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Choosing Train Stations at Ghent and Brussels

Upon departing Bruges on Wednesday May 8, we will take a day trip in Ghent on our way to Brussels. Since both Ghent and Brussels have two train stations, I am curious as to your recommendations for planning our trains.

We will be touring the old center in Ghent (around the Graslei/Korenlein quays) and will need to leave and pick up our bags at the SAME Ghent station. Ghent Dampoort is closer to the old center and we could walk; we'd take a tram to/from Ghent Sint-Pieters

We will be staying near Grand Place in Belgium. We can walk to our hotel from Brussels Centraal; we'd take a tram from Brussels Midi-Zuid.

The train duration times aren't that different for the different routes, but taking trams will add time at each end and might be difficult with luggage. On the other hand, Ghent Sint-Pieters and Brussels Midi-Zuid are the larger stations and have more train departures. I am thinking Bruges to Ghent Sint-Pieters might give us the most train choices and Sint-Pieters to Brussels Centraal would allow us to walk to our hotel at the end of a long day. Which of the stations in each city would you use if you were making this trip?

Posted by
1826 posts

You are overthinking this.

Gent St. Pieters is the main station. It is where the trains from Brugge call, and where the trains to Brussels leave from Dampoort is on the line to Antwerpen. And I do not think there are lockers at Dampoort, as that is just a small suburban station.

All IC trains to Brussels call at Brussel Centraal, so if your hotel is near there, you just take the train to Brussel Centraal. You will find out that the number of trains from Gent to Brussel Centraal is identical as to Brussel Zuid,

But don't overthinkg this. A train ticket from Brugge to Brussel is good to any of the (about 30) stations in Brussel, and allows you a break in Gent. So just on the mornin you lave buy a ticket Brugge to Brussel, Take the first train that comes along and goes the right way. Get of in Gent. Drop your luggage in a locker. Take the tram in and then out again. Take the next train to Brussel. Get off at Brussel Centraal.

(Note, if you arrive in Brussel on one of the international trains that only call at Brussel Zuid, but your hotel is near Centraal you do not take a tram to get there. You just take any northbound domestic train at Zuid and get on it, and get of at Centraal...

Thanks. This confirms what I was thinking. Good info on how to get to Brussels Centraal if by chance we arrive at Midi-Zuid without getting out on the street tram.

Posted by
1559 posts

This is from about 14 months ago (Dec 2022 - Jan 2023).

We traveled from Brussels Central and took a train to Dampoort since it was walking distance to town - we were traveling light and it was an easy 20 min walk from the hotel to town. I am almost sure there were lockers at the train station (there definitely were thousands of bicycles parked in racks) - but you will need to check this. Our next stop was Antwerp so that was easy to get back to Dampoort and catch a train there.

I would recommend you download the SNCB app and check out the timetables and then decide what makes sense for you.

Posted by
2000 posts

Dampoort has luggage lockers. However you have to change trains at Sint-Pieters, so that needs some time but as already noticed no extra tickets are needed. The trams are operated by another carrier named De Lijn, so you have to buy seperate tickets for the ride to Korenmarkt. Nowadays the trams follow another route, from Sint-Pieters you can take tram T1 to Kouter some 5 minutes walking to Korenmarkt or change at Zuid to tram T2 and get off at Korenmarkt.

Trams run very frequent, every 5 minutes or so and the ride to Kouter will take some 10 minutes. All in all there is not a huge difference between Dampoort and Sint-Pieters.

Here an overview of luggage lockers at the trainstations in the Flemish / Dutch speeking part of Belgium: https://www.belgiantrain.be/en/station-information/nmbs-stations/luggage-storage

Posted by
1826 posts

Note that on the trams you can just use your contactless CC to pay. Just get on, and tap your card against one of the white card readers. You can even travel with multiple persons on one card, just tape multiple times, once for each person. You can pay for up to five persons like that.