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Amsterdam to Paris- High Spd. Train

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Mar 16th, 2005, 07:46 AM
  #1
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Amsterdam to Paris- High Spd. Train

I want to take the thalys high speed train from Amsterdam to Paris during the first week of July and have the following questions:

1) Should I purchase this ticket in the US or should I just wait till I get to Amsterdam?

2) Is the first class service section worth the extra money? How much does a one way ticket cost?

3) How long is the trip on the high speed train?

Thanks for your assistance.
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Mar 16th, 2005, 07:49 AM
  #2
ira
 
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Hi d,

Look for discounted fares at www.sncf.com and buy as early as 60 days in advance.

Sometimes you can get 1cl for less than 2cl.

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Mar 16th, 2005, 07:51 AM
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[1] If you know your dates now and can lock in the cheapest rate (which is a Smilys return), then you should do so. (Check thalys.com for fares.)

These tickets are priced similarly to airplane tickets. So wait until the last minute and your ticket price goes up. But there're just 3-4 price categories and you know in advance what the rate is for each by checking thalys.com .

There's the possibility of last-minute discounts (check thalys.com again) -- but obviously that's a gamble.

[2] I've no idea -- but for fares, check thalys.com.

[3] About 4 hours between Paris and Amsterdam.
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Mar 16th, 2005, 07:52 AM
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You should be find purchasing it there, but I've taken the Thalys twice - both times in late June - and it was 100 percent full the economy section. For the piece of mind, you might want to purchase it ahead of time (check www.thalys.com or the SNCF french railway site).
First class service is more, I'm not sure how much, and I personally don't think it's worth it, but others might disagree.
The trip is about 4 hours.
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Mar 16th, 2005, 10:13 AM
  #5
MaureenB
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I'm pricing the same train in the opposite direction, from Paris to Amsterdam. I've been confused by the prices on the websites mentioned above, so have called Budget Europe. The man I spoke with was extremely knowledgeable, helpful and experienced with buying that route. The price he quoted was much less than I'd found on-line. They charge a $15 handling fee, and they mail paper tickets to your home. You can call them to price it: 800 441 9413 or 800 441 2387
 
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Mar 16th, 2005, 10:22 AM
  #6
 
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Aside -

A friend of mine commutes from Paris to Brussels weekly. He says there is no such thing as a high-speed train in Benelux.

"But what about Thalys?" I asked him.

"Non, non. It goes through Belgium. It stops being high-speed at the border."
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Mar 16th, 2005, 10:28 AM
  #7
MaureenB
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I have been told there is a direct train between Paris and Amsterdam, with no change of trains required in Brussels. It may not be high-speed, though, between Brussels and Amsterdam, but is still Thalys, I believe.
 
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Mar 16th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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Are you able to check your luggage on these trains or do you carry it on and stow it yourself?
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Mar 16th, 2005, 11:20 AM
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Maureen, the Thalys is direct from AMS-Paris, but it stops in Brussels (no change required).
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Mar 16th, 2005, 02:08 PM
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Actually, I think the Thalys does hit its max (186 mph) thru Belgium and France. It's the Netherlands portion where the high speed tracks aren't complete yet.
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Mar 16th, 2005, 02:17 PM
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I took this route last November and left Paris at 3:55PM arriving in Amsterdam at 8:12PM. That was the fastest route they offered. So just slightly over 4 hours. It was nonstop to Brussels, but does make 2 stops there and then stops at least 2 times before Amsterdam, once in the Rotterdam and once in the Hague. But the good news is that you don't change trains, so it is really easy, just kind of boring....
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Mar 16th, 2005, 04:08 PM
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My friend's commentary wasn't on the speed of the train, but the efficiency of the Belgian railroad system. Apparently their reliability is near zero.
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Mar 17th, 2005, 12:25 PM
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Yes you carry your luggage on like any train - not sure it's even possible to check it. Highspeed tracks end near Brussels and then over conventional tracks to Amsterdam - but Thalys don't stop as much as IC trains so are a bit faster but not much. Highspeed tracks north of Brussels to Amsterdam are nearing completion so times Paris-amsterdam will be slashed dramatically. Part of this plan burrows under the existing Antwerpen Centraal Station, making that station, currently not served by Thalys trains that only stop at suburban Antwerpen-Berchem station, a stop on the paris-amsterdam route.
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Mar 18th, 2005, 09:11 AM
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As for there being no high speed tracks in Belgium - there are two - one on the Eurostar route from Brussels to Lille and one just finished from near Brussels to Liege. Brand new rights of way with true highspeed running. My experience with Belgian trains are that they are excellent.
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Mar 18th, 2005, 02:53 PM
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My Parisian friend's experience with Belgian trains is that they are horrible. He has commuted every week from Paris to Brussels for the past 32 years.

YMMV
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Mar 25th, 2005, 08:24 PM
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Any experiences with purchasing tickets on raileurope.com? I would like to purchase the Smilys ticket on raileurope.com from Paris to Amsterdam in May with a return trip (It is always available). That same Smilys fare however is not available on Thalys or SNCF.com, does this mean that the Smilys fare is fully booked for the dates I want? And if I purchase the Smilys fare on raileurope.com, is there a possiblity that my tickets will not be honored when I board the train in Paris? This fare seems to be lowest priced option.
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Mar 26th, 2005, 03:52 AM
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Robespierre's Parisian friend is suffering from a severe case of exaggeration. For five years, I used the Belgian train system to go all over the country and also to commute to a job. I found the trains for the most part quite reliable (reliability near ZERO? Oh come on. What rubbish. For crying out loud, that Parisian ought to try commuting in the UK! Just yesterday, the train I took into London first was announced as on time, then cancelled, then finally arrived late, and after it left the station, the announcer noted that several stops had been eliminated and people who wanted to get off at those stops had to exit at the next stop and wait for another train).
And the Thalys has not been running for 32 years, of course. The Thalys has priority over regular trains and on a few occasions when my Thalys has been rate, the problems were in France, not Belgium.
My husband commutes between London and Brussels every week and takes a local train to Brussels Midi. The trains he takes are more than 90% on time.
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Mar 26th, 2005, 04:10 AM
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jasons1, whatever savings you get from the smilys ticket will probably be eaten up by Rail Europe's obscene convenience and ticketing fees. Those can add about $25-30.
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Mar 26th, 2005, 04:28 AM
  #19
ira
 
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>...if I purchase the Smilys fare on raileurope.com, is there a possiblity that my tickets will not be honored when I board the train in Paris? <

No.

What is the date for which SNCF doesn't have a SMILYS fare but raileurope does?

I find this very interesting.

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Mar 26th, 2005, 08:17 AM
  #20
MaureenB
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Isn't the Smilys fare only technically available 60 days or less from departure? Maybe the two websites have different ways of handling that-- one has pre-sale the other doesn't?
Anyway, I highly recommend Budget Europe for your train fare. Their number is 800 441 2387 or 800 441 9414 (as posted above, except I incorrectly put 9413 the first time). Talk to anyone there-- Bob and Linda were especially helpful to me in sorting out the schedules and fares. They only add $15 to each total purchase, and mail paper tickets to your home. I recently purchased Smilys and Eurostar fares from them and was very pleased. Fares can be so confusing, I appreciated talking to a person who has lots of experience with them.
 
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