The Belgian city of Antwerp has popped across the savvy traveler’s radar screen for its fashion, art, and cool club scenes. Here’s another reason why the city is the place to be: Antwerp is going green, having pioneered the first solar-powered railway tunnel in Europe. Recently opened along the Paris-Amsterdam high-speed rail link, the 2.1 mile tunnel was topped with 50,000 solar panels which produces enough energy to power the trains as they pass underneath at 186 kilometers/hour. The electricity generated will also help power the Antwerp train station.
The Telegraph reports that the tunnel “will save 47.3 million kilograms of CO2 emissions over two decades.” Other countries in Europe will follow suit, with Italy, France, and the UK investigating the use of solar-powered trains. And to quote The Guardian: “The new Blackfriars station in London, which will span the River Thames, will host the largest single collection of solar panels in the UK when it opens in spring 2012.”