Magnificent Modern Railway Station at Liege, Belgium.


Calatrava’s Railway Masterpiece.

Calatrava's Liege Station.
Calatrava’s magnificent railway station at Liege is one of the finest modern structures in Europe. Lumix LX3 photo.

To my total surprise and delight, Liege (Liège-Guillemins) has been completely transformed since my last visit  in August of 1998— when I paused to change trains from Bonn, Germany to Charleroi. I remember a dreary, tired and uninspired railway station and it was this facility I was expecting.

I admit, the new station had completely escaped my notice until that moment when I got off the train last week. I must have missed the memos, the parades and fireworks that certainly must have announced the opening of such a spectacular railway facility back in September 2009.

Calatrava designed station at Liege.
Liege station in August 2013. This graceful canopy was opened in September 2009. Lumix LX3 photo.

The station largely consists of modern vaulted canopy spanning five railway platforms. Designed by prolific Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava it is constructed of steel, concrete and glass, and makes for a very positive railway experience.

The canopy softens the sun while maintaining a bright environment to watch and photograph the passage of trains. Exposures must be made carefully, because the large white structure tends to fool camera meters in the same way of a bright snowy day.

I found it necessary to overexpose (add more light) by about 2/3s of a stop above what the camera meter had recommended.

Incidentally, Calatrava also designed two Dublin bridges over the Liffey; the Joyce Bridge near Heuston Station, and the Samuel Becket Bridge in the Docklands, both of which I’ve often photographed.

Liege Station
The new SNCB Station at Liege is a total contrast with the dreary postwar facility it replaced. LX3 photo.
Calatrava designed station at Liege, Belgium.
This memorizing structure compels photography from every angle. Yet, exposures must be calculated carefully or the proliferation of white and skylight can result in an underexposed (dark) image). LX3 photo.
Calatrava designed station at Liege, Belgium.
When exposing for trains under the canopy, I found it necessary to manually override the camera meter by dialing in a 2/3s stop over exposure compensation or make manual equivalent based on the in-camera meter. Canon EOS  7D photo.
Calatrava designed station at Liege, Belgium.
I had just half an hour to wander around this amazing station. I was impressed, and hope to return some evening to photograph it in a post sunset glow. Lumix LX3 photo.
SNCB InerCity train arriving at Liège-Guillemins. LX3 photo.

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4 comments on “Magnificent Modern Railway Station at Liege, Belgium.

  1. Friday noon time. I think all of Belgium is on holiday.

  2. Mark Healy on said:

    Fabulous images! I too had missed this. Looks very quiet though. Was it a Sunday morning or something?

  3. Tom Warger on said:

    Absolutely stunning photographs, also. Congratulations–and thank you.

  4. Brian Jennison on said:

    Most graceful.

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