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Brussels to Liege - Reservation vs. 10-Trip

Brussels to Liege - Reservation vs. 10-Trip

Old Jan 19, 16, 1:42 pm
  #1  
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Brussels to Liege - Reservation vs. 10-Trip

Dear FlyerTalk TrainTalkers,

I have to get from Brussels to Liege on a specific day as part of a European vacation.

It looks like NSInternational.nl & BelgianRail.be will both sell me 2 adult one-way second-class tickets from Brussels to Liege on a specific day, right now and printable at home, for €32.40.

It also appears that I can "hope for the best" with crossing off 2 lines of a €76.00 "10-ride" pass on the day we leave Brussels (we might use the rest of such a pass if we go to Brugges, Ghent, Antwerp, etc. from Brussels).

Is there any advantage to buying a Brussels-Liege ticket online for a specific itinerary ahead of time? Does it give me any more peace of mind that we'll actually get on a train from Brussels to Liege that day than just "winging it" and picking up a "10-ride" pass when we get to Brussels?

(Also, do Dutch/Belgian intercity trains ever fill up back-to-back to the point that one can fail to get from City A to City B at all on a certain day? How does someone who's been told there's no room for them on one train make sure they get a spot on the next? Just stand around by the tracks holding their spot like they're camping out for a new iPad?)
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Old Jan 19, 16, 4:56 pm
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With both ticket options, you can get on any normal intercity you want for the day. Reservations aren't even possible on them, you can hop on any you want, and find whatever seat you fancy. Domestic Belgian trains can never be fully booked, so don't worry about it at all. No difference in buying a ticket ahead of time or on the train station!
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Old Jan 20, 16, 2:36 am
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Belgian domestic trains pretty much operate on a turn-up-and-go basis. Liege is an hour from Brussels, and has 1-2 trains an hour. There is an occasional, faster (47m) high-speed service, but this generally requires a reservation and restricts your flexibility.

Typically, IC trains will not originate in Brussels, but elsewhere in the country, so will call at all three main Brussels stations. In which case, there's no point turning up particularly early to the station, or you'll be standing on an empty platform...

You don't need an assigned seat to get on an IC train, so the only way you'd fail to get it is if it were not physically possible to board. I've never seen this in Belgium, personally (in fact, I've never seen it where you fail to get a seat).
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Old Jan 22, 16, 7:14 am
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Thank you so much!

Since you're here, a little off topic, but ...

Do you think there is any advantage in advance-booking a Liege-to-Amsterdam-via-Maastricht ticket?
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Old Jan 23, 16, 3:37 am
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Originally Posted by kitkatft View Post
Do you think there is any advantage in advance-booking a Liege-to-Amsterdam-via-Maastricht ticket?
That's another turn-up-and-go route, so the answer is "no".
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Old Jan 23, 16, 9:52 am
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While again it wouldn't matter in price or to secure a seat (indeed all on trains where reservations aren't even possible), it might save you some time at the station if you buy & print online.

Another slight advantage of buying online (for Dutch trains) is that when buying at a Dutch train station, you either need a sh*tty plastic card which you have to charge to take any train, or pay a surcharge at a tickey kiosk or machine (of which many don't accept bank notes, foreign bank cards, let alone creditcards...). A print at home e-ticket is thus not only slightly cheaper, but can save you a lot of headaches too!
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Old Jan 25, 16, 9:15 am
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Thanks so much!
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