Part III of a series of photos taken during a recent urban safari in Charleroi, Belgium: Featuring the completed, but never-been-used pre-métro stations (Chet and Pensée) that lie between Waterloo and Centenaire on the Chatelet line.
Part I: Around a dis-used cooling tower
These stations were completed in 1986 but were never operated. Today, the structure lies intact albeit the graffiti and missing copper cables (stolen for sale in China apparently). While it is possible to pick up from where everything was left off, this would require a huge injection of money – to restore the operations of the station, as well as to complete the remaining four stations of the line. Enrico, who is quite an eccentric character, lives next to the Chet metro station and was more than happy to show us around after Nicolas introduced us. He’s a self-proclaimed prophet and was super enthusiastic to have guests, showing us his studio where he sings amid dusty paraphernalia and newspaper clippings featuring him. Enrico even recorded three albums including one that was inspired by Ronald Reagan with an official photo of the former president on its cover. In spite of his rapid-fire and somewhat incoherent speech, we really enjoyed our visit to the metro stations with him.Here’s a documentary clip about the phantom metro of Charleroi (le métro fantôme de Charleroi) that was broadcast on Belgium’s Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF) television channel in 1991. The metro system in Charleroi has often been referred to as one of the major useless constructions in Belgium (l’un des plus grands travaux inutiles du pays).It’s hard to fathom how is it possible to spend millions on constructing a subway line and then just abandon it. The metro network was planned during Charleroi’s industrial heyday in the 1960s. Had it been completed, it’d feature eight radiating lines from the central loop and would have been the largest metro system in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in those days. However with the collapse of the mining industry in le pays noir (the black country), there was just not enough money to complete the construction.