|Operated by||De Lijn|
|Opened||25 March 1975|
|Closed||1 September 2016, due to construction works until December 2019|
Opera is a station in the Antwerp premetro network, lying under the Leien near the Teniersplaats in the city centre. The station was opened on March 25, 1975, at the initial opening of the Antwerp premetro network. The station lies in the immediate proximity of the Antwerp opera building and is a part of the central east-west premetro axis. It is currently, as of 1 September 2016, closed for passengers, and will remain so until approximately September 2018, due to the works on the Noorderlijn project, which include a renovation of the station, and the opening of the platforms on the-3 level. Tram lines 3, 5, 9 and 15 still pass through the station, but do not halt there.
Opera station lies in the center of Antwerp under the crossing of the Leien and the Keyserlei-Meir axis (called the Teniersplaats). To the north of the station lie the Antwerp opera, the Antwerp atheneum and the Rooseveltplaats bus station, where most city buses as well as tram routes 10 and 11 halt. To the west, the station gives out onto the Leysstraat and the Meir, the main shopping street in Antwerp. To the east lies the Keyserlei, also counting numerous stores, restaurants and the UGC cinema, which runs toward Antwerp Central Station.
Opera station is the largest of all 18 Antwerp premetro stations, having approximately the same size as the square lying directly above. Unique to the station are its large entrance hall and very wide platforms, spanning nearly 30 meters at some point. This extra width was originally intended to allow the construction of the entrances to the -3 level beneath the currently used platforms, containing two more platforms. However, at present, these platforms are still not in use and they are unreachable for public. The station has a rather sober, yet luxurious decoration. A clay figure artwork symbolising city traffic can be found in the entrance hall behind glass.
At level -1 lies the large entrance hall that has about the same size as the Teniersplaats. The hall contains a large number of pillars as well as a single newspaper stand. Along the walls of the entrance hall, multiple open spaces can be found, constructed for small shops. However, none of them is currently used. After the renewal of the northern part of the Leien, the hall will be split in two by a newly constructed car tunnel, allowing car traffic to go underneath the Teniersplaats. Consequently, it will no longer be possible to use the hall as an underground crossing of the Leien.
The -2 level contains two 90 meter long east-west platforms facing each other, which would have allowed real metro trains to stop at the station, would the Antwerp premetro ever have been upgraded to a full scale metro network. Also, the control centre of the entire Antwerp premetro network could be found here, before it was moved to the Italiëlei in August 2015.
The -3 level contains two more 90 meter long platforms, perpendicular to those at the -2 level, in a north-south orientation. The platforms were built in the 1970s, but due to budgetary problems, they are still in an unfinished state and inaccessible to the public. In the northern direction, the platforms connect to the eastern premetro tunnel, going to the turning loop at the Rooseveltplaats and then -1 level of Astrid station. To the south, the tunnel ends after leaving Opera station. As a part of the Noorderlijn works currently going on in Antwerp, the two north-south platforms will be finished and opened in the following years. After the completion of the works, tram routes 8 and 10 will be extended from their underground terminus at the Rooseveltplaats to Opera station, and then come above ground on the Leien via a newly constructed metro entrance, where they can join the above ground tram routes 12 and 24. During the construction works at Opera station, it will temporarily be inaccessible to any passengers for a period of at least a year, and trams on the east-west axis will pass through the station without stopping.
Unused car tunnel
Behind the walls of the southward platform lie two unused tunnel tubes for car traffic, going under the Teniersplaats and Rooseveltplaats. The tubes were constructed in the 1970s, and were, just like the platforms, never opened. At the beginning of their construction, in 1972, a temporary steel bridge was built over the Rooseveltplaats to minimize traffic problems. The bridge was eventually broken up 34 years later, in 2006, the tunnels still not being finished. Later, when plans were made for the construction of a car tunnel under the Operaplein, as a part of the renewal of the northern part of the Leien, it was decided not to finish the existing tunnel at -3, but to construct a new tunnel at the -1 level, as the existing tunnel tubes were apparently built too deep to allow for the construction of the tunnel entrances. According to the current plans, the tunnel will be converted into an underground car park in the future.
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- "Metrostation Opera sluit" (in Dutch). https://www.delijn.be/nl/overdelijn/nieuws/bericht/14052_antwerpen%3a_metrostation_opera_sluit. 25 July 2016.CS1 maint: location (link)
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- http://www.gva.be/cnt/oid356365/archief-noodbrug-rooseveltplaats-na-30-jaar-tegen-de-vlakte Retrieved 23/06/2016
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- https://www.delijn.be/en/haltes/halte//104725 Retrieved 23/06/2016
- www.delijn.be, the operator of all public city transport in Antwerp and Flanders.
- http://www.noorderlijn.be/, official website about the ongoing works on the Leien and the Opera station.