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Eurail in and out of Brussels

I will be traveling on Eurail from Amsterdam to Paris on Oct. 11. I already have my Eurail 4 day pass because later in the week I will be continuing to London, but I want to stop in Brussels for 2-3 hours, then continue on to Paris. My trouble is I'm not doing well on trying to make this happen on Eurail's website. Are reservations an absolute must? Can I just get off at Brussels and then get back on a later train to Paris that same day? Thanks to everyone in advance for your help.

Posted by
20461 posts

No, as soon as you exit the Thalys train, your ticket is no longer valid on any other train.

The Thalys train is reservation only, so you will have to travel Amsterdam to Brussels on an IC/ICD train, which I do not believe require reservations. That will take about 50 minutes longer than the Thalys.

From Brussels to Paris, you pretty much need to use the Thalys, so you will have to buy a reservation.

Posted by
19170 posts

First, you are NOT traveling on Eurail. Eurail is a pass, or the company that sells the passes. You are traveling on one of several rail lines, most probably Thalys.

And the dirty little secret of rail passes is that, in some countries, "reservations" are needed for the fastest trains, which a few rail lines, like Thalys, feel are too good for rail pass holders to get to travel on without paying extra. That extra, which is often a sizable surcharge, is called a "reservation fee", but in reality it is a charge that covers a lot more than just a seat reservation. But you do get a seat reservation along with the extra charge.

Another thing to consider, before buying a rail pass, is that rail lines often limit the number of "reservations" sold to passholder for each train, so if you didn't get your reservation yet, you may find that they are sold out for your date. You'll either have to wait until reservations become available at a later date, or you'll have to buy a full fare ticket and save that day of your pass.

You might want to make sure you can get a passholder reservation for later in that day before committing to using the pass for the first part of that day's journey.

Posted by
7080 posts

Rather than Eurail's website, you can use the Belgian railways at the following address:

I just checked, you still have passholder seats available in the evening of Oct 11 for Brussels to Paris, but they do sell out so I suggest that you book it soon.
For Amsterdam to Brussels, it will be cheaper and easier to use the Intercity train as suggested - you do no waste a lot of time doing so.

This being said...
- Amsterdam to Brussels is 26€ with the Intercity train (2.52 hours) or 57€ with the Thalys train (1.53 hours) on 11th October
- Brussels to Paris is 69€ on 11th October
- Paris to London is still less than 90€ in the days around 15th October, if you are flexible.

So, around 200€ total if you book asap.

I feel like a Eurail Pass is significantly more expensive than that, especially once you add 25€ reservation fee for Brussels-Paris and 30€ for Paris-London.
If I remember correctly, you can return the unused pass for a 15% cancellation fee... which might still end up in your favor!

Posted by
7569 posts

And it’s too late now, but the single-ticket retail trips might have been significantly cheaper bought two months in advance. Like your air tickets, the cheaper price tickets cannot be changed or refunded. Sometimes this means choosing off peak departures.

Be aware that the Thalys or Eurostar trains only stop at Brussels Midi. You get a free local ticket to Brussels Centraal, which sounds like where you want to visit from. But the non-special trains stop directly at all three Brussels stations. You would know this if you had shopped carefully online for your tickets.

You must arrive a full hour early for Eurostar check-in into or out of the UK, or you will not be permitted to board.

Posted by
19170 posts

You must arrive a full hour early for Eurostar check-in into or out of the UK

Doesn't that kind of negate the advantage of Eurostar?

It takes 2H23 from London to Paris on Eurostar, but only 1h20 by air. There was supposed to be an advantage to Eurostar because, although it takes longer, you didn't have the pre-flight time at the airport.

Posted by
11514 posts

Doesn't that kind of negate the advantage of Eurostar?

Not when you consider when you get off the train you are 'in' the city, not at a remote airport

Posted by
15703 posts

Let's look at the entire Paris to London trip.

1 Hour central Paris to CDG airport. Arrive two hours ahead of time. Flight is one hour. Who knows how long to wait in immigration. One hour train/bus/cab into central London. So that's a minimum 5 hours from city center to city center.

With Eurostar about 3.5 hours at most city center to city center.

The one hour before departure is for immigration and security. Upon arrival in London, just walk of the train and go.

And let's not forget with the train you don't have to worry about the 3-1-1 bag.

Posted by
6670 posts

Not when you consider when you get off the train you are 'in' the
city, not at a remote airport

And in addition, the train is more comfortable as well as cheaper if you book it in advance.