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Netherlands-Belgium train travel

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Mar 4th, 2013, 10:52 AM
  #1
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Netherlands-Belgium train travel

What are the options for getting from Schiphol to Brussels (I assume you have to go via Brussels to get to Ghent/Bruges/Antwerp)?

What about from Bruges or Antwerp to Den Haag?

These are short trips, so we don't need 1st class, or particularly speedy, although if we could minimize transfers, that would be good.

Thanks.
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Mar 4th, 2013, 11:00 AM
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Schiphol to Antwerpby IC train - cheapest - high-speed Thalys train can take an hour shorter but is much more expensive unless you book months in advance to score one of the few deep discounted tickets - on a walk up basis very expensive I think.

And when landing you never really know when you will be able to take the train - but IC trains do not even take seat reservations and serve Schiphol's rain station hourly to Antwerp Centraal - change there for IC trains to Bruges - buy a Schiphol to Bruges ticket at Schiphol Airport's International ticket window - you have to change in Antwerp - quickest route to Bruges or Gent rather than going via Brussels.

Same route back of course - there should be direct trains Antwerp to Den Hague - same IC train you can down on.

For lots on trains in those countries check out these fab IMO sites - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. Check www.ns.nl Dutch railways site for schedules and fares but just wait until Schiphol to buy your ticket - IC trains I believe have no incentive fares to buy early - or perhaps just one euro.

2nd class on IC trains - these ones IME in can be very very crowded - first class never - I have ridden many times - if 2nd class is too crowded you can move into first class and then pay the normal difference between first and second class fares to the conductor on the train in case you find 2nd class over mobbed as indeed have seen it.
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Mar 4th, 2013, 11:06 AM
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Fyra is not running at the moment, and won't be for the foreseeable future, which makes your options somewhat limited.

Thalys is the obvious choice, fast direct and can be cheap if you book early enough. However not flexible so allow plenty of time for flight delays if you choose that.

The alternatives involve a train to Rotterdam, and form there the IC to Brussels, or a train to Roosendaal, one to Antwerp and then another to Brussels, or Rotterdam-Roosendaal-Anterp-Brussels.

Have a look at nshispeed for the latest information.
http://www.nshispeed.nl/en/internati...rain-timetable
http://www.nshispeed.nl/en/overview-service-alterations
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Mar 4th, 2013, 11:08 AM
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Contrary to PalenQ's post there is currently no direct inter-city from Amsterdam to Antwerp or Brussels.
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Mar 4th, 2013, 03:59 PM
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Contrary to PalenQ's post there is currently no direct inter-city from Amsterdam to Antwerp or Brussels>

well I base this on a post from tiulips last week that said that IC trains had not been running but were back up and working - are you telling me that Thalys is currently the only direct option to Antwerp from Amsterdam?

Yes if you want to book 120 days or so in advance you may get a really cheap Thalys fare but again when flying in how will you know exactly what train you can catch - the discounted Thalys tickets are non-changeable and non-refundeable - miss it and you'll have to pay full fare on Thalys - a lot lot more than the IC route - if I were you I'd just wait - even if you have to take a train to Den Hague and change to a IC train to Antwerp that is not nearly as painful as hetismij makes out - a simple transfer in The Hague from one platform to another and reliable inexpensive - just wait and go to the Train Information counter at Schiphol Airport train station and ask about non-Thalys routes to Bruges - not Brussels which in any case is way out of your way - you want to get to Antwerp where Belgian IC trains certainly do run at least hourly to Bruges, much quicker than going via Brussels.
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Mar 5th, 2013, 02:53 AM
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Yes pal - there is currently no other direct link to Belgium from Amsterdam/Schiphol.
I didn't say the transfer was painful - provided they can get the right train. There are not regular ICs from Den Haag to Belgium - certainly not every hour never mind half hour. Miss that train and it does become more complicated and painful with luggage.

Hopefully at some point in the summer it will become clear what is going to happen with Fyra or an alternative.
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Mar 5th, 2013, 03:21 AM
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There is a lobby of commuters who travel between Belgium and Holland; they have an up-to-date overview of what trains are running. Email is [email protected]. Mails are in dutch, but the overview of trains is self explanatory.

The Dutch railway NS should list all trains, but more trains will be added, I'm told.

It's a mess; they've bought trains that do not work properly, and had cancelled the intercities before the new train was up and running. The old intercity cannot run on the new high speed line - which is now used only by the Thalys.
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Mar 5th, 2013, 05:44 AM
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The old intercity cannot run on the new high speed line - which is now used only by the Thalys.>

Thanks for the update - wonder why the old IC trains can;t keep running on the old route Amsterdam-Hague-Roosendaal-Antwerp as they did for years.

Anyway the OP IMO should take the non-Thalys route no matter how many simple changes of train are required - and maybe by the time they arrive it will be smoothed out.
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Mar 5th, 2013, 06:18 AM
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That's because when the Fyra was introduced, the existing space on the old line was taken in by other trains. When they cancelled the Fyra, they couldn't just take back the old routes for the IC.

For travelling to Antwerp, it's usually easiest to change at Roosendaal.

But do keep checking, timetables change.
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Mar 5th, 2013, 10:09 AM
  #10
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Ha - maybe we should just stay put!

Thanks for the info, as crazy as it is. No problem with the schedule from Schiphol - we'll be staying overnight on arrival from Istanbul, then traveling in the a.m. to either Brussels or Bruges. We'll hit Antwerp on the way back to The Hague (where our son and daughter-in-law live).

I'll see about an advance Thalys ticket, but probably will just wing it (with vast amounts of advance knowledge from all of you!)
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Mar 5th, 2013, 10:43 AM
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Lets hope the railway companies manage to sort things out.
Have a good time in Belgium and Holland.
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Mar 5th, 2013, 12:32 PM
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Too bad the only direct Amsterdam to Antwerp train it seems is the Thalys - not bad there but bad that it has such an outrageously expensive fare for walk up travelers - like those coming by air who could be delayed and thus would have to build in so much fudge factor time to buy a non-changeable non-refundable ticket - who knows even how long it takes baggage to arrive and clear immigration as you must I think when coming from non-Schengen Turkey.

What the heck is wrong with those Fyra trains and why did it take a few years to find out?
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Mar 5th, 2013, 08:51 PM
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PalenQ on Mar 5, 13 at 3:32pm
What the heck is wrong with those Fyra trains and why did it take a few years to find out?


Here is the visible part of the ice berg. http://www.fyra.com/Travel/News. It looks like a glorious fubar event.
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Mar 5th, 2013, 09:10 PM
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If you scroll to the bottom of the Frya news release you'll see a note from Mr. Alessio De Sio, vice-chairman of AnsaldoBreda, with an apology, brief explanation of the problem, and back-up info attempting to clear their name.
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Mar 6th, 2013, 12:16 AM
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Well, even if the Fyra was running, it was still a bad idea to scrap the IC trains. Walk-up fares on Fyra were much higher than on the IC, and like Thalys, it required an advance reservation for a specific train and seat. I have kids who study in Holland; for students, a doubling of the fare, and the inflexibility of not being able to take the next train, was not good.
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