European Rail News & Notes
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Life after FYRA: Heading north from Brussels

By Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries |

The Belgian Railway authorities this afternoon announced the return of old-style InterCity services from Brussels to stations in the Netherlands. This is to provide some kind of replacement for the short-lived FYRA service, introduced in December 2012 and then withdrawn last month.

The new service will start on 18 February, initially running twice each day between Brussels and Den Haag. On 11 March, the service frequency will be upped to eight trains each day. This is not quite a renaissance of the former IC Benelux service which linked Brussels with Amsterdam. The northernmost point on the new service is Den Haag. Passengers for Amsterdam will need to change to Dutch local services for onward travel. But the stopping pattern from Brussels to Den Haag (and the fares) will broadly replicate those which prevailed before the withdrawal of the old Benelux IC train.

We understand that this is seen as being no more than an interim solution for travellers heading north from Brussels into the Netherlands. The Dutch and Belgian railway authorities are evaluating whether FYRA might be given a second chance — perhaps this summer. Meanwhile, coach operators have spotted a gap in this busy cross-border market. One company starts a new express link from Rotterdam to Brussels early next month.

Copyright © Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries. All rights reserved.
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About The Authors

Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries

Nicky and Susanne manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers and the authors of the book Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide. The 17th edition of that book was published in 2022 and reprinted in July 2023. You'll find a list of outlets that sell the book on this website.

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