What is “pre-metro” in Belgium?

The term “pre-metro” frequently appears in the public transportation systems of Brussels and Antwerp. But what exactly does it mean?

It is generally accurate to think of “pre-metro” as an underground tram. In both cities, these pre-metro lines often operate in dedicated tunnels or tracks, providing faster and more efficient transit compared to regular surface-level tram lines.


In Brussels, the pre-metro lines consist of underground tramway tunnels that were designed with the potential for future conversion into a full metro system. These tunnels currently serve trams, and the system is often referred to by its line numbers (e.g., T3, T4).

For example, Tram Line 4 (T4) is often called pre-metro between Gare du Nord (North Station) and Parvis de St-Gilles (St. Gilles Square) because it uses a pre-metro tunnel.

Public Transportation in Brussels >>

Brussels Metro and Tram Map


Same as Brussels, in Antwerp, some tram lines are called “pre-metro” that operate in underground tunnels and elevated tracks, providing a faster and more efficient mode of transportation compared to traditional trams.

  • Tram Line 2 (T2): Runs underground as a pre-metro between Hoboken and Merksem.
  • Tram Line 3 (T3): Operates as a pre-metro between Zwijndrecht and Merksem.
  • Tram Line 5 (T5): Utilizes the pre-metro tunnel between Linkeroever and Wijnegem.
  • Tram Line 6 (T6): Runs underground as a pre-metro between Olympiade and Luchtbal.