the Guillemins station reminds me of the new ICE station at Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe, Germany, which is also open on all sides and thus incredibly windy in the winter.)

    The new Guillemins station in Liège was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. It took over ten years to build and was inaugurated in September 2009.

    Second photo: The station and some nearby (much older) buildings.

    Third photo: An old corner building near the station.

    GPS 50°37'27.90" North; 5°33'59.97" East

    >>Next: Thalys trains

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  • BillNJ's Profile Photo

    Liège-Guillemins Train Station

    by BillNJ Updated Jun 16, 2008

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    3 more images

    Liège-Guillemins is the main train station in Liège. In addition to local and regional rail service, the station is one of the stops on the high-speed Thalys and ICE lines.

    The original Liège-Guillemins station began service in 1842. At the time of my visit in May 2008, the station was undergoing a massive redesign and renovation. The new design is by the famous architect, Santiago Calatrava.

    Inside the station, there are coin-operated lockers in which to store luggage, if needed.

    While Liège-Guillemins is the main train station, it is not located in the center of the city. Near the station, there is a bus stop that can take you to Place Saint Lambert in the city center (about a 10 minute ride), among other places. There were also taxis lined up outside the station.

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  • viddra's Profile Photo

    Easy Access

    by viddra Written Sep 4, 2005

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    a horseman
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    Liège can be easily reached by train from Brussels, Namur, Maestricht and Aachen.

    Also, the Thalys bullet-train lines run between Paris and Cologne via Brussels and Liège.

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    Take A Walk!

    by viddra Written Sep 3, 2005

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    a street

    Take a walk through the old city centre and discover the typical traffic-free alleys and shopping streets.

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    road workers printed this sign...

    by billus Written Aug 24, 2002

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    road workers printed this sign upside down! turn your monitor over or see below for the meaning of this strange word

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