Final Destination: Frankfurt (Main) – the ICE trains
Final Destination: Essen/Dortmund/Koln – the Thalys trains
All trains also call at: Liege
Most of ICE trains also call at: Bruxelles-Nord
Note that the Thalys trains do not call at Bruxelles-Nord.
Neither the ICE or Thalys trains call at Bruxelles-Central.
A choice of train services:
The service of high speed trains between Brussels/Bruxelles and Aachen is split between
ICE and Thalys trains.
The timetable is arranged so that either one of these types of trains departs in each hour.
What type of train you will be travelling by generally makes little different to the ticket prices, the popularity of each departure has a bigger impact on prices.
Though the tickets for the ICE trains are made available two months ahead of the Thalys trains, so the very cheapest tickets for the ICE trains can have sold out before the Thalys tickets have been placed on sale.
The ICE trains travel at the same speed as the Thalys trains - most of the ICE trains are around 4 mins slower than the Thalys trains due to their additional station call at Bruxelles-Nord.
Departing from Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid station:
Aim to be at Bruxelles Midi/Zuid station a minimum of 15 - 20 mins before your train is due to depart.
You will usually* have to pass through security checks before boarding these trains and queues can build up at busy times.
*The security checks are at the entrance to voies (platforms/tracks3 -6) and these ICE and Thalys trains to Koln are usually scheduled to depart from this part of the station.
But check the departure screens before heading for the security checks, these trains can occasionally be scheduled to leave from voies (platforms/tracks) 7 or 8.
Usual service is:
7 x ICE trains per day (Mon-Sat)
8 x ICE trains per day (Sunday)
5 x Thalys trains per day (Mon-Fri)
4 x Thalys trains per day (Sat/Sun)
Book early and save: Yes
Online bookings open:
6 months ahead of the travel date on the ICE trains
4 months ahead of the travel date on the Thalys trains.
When making an online booking, check that you’re looking at booking info for the direct trains.
Use the ‘earlier trains’ and ‘later trains’ buttons to search for the cheapest ticket prices.
Trains departing at different times can be cheaper than others leaving on the same day, so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares.
It can also be worth comparing the prices across the agents, particularly if you want to take a specific trains, as there can be variations in price.
However, DB does tend to offer the lowest prices for the journeys by ICE train.
And DB now ALSO sell tickets for the Thalys services; though you will see 'Determine price' listed on the DB website for Thalys departures
Book 1st class ticket journey tickets for the ICE trains and your seat reservation is included - but they're optional when booking 2nd class tickets, or if you will be travelling with a 1st or 2nd class rail pass.
In contrast seats will automatically be assigned when booking any ticket for the Thalys trains.
Using rail passes:
If you will be travelling from Bruxelles to Aachen with a valid Eurail or InterRail pass, target the ICE trains, because you won't have to pay any rail pass reservation fees to travel by those trains.
Also the optional reservation fees of €5.90 in 1st class and €.4.50 in 2nd class are relatively expensive for such a comparatively short journey.
In contrast the mandatory rail pass reservation fees for the Thalys trains will be €30 in 1st class and €20 in 2nd class; so definitely avoid those for this trip!
|Ticket Provider||Approximate Cost|
|Save A Train||from €19.90|
|Happy rail||from €19.90|
Aachen cathedral is around a 15 to 25 minute walk from Aachen hauptbahnhof, bus routes/lines 11, 21, 31 and 51 go to the nearest stop at Ellsenbrunen.
For virtually the entire train journey from Bruxelles to Aachen the trains, will either be travelling at up to 290 km/h on a purpose built high speed line, or up to 200km/h on a section of line, that has been re-engineered to allow trains to travel faster.
The high speed part of the route comes between Leuven and Aachen.
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