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Is 15 minutes enough time to change trains in Antwerp?

Is 15 minutes enough time to change trains in Antwerp?

Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 12:09 PM
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Is 15 minutes enough time to change trains in Antwerp?

Greetings,

Thanks to the many Fodorites who are helping me to organize our trip. It appears that our best bet to go by train to Lille from Amsterdam is through Antwerp. The time of the arrival of the Amsterdam train (Thalys in code ID) in Antwerp to the departure of the Lille train (Intercity ID) is 15 minutes--no tracks given. To those who know the Antwerp
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 12:11 PM
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Continuation--sorry don't know what happened there--
The time of the arrival of the Amsterdam train (Thalys in code ID) in Antwerp to the departure of the Lille train (Intercity ID) is 15 minutes--no tracks given. To those who know the Antwerp-Bercham station, will 15 minutes with luggage be adequate?

Many thanks.
Robyn France
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 01:16 PM
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Normally 15 minutes must be OK. Berchem is not a big station (only 10 tracks). However, if you have to go from track 10 to 8 (or below) you will have to take a flight of stairs down and one up. Not easy with luggage in combination with big crowds.
I've tried to check at which tracks your trains arrive/depart but the Belgian Railways' website is down. I will try again tomorrow and let you know if I find some more information.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 05:32 PM
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Myriam, thank you so much--that would be a wonderful help. I appreciate your kindness!

Robyn France
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 07:18 PM
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You can also take an International Express train from Amsterdam to Antwerp. It takes only 10 minutes more than the 2 hours for the Thalys. You'll still have 5 minutes (I think 10 actually) to catch the Lille train and that should be no problem. The International Express does not require a reservation but Thalys does.

I was in Berchem a couple years ago and there is a high stairway from the ticket area to the tracks. You will not need to go to the ticket area for a connection. Just walk from one track to the next. The tracks area, as I recall, had a ramp to go from one level to another but without much change in elevation. The station was being remodeled at the time.

All trains in Berchem go in and out at the same end of the station. Trains that are backed up to the main platform which connects all the platforms may have some cars that are not attached to the train posted for that platform. Check the placard on the car and/or ask a conductor to make sure the car you board is going to Lille.

I think you made the right choice with the train instead of renting a car.

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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 07:30 PM
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Please totally disregard everything I wrote about Antwerpen Berchem station. The description is for Antwerpen Centraal station. Sorry. It's been along day.

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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 11:18 PM
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Hopscotch, I thought you were confusing with Antwerpen Centraal. By the way, the station is still not finished. One more year to go ...

Robyn France, the efficieny of Belgian train stations is still not optimal. That's my conclusion from a phone call with the station in Berchem! The arrival/departure tracks of the trains may vary daily, in other words they can't say in advance on which track your train will arrive/depart. Anyway, the guy confirmed that 15 min. is more than sufficient.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2005, 10:35 AM
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Anyway in Belge there are usually 2 trains an hour going everywhere and an IC train hourly so at most you'd be stuck in Antwerpen an hour - lots of time to marvel at what is one of Europe's grandest train sheds - Antwerpen Centraal. berchem, 2 miles south and on the edge of town is a small station with just a few platforms. Some trains do not go into Centraal station as it's currently a deadend and may only stop at Berchem - i thought this was the case with Thalys?? When work is finished at Centraal or in a few years it will be on the direct Holland-Brussels new high-speed rail route now under construction. If stuck in Berchem for an hour just around the corner from the station is one of Europe's finest example of fanciful Art Nouveau facades that dominate one street very near the station.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2005, 11:02 AM
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PalQ, the street with the Art Nouveau houses is called Cogels Osylei. It is a beautiful indeed, unlike the rest of the Berchem station neighbourhood.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2005, 12:11 PM
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Miriam yes the neighborhood is a bit tacky. For years i camped with my bike trips i organized in the nearby Antwerpen municipal camp and did find one other great place near Berchem - Middleheim statue park - one of the world's finest outdoor statue parks in a lush verdant setting. throw you bags in a locker and cab over to Middleheim if you're an art lover.
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