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Travel On Train Thalys
Exterior of a refurbished Thalys train - note the red doors

Thalys

Welcome to the guide to travelling by the high speed trains which link Paris to Bruxelles, Antwerp, Liege, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and north-west Germany.

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At a Glance

Travel Pass Supplement

Rail Pass Reservation Fees
Reservations

Compulsory
Time of Day

Day
Catering

Food services available

Bar (sandwiches, snacks, salads)
Accessibility

Accessing the train

Wheelchair Spaces
Train Specification

Attributes of the train

High Speed (total journey)
Has a Conductor
Country

Which country these trains operate in.

Belgium
France
Germany
Netherlands
Travel Passes
Eurail
InterRail

On Board

Première/Premium/1ére

Perks
WiFi

A complimentary WiFi portal is available throughout this train.

Power Socket

The power sockets on this train are compatible with standard E.U. two point plugs.

At Seat Catering

According to the time of day of travel, passengers will be able to choose from a menu of catering options, which will then be served at their seats.

Book a Premiére or Premium Class ticket to travel on a Thalys train and you will travel in a seat that's more comfortable than those in Standard Class, plus you will be served a complimentary light meal at your seat.
Premiére / Premium Class ticket holders can also access the Thalys lounges at Paris Gare Du Nord and Bruxelles-Midi, plus the NS International lounges at the Central stations in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, plus that at the station at Schiphol Airport.

Comfort 1ére

Perks
WiFi

A complimentary WiFi portal is available throughout this train.

Power Socket

The power sockets on this train are compatible with standard E.U. two point plugs.

The Comfort Class seating saloons are identical to those in Premiere Class so have more comfortable seating than in Standard Class.
The core difference in the travel experience between the Comfort and Premiere classes is the catering, as Premiere Class travellers are served a complimentary light meal at their seats.
Travellers in Comfort Class who require refreshment during the journey need to go the on board bar in order to order (and pay for) food and drink items.

Seconde/Standard/2nde

Perks
WiFi

A complimentary WiFi portal is available throughout this train.

Power Socket

The power sockets on this train are compatible with standard E.U. two point plugs.

Thalys trains wait to depart - note the two different styles of power car Thalys trains wait to depart - note the two different styles of power car
A refurbished Thalys train (on the right) arrives in Antwerpen A refurbished Thalys train (on the right) arrives in Antwerpen
Close up view of a Thalys power car Close up view of a Thalys power car
A yet to be refurbished Thalys train (grey doors) arrives in Koln A yet to be refurbished Thalys train (grey doors) arrives in Koln

Thalys travel guide:

If you will be taking a journey by Thalys trains our guide will tell you the key things you need to know, from boarding, to making the most of the journey experience.

Routes:

Thalys is the name of the high speed train service which operate on three international routes:

(1) Paris Nord - Bruxelles Midi/Zuid - Antwerpen Centraal - Rotterdam Centraal - Schiphol Airport - Amsterdam Centraal

(2) Paris Nord - Bruxelles Midi/Zuid - Liege-Guiilemmens - Aachen - Koln/Cologne Hbf - Dusseldorf - Essen - Dortmund

(3) Marne La Valléé - Aeroport CDG - Bruxelles Midi/Zuid - Antwerpen Centraal - Rotterdam Centraal - Schiphol Airport - Amsterdam Centraal

The only DIRECT trains between Paris and both The Netherlands and northern Germany are the Thalys services.
Thalys trains no longer serve Lille.

Tickets and reservations:

If you will be aged 26 or under on your travel date you can travel at a discounted rate on Thalys trains.
Those aged 12 - 25 can travel at the most heavily discounted ticket price rate, even when booking online on the travel date - more details are here.

For children aged 11 and under, a flat rate fare is charged for any journey - of €15 in Standard, €20 in Comfort and €30 in Premium, but children aged 11 and under cannot travel solo on Thalys services.

Seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets for journeys by Thalys train.
Rail pass users will need to have made reservations prior to boarding (see below).

Using rail passes:

If you will be travelling with a Eurail or InterRail pass, you will need to make a reservation prior to boarding.
They can be booked online here.

Ideally arrange your reservations before the day of travel, as rail pass reservations on Thalys trains can sell out - a limited number of reservations per departure will be available to rail pass users.
Rail pass users also have to pay booking fees when using travel desks at stations in Belgium and The Netherlands.

A major recent change is that the rail pass reservation fees on the Thalys trains are now the same price, whether you will be using First or Second class passes.
The new fees (in either direction) are:
Paris <> Bruxelles/Antwerp/Liege = €25
Paris<> Aachen/Koln/Dusseldorf/Essen = €30
Paris <> Rotterdam/Schiphol/Amsterdam= €30
Bruxelles/Antwerpen <> Rottterdam/Schiphol/Amsterdam = €20
Bruxelles/Liege <> Aachen/Koln/Dusseldorf/Essen = €25

Users of Second Class passes will have to travel in Standard Class on the Thalys trains, but in contrast First Class pass users will be offered a choice of seating, depending on availability at the time of booking.
If Premium Class is still available then that will be offered, but if reservations are sold out in Premium Class you will be offered Comfort Class (1st class) instead.
However if Comfort Class is also sold out and Standard Class reservations are still available, you will only be offered seats in Standard Class.
So if you will be using a First Class Eurail or Interrail pass, ideally book your reservations as soon as possible (they will normally be available from 4 months ahead of the travel date)

Or you can avoid paying the fees by making more complicated journeys on trains on which rail pass users don't have to pay reservation fees.

Paris to Amsterdam or to Cologne/Koln

Amsterdam to Paris

Cologne/Koln to Paris

Boarding:

Aim to be at the station a minimum of 20 mins before departure.
Security checks, including airport style luggage screening, are now usually carried out prior to before boarding Thalys trains in Paris and Belgium
It is your responsibility to allow enough time to pass through the checks, the train won't wait if you are still in line waiting for your bag to pass through security.

On board:

Externally Thalys trains resemble single deck TGV trains but in contrast to the TGVs, the Thalys trains have 3 classes of seating; Standard, Comfort and Premiere.

Thalys trains have in effect replaced flights between Paris and Bruxelles, which is apt as the Standard Class seating saloons on Thalys trains are more akin to a cabin on an airline, than on virtually any other train.

To be particularly avoided if possible are the small number of seats parallel to the windows that face inwards, if this is your seat is located here, you will be travelling sideways at more than 250 km/h!
All other seats are open saloon style, there are no conventional compartments with a door to a side corridor on Thalys trains.

The Thalys train interior:

A program of work to refresh the interior of Thalys trains has commenced, so if you are in luck you will travel on such a train (we have yet to have had the pleasure).
The refresh is welcome news, as Thalys trains that have yet to be refurbished, reflect their 20 years of service.
On the yet to be refurbished trains, toilets, power sockets, light switches etc can be temperamental - it’s the high speed that provides any wow factor.

You won’t know if you will be travelling on one of the modernised trains when booking a ticket - but when boarding, if the door is painted is red, then you’re in luck!
The trains yet to be refurnished have grey doors, while those that have been refreshed have red doors.

The power cars/engines on the Thalys trains can differ, but the type of power car makes no difference to the coaches (refurbished = red doors, unrefurbished = grey doors).

Bicycles:

The only means of transporting a non-folding bike on a Thalys train is if it's folded or disassembled and placed in a packing case no more 120 cm high by 90 cm wide.

hand-money

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