A paradise for walkers, joggers and cyclists

A large section of the site of former Brussels to Tervuren railway has been turned into a footpath and cycle path. The section between the Detla metro station in Oudergem and the Stokkel area of Sint-Pieters-Woluwe passes through some fine parkland and yet is never more than a few hundred metres away from public transport or the nearest place where you can buy food and drink. The fact that the 6-kilometre route is more or less flat and has bridges over any roads that it crosses makes it the ideal place for a walk with all the family or to teach the children how to ride a bike. This week we explore the section between the Delta metro station and the Tram Museum in Sint-Pieters Woluwe

The Brussels to Tervuren railway opened in 1877 and ran from what is now Brussels Luxembourg Station (in front of the European Parliament) to the Flemish Brabant village of Tervuren. The line closed to passengers in 1958 and was closed completely in 1970.

Part of the route of the line, between Stokkel and the Bank Eik Estate in Wezembeek-Oppem (Flemish Brabant) was turned into a tram line. However, much of the rest of route remained unused and in part unkempt. The bridges along the route were taken down.

All this changed with the formation of the Brussels-Capital Region in 1989. The regional authorities assumed responsibility for a number of the capital’s larger parks and also set about revamping the route of the former railway. Since then the bridges have been rebuilt, the most noteworthy of which is the modern bridge across the Tervurenlaan.

Part of the Railway Walk is included in the Brussels Regional Environment Agency’s “Green Walk”, a 65-kilometre walk that links dozens of areas of parkland and other greenery on or towards the edge of the Brussels-Capital-Region.

Delta to Herrmann Debroux

This section of the walk was last to open to the public in 2010. It runs along the side of the Louis Dehouxlaan.

The area around the walk is still very urban with the E411 motorway, offices, a large retail complex and an over ground section of the Brussels metro are all-in the direct vicinity.

Pretty it is not. However, no fewer than 4 metro station, a tram route and several bus routes are close by, making it an excellent place to access the route of the walk.

Hermann Debroux to Waversesteenweg

Here although the walk passes through a residential area and is just a couple of hundred metres away from the busy Vorstlaan it is much greener and much quieter than the first section.

Along the route of this section of the walk is a children's play area and and centre where you can get information about the work of the Brussels Regional Environment Agency.

Those that are hungry or thirsty will find a wide range of shops selling food and drink on Waversesteenweg.

Woluwe Park, an English landscape park

The walk crosses the Waversesteenweg over a bridge and after around 500 metres runs alongside one of Brussels' finest parks.

With a surface area of 50 hectares Woluwe Park was designed by the French landscape gardener Elie Lainé.

However, the layout of the park is anything but French. Elie Lainé opted for an English romantic style when planning the park.

The park has some steep gradients with a difference in altitude of some 30 metres between the lowest and the highest point in the park.

There are three artificial ponds in the lower reaches of the park that are home to numerous species of aquatic birds such swans and herons.

Bridge over the Teruvenlaan and Tram Museum

The bridge over the Tervurenlaan was designed by the Belgian architect Paul Blondel.

It opened in 2011 and ensures that cyclists and walkers can cross the busy road safely and without having to wait. The bridge with its supporting arch and combination of steel and wood is both pleasing to the eye and practical.

From the bridge there are some fine views of Woluwe Park and the centre of Sint-Pieters-Woluwe. At the other side of the bridge is the Brussels Tram Museum.

The museum provides an overview of the history of public transport in the capital since 1869. Inside the museum there is a wide collection of vehicles that have been used on Brussels public transport network over the years.

At weekends from April to September you even have the chance to take a ride on an early 20th century tram along the Tervurenlaan to the Flemish Brabant village of Tervuren. The museum also has a cafeteria for those of you that just fancy a coffee and a sit down.

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