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Saint-Josse sinkhole causes major road and rail disruption

16:04 07/09/2017

Forty-five people have been evacuated from their homes and no trains are running between Brussels North and Schuman stations after a 36-square-metre sinkhole appeared in the middle of the Chaussée de Louvain in Saint-Josse.

A burst water main caused the street to collapse at the junction of Boulevard Clovis, opposite Jazz Station. Miraculously no one was injured and nearby parked cars were safely cleared out of the way.

Saint-Josse town hall has implemented its emergency action plan. Some 25 children at the P'tit Boule creche were taken to another daycare centre. A security perimeter is in place and traffic on the busy Chaussée de Louvain is diverted between Place Meiser and Place Saint-Josse.

The railway line running underneath the junctions was flooded with mud, cutting off rail traffic in both directions. The closure affects a busy stretch of line linking Brussels North station with the EU district and Ottignies, Namur and Luxembourg.

A spokesman for rail infrastructure firm Infrabel said: "The tracks are flooded, which has also knocked out the signalling equipment. The damage is substantial - part of the railway tunnel has collapsed."

Inter-city trains are being diverted from Schuman to Leuven via the new Josaphat rail tunnel. Local rail services from the southern suburbs are terminating at Brussels-Luxembourg. The disruption will last several days, Infrabel said.

It is the second road collapse to have occurred in the past week, after a sinkhole appeared on a side street near Brussels Central station.