Choosing a departure time from Amsterdam Schiphol to Bruges. Can I get off in Ghent on the way & then take a later train to Bruges?

Hi, our flight is scheduled to arrive AMS (from Toronto) at 6:45a Sep 24. Which trains would you recommend that we take to Bruges? When I search from Amsterdam airport, the choices that come up are all from "Cs". I was
under the impression that there were trains that left from the airport. Is it necessary for us to go to the Central station?

Also, we are considering doing a layover in Ghent for lunch. Would that be possible at no extra cost on the $58 fare, leaving AMS 9:44 arriving Ghent 12:33 and then taking a later train that afternoon to Bruges?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) August 25, 2016 17:39
    Hi Nina,

    A connection from the Amsterdam Schipol Airport to Bruges would involve changing trains once in Brussels along the way. You would purchase tickets by entering a route under 'Find Train Tickets' on our homepage, www.raileurope.com. When doing a search for trains out of the Amsterdam Schipol Airport, you would just type 'Amsterdam Airport' in the field for the departure city.

    When purchasing tickets, you can do your search from 'Amsterdam Airport' to 'Bruges', and you would still be issued two sets of tickets, one for the train from Amsterdam Schipol to Brussels and then another for your connecting train from Brussels to Bruges.

    Tickets for trains from Brussels to Bruges are 'open tickets', which means that you would be able to stop along the route with the intention of continuing on later. Trains from Brussels to Bruges do stop in Ghent after the train leaves Brussels. Therefore, you can get off the train in Ghent and still be able to use your 'Brussels-Bruges open ticket' to continue on the route to Bruges later in the day. For your reference, trains from Brussels to Bruges stop in Ghent about 30 minutes after they are shown to depart from Brussels.

    The train you'd take for the segment from Amsterdam Schipol to Brussels would be a high-speed Thalys trains for which you would have reservations. Therefore, for this segment, you would be booked for the specific train you choose, and you would not be able to get off anywhere en route without losing your ticket.

    At the airport itself, the time it takes to get from the gate to the train platforms can depend on several factors. I would recommend allowing a time comparable to the amount of time it would take you to walk through your typical major airport and retrieve luggage. It is also recommended that you allow an additional hour to get through customs if your flight is arriving from overseas.

    When you get off your plane, you would follow the signs to the station or else you can inquire with an attendant at your gate or information desk.
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  • Thanks Jeff, that's very helpful; however, I did type "Amsterdam Airport" in the departure field but the result only shows trains leaving from Amsterdam Cs, which I was told by one of your agents is the Central Station and not Schiphol.

    Nina

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  • Jeff (Official Rep) August 26, 2016 15:03
    Hi Nina,

    It appears as though it has to do with the date, as I don't show the direct Thalys trains from Amsterdam Schipol to Brussels to be running on the day you're searching. The search engine is only displaying departures out of the Amsterdam Central station (Amsterdam Cs), as a result. With this being the case, you would instead have to take a direct InterCity (IC) train out of the airport that day. To purchase a connection such as this, you would have to break up your search in the city along the way where you'd be changing trains (instead of one search for the full connection from 'Amsterdam Airport' to 'Bruges'). For the option via Brussels, you would do one search for trains from 'Amsterdam Airport' to 'Brussels' and another search for connecting trains from 'Brussels' to 'Bruges'.

    The results of your first search from 'Amsterdam Airport' to 'Brussels' will display trains from departing from Amsterdam Schipol and arriving into the Brussels Nord station ('Bruxelles Nord Br'). The results of your search from 'Brussels' to 'Bruges' will only display the Brussels Midi station ('Bruxelles Midi') as the station of departure. Rest assured, the trains from Amsterdam Schipol to Brussels and the trains from Brussels to Bruges do make stops at both stations in Brussels, and the tickets we issue would be valid for you to alight/board at either.

    For your reference, the InterCity (IC) trains from Amsterdam Schipol to Brussels stop at the Brussels Midi station just 10 minutes after they are shown on our website to be arriving into the Brussels Nord station, and the trains from Brussels to Bruges depart from the Brussels Nord station 11-12 minutes before they are shown to be departing from the Brussels Midi station. Of these 2 stations, it would be easier to transfer at the Brussels Nord station.

    You would still be able to use the ticket we issue for the segment from Brussels to Bruges to get off the train in Ghent en route and continue on to Bruges later in the day. Once again, the trains from Brussels to Bruges stop in Ghent about 30 minutes after they are shown to depart from Brussels.

    InterCity (IC) trains in the Benelux countries don't accept reservations, so both sets of these tickets would be issued as 'open tickets'.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) August 26, 2016 15:21
    Just a quick follow-up: I was advising you via Brussels, but it would actually be faster and more direct to take a connection from Amsterdam Schipol Airport to Bruges that involves changing trains in Antwerp. Our website is just not able to display the airport as a station of departure for the InterCity (IC) trains from Amsterdam Schipol to Antwerp (even if you enter your search as 'Amsterdam Airport' to 'Antwerp'). Instead, if you enter a search from 'Amsterdam Airport' to 'Antwerp' (on a day that the Thalys train do not operate), the schedules our website would display would only show Amsterdam Central (Amsterdam Cs) as the station of departure in Amsterdam. Rest assured, the ticket we issue for this segment would still be valid for you to board at either station. For your reference, the InterCity (IC) trains from Amsterdam Schipol to Antwerp depart from the Amsterdam Schipol station 15 minutes after they are shown on our website to be departing from the Amsterdam Central station.

    Just like the trains from Brussels to Bruges, the trains from Antwerp to Bruges will stop in Ghent, and the tickets we issue would be 'open tickets'. Therefore, you can get off the train in Ghent and still be able to use your 'Antwerp-Bruges open ticket' to continue on the route to Bruges later in the day. For your reference, trains from Antwerp to Bruges stop in Ghent about 27 minutes before they are shown on our website to be arriving into Bruges.

    Yes, I know it seems convoluted, but that's how you would go about purchasing the tickets in this instance. On days when the direct Thalys trains from Amsterdam Schipol to Brussels operate, it's much simpler. Let us know if you have any further questions.
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  • Do I understand correctly that the 6:44 Thalys train in the screenshot above would leave Schiphol at 6:44 and that it's the IC trains that leave 15 min later? Please note, we are considering the 9:44 to Antwerp to leave adequate time after arrival.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) August 26, 2016 21:26
      Hi Nina,

      Generally, we are not able to verify or provide specific scheduling information on this forum. However, the 6:44 AM train in the above screenshot does not stop at the Amsterdam Schipol Airport at any point along the way. There are no direct Thalys trains from the Amsterdam Schipol Airport to Antwerp on the day you're searching. What I'm referring to in my above response are the InterCity (IC) trains. It is the InterCity (IC) trains from Amsterdam to Antwerp that depart from the Amsterdam Schipol station 15 minutes after they are shown to be departing out of the Amsterdam Central station.

      You're still looking at your initial search for the full route from 'Amsterdam Airport' to 'Bruges'; however, what I'm advising is that you need to break up your search. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from 'Amsterdam' (or 'Amsterdam Airport') to 'Antwerp' and then another search for connecting trains from 'Antwerp' to 'Bruges'.

      When you pull up the results of these searches, the Thalys trains will be labeled along with their train numbers, but the InterCity (IC) trains will only show a train number.

      By entering 'Amsterdam Airport' as your departure city and 'Antwerp' as your arrival city, you would get the InterCity (IC) trains to display. Our website is just not able to display the airport as a station of departure for the InterCity (IC) trains from Amsterdam Schipol to Antwerp (even if you enter your search as 'Amsterdam Airport' to 'Antwerp'). Instead, if you enter a search from 'Amsterdam Airport' to 'Antwerp' (on a day that the Thalys train do not operate), the schedules our website would display would only show Amsterdam Central (Amsterdam Cs) as the station of departure in Amsterdam. Rest assured, the ticket we issue for this segment would still be valid for you to board at either station. For your reference, the InterCity (IC) trains from Amsterdam Schipol to Antwerp depart from the Amsterdam Schipol station 15 minutes after they are shown on our website to be departing from the Amsterdam Central station.

      Just like the trains from Brussels to Bruges, the trains from Antwerp to Bruges will stop in Ghent, and the tickets we issue would be 'open tickets'. Therefore, you can get off the train in Ghent and still be able to use your 'Antwerp-Bruges open ticket' to continue on the route to Bruges later in the day. For your reference, trains from Antwerp to Bruges stop in Ghent about 27 minutes before they are shown on our website to be arriving into Bruges.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) August 26, 2016 21:35
      Actually, I just went to double-check and the InterCity (IC) train options are no longer displaying when you do a search from 'Amsterdam Airport' to 'Antwerp' on our website. They were displaying earlier in the day when I advised you, but now it's just showing the Thalys trains out of the Amsterdam Central station (which do not even stop at Amsterdam Schipol). Therefore, if you'd like to take the route involving changing trains in Antwerp, you would have to call us to purchase a ticket for one one of those InterCity (IC) trains from Amsterdam Schipol to Antwerp. We can be reached at 1-800-622-8600. Our current hours are 8:00 AM to 7:30 PM CT Monday to Friday and 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM CT on Saturdays.

      Otherwise, if you're fine with commuting from the airport into the city to catch a Thalys train to Antwerp, or going with the option that involves changing trains in Brussels, then you can just proceed to purchase the tickets on our site.

      Again, I'm sorry for any confusion.
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