You do not need to book a seat on InterCity trains. All you need is a valid ticket for the journey you want to make for the required date. With this ticket you can set off when you want on the train of your choice. If you are travelling on board InterCity (IC) or local trains, your ticket will therefore never show a departure or arrival time.
You also won't find a carriage or seat number on your ticket, as you are free to choose a seat on board the train in the travel class indicated on your ticket (1st or 2nd class).
With your InterCity train ticket you can get on and off when you want along the route you have booked. You can also choose between direct connections or a journey with one or several changes. You can also use as many IC or local trains as you wish.
As a bonus, travelling on board of InterCity also gives you the right to interrupt your journey should you want to. If you're travelling from Brussels to Amsterdam, for instance, you may get off at Antwerp or Rotterdam and spend a few hours there before continuing your trip to Amsterdam (using the same train ticket).
Please note the following conditions:
Note: If you take a train that requires payment of a mandatory surcharge or a reservation (for example, Thalys) for all or part of your journey, you must pay this surcharge in addition to your ticket. Please check which type of train you are taking when you consult the timetable for your journey.
In addition the the Benelux, InterCity trains run in other European countries as well, offering their own services and fares. Some examples:
There are also InterCity trains which run across the European borders - often under the name of EuroCity. Some examples:
All these are available through SNCB International, via the Contact Centre, in 28 Belgian stations and in travel agencies approved by SNCB International.
Check the timetables for InterCity Netherlands trains departing from Belgium in our brochure (PDF in French).
NS International - Regus Express lounges, situated at Amsterdam Central, Rotterdam Central and Schiphol stations are pleasant relaxing spaces, where you can relax or work whilst waiting for your train. They offer a Wi-Fi connection and meeting rooms.
These lounges can be used by:
Unlike most high-speed trains, InterCity and regional trains in Belgium and the Netherlands do not require a reservation. For these trains, you get an open ticket, valid on board any train on the date shown (at any time of day) and on the route as indicated on your ticket. Great flexibility!
Similarly, on IC and ICE trains run by Deutsche Bahn, seat reservation is optional. Consequently, most tickets for journeys in Germany do not necessarily show the time either. Remember though, that the Supersparpreis, Supersparpreis Europa and Sparpreis Europa economy fares do require you to use the specific train you chose when buying your ticket. In this case, the train number and time of departure are shown on your ticket.
If you're travelling by InterCity train between Belgium and the Netherlands, buy your tickets at least 7 days in advance: the Early Bird fare offers around 40% off for travelling from Monday to Thursday and around 20% off for travelling from Friday to Sunday (depending on the distance).
If you're travelling between Belgium and Luxembourg, however, it may be cheaper to travel in the weekend: the Weekend fare offers 30% off your return journey from Friday to Sunday. And if you're younger than 26, the Youth fare will offer 30% off for travelling any day of the week.
If you're travelling between Belgium and Northern France with InterCity and TER Hauts-de-France trains, go for a return trip between Friday morning and Sunday evening: with the Weekend fare, you get 40% off. This Weekend fare applies to journeys to and from: Abbeville, Amiens, Annappes, Arras, Ascq, Aulnoye Aymeries, Baisieux, Béthune, Boulogne Ville, Calais Ville, Chantilly Gouvieux, Compiègne, Croix l'Allumette, Croix Wasquehal, Douai, Dunkerque, Etaples Le Touquet, Hellemmes, Le Cateau, Lens, Lezennes, Lille Flandres, Maubeuge, Noyon, Paris Nord (via Maubeuge/Aulnoye), Pont de Bois, Pont Ste Maxence, Roubaix, St Quentin (Aisne), Tourcoing, Valenciennes.
If you're younger than 26, there's a Youth fare for travelling between Belgium and the same destinations in Northern France. This Youth fare offers 30% off and is valid anytime.
For this type of train, there are no restrictions on the various fares. So you don't need to book ahead to get the best prices.
International season tickets are only available on the Brussels-Lille service (rail passes valid on TGV® Brussels-France, Thalys and Eurostar).
If you take the same journey regularly on a Thalys train, remember that Thalys offers several ThePass options (Premium or Frequent), which means you benefit from cheaper flexible fares. Check the Thalys website for more information about Thalys ThePass.
And lastly, as part of our national service, there are various types of seasonal tickets that are valid until the border (as well as specific season tickets to the neighbouring cities of Aachen, Maastricht, Roosendaal, Lille, Luxembourg and Maubeuge/Aulnoye). They can be combined with a rail pass from another rail company to continue your journey in one of our neighbouring countries.