Thalys AMS-BRU frequency increased & NS services restoredBack to Forum
Anonymous9 Nov 2013
Thalys have increased services from Amsterdam Centraal to Brussels, and Dutch rail NS, have restored trains to Brussels.
Thalys now run hi speed trains to Brussels (some onward or connecting for Paris), of 8-10 services on weekdays, hourly at rush hours.
Dutch NS rail, also now run trains directly from Rotterdam to Brussels, meaning from AMS one change, apparently at half the price.
Thalys takes 1hr 49 minutes, and Dutch rail (with change), around 3 hrs 10+.
This follows the failure of the new Italian built Fyra trains being withdrawn, and Fyra restricted to a very limited 2 destination service of Breda and Rotterdam. Much legal action is pending from all sides involved.
The transport Minister for Holland demanded that services be restored, and gave strict time limits for this to be completed. It also seems, that Thalys have jumped at the opportunity to increase the very profitable and usually full services to Brussels.
This means more frequent travel throughout the day, for Business or Leisure now by train, between Amsterdam -Brussels-Paris. All trains stop at Schiphol Airport.
Thalys must be pre-booked with various fare levels, where-as NS trains can be taken on the spot, for one set fare.
More trains and the Direct NS no change train are trying to be scheduled. The extremely busy Dutch Rail network is difficult to find rail capacity, but this has been ordered by the Minister!9 Nov 2013
The other benefit worth mentioning is the return of the “any station in Holland” fare. It was relaunched on November 6. It had been suspended when Fyra started.
Right now the deal (which consists of a flat fare from any station in Holland to London) is only saleable at the Dutch end of the route. So covers trips to London.
One would hope that Eurostar UK would soon start to sell this ticket for London-Holland journeys. It did so in the past.9 Nov 2013
I made the return leg of the Eurostar return to Amsterdam via Brussels about a month ago.
there still lacks any communication between Thalys and Eurostar, and no integration of their systems or any co-operation at all.
I reviewed the outward trip, but the return was much worse. The Thalys was unable to use the fast track for half the trip announced a few minutes before only, and arrived 30 kins late into Brussels.
Despite me having to ask the Thalys train Manager to communicate with Eurostar (28 passengers were connecting we heard), he announced Eurostar would hold the train for 10 minutes for connections.
I knowing the route literally ran in Brussels, through the Eurostar section which others did not know. I just made the train after security, TWO passport control desks, first the very slow single French desk, then the British(???), and got on the train with a few mins to spare.
they closed the doors Without holding the train as promised and announced, remained here for over a minute as the connecting passengers came up the stairs.
It pulled out without them 27 left for another 2 hours, the later train, IF they could be booked onto it! Eurostar knew as staff told me, but they did not hold the train 1 minute.
What a disgusting impression for the mostly overseas visitors.
I would NEVER make the trip again, even with the Thalys Comfort 1 which was a dirty train and carriage, flooring, broken seat recliners, and food and dirt down the sides of the seat left there for ???how long.
Eurostar Standard premier was fine, but the connection was simply a mess. There is no point selling tickets until this is improved, and a 6.5 hour trip door to door can turn easily into almost 9 hrs.
As you highlighted before, with one through train, customs and immigration would still be needed on the continent again as you say, so these “fast connections, are simply a myth. They well exceed flight times door to door, with the same procedures to go through as when flying.
Not for me again…9 Nov 2013
What a journey ! Yes that will be the issue (besides overcoming the technical standards) in running through trains to Amsterdam.
At present, UKBA insists that all UK-bound rail passengers are screened (including their luggage) before Eurostar enters the Tunnel.
The question of who will pay for this or whether or not space at the new stations can be found is a moot point.
Otherwise the Amsterdam-London train will have to call at Brussels or Lille and everyone, including luggage, will have to disembark for screening. That was, if you remember, the situation which happened to that seasonal service which Eurostar ran between Aix and London earlier this summer where passengers had to disembark at Lille.11 Nov 2013
The Fyra brand name disappears to be replaced by Intercity Direct.14 Nov 2013
Thanks Alex, as we expected.
It will now be interesting to see who will be blamed, in terms of trains Companies, Manufacturers, Governments, with all the investigations, and legal actions now being taken. I am sure the lawyers will be very busy.
Perhaps the gainer in this is Thalys, more than doubling its services?25 Nov 2013
Yes I am sure you are right. Thalys is gaining from Fyra’s demise. It would probably gain more traffic if it were to have sufficient rolling stock to enable it to run even more services.
Thalys alone has the special TGV trains which can cope with up to four different power and signalling systems (ie France, Belgium, Holland and Germany).
Even Germany’s famous ICE trains, I believe, do not yet have such versatility.25 Nov 2013