The Belgian train system is fairly reliable and very easy to navigate including the English version of its website where you can book tickets in and out of Belgium from train stations in Germany, France, The Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland. The site takes VISA, so you can book your ticket, pay for it, then take your confirmation to the International travel desk at the train station to get your paper tickets.
Lesson learned: It is important that you read your tickets VERY well and have a clear understanding of them. With some tickets, the rate will allow you to travel to a main train station via any smaller station, so the time on the confirmation will be the departure time from one of the larger stations leaving it up to you to WRITE down the times that your train will leave from the smaller stations. Look up nearby stations and make careful notes about departure times and connections. If you miss your train, tickets are only refundable up to 50% and the rates the day of are higher.
Sample Confirmation: note – I booked this train from Namur, BE and at the time of booking, the website showed me the times from Namur, so when I printed this, the lack of that time on the confirmation threw me off. Read the Fare Conditions carefully. In my rush, I didn’t and it cost me a bit.
Thank you for choosing SNCB for buying your train tickets on-line.
These are the details of the booking you have just made on our website:
From LIEGE-GUILLEMINS to AACHEN HBF on 30/04/2009 with Thalys Train n° 9433 leaving at 15:13 and arriving at 15:58
2 passengers with fare Optiway ABS (BT) Comfort 2
Optiway ABS (BT) Comfort 2:
Your tickets can be collected as from now at the international ticket desks of your SNCB railway station. Please make sure you can produce your booking reference XXXXXXX ,as well as the personal pickup code that was displayed on the confirmation screen after your on-line purchase. Please notice that if you used a credit card for the on-line payment, the card holder will then have to produce the card at the desk when collecting the tickets.
In the following stations, you can pick up your tickets at an automatic vending machine for international tickets as well: Antwerpen-Berchem, Antwerpen-Centraal, Brugge, Bruxelles-Central, Bruxelles-Luxembourg, Bruxelles-Midi (opposite the Railtour office), Bruxelles-Nord, Charleroi-Sud, Gent St-Pieters, Hasselt, Kortrijk, Leuven, Liège-Guillemins, Mechelen, Mons, Namur, Oostende and Ottignies.
For any question or information about your booking, please contact our International Call Center by phone or by e-mail. Telephone: +32(0)2 528 28 28 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a pleasant journey!
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