Did you know that the name ‘Gare du Midi’ refers to the final destination of the trains in the 19th century?
In order to explain the French name of the Brussels-South railway station, we can take the example of the Brussels-Luxemburg railway station. As a matter of fact, trains departing from Brussels-Luxemburg railway station in the 19th century had Luxemburg as their final destination.
The same logic applies to the origin of the name Bruxelles-Midi. Trains departing from this station had Le Midi or southern France as their final destination. The name Brussel-Zuid, as the Dutch translation of Bruxelles-Midi, was only introduced after the equality law of 1898.
In 1840, the first Brussels-South railway station called Station des Bogards was built where the place Rouppe is currently situated. As that station was too small to deal with the mass arrival of passengers, a new station in neo-classical style was built on the present location of the Brussels-South railway station in 1869. In tribute to the railway technology, a statue of Nikè, goddess of victory, was placed on the roof of the station.
After the construction of the North-South connection, the old station was replaced by a new one in 1949. The rail tracks on the roof of the station were connected with the Brussels-Kapellekerk station via a bridge. From the nineties onwards the station was modernized in order to meet the requirements for high-speed trains.