Firstly, welcome to FlyerTalk, tsabary
Originally Posted by tsabary
my question is: do we need to take a train from BRU to BRUXELLES CENTRAL and take another train from there to amsterdam? or the trains that depart from BRUXELLES CENTRAL to amsterdam pass through the BRU train station?
There are no direct trains from Brussels Airport to Amsterdam - so you have to change somewhere. However, you don't necessarily need to go via Brussels Midi (as going to Brussels Midi takes you in the wrong direction). You can reach Amsterdam more quickly by changing at Mechelen (IR and IC trains, 3hrs), or at Antwerp (IC and then Thalys, 2hrs). Going via Brussels Midi adds about 30 mins to the journey time.
Originally Posted by tsabary
and if so, just buy a ticket at raileurope from BRUXELLES CENTRAL? besides that, should we order our tickets already online or should we just buy on the spot? (we're gonna traveling between the 25th to the 31st of july)
I suggest you look at www.b-europe.com/Travel
, the Belgian Railways (SNCB) website. It should be able to sell you tickets all the way from Brussels Airport to Amsterdam, and you can choose between self-print online tickets, tickets collected at the stations or tickets delivered by post (to Belgium and Luxembourg only).
If you are going to buy a full-flex IR/IC ticket, then it should be the same price on the spot, so there's no advantage to buying in advance (other than perhaps saving yourself a few minutes when you arrive in Brussels). However, if you want one of the discounted fares, then you have to buy it in advance.
However, as you are arriving off a flight (which may be delayed, or you might have to wait a long time for baggage, etc) you need to be a bit careful about buying non-flexible tickets that are only valid on a certain train. In particular:
- A full-flex IR/IC ticket should let you take any regular (ie: not
Thalys or FYRA) train that day - so you can just jump on the first suitable train after you reach the station;
- A non-flex Thalys or FYRA ticket ties you to a specific train - if you miss that train, then you've lost your money. I think a semi-flex Thalys/FYRA ticket can be cancelled (for a 50% fee?) but you will still have to buy a new ticket if you want to get on a different train.
- I am not sure about the conditions for the non-flex IR/IC tickets (they can't be cancelled; I am not sure if they tie you to a specific train, or just to a specific day. The English website is a bit vague - perhaps someone who is more familiar with SNCB ticket conditions can advise?).
As discussed in this post
(about Germany, not Belgium/Netherlands), if I was taking the train from
the airport, I would probably go on the cheaper, more flexible but slower IR/IC ticket (to allow for the uncertainty in when I would actually clear the airport). Travelling to
the airport, I'd probably use a discounted Thalys ticket...