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Le Métro Léger de Charleroi

Monday 30 September 2002, Group Expo with Ben, Panic and Petr.

In the 1960-ties Charleroi (Belgium) planned an impressive tram/metro system, consisting of a circle around the city-centre with spokes going to all the suburbs. Lots of money went into building it. For all kinds of reasons only part of it ever went into operation. Most important reason however is that exploitation of the now abandoned lines would cost far more then the income would ever be, Charleroi actually being to small to support a full metro system.

Looking for a map of the city -we only had a map of the actual and planned metro system-, we somehow ended up on the basement floor of the town hall. Later Petr went back to shoot some video of it and I followed him. On our way out we met someone on the stairs who we cheerfully greeted. He only greeted us back and luckily didn't ask any questions.

We bought an expensive streetmap, which only showed the active metrolines. Weird, because the impressive viaduct is a real landmark. They are probably a bit ashamed of the metro-blunder. In the text about the metro system we brought along the two lower spokes were not mentioned, so we figured they were probably never build. These two are the most interesting, as they are both completely in tunnels. Panic pointed to a place on the map were the tunnelentrance could be, but we decided to play save first and tried to find the eastern spoke.

The first four stations are completely finished and the next three roughly finished. We headed for the first station, Neuville, through the maze of the city with it's sneaky traffic, and ended up at the second station, Chet. We found it by following a railway viaduct which we found suspicious because it wasn't on the map.

We were not very lucky at this station however. A cameracrew was very interested in a small house next to the track. A police officer was too at first, but later became interested in us. And on top of this some workcrew started working on some cables at the metro track. Petr managed to get the cameracrew interested in UE and gave them his mobile phone number.

Station Chet

Ben, reporter, Petr and reporter in car

Suspicious copper. What is "We're only taking pictures" in French?

That's the little house they were all interested in
We drove to the next station, Pensée, for a bit more privacy. Here a gate was unlocked, but we were being watched by two gardeners. Panic found some holes in the fence at the other side of the road, a bit more out of sight, and here we climbed down onto the track.

Official entrance to station Pensée is closed off.

Track towards Chet

Climbing down

Under the street into station Pensée

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