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Brussels to Cologne. Thalys or ICE?

Belfast, UK
Level Contributor
52 posts
38 reviews
Brussels to Cologne. Thalys or ICE?

Considering a leisure journey with my wife in First Class between Brussels and Cologne. Gratefful for advice on which Train service offers the best service, Thalys or ICE?

Also, how do I go about reserving specific seat numbers - can this be done at the booking stage on the Website?

Thank you for any advice.

Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
37,179 posts
3 reviews
1. Re: Brussels to Cologne. Thalys or ICE?

If you are travelling second class, the only difference in service I can think of relates to the timing of departures - just choose the most convenient departure on http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

If you are travelling in first class, I don't know so suggest you ask in the train travel forum, tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12483-Train_Tr…

Portland, Oregon USA
Level Contributor
2,912 posts
2. Re: Brussels to Cologne. Thalys or ICE?

I've travelled on the German ICE and the Thalys (in Second Class on each) between Brussels and Cologne. I prefer the ICE as it does not have the mandatory reservations that the Thalys does.

I don't think First Class is worth the extra money. The seats in Second Class are comfortable and a reservation insures you of a seat. Take the extra money you'd spend in First Class and buy a nice dinner in Brussels or a very nice dinner in Cologne.

Quainton, United...
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
9,323 posts
4 reviews
3. Re: Brussels to Cologne. Thalys or ICE?

Both trains are excellent, although each has its own distinctive style.

Just pick whichever schedule suits you best.

I don't think any site will let you choose specific seats on these trains.

Amersfoort, The...
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
Level Contributor
7,824 posts
44 reviews
4. Re: Brussels to Cologne. Thalys or ICE?

Personally I rate the 1st class service in the Thalys higher than that on the Ice but such opinions are always subjective.

Belfast, UK
Level Contributor
52 posts
38 reviews
5. Re: Brussels to Cologne. Thalys or ICE?

Have decided to go for the Thalys service in First Class, and currently trying to book this on www.b-europe.com. However, we are actually travelling from Antwerp to Cologne with a connection at Brussels Midi.

Do I simply book the train from Brussels, and get the connection train free with my Thalys ticket - or do I have to book a connection from Antwerp at the same time?

It's just that the connections being offered are really tight, and I'd prefer just to book the Brussels-Cologne leg.

Can anyone tell me if this would be sufficient, or does ticket actually need to state Antwerp on it?

Nashville, TN
Level Contributor
6,888 posts
10 reviews
6. Re: Brussels to Cologne. Thalys or ICE?

If you use the Thalys from Antwerp to Brussels and from Brussels to Cologne, you will need reservations and tickets for both legs. However, If you use the IC or the Regional trains to get from Antwerp to Brussels, you can purchase an ABS ticket on the Thalys. This allows you to travel from any Belgian station on the non-hispeed trains to Brussels. The requirement is that your onward journey from Brussels to Cologne must be within 24 hours.

Edited: 14 March 2012, 12:37
durham
Level Contributor
2 posts
19 reviews
7. Re: Brussels to Cologne. Thalys or ICE?

can anyone tell me the train layout on the route from Brussells to Cologne.Is coach 1 at the front end or at the Brussels end of the train.I am trying to figure out facing direction of travel for someone.They will be travelling in coach 26.I have a coach seating plan but it does not show direction of travel.

Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
37,179 posts
3 reviews
8. Re: Brussels to Cologne. Thalys or ICE?

No (whether you are talking about Thalys or ICE, which you don't mention!), and when purchasing a Eurostar ticket at a Brussels station, the ticket clerk informed me that he could not satisfy a request for a forward-facing seat for that very reason - according to him, they can't know which way round a specific coach will be facing in the line-up!

Whichever way round it is, in my experience of other trains (e.g. Eurostar), coach no. 1 is always at the front when leaving Brussels. That is also implied by the picture on b-europe.com/Travel/Trains/Thalys/Seat%20map

I take it you have looked/are looking at http://www.seat61.com/train-seat-plans.htm

You might have more luck in the train travel forum, tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12483-Train_Tr…

durham
Level Contributor
2 posts
19 reviews
9. Re: Brussels to Cologne. Thalys or ICE?

Many thanks for the reply and links .

Bergen County, New...
Level Contributor
4,798 posts
215 reviews
10. Re: Brussels to Cologne. Thalys or ICE?

I noticed that the SNCB site sells Thalys tickets easily enough. Amazingly, some of the offered routings showed IC to Brussels, IC to Liege and then Thalys to Koln. But the Brussels-Koln Thalys was the same price, and very cheap.

I hear that Eurostar (i.e. Chunnel) requires a purchase marked "Any Belgian Station", which now costs a little more than "Brussels-Midi". But I haven't bought a Thalys ticket.