Please sign in to post.

Bruges to Brussels midi/zuid for an early morning train

Looking for advice; we have booked a high speed train from Brussels to Strasbourg, departing Brussels at 7:20am. We are staying in Bruges the night before. I see I can get a train from Bruges to the station in Brussels and arrive with over 20 mins before the departure, but I am now worrying this is too risky. Are the trains pretty reliable and regular from Bruges to Brussels? I’m wondering if I should spend our last night in Brussels, I just hate hotel hopping.

Posted by
1508 posts

You will be fine because there are 5 high-speed trains departing earlier than the one you are looking at. Beginning at 4:08am and at least every half-hour thereafter, the trains taking one hour depart from Brugge and arrive at Brussels Midi. So, on weekdays you can take a 5:31 am train and arrive at Brussels Midi-Zuid. by 6:29 am with plenty of time for coffee and a croissant at the Brussels Midi train station. On weekends, the 5:58am train arrives at 6:53am and
the 5:09am train arrives at Brussels Midi at 6:08am.
See what trains are available at www.TheTrainline.com

Posted by
1426 posts

The train from Bruges to Brussels Zuid/Midi is a normal domestic train, not a highspeed train. Trains tend to be reliable, but in this case I would take an earlier train. In normal circumstances 20 minutes transfer is enough, but you don’t have much leeway if the train from Bruges has a delay.

I would also suggest to not use a 3rd party train ticket reseller like Trainline. The website of the Belgian national railway company has a complete English version, where you can look up train schedules, book tickets and most importantly where you can see real life updated information about platform changes, delays etc. See https://www.belgiantrain.be/en

Posted by
2141 posts

You could have booked Brugge to Strasbourg on www.b-europe.com, and you would have had it all on one booking, and no discussions if you miss a connection due to a delay. Although, even if you do buy the tickets separately your connection is still protected.

If you look this up on www.b-europe.com you will see that they suggest you take the 6:09 to Brussel, which gives you a generous 9 minutes to change to the 7:17 to Strasbourg.
(Two notes here:
- Train times are exact, not aproximate. So a train that leaves at 7:17, does not leave at 7:20 am. Train times in europe use the 24h
clock....
- I am not joking when I say that 9 minutes is a generous time to transfer. It is.
)

Tickets on Brugge - Brussels not being timed you can take any train you want on that route on the day the ticket is valid, so you can safely take an earlier train, regardless of which train you selected during booking. So by all means take an earlier train and build in a 20 minute buffer. Gives you a time to look around and wonder why the main station of the capital of Europe is so awful.

Punctuality on the Belgian trains is actually pretty good. They score in the same league currently as the Swiss and the Austrians.

If you nevertheless still miss your train due to a delay, then they have to put you on an alternative connection. That is your right. That will probably mean a Eurostart to Paris, combined with a TGV to Strasbourg. That means changing stations in Paris, but Gare du Nord and Gare de l'Est are just a block away from each other, so you can just walk that.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you all so much, this has been very helpful! I think I will take the 5:52 to 6:52 and will definitely use the Belgian train site to track/book. That will get us to the station with 25 minutes to transfer, so if there are no delays, it sounds like this will be plenty of time. If there are minor delays, hopefully I can still make it in time!

Posted by
67 posts

Make sure you have enough time for your transfer. Trains in Belgium are less reliable than people are stating here. Don't get your hopes up too much.

15-20 minute delays happen a lot. It's considered on time by most people who take the train frequently in Belgium.

I go to work by train and it's rare for me to have a week without a delay.

Posted by
9 posts

I appreciate your response and for sharing your experience, NSTTSN! I am now back to debating on hotel hopping and just staying in Brussels the night before to eliminate the extra worry. Or maybe I catch the 5:31am to 6:29am to give ample time for delays to make our 7:17am.....hmmm....