SYSTRA to modernise two of Brussels’ metro lines

SYSTRA to modernise two of Brussels’ metro lines

The SYSTRA-GESTE-TRACTEBEL Consortium has won the contract for a consultancy assignment for the Brussels Metro Modernisation Programme aimed at automating two of Brussels’ metro lines.

With this new contract, SYSTRA continues the cooperation with the Brussels transportation authority which started in 2014 with the design study for this project.

The Group thus reinforces its position as a leader in the market of automated metro engineering and the transformation of existing networks towards automation with CBTC systems (Communications Based Train Control): SYSTRA is responsible for the design of one in every two automated metros in the world.

“SYSTRA, in a temporary commercial association with GESTE and TRACTEBEL, has been awarded a consultancy assignment for the Brussels metro Modernization programme for the phase covering the roll-out of automated systems. With this contract, the Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles (STIB) has once again shown its confidence in SYSTRA with which it has worked since 2014 when it carried out the initial design study for this project.

 We are proud to be taking part in this automation of systems which will help improve the mobility of residents in the Belgian capital by increasing the capacity of its metro network by the beginning of the next decade. We will take great care to ensure that the works will not disrupt the journeys of Brussels’ inhabitants during the project.”

Frédéric Dufour, Head of Continental Europe

The six year mission of SYSTRA and its partners covers the detailed design through to commissioning. The supervision and testing of the signalling system and the new rolling stock, for which suppliers have already been chosen, will be key. Moreover, SYSTRA is working on the creation of a new depot, located at the Erasme station, the western terminal of line 5. The aim is for the infrastructure to be completed by mid-2018, when the new trains are delivered.

 Two strategic semi-automated lines to increase the metro’s capacity

The STIB has decided to adopt computer-aided trains, using a CBTC system. The aim is to increase the frequency of trains and the capacity of Brussels’ metro lines while at the same time modernising and improving their security for passengers. With this automation, Brussels wishes to improve the attractiveness of its public transport in order to reduce pollution caused by automobile traffic, which is particularly heavy in the city centre.

Metro lines 1 and 5 were the first of the network of six lines to be commissioned in the 1970s and are strategic: they cross the capital from west to east and link the historic centre of Brussels with the European quarter. These are the busiest lines.

Optimal modernisation without interrupting service

For Frédéric Meseguer, Project manager and Head of the consultancy assignment: “The main constraint with this project is not to hinder the daily circulation of trains. Work will therefore be carried out at night and the necessary station closures and line closures (during the testing phase) will be kept to a strict minimum. The interface with the customer’s other projects is a high expectation.

SYSTRA in Belgium and in the Northern Europe region

SYSTRA has been present on the Belgian market since the 1990s and has been responsible, in particular, for a HSL study, a study to convert a tramway line into a metro line, a feasibility study for a cable-car transport system for the Heysel stadium, as well as phase 1 of the Pulsar programme. There are several transport projects in the country, such as the tramway project in Liège, as well as so called “Satellite” projects in Brussels, related to the Pulsar programme.

Belgium is a major country in the continental region and SYSTRA will now benefit from its permanent presence through a branch and offices in Brussels.

Northern Europe represents a strategic growth challenge for SYSTRA, which has acquired several companies (JMP, SIAS, Dalco Elteknik) to help win market share. The Group’s major projects include the project management of the Crossrail metro in London and the design of the HSL Ostlänken-3 in Sweden, as well as the modernisation of the Edinburgh to Glasgow line and the electrification of the Danish network.


The global leader in public transport infrastructure, SYSTRA (an engineering company owned by RATP and SNCF) has specialised in the Mass Transit and Rail market since 1957. Its ambition is to serve emerging needs for collective and sustainable mobility throughout the world.

With a presence in 80 countries, SYSTRA is working on close to 3,000 contracts for high-speed rail, traditional rail lines, metros and tramways throughout the world.

Responsible for the design of one in every two automated metros in the world, SYSTRA is a leader in automated metros and the automation of existing lines. Projects currently underway include the Grand Paris Express projects in France, the Jeddah and Riyadh networks in Saudi Arabia and the extension of the Dubai metro. SYSTRA has also recently completed the automation of Line 1 of the Santiago metro in Chili.

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