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Railway station in AALST / BELGIUM

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Railway station AALST / BELGIUM
Arch. Jean-Pierre Cluysenaer
Picture by Jan Boeykens (@Quernus)


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Railway station AALST / BELGIUM: Railway station AALST / BELGIUM: Railway station AALST / BELGIUM: Railway station AALST / BELGIUM: Railway station AALST / BELGIUM:

Railway station AALST / BELGIUM description:

After many discussions the 'Memorie van Aelst' was accepted on 26 januari 1845 by the town council. A direct railway link was suggested between Brussels and Ghent, that had to run through Aalst. The project was proposed in an audition with the King Leopold I by the mayor of Aalst Frederik van der Noot and a few members of the council. They obtained that the project was presented to the chamber of representatives and also to the county councils of Brussels, Asse, Lede, Wetteren, Ghent, Ostend and Kortrijk. After many financial and political complications the new union 'S.A. du Chemin de Fer de Dendre et Waes et de Bruxelles vers Gand par Alost' was started on 8-5-1852.

The railway station of Aalst was designed by architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenaer and the plans were ready in 1852. Between 1853 and 1854 the rough work started and it was finished by 1-1-1855. Everything went so well that the official opening could take place 6-7-1856 by the future King Leopold II while the building was already in use.

We could describe the building as a mixture of a medieval castle and a gothic town hall. Below there is an open galery, such as in many gothic town halls (e.g. Brussels or Oudenaarde). Remarkable are the crenelations with arched corbel courses. The red bricks remind us of Tudor gothic.

After 120 years of service the sation was ready for renewal. On 26 august 1975 a demollition request was introduced. Because of the unique historical character of the central building many argued to preserve the outer part of the building. The royal decision on 19 june 1978 assured the protection of the old central building of the station and vicinity. On 17 september 1990 the central building of the station was demolished, with exception of the facade and the tower. The wooden newspaper kiosk disappeared and got a new location on the left in the subway to the perrons.

The object was the complete restoration of the stability and the rehabilitation of the facade structure following the original plans of the architect J.P. Cluysenaer.