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Eurostar change of trains in Brussels or Lille?

Eurostar change of trains in Brussels or Lille?

Oct 20th, 2001, 08:37 AM
  #1  
Patrick
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Eurostar change of trains in Brussels or Lille?

Traveling by train from London to Brugge. There are two basic options: taking the Eurostar to Lille where they indicate a 20 minute transfer from one station to the other, or staying on the same train and changing at Brussels which indicates an 11 minute walk between "stations". I've been to the big new station at Lille, just by regular train out of Paris, but didn't see how the change from the one area to the other would be much of a deal. The total time from London to Brugge is only about 5 minutes difference depending on which change is made. Any comments from someone who has changed at one or the other?
 
Oct 20th, 2001, 09:51 AM
  #2  
Ben Haines
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The big new station at Lille is Lille Europe. It is 11 minutes walk, or one metro stop, from the grand old station at Lille, called Lille Flanders. This walk is a good deal longer than the transfer of platforms at Brussels Midi.

The third option is cheaper, slower, and more interesting. London Victoria 0805, views of the Medway, Rochester, and Kent. Dover Priory 0946. Free bus. Dover Hoverport 1100, hovercraft with light meal serbvice, Ostend 1400 to 1444, Bruges 1457. For this trip you buy your ticket for 60 US dollars one way the day before, or any time, at the easternmost window at London Charing Cross Station.

Please write if I can help further.

Ben haines, London
 
Oct 20th, 2001, 10:33 AM
  #3  
Patrick
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Ben, thanks for the information. Usually I agree with you, but I chuckle at your description of the third option being more interesting. There are four us, the two gals will have considerable luggage, I'm sure. I liked the first options because they each involve only one change. Your option consists of a change getting off the train and onto a bus, another for off the bus and onto the boat (not an easy transfer if it's still like it used to be), getting off the boat at the harbor in Belgium. Transferring with luggage to the train station in Oostende (even the timetable says 20 minutes), and then taking the train to Brugge. "More interesting" as that may be, I think we'll pass. I'd still rather take Eurostar from London an hour later and get to Brugge an hour earlier with only one change.
But a further question. The European timetable shows arrival of Eurostar at "Brussels EST" and departure from Brussels Midi". Is this still a simple change of platforms, or is there longer transportation involved? They say 11 minute walk.
 
Oct 20th, 2001, 03:31 PM
  #4  
BTilke
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Patrick, the Brussels Eurostar station IS the Gare du Midi. I don't understand why they have separate names, it's confusing to visitors. However the Eurostar and Thalys leave from new tracks at one end of the Gare du Midi.
Anyway, once you're in Gare du Midi, you walk to the "service interieur" ticket booths to get your tickets to Brugge. The final destination for your train to Brugge is usually Knokke or Ostende. The walk from the Eurostar arrival platform down into the main part of the station and over to the ticket booth would take about 11 minutes. Trains leave at least twice an hour, usually from tracks 13 to 16. If you are going on week-ends, I highly suggest getting the first class ticket as second class is VERY crowded. We went from Brussels to Brugge today and the round trip first class fare for the three of us (plus our English cocker) was about $42 total.
FYI, if the line for tickets is long and a train is leaving shortly, you do not have to buy your ticket to Brugge before getting on the train. But you MUST tell the train personnel for that train (i.e., at the track just before you get on) that you didn't have time to buy tickets before boarding. You can then buy the tickets on board, paying a small surcharge, but not the hefty fine for people who don't have tickets and didn't let the train staff know.
The train ride takes roughly 50 minutes and the IC trains to Brugge are very pleasant--comfortable and modern. Someone usually comes through with a small drinks cart (beer, soft drinks, mineral water). There are WCs on the train.
We had dinner tonight in a restaurant right outside Brugge that had great food, including the BEST steak I have had in two years in Europe (costing only $12 for the steak, salad and frites). It's a pretty, non tourist restaurant, but the staff speak English It's about a 5 minute taxi ride from the Brugge train station.
BTilke (Brussels)
 
Oct 20th, 2001, 11:35 PM
  #5  
Ben Haines
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The current issue of the Thomas Cook European Timetable at table 12 shows the Eurostar as arriving at Brussels Midi. Table 400 shows the train for Buges as leaving ftrom Brussels Midi. The walk from train to train is indeed about ten minutes, or less. I'm pretty sure that you can buy in London your tickets both London to Brussels and Brussels to Bruges, and need not stop to buy tickets in Brussels Midi.

I'm sure you'll stick with your present plan, and am glad to have been of help. But others are reading, so I'll reply further with them in mind.

With four of you Dover is still easier: you can just taxi it. From the taxi drop to dumping your bags into the luggage check-in system is twenty yards. You see the bags again not on the catamaran but on a baggage carousel in the station at Ostend, where there are luggage trolleys to go 200 yards to the train.

Please write again if I can help further.

Ben Haines

 
Oct 20th, 2001, 11:57 PM
  #6  
Lauren
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There is a free shuttle between the two Brussels train stations. Ask when you get there.

I took the Thalys train from Paris to Brussels for the day. The hassle with the trains to Bruges made me decide to stay in Brussels for the day rather than go to Bruges. The Thalys goes into one Brussels train station and the downtown area is near the other. I think it would be a lot more than 11 minutes to walk between the two of them.

Brussels was very interesting, by the way. I saw the Royal Palace (open only in summer), had a light lunch on a street near the Grand Place, walked to the manniquen pis, went shopping and took a city tour. I felt that Brussels is a grossly underrated tourist destination. There are many museums, but I did not have time for them.

If you are wondering what I bought, I bought a tapestry purse with a design based on Bruegel--nothing elaborate. I also had a Belgian chocolate. I just bought one because a box of them would have been deadly--LOL.

Bruges is still on my "hit list" for another time.
 
Oct 21st, 2001, 06:42 AM
  #7  
Ben Haines
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This is odd. The timetable says that you'll use one station in Brussels, the Midi, while two people here say you have to change stations there. One mentions a station that doesn't exist, the Est.

All rather odd.

Ben Haines


 
Oct 21st, 2001, 06:47 AM
  #8  
Ben Haines
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Two of you say one must change stations in Brussels (and one of you mentions the Est station there, which I think doesn't exist). Others, and the timetable, say you use Brussels Midi. All rather odd.

Ben Haines, London
 
Oct 21st, 2001, 10:28 AM
  #9  
Patrick
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Ben, perhaps I started some of the confusion. I use the eurorail.com website (which utilizes the Die Bahn system). It actually says you arrive at Brussels Midi(EST) and depart from Brussels Midi. In this case I assume the EST simply stands for the part of Midi that is the Eurostar platforms, not a station Est or East. Although that schedule says that the transfer between the two is 11 minutes, I would think from the other descriptions, that might be a maximum. I do know that in traveling through Brussels from Amsterdam to Paris on the Thalys, we stopped at one of the other Brussels stations but not Midi, so perhaps that is what Lauren is referring to.
In regards to the Dover option, I still don't see it being simpler. I'm also sure we would need to get two taxis for four people and 4 large suitcases plus three or four small to medium ones, just to go the short distance to the hovercraft. I also had friends get stuck in Dover once overnight when they canceled the hovercraft at the last minute due to rough seas. I'm not sure how often that happens, but I still prefer the luxury of getting on Eurostar at Waterloo, changing once, and arriving in Brugge. The extra money will be well spent.
 

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