Before telling about you the origins of the Compagnie de Chimay, I’ll step into the Belgium railway history.
In 1825, an English company offered the Dutch authorities to give the Entre-Sambre & Meuse canals and railways. It’s not until 24th August 1831 that King Leopold I asked two engineers a railway trajectory between Antwerp, the Meuse and the Rhine.
Despite the hostilities in the railway, the Government ordered, the construction of a line connecting Mechelen, to Brussels in 1834. This line was inaugurated on 5th May 1835.
At the beginning of the railways, most lines were built and operated by private companies, sometimes with foreign capital. There were up to 39 private companies.
In 1926, there were only 275 km from private line, they were divided into 3 companies; “Nord-Belge”, Brussels-Tervuren and Chimay.
Let us speak origins and history of the “ Compagnie de Chimay ”.
In the “ Botte du Hainaut” and Namur area of the “Entre-Sambre &Meuse ”, Prince Joseph de Chimay, 17th of the name, multiplies happy initiatives and encourages the works in progress.
In 1856, he nurtures, with the support of a skewer of shareholders, the future "Compagnie de Chimay ". The Prince got, on 31th July 1856, a concession of 90 years for the construction and operation of a line connecting Mariembourg to the French border via Chimay.
The public company "Chemin de fer de Mariembourg Chimay" is founded. It will become “ Compagnie de Chimay ” in August 1857.
The line was built with due regard to economy, avoiding the valleys and works of art.
The segment Mariembourg - Chimay was put in operation on 15th October 1858 and Chimay – Momignies 8th November 1858.
Due to the hesitation of the municipal authorities the Mariembourg –Doische and Doische – Hastiere sections were not put into service until 30th March 1864 and 5th March 1866 respectively.
The Momignies - Anor (France) segment isn’t operated until 15th March 1868.
The railway company “Nord Français” attempted to take the control of the “Compagnie de Chimay” dice on 20th April 1870. The attempt failed, but due to financial difficulties, “Compagnie du Nord” managed to sign a new treaty on 6th October 1875, which put the “ Compagnie de Chimay” under control of the North.
The one single railway track of the “Compagnie de Chimay” went from Hastière (Le Nord-Belge) through the Entre-Sambre & Meuse via Agimont and arrived in Mariembourg where it had a junction line with Charleroi - Walcourt - Treignes, she continued to Chimay, Momignies and Anor (France).
The “Compagnie de Chimay” was the last private company that was taken over by the S.N.C.B. on 1st February 1948. The S.N.C.B. found in possession of all of the Belgian railway infrastructure when it was officially bought back in 1958.