A new high-speed rail link has officially opened at Brussels Airport, connecting the gateway with the European high-speed networks that already exist between Paris, Amsterdam, London and Köln.
The new link will allow high-speed trains to stop at the airport on their way to Brussels or Antwerp, giving passengers more flexibility in their travel choices and transforming the gateway into a 'more efficient intermodal hub'.
The project, called 'Diabolo', has received almost ?9.7 million in EU co-financing to date and involves completing a rail section linking the airport with the existing Brussels-Antwerp-Amsterdam and Paris-Brussels-Köln-Amsterdam-London high-speed rail networks, also known as 'TEN-T Priority Project 2'.
Siim Kallas, European Commission vice-president in charge of transport, said: 'I am delighted that this important project is becoming operational. It proves that EU financial support to transport infrastructure generates further investment and employment and gives substantial benefits to citizens.
'With this new link we have created a more efficient intermodal hub at Brussels Airport.'
Until now, the airport has been only accessible by a 'dead-end' railway station served by local and regional trains, or by a very busy road.
Kallas added that the completion of the link to Brussels Airport enhances Europe's network of high-speed railway lines and the creation of an 'interoperable and continuous' rail network.
Meanwhile, the new link will also help reduce the isolation of the airport by improving accessibility and reducing congestion.