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SNCB or Rail Europe?

CT
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401 posts
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SNCB or Rail Europe?

Leaving Bruges on Sunday afternoon May 25th for Amsterdam.

On SNCB I can pick up IC1514 at 14:36, connecting in Brussels with Thalys9351

On RailEurope it shows a 2:06 train to Antwerp (train1813), connecting in Antwerp with the same Thalys9351

I want to book and print tickets here in the USA.

SNCB says no booking fee, but will it take my regular US Mastercard?

RailEurope I think has a booking fee even for print at home tickets.

Anyone have some guidance, before I try to actually book a train? All other things being equal, I'd rather take the later train from Bruges. Is 18 minutes long enough to change trains in Brussels? Is SNCB a good way to book, or should I use Rail Europe?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Brussels
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1. Re: SNCB or Rail Europe?

<I want to book and print tickets here in the USA ... SNCB says no booking fee, but will it take my regular US Mastercard?>

SNCB is the Belgian national railway company. Forget Rail Europe which doesn't show all the trains. I think SNCB will accept your credit card.

https://www.b-europe.com/Travel

From: Brugge (Be) (Bruges)

To: Amsterdam Central (NL) (CS, Central)

<Is 18 minutes long enough to change trains in Brussels?>

Yes, but you can get an earlier train from Bruges if you want to allow more time for the change in Brussels. There are 2 trains an hour from Bruges to Brussels.

CT
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401 posts
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2. Re: SNCB or Rail Europe?

Well, there are two trains an hour, but one makes two stops. They are only showing me one train at 6 minutes after the hour that only makes one stop between Bruges and Amsterdam.

The ones that make two stops are cheaper, but I'd rather not mess with two connections.

Can I assume these trains are fairly reliable?

I can't see those other trains from Bruges to Brussels. I am only seeing the ones at 36 minutes past the hour. If there is another train at 2:00 I'd be happy to take that one. It looks like with my Thalys ticket that I can get on any train from Bruges to Brussels, but just don't know how to find the times.

CT
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401 posts
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3. Re: SNCB or Rail Europe?

I went back into the domestic part of the Belgian railways site, and now I can see the train at 14:00. I am assuming the Thalys train leaves from the central station in Brussels. weird, because the 14:36 train is showing different arrival on the domestic site than on the international site, but has the same train number.

Am I right in assuming that with the Thalys ticket from Brussels to Amsterdam, we can hop on either the 14:00 or the 14:36 train from Bruges?

CT
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401 posts
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4. Re: SNCB or Rail Europe?

My tickets are printing now. Had a bit of a hiccup with the credit card verification screen, which initially did not appear (some nonsense instead), but managed to go back into the reservation and redo the credit card information and bingo! confirmed reservations and seats next to each other.

thanks for your help. we will aim for the 2:00 train, depending on how the day goes, since we are with a group beforehand

Brussels
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5. Re: SNCB or Rail Europe?

<It looks like with my Thalys ticket that I can get on any train from Bruges to Brussels>

Yes you can.

<Am I right in assuming that with the Thalys ticket from Brussels to Amsterdam, we can hop on either the 14:00 or the 14:36 train from Bruges?>

Yes.

<I can't see those other trains from Bruges to Brussels ... I went back into the domestic part of the Belgian railways site, and now I can see the train at 14:00>

Yes. The international page of the SNCB site only shows the Bruges-Brussels trains which connect directly with the international trains to Amsterdam. There are many other trains between Bruges and Brussels, which appear only on the "domestic" part of the site.

<Can I assume these trains are fairly reliable?>

In general, yes ... but they are run by human beings and can go wrong just like anything else !

<I am assuming the Thalys train leaves from the central station in Brussels>

No. Thalys leaves from Brussels SOUTH station (Bruxelles-Midi or Brussel-Zuid: these are the names of the station in French and Dutch respectively; Brussels is a bilingual city). It is the first Brussels station you reach when coming from Bruges.

http://tinyurl.com/nz9w637

http://tinyurl.com/ogkudz9

http://tinyurl.com/nkv5t3j

6. Re: SNCB or Rail Europe?

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