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Travel Info & Tips Arriving by Eurostar at Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel Zuid station
Arriving by Eurostar at Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel Zuid station

Arriving by Eurostar at Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel Zuid station

How to make onward connections by train, tram or Metro when arriving in Brussels/Bruxelles on the Eurostar

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ShowMeTheJourney's guide to arriving by Eurostar at Bruxelles-Midi/Brussels South station helps makes sense of what can be a confusing station to navigate.

It also explains what to be aware of when making onward connections; both into other train services such as the ICEs and Thalys trains, or if you will be travelling on to Bruxelles/Brussels city centre.

Exiting from Eurostar Arrivals:

The four things that are particularly good to know when arriving on a Eurostar which is terminating in Brussels:

1. If your train is terminating at Bruxelles, the exit lobby from Eurostar Arrivals at Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid station is beyond the front of the trains' so if you have a tightly timed connection, move towards the front of the train before it arrives.

2. The platforms (tracks/voies) at Bruxelles-Midi are above street level, so passengers need to descend in order to exit the station and connect into the other train services.
Usually the only access down into the main station building from this Eurostar arrivals area is by lift (elevator) and stairs.
Queues inevitably build up for the lift/elevators, so taking the stairs can be the quicker option

You will see escalators, which lead down from each voie (track/platform) that the Eurostar will arrive at, but these are usually switched out of use

3. The short cut 'Correspondances' access to the other voies (platforms/tracks) at Bruxelles-Midi is now usually also closed off.
If it is closed and you are connecting other into any onward train, you'll need to use the main exit lobby passed the front of the trains, and then make your way through the main part of the station.
However, IF it's available definitely use it, if you are connecting into another train, which will be departing within the next 15 - 20mins.

4. The lifts (elevators) and stairs all exit into a passage which runs across the front of the station; it is at right angles to the main passage way in the station, which has the main exits from the station at each end.
So as you step out of the lift/elevators, this main passage way is over to left.
Therefore to reach the main exits and to access other train services, the metro and the trams; turn left and then walk ahead to the right of the signs shown below.
Arriving by Eurostar at Brussel Zuid station
You'll then be turning to the right under the clock.

However, if you arrive at Bruxelles-Midi on a Eurostar heading to Amsterdam you will using a different part of the station.
There will be escalators, steps and elevators on the voie (platform/track) which will directly lead down into that main passage way in the station; follow the signs pointing the way to the 'Hoofdgang'- which is the name of this passage way.

Taking a taxi:

There are taxi ranks at both ends of that ground floor passage way across the side of the station, which is beneath the part of the station used by the Eurostar trains.
So if you're taking a taxi you don't have to follow the crowd, most of whom will be heading into the main part of the station
Though the main taxi rank at Bruxelles-Midi is just outside the main exit from the station, once you're at ground level it will be merely a few steps away, over to the left.

Exiting the station:

The main exits at Bruxelles-Midi are located at either end of the main ground level passage way under the railway tracks at Bruxelles-Midi/Zuid.
It is named ‘Couloir Principal (French) and Hoofdgang (Dutch)' and is immediately over to the left when exiting from the lifts/elevators or stairs, which you will have used to descend from Eurostar arrivals.
The main passage way at Bruxelles Midi station

On the left of the main passage way, right by Eurostar arrivals, is the primary exit from the station on to Place Victor Horta; and one of the taxi ranks at the station is located here, though at busy times it will have the longest queues.
Exiting from Bruxelles-Midi station when arriving by Eurostar
At the other end of the main passage way,the ‘Couloir Principal'/Hoofdgang', is the secondary exit on to Avenue Fonsny, where many of the nearest hotels to the station are located, including The Ibis and The Radisson.

If you arrive on a Eurostar heading to Amsterdam, the exits from the platform/track, will lead directly to this passage way.

Connecting to onward high speed trains:

If you are connecting into ANY other train service at Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel Zuid you now usually have to use the main street level passage way at the station, ‘Couloir Principal (French) and Hoofdgang (Dutch)' to access the other trains.
The 'Correspondances' short cut, on the Eurostar platforms/tracks, which connects Eurostar arrivals to the other voies (platforms/tracks) in the station is now usually closed.
Though if it's open it's only worth using if your onward train will be departing in the next 20 mins.

When you have descended from the platform.(track/voie), which a Eurostar terminating in Bruxelles will have arrived at, follow the signs that have the ICE and Thalys logos on them - no matter which train service you will be connecting to.
Connecting into an another onward train when arriving by Eurostar in Brussels

When you enter the main street level passage way at the station, the the ‘Couloir Principal'/Hoofdgang', turn to the right to access all of the other trains that will be departing from Bruxelles-Midi.
You''ll need to walk passed the Channel Terminal (Eurostar Departures) which you will see on the right.

taking an ICE train to Germany:

You usually* need to use the international terminal at the station to access to the ICE trains departing from Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel Zuid.
When you are in the main street level passage way at the station, the ‘Couloir Principal'/Hoofdgang', turn to the right.

Walk passed the 'Channel Terminal' (Eurostar Departures) and the Thalys train info desks (which will also be on the right) until you see the SNCB International Ticket Office, with its pink/purple windows.
It is also to the right; and beside it will be a seating area.
Connecting from a Eurostar into an ICE or Thalys train
It takes less than a minute to walk to this part of the station, once you have descended from Eurostar arrivals.

*Although, when making our most recent connection, the ICE train to Germany was departing from voie (track/platform) 7, which isn't accessed through this international terminal area.

The usual connections

The timetable is arranged, so that the majority connections at Bruxelles Midi/Zuid station, between the arrival of a Eurostar from London and the departure of an ICE on to Germany are around 20 minutes.

However, security checks have now been introduced at Bruxelles-Midi in the part of the station (voies/sporen/platforms/tracks 3 - 6) USUALLY used by the ICE trains.
How long it takes to pass through these security checks inevitably varies according to how busy the station is.
Twenty minutes should nearly always be enough time, but making this connection is not 100% guaranteed.

The ICE train on to Germany may hang back for a few minutes, depending on when the 'connecting' Eurostar is actually arriving, but it won't wait to ensure that every passenger has made the connection regardless.
If the Eurostar is running late and you have a tightly timed connection, a good idea is to move towards the front of the train before it arrives in Bruxelles/Brussels.

You won’t have to buy new train tickets/reservations, in the event of a Eurostar arriving too late in Brussels/Bruxelles to make the connection.
Any reservations can be swapped free of charge to a later ICE train at the SNCB international ticket office, which has the pink/purple windows/doors; immediately to the right of this international departures area.

Though, if you’d rather avoid having to change trains against the clock, take care to choose a journey option with a longer connecting time.

taking a Thalys train:

You need to use the international terminal at the station to access to the Thalys trains departing from Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel Zuid.
When you are in the main street level passage way at the station, the ‘Couloir Principal' it is located on the right; on the other side of the 'Channel Terminal' (Eurostar Departures) and the Thalys Information desks

The majority of the connections between the arrival of a Eurostar train and the departure of a Thalys train on to The Netherlands are around 50mins.
So if the departure/arrival times and price suit; target these connections that have a total journey time of 4hr 35min - 4hr 50mins.

50 minutes in Bruxelles should ensure a stress-free transfer at Midi/Zuid station, even if the Eurostar arrives up to 20 mins late.

In the unlikely event of a Eurostar arriving too late to make a booked connection into a Thalys train, reservations and tickets for the next Thalys train to depart will be re-issued free of charge at the Thalys Information desks.

Security checks have now been introduced at Bruxelles-Midi in the part of the station used by the other international high speed trains (voies/sporen/platforms/tracks 3 - 6).
How long it takes to pass through these security checks inevitably varies according to how busy the station is.

Travelling on a Saturday

However, Saturday is not the best day of the week to travel between London and Amsterdam by this combination of Eurostar and Thalys trains.
Three of the four connections on Saturdays have journey times of around 5hr 40mins; which involve spending more than 90mins at Bruxelles Midi/Zuid station between trains.

Missing a booked connection:

The operators of the Eurostar, ICE and Thalys trains are all members of the Railteam Alliance and its members operate a HOTNAT (Hop On The Next Available Train) policy.
So if the Eurostar arrives in Bruxelles too late to make a connection that you are booked on to, train any tickets/reservations can be transferred to a subsequent train free of charge.

You can do this at the SNCB International ticket desk in Bruxelles-Midi station, it's located by the entrance to the part of the station that the ICE and Thalys trains depart from - look out for the purple/pink windows and doors.
Though if possible, try to avoid having to make the final connections of the day into trains on from Bruxelles.

with a reservation on a Thalys service

Tickets/reservations for Thalys trains can also be re-issued by the easy to see Thalys Information desks.

However, if you will be travelling on to Germany, you should now be able to transfer tickets to the next train to be departing, regardless of whether it is an ICE or Thalys services.
We have read several reports in the railway press that tickets cannot be transferred between ICE and Thalys train departures.
But a fairly recent innovation is that DB now sells tickets for both the ICE and Thalys, so this is likely to have removed the block between the two services.

with a reservation on an ICE service

Reservations are optional on the ICE trains.
If you have NOT reserved on the ICE train then can indeed hop on the next ICE train departing from Bruxelles Midi/Zuid station,

If you HAVE opted to make reservations on the ICE train, then reservations can be re-issued by the SNCB International desk on the next ICE to depart (and it should now be possible to also transfer them to a Thalys train if it will be the next departure).

Connecting to other regular trains:

When you have descended from the platform.(track/voie), which the Eurostar will have arrived at, look out for this sign.
Note that it doesn't have any symbol for the IC and other Belgian trains on it, but despite that, it is still pointing you in the right direction.
Traveling on by train to other destinations in Belgium when arriving in Bruxelles by Eurostar
It will lead you into the main passage way at the station, the ‘Couloir Principal'/Hoofdgang', when you have reached it turn to the right.

Trains to other destinations in Belgium, including Bruxelles Centraal, Bruxelles Luxembourg and Bruxelles Nord; as well as the Intercity trains to The Netherlands and Luxembourg, depart from voies/sporen/platforms/tracks 7-22 at Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel Zuid.
You will find more detailed info about how to board these trains at Bruxelles-Midi on on this GUIDE.

The most obvious method for locating your next connection is the rather groovy main departure board.
The main departure board at Bruxelles-Midi
Though if you're not used to catching a train from Bruxelles-Midi then this departure board can be confusing, partially because it's multi-lingual; so some patience may be required.
Also what it lacks is an at glance guide to the next trains on to the other mainline stations in Bruxelles/Brussels

However, in this main (Hoofdgang) passage way there is a useful information booth if you’re connecting into trains to Bruges/Brugge there’s a notice showing the times and platforms of the trains.

Heading to the city centre:

It's worth checking the location of your final destination in the city before arriving at Bruxelles-Midi station, as transferring to the Metro or tram may NOT be the best option.
Your Eurostar ticket will be valid on to any other TRAIN station in central Bruxelles which the mainline and NOT the metro trains, call at.

To Le Grand Place from Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid station:

Head to Bruxelles-Central station; the Metro and tram stops in the area aren't any nearer.
All trains heading north from voies/sporen/platforms/tracks 9-22 will call at Bruxelles-Central, though it can be tricky to work out which will be the next train to depart; though all of the trains heading to Brussels Airport will be calling at Bruxelles-Central.

To the northern area of the city from Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid station:

Those trains to Bruxelles-Central also all call at Bruxelles-Nord, so if you're heading to that part of town, don't take the tram.

To The Council of European Union offices

If you're heading for the area around those offices take a train (and not the metro) to Bruxelles-Schuman station.
Also If you're heading for the area around The European Parliament building take a train (and not the metro) to Bruxelles-Luxembourg station.

Trains heading to Namur/Namen, Gembloux, Louvain-la-Neuve, Luxembourg, Liege-Palais and Ottignies all call at both Bruxelles-Schuman and Bruxelles-Luxembourg.

To the area south of The Grand Place

If your final destination is to the south of Le Grand Place, in the area around the Manneken Pis statue, the easiest option isn't to take the train, but to take tram lines 3 or 4 heading north to the Anneessens stop instead.

More info about connecting to the tram and metro at Bruxelles-Midi is available HERE.

If your final destination is in the area to the north of the Grand Place around the De Brouckére or Rogier tram stops, then also take trams line 3 (heading to Esplanade) or line 4 (heading to Noordstation).
Avoid taking tram line 51.

Author

Simon Harper

I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.

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