Travelling by train in Belgium

Publish date: 09-01-2020
Travelling by train in Belgium

Often the most convenient way to get from one city to another in Belgium is use intercity trains. There are many types of tickets available for purchase. Before the trip, we recommend that you read about possible options, because some of them will allow you to significantly save on tickets.

Belgium train types

Train types in Belgium:

  • InterCity (IC): IC class trains connect the big cities of Belgium. These trains stop only at the largest railway stations and sometimes cross international borders.
  • Peak (P): Class P trains run at busy times during peak hours. Most of these trains run early in the morning and late in the evening.
  • Local trains (L): Local trains L connect cities and they stop at each station along the route.
  • S-trains (S): S trains are commuter trains that connect the city center to the surrounding communes. S trains stop at most stations along the route.
  • EXTRA: Extra trains used during exceptionally busy periods. For example, trains that go to the Belgian coast on very sunny days.
  • International trains (INT = EC, THA, TGV, ICE, EST): International trains called Eurocity, Thalys, TGV, ICE and Eurostar.

Standard ticket

A simple train ticket, this ticket is available on 1 and 2 classes.

Price ranges from € 2.40 to € 21 depending on the distance between destinations.

Weekend ticket

A weekend ticket gives a 50% discount on round-trips on weekends.

The ticket is valid from 19 p.m. Friday to Sunday (inclusive). Available for class 1 and 2.

It applies to any destination in Belgium. Before buying, you need to choose the your final destination (the ticket price will depend on it).

Also valid on some public holidays, a list of nearby ones:

  • New Year's Day: from 7 p.m. Thrusday 31 December 2020 until Friday 1st January 2021
  • Easter: from 7 p.m. Friday 10 April until Monday 13 April 2020
  • Labour Day: from 7 p.m. Thursday 30 April until Sunday 3 May 2020
  • Ascension Day: from 7 p.m. Wednesday 20 May until Sunday 24 May 2020
  • Pentecost: from 7 p.m. Friday 29 May until Monday 1 June 2020
  • Belgian National Day: from 7 p.m. Friday 17 July until Tuesday 21 July
  • Assumption: from 7 p.m. Friday 14 August until Sunday 16 August 2020
  • All Saints: from 7 p.m. Friday 30 October until Sunday 1 November 2020
  • Armistice Day: from 7 p.m. Tuesday 10 November until Wednesday 11 November 2020
  • Christmas: from 7 p.m. Thursday 24 December until Sunday 27 December 2020

Key card

A ticket worth 24 € for 10 short trips (2 class), so 1 trip will cost 2.4 €.  For first class you have to pay 31 €.

Can be transmitted and used by different people. It is valid for 6 months.

This ticket is valid for short trips, the area of ​​validity of the ticket depends on the departure station. Ticket zones you can see by this link (the first column is the departure station, to the right of it - which stations ticket applies to).

Rail pass

Rail pass ir a ticket for 10 trips. This ticket can be bought by anyone who is 26 years old  and older (for those who are younger there are more advantageous offers).

Ticket price: 83 € for 10 trips (2nd class, price of 1 trip is 8.3 €). This ticket can be transferred to other people.

If you want to travel in first class, there is a ticket for 128 €.

How to fill in Rail Pass (and Go Pass 10):

Ticket has 10 blank lines. Before each trip, you need to fill in the day of the week, date, departure station and destination station. An example of what a Go Pass 10 ticket looks like can be found here (a Rail Pass ticket will look like similar). If there are several travelers, there is no need to buy another ticket, just duplicate the entry for each passenger.

Jump card

Jump Card allows anyone to travel by train, tram, bus or metro in Brussels and the surrounding area. To use JUMP Card, you need a MOBIB card.  

Jump Card coverage areas: MTB (Metro-Tram-Bus) zone, the entire STIB network (except Bourget-Brussels Airport) with the ability to change lines, TEC and De Lijn city networks in the capital region (Brussels-Capital Region), railway network SNCB in the capital region (Brussels-Capital Region).

Rates:

  • JUMP 1 trip: € 2.10 (includes transfers within 60 minutes).
  • JUMP 2 trips (round trip): € 4.20 (the second trip must be made within 24 hours after the first).
  • JUMP 5 trips: € 8
  • JUMP 10 trips: € 14
  • JUMP 24 hours: € 7.50
  • JUMP 48 hours: € 14
  • JUMP 72 hours: € 18

Youth tickets

If you are under 26, you can buy a Go Pass ticket to save money. Be ready to confirm your age with a document.

There are several types of this ticket:

Go pass 1

  • This ticket gives you the right to travel one way or round-trip to anywhere in Belgium.
  • The offer applies only to class 2.
  • Ticket price for one trip is 6.60 € (if you are traveling from / to the airport, the Diabolo fee will be automatically added to the price of the ticket. More about Diabolo fee read in this article below).

Go pass 10

  • A ticket for 10 trips, its cost is 53 € (one trip price is 5.3 €).
  • Expiration date - 1 year
  • Can be passed on to other people (if they are suitable for age)
  • How to fill out a Go Pass 10 ticket read above in the Rail Pass section.

Go unlimited

  • Not limited by the number of trips, works on school holidays (check the dates when holidays in Belgium), ticket price is 15 €.
  • A monthly pass for 25 € (valid only in July or August).
  • Valid for 7 consecutive days during the Easter holidays  
  • 2nd Class Rides
  • To get a Go Unlimited ticket, you need a MOBIB card.

MOBIB Card

MOBIB Card is a card for transport tickets for four Belgian public transport operators (STIB, SNCB, De Lijn and TEC). It greatly facilitates movement throughout the country. There are two types of proximity cards: a personal MoBIB card and a MoBIB base card.

Card price is 5 euros, valid 5 years from the date of purchase.

A MoBIB card can be issued in different ways, the simplest one is at the ticket office (there are other ways, including online, you can find out more about it here). When applying for a card, an identity document is required.

Senior Ticket (65+)

If you are over 65, you can buy a Seniors Ticket.

  • Ticket price 6.80 € (For trips to / from the airport Diabolo fee is not included in the price, you need to purchase it separately)
  • The ticket is valid from 9 am on weekdays and without restrictions on the weekend.
  • Round-trip ticket during the day to any destination in Belgium.
  • For 1st class travel, the ticket price will be 14.40 €.

The ticket is not valid:

  • From July 13 to August 18 (inclusive): on weekends.
  • August 15

Diabolo fee and airport trips

If you plan to travel from / to Brussels Airport-Zaventem by train, an additional fee of € 5.40 will be added to the price of a regular ticket. This fee is automatically added for most tickets to / from the airport (but there are an exceptions).

Save this ticket until the end of your ride, as you will need to go through it through the control gate.

Who need to purchase the Diabolo fee (additional):

  • Seniors Tickets
  • Owners of Go Unlimited
  • Pass holders (Go Pass 10, Rail Pass, Key Card, etc.)
  • Thalys or Eurostar ticket holders with the option "Any Belgian station".

Look for the full list on the SNCB official website.

How to get through the control gate (gate) at Brussels Airport-Zaventem station

Passengers traveling to or from Brussels airport must scan their ticket at the gate to get to the station.

Go to the gate with a green arrow. Scan the barcode on your ticket. If you travel with a mobile ticket, you can scan the barcode from the screen of your smartphone or tablet. After that, the gates will open and you can enter or leave the station.

Accompanied children under 12 years old travel for free and can go through the gate with the help of the staff. The same applies to those who have a national discount card for the blind and visually impaired.

Where to buy train tickets in Belgium?

There are 4 options:

  • On the official website
  • In a mobile application
  • At the ticket machine
  • At the ticket office

Some types of tickets cannot be bought online / in the application, then they are available in a ticket machine or at a ticket office.

It is worth noting that the ticket price is not affected by the way the tickets were purchased nor the time how many days before the trip it was purchased.

Ticket machines in Belgium  Ticket machines in Belgium

It’s best to buy a ticket before the trip, but if you don’t do it for any reason, you can buy it from the controller by paying + 7 € to the ticket price. If you refuse to buy a ticket from the controller, you will face a fine of 75 €.

Useful information

During ticket check controller leaves current date and time on your ticket, so if you have a ticket from one city to another and ticket was checked by the conductor and you decided to go out at intermediate station, then you take next train on the same route your ticket will no longer be valid, as intermediate transfers are not allowed.

Children under 12 years old can travel for free when accompanied by an adult. You do not need to buy a ticket separately for such children, but you need to have a document by which you can prove his age. A maximum of 4 children are allowed per adult for free. If a child under 12 travels alone or there are more than 4 children for one passenger with a ticket, then it is necessary to buy a special ticket for each additional child for half price.

There are other ticket types (for example, seasonal, etc.), this article describes only the most frequently used.

Ticket types and prices may vary, before traveling we recommend checking the information on the official SNCB website.

Photos

train at station in BelgiumElectronic board at the railway station of Belgium
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