Schiphol-Ghent by train

Old Jul 10th, 2021, 11:42 AM
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Schiphol-Ghent by train

Will be @ AMS by 11:00 on Sept 20 (Monday).
Want to have an hour or 2 in Antwerp to see all of the train station & have lunch before continuing on to Ghent.
Would like suggestions for train ticket? Need to purchase in advance?

Original plan is to book a 1st class Thalys ticket from AMS-Antwerp, then just purchase an IC ticket at the Antwerp station when we're ready to leave.
Any better option?
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Old Jul 10th, 2021, 04:41 PM
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Hi, 2idocs, yes, you can purchase a Thalys ticket to Antwerpen-Centraal in advance and then just buy the ongoing ticket from Antwerpen to Gent at the station. There is no advantage to buying the second ticket in advance as these tickets don't have dynamic pricing and are never sold out. Seat reservations are also not possible. However, if you still want to buy an ongoing domestic ticket following on from the Thalys at the same time as the Thalys ticket, you have to buy both from the SNCB site (which also comes up as b-europe.com), which is the site for international trains by the Belgian national railway. Personally I would not bother doing it in advance - if there is another COVID surge it is only another ticket you'll have to cancel.

Lavandula
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Old Jul 10th, 2021, 10:49 PM
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Agree with Lavandula.
You could also book a regular IC ticket from Amsterdam. If you are arriving that day, you never know how much time it will take to get to your train, flights could be delayed. Thalys tickets are for a specific train and seat, Intercity tickets can be used on any train that day, and are usually quite a bit cheaper. Though if you have a 1st class Thalys ticket you may be able to change it to another train easily, I don't know.

The train station in Antwerp is beautiful, the area around the station less so, though not unsafe or anything like that. To get to the old town is a 15 minute walk - plan your lunch somewhere there.
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Old Jul 10th, 2021, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Tulips View Post
Agree with Lavandula.
You could also book a regular IC ticket from Amsterdam. If you are arriving that day, you never know how much time it will take to get to your train, flights could be delayed. Thalys tickets are for a specific train and seat, Intercity tickets can be used on any train that day, and are usually quite a bit cheaper. Though if you have a 1st class Thalys ticket you may be able to change it to another train easily, I don't know.

The train station in Antwerp is beautiful, the area around the station less so, though not unsafe or anything like that. To get to the old town is a 15 minute walk - plan your lunch somewhere there.
No need to book a regular IC to Belgium from Schiphol: you can walk up to the counter and buy a ticket, or from one of the ticket machines at Schiphol. Then you can take any train you like. Takes a bit longer than Thalys but is far, far cheaper.

Do have a walk through the diamond district around Pelikaansstraat, maybe have lunch or early dinner at the very "heimish" Hoffy and/or buy delicious pastries from Kleinblatt bakers.

I love that area, @tulips, we have relatives there, I spent large parts of my childhood there haha

https://hoffys.be/
https://www.kleinblatt.be/
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Old Jul 11th, 2021, 08:10 AM
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No need to book a regular IC to Belgium from Schiphol: you can walk up to the counter and buy a ticket, or from one of the ticket machines at Schiphol. Then you can take any train you like. Takes a bit longer than Thalys but is far, far cheaper.

intercity is cheaper when bought in advance nowadays.
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Old Jul 11th, 2021, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Tulips View Post
No need to book a regular IC to Belgium from Schiphol: you can walk up to the counter and buy a ticket, or from one of the ticket machines at Schiphol. Then you can take any train you like. Takes a bit longer than Thalys but is far, far cheaper.

intercity is cheaper when bought in advance nowadays.
A bit yes. Personally I weigh that against the hassle of booking online
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Old Jul 11th, 2021, 09:35 PM
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If I want to travel Antwerp - Schiphol today it's 38 euro 2nd and 59.40 1st class. Thalys is 73 and 80 euro, travel today.
Booking for next week the IC is 20 and 28 euro.

Some IC trains on that route require a change in Rotterdam; very easy on the same platform, but bit of a hassle with suitcases.

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Old Jul 11th, 2021, 11:45 PM
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@menachem Hoffy's and Kleinblatt are great, it's an interesting area and close to central station.
I think the loveliest square in Antwerp is the Hendrik Conscience Plein, with the Carolus Borromeus church. 15 minute walk from the station.

The increase in price for last-minute trips on Intercity is crazy. My kids never plan that much in advance, most students don't. It's cheaper to drive when you're traveling with 2 or more people. A roundtrip Antwerp/Amsterdam tomorrow would cost me almost 80 euro - and 1h51 one way, since train goes to Breda, waits there for a bit before continuing. Half the trains require a change in Rotterdam too. Driving is faster, and if there are 2 or more traveling, cheaper too.
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Old Jul 12th, 2021, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Tulips View Post
If I want to travel Antwerp - Schiphol today it's 38 euro 2nd and 59.40 1st class. Thalys is 73 and 80 euro, travel today.
Booking for next week the IC is 20 and 28 euro.
Some IC trains on that route require a change in Rotterdam; very easy on the same platform, but bit of a hassle with suitcases.
As always, great information!
We'll have been in Amsterdam for a few days, so not much concern with getting to Schipol on time.
We're storing our large bags at the airport, otherwise we'd just depart from Centraal Station.

So really my 2 options are:
1. All IC trains, nothing bought in advance.
PROS: Cheaper, no time restrictions, need to cancel. CONS: Slower, may need to switch trains, probably not as nice of seating.
2. Reserve a Thalys in advance.
PROS: Assigned seat, faster, nicer seats. CONS: Cost, restriction on boarding time, headaches if our plans change.

I think as long as I can find an IC option that doesn't need to switch trains in Rotterdam, I'll go that route.

What's the best site for seeing all IC options?
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Old Jul 12th, 2021, 06:49 AM
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I use the Belgian rail site, which gives all the options, Intercity and Thalys, and indicates which trains require a change.
https://www.belgiantrain.be/en

The Intercity is quite comfortable, not that much difference with Thalys. There's no seat reservation in Intercity.
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Old Jul 12th, 2021, 02:46 PM
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NMBS/SNCB ? train tickets and season tickets (www . belgiantrain . be) = the SNCB site with English language option chosen (SNCB Site Officiel | Achetez votre ticket train en ligne is in French or Flemish), www.b-europe.be = the international trains page of SNCB. All should give information on the trains you have asked about, including the Thalys, which has a separate site (www.thalys.com), if you still want to go that way after the above discussion, but you can't use the Thalys website to book IC or Belgian domestic trains.

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Old Jul 15th, 2021, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Tulips View Post
If I want to travel Antwerp - Schiphol today it's 38 euro 2nd and 59.40 1st class. Thalys is 73 and 80 euro, travel today.
Booking for next week the IC is 20 and 28 euro..
So I can save a little by purchasing my IC tickets ahead of time?
Can I buy a ticket for the train I'm most likely to take, but catch an earlier/later IC train if needed?

Do I buy 1 IC ticket for Schiphol-Ghent, knowing I'll have a 2-3 hour gap in Antwerp? or do I need to buy 2 IC tickets for the same day?
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Old Jul 15th, 2021, 09:31 PM
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You can save by buying in advance, and can take any train that day. The advance period is only a week or so; try it out with different dates to see the price difference. You need only one ticket, and can break your journey in Antwerp as long as you still take the shortest route to Gent.
Since the shortest route between Schiphol and Gent is through Antwerp, you can break your journey there as long as you continue your journey the same day.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2021, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Tulips View Post
You can save by buying in advance, and can take any train that day. The advance period is only a week or so; try it out with different dates to see the price difference. You need only one ticket, and can break your journey in Antwerp as long as you still take the shortest route to Gent.
Since the shortest route between Schiphol and Gent is through Antwerp, you can break your journey there as long as you continue your journey the same day.
What are the differences between 1st & 2nd class on the IC trains?
Beside larger seat? any other advantages?

Is there still a 10 ride railpass available?
Our plans include 6 total rides (including to/from Schiphol.

Last edited by 2idocs; Jul 22nd, 2021 at 08:11 AM.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2021, 09:32 PM
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Larger seats in 1st class, and a bit quieter maybe. If you are not travelling in rush hour, 2nd class is fine. I take 2nd class.
There are no passes for more tickets.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 05:14 PM
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There is a 10-ticket rail pass but available within Belgium only:

https://www.belgiantrain.be/en/ticke...cards/railpass

I think because you are travelling within the Dutch border you can't use one of these.

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Old Aug 26th, 2021, 11:13 AM
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Preparing to buy my IC tickets for September trip.
If I buy them using the app on my phone, do I need to validate anything prior to boarding the first time?
If I print a paper ticket, do I still validate them at a kiosk in the station? Again when switching trains in Antwerp?
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Old Aug 26th, 2021, 09:10 PM
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In Amsterdam there are gates where you scan the barcode on your ticket to get in, but no need to validate anywhere. Just show your ticket if there is a ticket inspector.
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Old Sep 25th, 2021, 09:13 AM
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Just back from our trip and sooooo glad it was suggested to stick with IC tickets!
Accident on the track wound up canceling multiple Thalys trains and even a few direct IC trains....
Instead of standing in a mega-long line for changing our high-speed ticket, we just jumped on the app, and took a creative alternate path to get to Antwerp (and just a little later than we'd planned)!
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Old Sep 25th, 2021, 03:13 PM
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Oh, how nice that you are back! Hopefully Tulips and Menachem will be along to read about your adventures. Do write a report or some shorter accounts!

Lavandula
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