The Charleroi. Could This Be The Fate Of The Broadway Subway?

Charleroi - A staion built but never used

The Charleroi, the metro extension that never was.

Since the story of the Charleroi pre-metro was first posted in 2009 (see story below), nothing has changed and talks of completing the line have come to naught.

Could be the fate of the $3 billion Broadway subway?  Built, but far too expensive to operate and portions or the entire line being mothballed.

A similar length subway line in Toronto, is said to cost the TTC an additional $40 million annually in operating costs.

TransLink remains mute on operating costs.

Exactly, what is TransLink afraid of?

Could it be that TransLink treats metro taxpayers as rubes and easy marks to pick pockets?

Well, that was TransLink’s “modus operandai” until a nasty little virus has put the economy in the dustbin.

Post Covid-19 will change peoples travailing habits, their ability to pay both taxes and user fees.

We are now entering a “wartime economy”, as money will be scarce and general taxes will be high and the taxpayer will begin to demand accountability and frugality, not just with municipal governments, but major crown corporations and alike. TransLink will be come a political pariah and the Broadway subway a later and far more costly FastFerry debacle.

Unused or abandoned subway tunnels in Europe are used as mushroom farms or even grow-ops, legal or illegal.

A $3 billion mushroom farm or grow-op under Broadway is just not what the taxpayer paid for!


From 2009:

The Charleroi Pre-metro, the metro that was built and they didn’t come! A short history on failed transit planning.


One ‘metro‘ system that every proponent of the SkyTrain light-metro ignores is the Charleroi pre-metro. In Belgium traditional LRT is known as ‘trams‘, LRT built as a light-metro is known as pre metro. Pre metro has much in common with SkyTrain, including segregated rights-of-ways and large stations with escalators, etc. The Charleroi Métro is famous for the parts of it which were never built, partially built, or fully completed but not opened. There are many important lessons to be learned, yet one is afraid that the ‘powers that be’ are blind, deaf and dumb, with continued SkyTrain and/or light-metro construction in the Metro Vancouver region. One wonders, with such low ridership numbers, that the Evergreen Line will be Vancouver’s version with the Charleroi.

The Charleroi was planned in the 1960s as a 48-km network, using heavy rail metro trains, consisting of eight branch lines radiating from a central loop downtown. If completed as planned, this would have been the largest metro system in the Benelux region. Funds ran out during construction, however, and only one complete line (to Monument), part of another line (as far as Gilly), and three-quarters of the loop were actually built and opened to traffic, all between 1976 and 1996.

Another branch line towards the suburb of Châtelet (Châtelineau) was almost finished, to the extent of installing track, power cables, escalators and still-working electric signals to the first three stations, but never opened as the expected passenger numbers were too low to pay for the extra staff and rolling stock.

A fourth branch towards Gosselies, on the street following a former Vicinal tram route, is in use as far as the Jumet tram depot but does not carry passengers.

The high costs of construction, together with a decline in Charleroi’s traditional “smokestack” industries, and questioning of the scope of the whole project in proportion to the actual demand for it, are all cited as reasons for the original plan going unfulfilled.


Leave A Comment