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Schuman rail line reopening could be delayed

20:44 13/09/2017

Train services between Brussels Schuman and North stations might not be ready to resume next Monday, as repair works on the flooded tracks are taking longer than expected.

The line has been closed since last Thursday when a Vivaqua water pipe burst on the Chaussée de Louvain, opening up a 36m² sinkhole in the street and flooding the railway tracks that pass underneath.

Rail track operator Infrabel said on Wednesday that it was still working towards an 18 September target to reopen the line, but delays in the work meant it was looking increasingly difficult to achieve.

"It's still our goal, but we have absolutely no room for manoeuvre," a spokesman said. "Things must not get any more complicated than they already are.

"We have seen more flooding in recent days. If it rains in the coming days, the building site can be secured. But water could come from elsewhere. That's the big unknown and this is what makes the work difficult."

All the residents who were evacuated from their homes last week have been able to return, but 77 people still have no access to gas. The municipality of Saint-Josse has given them access to a nearby old people's home to use the showers. Sibelga hopes to have the supply restored this weekend.

The commune has also handed out flyers to local residents explaining their legal rights and how to lodge a claim. It is providing free access to legal advice on Friday morning for anyone with unanswered questions.