In 1836 May, the railway Mechelen - Antwerp was opened. A small wooden railway station was the first railway station.
The seond building came in 1854. Although this 'middle station' was again meant to be very temporarily, it survived till 1895.
The contemporary 'Central Station' of Antwerp consists of 2 parts : the roof above the rails, and a building.
Civil engineer Clement Van Bogaert built the roof construction in the period 1895 - 1899. It was a revolutionary glassdroof with metal and glas. The size of the construction was adapted to the type of trains used in that period. The number of rails, the fume and the size of the locomotives were well taken into account. This gave an optimal hieght of 43 metres. A lower roof would bring steam to the travellers.
The stone railway of entrance building was designed by Delacenserie, and was built in 1899 till 1905 in eclectic style. On King Leopold II's suggestions, Delacenserie inspired himself on the forms of the railway station in Luzerne (in Switserland). The 75 metres high dome is like the smaller domes at the Astridplein crowned by a lantern tower. King Leopold II's initials, 2 L's standing back to back, are visible on many placed in the railway station. 20 kinds of marble were used. You also find all kinds of pilars: Dorian, Tuscan, Ionic and Corinthian. The central watch is a remaquable piece of art.
For a detailed description, see Martens. Nice pictures also here: Hans Van der Borght.