The Charleroi Metro

Charleroi is the fourth biggest city in Belgium, and it is situated on the French-speaking region of Wallonia.

It has an estimate of 425 thousand inhabitants in its metropolitan, and this number increases year after year. This is mainly due to the affordable cost of living that the city has, and it is relatively close to Brussels.

In fact, many of the newest residents of Charleroi work in the Belgian capital.

Historically, the economy of the place has been centered on the steel, glass, and coal industry. This last industry has been on a steady decline to the point of almost disappearing though.

Up until 2008, the citizens have felt he consequences of the decline of its main industries to such a point that the government had to create a recovery plan to encourage investment from the private sector.


The investment on infrastructure became noteworthy, and public transportation got benefit from it.

Since that year (2008), works to expand many systems, such as, for example, the Charleroi Metro, began. This project dates back from the beginnings of the 60s, when the government estimated that the city would need a robust and organized public transportation system, which would help the economy.

The construction of this light railway, which has features that would also make it count as a heavy metro system, began during the late 60s, and would connect the suburbs at the outskirts of Charleroi with the downtown area.

The inauguration took place on June 21st, 1976, and the plans were to build 69 stations that would be built on a 52 kilometer-long road. However, difficulties arose, and there were complications with the budget. This fact greatly affected the size of the metro system.

Currently, the network is 33 kilometers long, where 48 stations have been built.

Anderlues Anderlues

Lines and stations

The Charleroi Metro has four functional lines, and it has a total of 33 kilometers of railways and 48 stations.

The lines are in charge of connecting the northern, southern, eastern and western sectors of the city with the central area, where the four lines meet.

Their code names are M1, M2, M3, and M4 after the reorganization that the managers of the system did on 2012. They did this so users can memorize their names easily.

The M2 and M1 lines

The M1 and M2 lines transit through the same tracks, with the difference that former stops at a higher number of stations during its journey than the latter. Also, the M1 line trains transit the tracks in a clockwise manner when they reach the big loop where all of the tracks meet, while the M2 line trains transit in a counter clockwise manner at that same loop.

The M1 line´s journey is 17.3 kilometers long, and its trains stop at 24 stations, and they attend the municipalities of Charleroi, Dampremy, Marchienne-au-Pont, Monceau-sur-Sambre, Leernes, Fontaine-l'Évêque and Anderlues. The time that it takes to complete the journey from end to end is of 32 minutes.

The M2 line´s journey is also 17.3 kilometers long, but, unlike the previous line, it stops at 18 stations. Its trains transit the municipalities of Charleroi, Dampremy, Marchienne-au-Pont, Monceau-sur-Sambre, Leernes, Fontaine-l'Évêque and Anderlues. The users can complete this journey from one end of the network to the other in about 24 minutes.

The M3 line

The M3 line began operations on 1988 with the name “Line 62”. It had this name until 2012, when the new management of the light railway lines decided to give it its current name.

It travels to the municipalities of Charleroi, Dampremy, Lodelinsart, Jumet and Gosselies in a journey that is 16.6 kilometers long and that lasts 33 minutes in being completed. Even though the journey may seem short, the trains make 27 stops during said journey.

Line M4

The M4 line was opened during the year 1992 to connect the Gilly community with downtown Charleroi. During that time, it was known as “Line 54”. After the reorganization of the lines of the light railway on 2012, it got to its current name. In fact, when this line was renamed, it also substituted Line 55, a line that make the same journey than Line 54, but with less stops.

The journey is 8.3 kilometers long, where this line´s trains stop at 14 stations. The line attends the municipalities of Charleroi and Gilly. The entire journey takes 28 minutes to complete.

Connections

Many of the stations of the Charleroi light rail metro system have connections with other means of transportation, such as tramways, buses, and train lines. This is especially true for those stations in the downtown area, which comprise the loop where the four lines are located.

Paradis (Charleroi Metro) Paradis (Charleroi Metro)

Below, the stops with available transfers will be shown:

  • Gare de Charleroi-Sud: It has a connection with the buses from lines 1/3, 15/25/35, 18, 43/83, 52, 67, 68, 70, 71/74, 85, 86, 109A, 170 and 173. It also connects with the trains from lines 124-Bruxelles-Midi à Charleroi-Sud, 130-Namur à Charleroi-Sud and 130A-Charleroi-Sud à Erquelinnes (frontière).
  • Charleroi-West: It has a connection with the buses from lines 41, 42, 43, 50, 51, 52, 60, 61, 63, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 83, 85, 86, 170, 365A and Midi-Docherie. It also connects with the trains from linesL-14 Ottignies - Jambes.
  • Janson: It has a connection with the buses from lines 52, 71, 74, 86, 154, 158, E and City-Bus.
  • Parc: It has a connection with the buses from lines 1, 3, 4, 8, 10, 15, 18, 25, 35, 37, 52, 71, 74, 86, 154, 158, 710, 722, E and City-Bus.
  • Tirou: It has a connection with the buses from lines 1, 3, 4, 10, 13, 14, 18, 25, 35, 37, 41, 42, 52, 71, 74 and 86.
  • Piges: It has a connection with the buses from lines 41, 42, 60, 61, 63, 67, 85, 365A and Midi-Docherie.
  • Dampremy: It has a connection with the buses from lines 41, 42 and Midi-Docherie.
  • Providence: It has a connection with the buses from lines 43, 50, 51, 52, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75 and 83.
  • De Cartier: It has a connection with the buses from lines 43, 71, 72, 75, 77, 83, 109a, 172 and ABBA.
  • Moulin: It has a connection with the buses from lines 51, 53, 71, 72, 75 and M1ab.
  • Morgnies: It has a connection with the buses from lines 51, 53 and M1ab.
  • Fontaine: It has a connection with the buses from lines 63, 173, M1ab and MFON.
  • Pétria: It has a connection with the buses from lines 63 and 173.

Schedule

The Charleroi Metro has different business hours, as well as different train frequencies, for each line.

The M1 and M2 line begin to offer service from 4:00 a.m., when the first trains depart from the terminal stations.

The trains transit these station until 8:00 p.m. From this moment and onward, a bus line becomes available to cover the same journey as the train lines, operating between 8:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

The train frequency is of 30 minutes during peak hours from Monday to Friday. Meanwhile, during summer, weekends, holidays, and the weekday´s off-peak hours, the users need to wait 60 minutes to board the next train. These waiting times also apply for the bus lines that substitute these train lines during the night.

The M3 line begins operations at 5:00 a.m., having a train frequency of 10 minutes all day long, from Monday to Friday. The trains stop giving service at 8:00 p.m. and, unlike the M1 and M2 lines, this line does not have a bus service at night that covers the same journey. On Saturdays, as well as every day on summer, the units arrive each 15 minutes, while on Sundays, they transit each 20 minutes.

The M4 line operates from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with no bus coverage after ending service. The trains transit each 10 minutes at the stations from Monday to Saturdays. On Sundays and holidays, they transit each 15 minutes.

Fares

The Charleroi Metro´s fares vary according to the number of ones travelled by the passengers. You can find a detailed chart of city´s zones on the metro´s official website.

The tickets and subscription plans take into account a series of standard zones where the average user travels to. The options available to the passenger go from the standard metro tickets, reloadable cards, to the mobile apps that help the passengers to transit faster.

Gare de Charleroi-Sud Gare de Charleroi-Sud

Le Titre Unitaire

These unique tickets are ideal for users that use the metro and bus services occasionally. They come in many forms so that the many types of users can have their demands satisfied.

  • 1 Parcous: These tickets last for 60 minutes, in which the passengers can board the metro and bus lines as long as they don´t travel in more than two zones, which is the maximum number of zones allowed. If you need to travel to more than two zones, you will need to get the Horizon+ version of this ticket, which will give you 90 minutes and the option to travel to an unlimited number of zones.
  • Next (1 or 2 zones): It costs 2.00 euros as a reloadable card, and 2.50 euros as a physical ticket.
  • Horizon+ (zones unlimited): It costs 5.00 euros as a reloadable card, and 5.50 euros as a physical ticket.
  • 1 Jour: This alternative allows you to travel on the This option allows you to travel on the trains of the Charleroi Metro and the bus lines for a whole day, within one or two zones for the Next variation of the ticket, or to any number of zones for the Horizon+ variation of the ticket.
  • Next (1 or 2 zones): It costs 4.00 euros as a reloadable card, and 5.00 euros as a physical ticket.
  • Horizon+ (zones unlimited): It costs 8.00 euros as a reloadable card, and 10.00 euros as a physical ticket.
  • 3 Jours: With this pass you will be able to travel for three days within the light railway network and the buses of the city. In the Next version of this pass, you will only be able to travel to two zones. Meanwhile, on the Horizon+ version of it, you will be able to travel to any number of zones.
  • Next (1 or 2 zones): It costs 8.00 euros as a reloadable card.
  • Horizon+ (zones unlimited): It costs 16.00 euros as a reloadable card.

Le Titre Multiparcous

The convenient and affordable Multi tickets are ideal for the frequent users of the Charleroi Metro. These alternatives offer good discounts to the users since it allows people of large-sized families to travel on the means of public transportation by allowing all the members of the family to share a single ticket.

  • Multi 8: This pass allows you to travel on the metro´s trains and the city´s buses for 60 minutes with the company of 7 relatives. However, it has the limitation that it only allows you to travel to one or two zones since it only comes in its Next variation.
  • Next (1 or 2 zones): It costs 8.80 euros as a reloadable card, and 9.10 euros as a physical ticket.
  • Multi 4: With this ticket, you will be able to ride on the metro´s trains and the buses of the city of Charleroi for 90 minutes. You can go with three relatives, and it is only available in its Horizon+ zone.
  • Horizon+ (zones unlimited): It costs 13.20 euros as a reloadable card.

Abonnement

The subscription fares are ideal for the users that use the Charleroi public transportation system daily as their main way of transportation. The subscriptions are divided according to the age of the user and the duration of the subscription.

Ages 6 – 11

  • Horizon+ (zones unlimited): Free.

Ages 12 – 24

  • Next (1 or 2 zones): It costs 16.00 euros as a monthly pass, and 131.00 euros as an annual pass.
  • Horizon+ (zones unlimited): It costs 36.00 euros as a monthly pass, and 280.00 euros as an annual pass.

Ages 25 – 64

  • Next (1 or 2 zones): It costs 37.00 euros as a monthly pass, and 320.00 euros as an annual pass.
  • Horizon+ (zones unlimited): It costs 70.00 euros as a monthly pass, and 580.00 euros as an annual pass.

Over 65

  • Horizon+ (zones unlimited): It costs 36.00 euros as an annual pass.
Jumet Jumet

Rules

  • Make sure to be courteous while travelling on the light railway trains and buses of the city of Charleroi, and give your seat to pregnant women, people with disabilities, senior citizens, and adults carrying babies.
  • Do not forget that behind you there are people that want to board the vehicle, so avoid blocking the way. Likewise, make sure that your luggage does not obstruct the way for the rest of the passengers.
  • Avoid blocking the access to the trains’ doors.
  • Leave the vehicles clean. Avoid consuming food and littering on the trains.
  • You cannot smoke on the vehicles.
  • If you bring a pet with you, put them a muzzle or carry them in a cage.
  • Do not disturb other passengers. The metro´s authorities are on alert to look out for any harassment.
  • Do not attempt to open the vehicle´s doors while it is still moving.
  • Leave the other passengers on the trains to get off the wagons before boarding them.
  • An excessive amount of luggage could result in denial of access to the vehicles of public transportation, you will need to take this into account.
  • If you bring in a stroller, make sure that it can be folded. Otherwise, you will have to go to the areas reserved for people on wheelchairs, as long as they are empty and available.
  • You cannot travel on the vehicles while drunk, and you cannot drink alcohol on the light rail trains and the city buses.
  • You need to obey all of the existing regulations of the Charleroi Metro from the moment that you access the facilities. Just because you don´t know them does not exempt you from being punished if you disobey them.

Connection to the airport

Even though the Charleroi Metro does not have stop close to the Charleroi Metro, it has an express bus line that will take you directly to the terminal from the Gare de Charleroi-Sud station.

From there, you need to know beforehand the closest bus stop, where the units of the Airport Express line transit, which is also known as Line A.

The vehicles of this line are buses that are 18 meters long, which depart every 30 minutes.

The business hours for this line start at 5:00 a.m., and end at 10:00 p.m. Therefore, if your flight is at an hour outside of this range, you will have to ride a taxi.

Additionally, on weekends, the buses depart at 5:30 a.m., and end service at 10:30 p.m. The price of the journey has a price of 6 euros, and the journey only lasts 15 minutes. This service tends to be quite efficient since it works even if strikes occur in the area.

It is quite important that, even though the airport is close to the city, you avoid walking to the city, since there is no proper infrastructure for pedestrians to cross the highway, making it dangerous to walk to the city.

If you don´t want to take these public transportation units, then use the taxi line services available, or go to a rent-a-car agency, in case that you are on the airport and wish to reach the city.

Wikipedia Map

Karte vom Parametronetzwerk Charleroi

Future expansions

Given the recent interest that has arisen on the general public for the city´s metro, the Châtelet branch project, also known as the M5 Line, has been the topic of discussion in the Wallonian Parliament since many years ago. This lien has been mostly built.

According to a study done during the third trimester of 2012 done by the authorities of the region, the project would require at least 15 million euros to begin. This is without taking into account the implicit costs of acquiring new vehicles and building stations, which would add up to 35 million euros.

In fact, some specialists have stated that finishing the entire project, including every small aspect of it, would have a total cost of 50 million euros, without taking into account the costs of operation.

Since then, the Wallonian Parliament has been considering three options to carry on a project that requires such large sums of money:

  • 1. Making the aforementioned works, extending the network to the region of Châtelet through a branch that would be called Cora, and paying for the costs for the construction (50 million euros), plus the annual costs that would require (2.8 million euros.)
  • 2. Only extend the line to the Grand Hôpital de Charleroi in Gilly. This would be the equivalent of half of the planned line from the aforementioned option and, as a result, in half of the budget.
  • 3. Abandon the project entirely.

Touristic Attractions

With a relatively low distance from Grosselies Rue du Chemin de Fe station, you will be able to find the European Flight Simulator. This is a fun place to go if you wish to experiment the sensation of flying a plane. You will get a brief introductory course within the facilities, which will last 30 minutes, and you will be receive an explanation about the basics of flying an airship and how to be a pilot. This place will give you a story about your vacations in Charleroi to tell, and you will also be able to take magnificent pictures to post on your social media.

Meanwhile, in the vicinity of the Charleroi-Ouest station lies the Comédie Centrale de Charleroi, a pretty establishment that hosts Belgian and French comedians. These comedians range from the most famous French speaking comedians, to newcomers making their debut. The stand-up comedy sessions can be enjoyed while eating tasty dishes and cocktails that will help you have a pleasant stay, which you can enjoy alongside your friends. The owners of the place are always hosting new shows, so you will hardly see the same presentation twice within the same season.

Metro map of Charleroi

Metro map of Charleroi Full resolution
Map via www.infotec.be
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Charleroi Métro Léger map

  • Also Known As: Métro Léger
  • Passengers/Day 22000
  • Fares: honour system
  • 24h operation: No
  • Air Conditioning: No
  • Walk between platforms: No
  • Driverless trains: No
  • Screen Doors Platforms: No
  • Average Speed: 25km/h
  • Max. Speed: 65km/h
  • Operator: TEC
  • 22000
  • Charleroi Metro Official Website
  • Tlf: +32 71 23 41 15

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