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Any Belgian Station (ABS) Paris Nord - Brugges


By the wordings "Any Belgian Station", does that allow if my ticket purchased (eg. Thalys ... Paris Nord - Brugges) with an ABS that upon unboarding the Thalys train I can hop into any Belgian train then get off at Ghent and stay there for 5 hours, then board again another Belgian train headed for Brugges and then get off there and stay for say another 4 hours, then board another Belgian train going back to Brussel Midi Station? Is that a valid plan? Or do I need to buy ticket upon each ride to a Belgian train (excluding 1st use from Brussels to Ghent)? All these will be with the day of the scheduled trip per ticket.

Kind advice is highly appreciated.

Posted by
307 posts

Thalys requires a reservation for a specific seat. You can purchase your Belgian Rail ticket and they are good for any time on a Belgian Rail train.
We purchased point-to-point tickets. We used Thalys from Amsterdam to Antwerp. Then we purchased tickets good from Antwerp to Bruges and return to Antwerp. We stopped in Ghent on the way, stayed overnight and went to Bruges the next day. Then we hopped back on the train at Bruges and headed to Antwerp. We just had to allow for enough time to meet the Thalys in Antwerp for our return to Amsterdam.

there are a number of websites you can use to purchase all of your tickets. We used Rail Europe; it was user-friendly and we received our tickets before we left for the trip.

Posted by
14269 posts

The problem with Rail Europe is that they don't have all the trains listed. Go with the Thalys website and then check out the train connections on the Belgium train website, SNCB. Very easy to work with.

I've done Paris to Ghent on an ABS ticket via Thalys and then a local train. My Thalys train was delayed so I did not make the connection to the train to Ghent listed on my ticket so I just got on the next train. The conductor on the train from Brussels to Ghent did do some kind of punch on my ticket so I'm pretty sure it would not have been usable to go on to Bruges and back to Brussels. You might get to Bruges but you are going to need an onward ticket to return to Brussels.

In any event, I think you are trying to pack too much in to one day. At the minimum I think Ghent and Bruges need a full day apiece. I spent 4 nights in Ghent and 3 in Bruges this last spring and didn't get everything in that I wanted to see. I do recognize that I want to see things in more detail than many travelers.

Posted by
8066 posts

With an ABS you could only go to one place station in Belgium. So if your first stop is Ghent that on the dag of travel you can not use the same ticket to go to Bruges. You have to buy a separate ticket.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for all the kind advice, guys. If I may ask, which between Ghent and Brugge is a better destination for just a day tour? If I may divide my 1 day, should I give them 50/50?

Thanks again.