One of the strangest experiences in my #CrossBorderRail trip this summer was as the only passenger on the Mons to Aulnoye-Aymeries train – it even features in my summary video. Given that the one I took departs Mons at 06:04 then I suppose that was no surprise. And then, as the timetable is so bad, now the line is being axed altogether. You can find more information on the background here. The cancellation of the service will leave Mons – a culturally significant city of 100000 inhabitants that is just 15km from the border with France – without any train to France.
The very final train will depart from Mons at 17:06 on Saturday 10 December.
Given that we are facing a climate crisis, and that the cross border rail infrastructure here is in a good state, axing a connection like this is unforgivable and hence the need to organise a symbolic protest.
With the support of Greenpeace’s EU office – I am going to be organising a small “funeral for the train“. The idea comes from the former MEP Michael Cramer who organised similar for the cancellation of the Berlin-Wroclaw EuroCity train – you can read about that here.
Here is how the event in Mons will work.
Those arriving from Brussels should depart Bruxelles Midi at 14:56, arriving at Mons at 15:43.
Meet from 15:45 at Cafe Ducal (6 place Leopold), opposite the main railway station entrance in Mons. Please make sure you wear black. Activists will gather there.
At 16:45 leave the cafe, and go to Platform 2 at Mons Station – from where the train will depart. Lay a wreath of flowers on the platform before the departure of the train.
At 17:06 the train to Aulnoye-Aymeries will depart.
I will personally be taking this train to Aulnoye-Aymeries, and others are welcome to come along too. However the final train back from Aulnoye-Aymeries to Mons is at 21:15, but there is a pizza restaurant next to Aulnoye station – I will happily have a pizza there with anyone who is waiting to return back to Brussels.
The 21:15 departure from Aulnoye arrives Mons at 21:44, and from Mons the train at 22:19 gets you back to Brussels at 23:05. For those only wanting to attend in Mons and not travel to Aulnoye, the 17:19 departure from Mons arrives back at Bruxelles Midi at 18:06.
We sadly do not have budget to cover attendees’ participation at the activity. A weekend return ticket Bruxelles-Mons-Bruxelles is €11. Mons-Aulnoye-Mons is €9.60.
Any questions about the funeral, or want to come along, or ask questions about it? Either leave a comment below, or contact me!