When we first thought about our project, the idea was pretty simple: we wanted to build a regular youth hostel, in that wonderfull building we had been lucky to find close to a train station. And it's its location that let us find our path to our concept. When we were told that the SNCB had decided to launch a train museum right next to us, the concept was completely clear for us: we needed to use the train, to make it our soul. We decided that we could launch a hostel with a fun and original atmosphere. And that's how we ended up calling the SNCB to buy their wagons.
We discussed the idea with François Schuiten, a famous Belgian writer and scenographist who was also in charge of the Train World, with SNCB/NMBS (Belgian railway company) and the local authorities. All of them liked the idea. Then started a long road of conceptualisation, getting authorisations, funds chasing, carriages purchasing, and building…
Fitting authentic railway carriages into and above an 100 year old, existing building, implies
reinforcing existing foundations and building structure. It also involves an innovating architectural approach for an expected striking effect. François Schuiten and SNCB are the key partners in this development. The decoration is based on authentic industrial antique material. The funding and running of the operation is 100% private.