The 4-wheel-drive sports utility vehicle descended into the premetro - tram lines that run through tunnels in the Brussels underground in anticipation of us forking out for a state-of-the-art metro extension - at the Albert station. It continued on its way past three stops finishing its journey at the South Station.
Returning the car to ground level required some considerable effort. As the vehicle was too large it couldn't be fitted onto rolling stock but had to be towed to the Lemonnier Station as would happen with a faulty tram.
Tow-away services were at work for 5 long hours and, as everybody who has had any experience with such services knows, this can be a costly affair. The bill for the work came out at 22,000 euros - no mean sum. The cost takes account of the type of vehicle, the time the vehicle was stuck in the premetro and the cost of diverting tram traffic as well as damage to premetro infrastructure.
According to the daily La Dernière Heure the metro authority MIVB plans to settle the matter with the driver's insurance.