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Need help on overnight trains from BRU to BASEL

Need help on overnight trains from BRU to BASEL

Old Sep 10th, 2011, 10:16 AM
  #1  
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Need help on overnight trains from BRU to BASEL

I have 3 days in BRU and 12 days in Switzerland (for which I am considering a 15 day saver pass) with 3 adults and 2 kids under 4. My understanding is local travel within Belgium is cheaper with point to point tickets. Will a EURAIL select pass work out cheaper for this trip plan including travel from BRU to Switzerland?

Any suggestions for overnight trains from BRUSSELS to BASEL in Sep? Could not find trains on either http://www.b-europe.com or http://www.sbb.ch. Is there any other sites I can look at?
pbindigo is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2011, 11:52 AM
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There are no overnight trains between Brussels and Basel. That is, there are many trains that go overnight - but they have at least 1 change of train (that takes 12 hours) and most of the trains have several changes. The only non-change I can find - and with your group you do NOT want to be changing trains - is about 7.5 hours and is during the day. I would definitely take that one.

Frankly the idea of taking an overnight train with 2 small kids - all 6 people packed into one tiny compartment - and everyone sleeping early so the kids can? Or keeping kids awake so adults don;t have to turn off the lights at 8 pm? just doesn;t seem to make sense. Not sure how small kids are charged on overnight trains - but I'm assuming there you would have to buy berths - since no strangers can be expected to/or want to - stay with 2 small kids.
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Old Sep 10th, 2011, 12:37 PM
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A good site for train schedules is the German Rail site http://tinyurl.com/c9jp54. You might look for trains connecting in Strasbourg. For an illustrated introduction to night trains see http://tinyurl.com/y57vft. Your two kids may need to pay full price for bunks, or one bunk for the both of them. On day trains in Switzerland kids travel for free, and have a hi-ho time running all over the place. My daughter did.
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Old Sep 10th, 2011, 08:16 PM
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Hi nytraveler and spaarne

Thanks for your responses. It looks like there is a non-stop overnight city line train from AMSTERDAM to BASEL (8.31PM-6.54AM) and back. Even though it will require a detour of about 2 hours, it seems to work out best in terms of not wasting an additional day on travel both days. We are leaning towards this option for now.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 12:19 PM
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You will with that much time in Switzerland by far off better by buying regular tickets to get to Switzerland then buying either a 3-day Swiss Flexi Saverpass or a 15-consecutive-day Swiss Pass (even though you will only be there 12 days could be the best option) - Swiss Passes cover so much more than a Eurailpass valid in Switzerland does and kids get a free family pass where they never pay a dime for any transport in Switzerland (they would also go free on your railpass.

For lots on European and especially Swiss trains check out these fantastic IMO web sites - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com

Swiss Passes IME are often significantly cheaper if bought in North America than for the exact same pass bought in Switzerland - check out prices however for each (dollars at sites given above - for seat61.com click on that site's commerical link to Rail Europe) for Swiss prices go to www.swisstravelsystem.com, which also has a wealth of info on trains, boats, scenic trains, etc in Switzerland as well as a link to www.sbb.ch official site of Swiss Federal Railways to compare ordinary fares to the pass (and also to the Half-Fare Card and Swiss Card (which could well be better than the Half-Fare Card) - but IMO any Eurailpass would be far more expensive and give much less once in Switzerland.
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Old Sep 13th, 2011, 04:27 AM
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Actually Switzerland is only about 5-6 hours or so from Brussels if you go via Paris and then TGV to Basel or Zurich - or if going by night train then you could easily head to Germany to Cologne and then to Frankfurt and catch overnight trains from there to Zurich (perhaps from Cologne) rather than doing the longer route via Amsterdam (and more expensive perhaps too if you do not have a pass.
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Old Sep 13th, 2011, 09:31 AM
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Come to think about it you would join the same CNL train in Cologne that comes from Amsterdam - but Cologne I think is quicker to readch from Brussels with direct ICE German trains (and Thalys trains that you can avoid if you have a pass because of their steep surcharge for passholders) - go early in the day and also see cologne Cathedral - one of the most awesome Gothic cathedrals in Europe and the largest I believe as well - smack right next to the train station. Put your bags in a station locker and spend a few hours in delightful Cologne, seeing the cathedral and strolling perhaps along the swell riverfront walkways - and buy food and drink for the night train as well.
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Old Sep 13th, 2011, 11:12 AM
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pbindigo,

The Amsterdam-Basel night train that you found is a CNL (City Night Line) train that ends in Zurich. If you book online well in advance (up to 92 days allowed) on the German Rail site, you can get Saving Night fares totaling €245 for five bunks in a six-person couchette or €565 for beds in a three-person sleeper plus a two-person sleeper.
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Old Sep 13th, 2011, 11:19 AM
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PalenQ's idea to catch the night train in Cologne is a good one. If you book well in advance on the German Rail site, you can get discount fares as low as €57 for all five of you together for both ICE trains and Thalys trains from Brussels to Cologne.
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 06:39 PM
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PalenQ and TimS

Thanks for your suggestions. Unfortunately, mine is kind of last minute so could not get decent deals. I did go with PalenQ's suggestion of buying a 15 day saver pass. In hindsight with advance planning the Cologne option would have worked very well. Luckily I got a what I think is a decent deal of 253 Euros from AMS to BASEL in 4 person couchette.
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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 03:50 AM
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With the pass if using it to go to Amsterdam from Brussels do not take the Thalys trains as you pay the steep supplement - take the slightly slower IC trains that run hourly and which you can just hop on with a pass at no extra fee.
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Old Sep 17th, 2011, 05:03 AM
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the same advice regarding Thalys trains applies to going between Brussels and Cologne using a pass - eschew the Thalys trains as they impose a hefty seat reservation fee for passholders but the German ICE trains running the same route do not and you can just hop aboard at no extra charge.
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 05:53 PM
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The pass is just for Switzerland. I am planning to buy train tickets from BRU to AMS. Currently the price on Netherlands train site is close to 38 Euros per person. Is that the best I can get? Or can I get it cheaper Brussels
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 11:32 PM
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See if they still have the Super Dagretour. I did that about 5 years ago for €35. You have to leave after 9 AM and return anytime. It's available on the Intercity Express, not the Thalys. Get off at Brussels Central.
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Old Sep 20th, 2011, 10:59 AM
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For Brussels to Amsterdam also try the Thalys site - www.thalys.com as they have some deep discounted tickets - limited in number so they must be booked far in advance often - but worth a check if 38 euros each way is the only other alternative if the Super Daagretour ticket is no longer around.
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Old Sep 20th, 2011, 06:17 PM
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Thanks for the responses. SuperDagreTour, though still available, is applicable only for same day returns. Still looking at Thalys/Dutch/German & Belgian sites but looks more and more like 38 Euro pp is the best bet. Thanks again.
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Old Sep 20th, 2011, 07:40 PM
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PalenQ/TimS,

In retrospect, your suggestion from Sep 13 of joining the CNL at Cologne seems like an excellent idea. I am even getting tickets from BRU to COL at half the cost of traveling from BRU to AMS as Tim S suggested.

If I do end up considering that option, do you know if joining the train mid way through the journey will be an issue even though I have booked tickets from AMS to BAS?

Also are there other things to do around the Cologne area apart from the Cathedral to spend the entire day? Thanks so much for your help as always
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Old Sep 21st, 2011, 04:01 AM
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I don't know for sure, but I expect that if you don't board the CNL train in Amsterdam, your couchette bunks could be sold to other people.
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Old Sep 21st, 2011, 11:55 AM
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rule of thumb unclaimed berths or seats after 20 minutes are up for grabs for anyone waiting for them at any onward station or on board.
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Old Sep 21st, 2011, 02:18 PM
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PalenQ on Sep 21, 11 at 3:55pm
rule of thumb unclaimed berths or seats after 20 minutes are up for grabs for anyone waiting for them at any onward station or on board.


But it's best to talk with the conductor first. They get upset if their bunk plan is upset.
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