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Ronse station

Ronse station

Oldest station building on the European mainland

The Belgian Ronse station is today the terminus for trains from Ghent, but until the mid-twentieth century, it was a junction of four different railway lines.

Ronse was the conduit for Flemish workers who found work in the Walloon industry. Two lines ran from Kortrijk and Aalst:

  • Railway 83 from Kortrijk. Today, the line has been partly redeveloped as a cycle path, the Guldenspoorpad.
  • And the so-called miners' line, railway line 82 from Aalst. The line has been broken up today, except for the section between Burst and Aalst, where a train still runs every school day to take students to the Aalst schools.

Cow bridges

Part of railway line 82 has been redeveloped as a cycle path and takes you under brick cow bridges in Zottegem. Farmers from the region allowed their livestock to cross the tracks via these bridges safely.

To the Borinage

In Ronse, Flemish commuters could switch trains to the Walloon industrial areas. But those lines have now been broken up one after another.

  • Railway line 87 took them to the quarries of Lessines and the cement factories in Tournai,
  • Railway line 86 took the workers to Bas├Ęcles and from there to the mining region around the Borinage. This line departs from Ghent and is the only active railway line whose terminus is at Ronse station. Towards Bas├Ęcles, the track has been (partly) broken up.

't Zand in Bruges

The Ronse station building itself dates from 1844, making the neoclassical gem the oldest station building on the European mainland. it's not the only oddity. The building was first built on 't Zand in Bruges and only moved to Ronse in 1879, where it was rebuilt stone by stone.

Ronse station may be protected as a monument, but it has not prevented the pedestrian bridge that winds above the tracks from being closed since 2014 due to its plight. The municipality of Ronse committed itself to renovating the iron passerelle.

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