This end-to-end journey is less complicated than you might have supposed, with only two easily timed connections required.
Though travelling overnight is not an option on this route.
The connecting time between trains at Koln Hbf station will be around 53 min and trains from Hamburg very rarely arrive more than 45 mins late, so making the connection shouldn't be a problem.
Though it is not 100% guaranteed.
The connecting time between trains in Bruxelles will typically be around 1hr 20mins
Depart from Hamburg before 07:00 and you will be taking an EC train between there and Koln/Cologne.
6 x connections per day
Change trains in: Koln/Cologne and Bruxelles/Brussels
Book Early And Save: Yes
Online bookings open: usually open around 6 months ahead of the travel date.
It's also often possible to depart Hamburg 20 mins later and make an additional connection in Hannover, but because these end-to-end journeys are faster they can be the only options offered by the ticket agent.
They will be the options with 3 x transfers between trains.
If you see them SMTJ's is to avoid booking these options, they will be dependent on making a non-guaranteed connections between trains in Hannover.
Though if you make separate bookings for the Hamburg to Koln and Koln to London journeys you will have to re-book the journey on to London if the train from Hamburg arrives too late to make the connection into the train on to Bruxelles.
Eurostar does not sell tickets for this journey.
Both RailEurope and Trainline will charge a booking fee for this journey.
Book a 1st class ticket(s) and your seats will automatically be assigned on all trains
The tickets will be train specific, but seat reservations are OPTIONAL l in 2nd class on both the EC or IC train between Hamburg and Koln/Cologne AND the ICE train between Koln/Cologne and Bruxelles/Brussels
The 2nd class ticket prices you will initially see on the agents do NOT initially include the costs of the reservation on these ICE trains.
The reservation fee is 2nd class = €4.50, 1st class = €5.50 – but the reservation charges cover BOTH of the non-Eurostar trains on this journey.
When making a booking on RailEurope you will have to de-select the reservation if you don’t want to reserve seats on the ICEs, but on DB Bahn and the Trainline, you will have to add the reservations.
The trains between Hamburg and Koln tend to be exceptionally busy.
Reservations are compulsory on the Eurostar and this is included when booking point2point journey tickets – your Eurostar seats will be automatically assigned.
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Departing from Hamburg:
Most of these trains commence their journeys at Hamburg-Altona station and they all call at Hamburg-Dammtor before they arrive at Hamburg Hbf.
Final Destination: Stuttgart or Nurnberg (or destinations in Switzerland)
The DB trains:
Despite there being no high speed lines between Hamburg and Koln/Cologne, some trains between the two cities are ICE trains - either ICE 1 or ICE T trains.
Some trains in the timetable are also EC trains heading to Switzerland - so you may find yourself on a Swiss and not a German IC train.
The lack of a high speed line means that it doesn't matter which train you take in terms of journey time.
Final Destination: BruxellesMidi/Brussel Zuid
All trains also call at: Aachen
For virtually the entire train journey from Koln to Bruxelles the trains, will either be travelling at up to 290 km/h on purpose built high speed lines, or up to 200km/h on section of railway, that has been re-engineered to allow trains to travel faster.
It is a journey of six distinct phases:
Most of the departures between Bruxelles/Brussels and London will be by the e320 trains, but the e300 trains are still used on some departures.
Our guide to taking the Eurostar from Bruxelles/Brussels has more information including details of check-in and how to connect into the Eurostar from other train services.
Our guide to arriving by Eurostar in London is here.
It's not a scenic journey, but it is a journey with distinct phases and highlights:
1: There is little to see from the high speed lines in Belgium and France.
2: The train will slow down as it approaches The Channel Tunnel.
Announcements are no longer made that the train is about to enter the tunnel.
The journey through the tunnel will take around 22 mins.
3: As the train nears Ebbsfleet International station, comes the scenic highlight of the journey - the crossing of the River Medway on a high bridge.
4: After Ebbsfleet International (which can only be seen from the right) the train will enter a tunnel under the River Thames.
As the train exits this tunnel, from the left, the Queen Elizabeth II road bridge can be seen.
5: For most of the final 8 -10 mins of the journey the trains use tunnels to enter London (Stratford International station is located between the tunnels).
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