The time it takes to travel by regular train between Brussels and central Amsterdam will soon be cut by almost one hour.
Fyra, the high-speed train linking Brussels with Amsterdam, had been delayed while technical and funding issues are sorted out between the Belgian and Dutch governments.
The good news is that these problems have been resolved and Fyra is set to get under way on Sunday December 9.
Fyra promises a Brussels-Amsterdam transit of just two hours one minute, which is some 55 minutes faster than today’s normal timings.
One-way fares start at €25 for standard and €39 for first class.
Right now, travellers wanting a fast rail trip between these two cities can take Thalys (a version of France’s TGV). But the Thalys service, although fast, is costlier than the Fyra fares quoted above. For example, a typical one-way Thalys ticket for travel on Monday December 10 would cost €79 in standard and €109 in first class.
Fyra will link Brussels Midi to Amsterdam Central with en route stops in Antwerp, Rotterdam Central and Schiphol Airport.
It means that Amsterdam Schiphol (which boasts a more comprehensive range of global air links than does Brussels) becomes a more viable option for Belgian passengers as Fyra will cut the journey time (from Brussels Midi) to one hour 46 minutes.
With the arrival of Fyra, the normal stopping trains on this route will be withdrawn. In a way that is a drawback because Fyra requires that passengers reserve a seat whereas with today’s existing trains you can simply ‘turn up and go’ as no booking is necessary.
Eurostar passengers will be able to opt for the Fyra service when travelling between London and Amsterdam (via Brussels) on a through ticket. Because Fyra fares are less than Thalys one would hope that Eurostar will pass on the saving.
Currently the Eurostar website makes no mention of the new Fyra services for travel on and after December 9. A spokesperson says that “Eurostar is busy updating its booking processes to incorporate Fyra. When Fyra starts we will withdraw our ‘Any Dutch Station’ offer [a special fare for travel on existing, slower trains].”
Full details of Fyra timings and fares are now posted on its website.
Report by Alex McWhirter