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Old December 4th, 2012, 09:17 AM   #661
woutero
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It seems that at least the iOS app has not been released yet. I cannot find it...
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Old December 4th, 2012, 09:27 AM   #662
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woutero View Post
It seems that at least the iOS app has not been released yet. I cannot find it...
Same on Android. No app yet.

edit: Tickets for Fyra have gone on sale at www.nshispeed.nl
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Last edited by AlexNL; December 4th, 2012 at 10:09 AM.
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Old December 4th, 2012, 01:43 PM   #663
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
If so, depending on how they time Breda-Rotterdam services, you could start seeing people using Fyra from A'dam/R'dam to Breda + Fyra to Anvers and then trains from there to Bruxelles, Gent, Louvain etc.
I don't think there will ever be a Fyra with "Anvers" on it's destination boards. Why do you use the inofficial French name of a Flemish town when you could use the official Dutch version, or the English version of the name?
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Old December 4th, 2012, 06:13 PM   #664
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I don't get why you complained about ticket prices of the Fyra all the time. Amsterdam-Brussels €25, if that's not a bargain then nothing is.
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Old December 4th, 2012, 06:33 PM   #665
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€ 25 is not expensive when you just look at the price. It is indeed cheaper than the Benelux train. However: the terms and conditions are completely different.

If you want the same flexibility with Fyra as you had with the Benelux, you pay € 54 for a single journey.
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Old December 4th, 2012, 07:39 PM   #666
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If you want the same flexibility with Fyra as you had with the Benelux, you pay € 54 for a single journey.
For that distance 54 € isn't extreme either. It's just that people got used to it being cheaper.
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Old December 4th, 2012, 08:17 PM   #667
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Originally Posted by K_

For that distance 54 € isn't extreme either. It's just that people got used to it being cheaper.
Frequent travelers could do it for € 18 or even less. For example, holding a discount pass (such as Voordeelurenabonnement) or Weekend Vrij. All those passes are useless with Fyra Brussels.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 12:35 AM   #668
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A lot of the youth fares, and things like Roosendaal-Antwerpen, seem substantially more expensive now as well.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 12:48 AM   #669
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That's correct: several discount formulas are being cancelled as they're "no longer necessary". For the time being, the Superdiscount will remain available through the website (if you can find it... it won't sell you a Superdiscount over Roosendaal if you look for Amsterdam - Antwerp).

Eventually, Roosendaal will get the same treatment as Maastricht: it will become a "Belgian station", meaning that you can buy Belgian tickets there (at Belgian domestic fare, not CIV) so a journey from Roosendaal to Antwerpen will cost a little less.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 02:16 AM   #670
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Can you buy a Maastricht Randwijk - Maastricht (Centraal) ticket on SNCB website?
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Old December 5th, 2012, 08:40 AM   #671
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You can't, as it's a completely domestic trajectory. The tariffs for the Dutch railway network apply there (meaning: use your OV-chipkaart). For some reason, the domestic planner on SNCB's website doesn't let you buy tickets from Maastricht either as it's considered an international journey by SNCB.

However, the website doesn't tell you that - it just lets you guess. "An error has occured, no error message is available" is all you get. If you're at Maastricht station, there should be a Belgian ticket machine, the people at the counter should be able to sell you tickets at a Belgian domestic price as well.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 02:39 PM   #672
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A long post:

As of yesterday (9 dec) the High Speed Railway Amsterdam-Brussels is used a little more. The intercity Amsterdam-Brussels was replaced by the Fyra Amsterdam-Brussels. Fyra is the brand-name for high speed trains run by NS Hispeed (Dutch railways) and NMBS/SNCB (Belgian railways).

There are high speed tracks between Schiphol and Rotterdam and between Rotterdam ad Antwerp (with a fork to Breda). Between Amsterdam and Schiphol, and between Antwerp and Brussels the trains run on conventional rail at conventional speeds.

Now running on the HSL south tracks:

Thalys:
Amsterdam CS - Schiphol - Rotterdam CS - Antwerp CS - Brussels Zuid/Midi > Paris Nord
Amsterdam CS - Brussels Zuid/Midi: 1h49
10 trains per day
PBA and PBKA Thalys trains

Fyra Brussels:
Amsterdam CS - Schiphol - Rotterdam CS - Antwerp CS - Brussels Central - Brussels Zuid/Midi
Amsterdam - Brussels Zuid/Midi: 2h01 (55 min faster than the old intercity)
10 trains per day, to be increased to 16 trains per day (hourly service) as trains become available
V250 Fyra trains (AnsaldoBreda)

Fyra Breda:
Amsterdam CS - Schiphol - Rotterdam CS - Breda
Amsterdam CS - Breda: 1h07
Two trains per hour
Traxx engines with intercity cars (vmax 160 km/h)

Controversy
The Fyra is subject of a lot of discussion. The main reasons:

Reservations are mandatory for international tickets.
One of the requirements in the public tender process was that international travelers would be guaranteed a seat. NS Hispeed translated this into a mandatory reservation for international tickets. The reservation system is however not very flexible. Only the most expensive tickets allow a reservation change. Since Antwerp and Brussels are so close to Rotterdam and Amsterdam this does not really fit with the way people travel between these cities. Many people go to Antwerp or Brussels for a meeting, for a day of shopping or visiting friends. If you don't know how long your meeting will last, it is hard to get the right ticket. That is OK for a major trip, but not for a 37 minute trip (Antwerp-Rotterdam).

Many people are now angry with NS Hispeed, but the requirement of a guaranteed seat comes from the concession issued by the government. NS Hispeed has announced it is researching the possibility of allowing people without a reservation.

The old intercity train has been taken out of service and is no longer an alternative to the high speed trains. The only way to travel between Amsterdam and Brussels without a reservation is by traveling with a local train between Antwerp and Roosendaal (and thus changing trains twice). This makes the trip between Rotterdam and Antwerp 1h28 instead of 37min by Fyra.

Trains
The V250 trains were supposed to be delivered in 2007. Right now (december 2012) only a few of the trains have been delivered and are in service. The trains suffer from frequent malfunctions. Yesterday, on the first day of commercial service, one of the trains stranded just north of Antwerp. The trains do not offer services like WiFi internet.

To get an idea about how the Fyra service is doing, follow @failra on twitter (https://twitter.com/Failra) or check out daily statistics here: https://sites.google.com/site/failrahsl/dagstatistieken (red is canceled, yellow is delayed over 5 min, green is on time)

Operation and routes
The concession was awarded to NS Hispeed on the basis of the following operation/lines:
- Amsterdam - Rotterdam: 2x/hr
- Amsterdam - Breda: 2x/hr
- Amsterdam - Brussels: 1x/hr
- The Hague - Brussels: 8x/day (with stops in Breda and Noorderkempen)

Of these lines, currently the Amsterdam-Breda line is operational, but with older rolling stock and a lower speed (160 km/h).
The Amsterdam - Brussels line is operational with a lower frequency (to be increased).
The Amsterdam-Rotterdam line is (in my opinion) unlikely to ever be operational since demand is far behind projections.
The The Hague - Brussels line is canceled because of a disagreement between The Netherlands and Belgium

As an alternative for travelers from the south part of The Netherlands however, an hourly service between Breda and Antwerpen will start in April 2013. The connection The Hague - Brussels requires a simple cross-platform train change in Rotterdam, which actually reduces the travel time from the original line via Breda (fewer stops).

Current travel times are still significantly longer than the original plans. This has to do with the slower trains running to Breda, difficulty fitting in the trains in the timetable, and lower speeds between Antwerp and Brussels. If I remember correctly the original plans were to reduce travel time between Amsterdam and Brussels to about 1h40 (now 2h01).

Tickets and prices
Amsterdam - Brussels used to cost about €30 (full fare).
The Fyra Prices (Amsterdam-Brussels 2nd class one way):
Full Flex: €54
Weekend/Semi Flex: €41
Senior (60+): €39
Youth (25-)/Family: €30
Supersaver: €25

With a full flex ticket you can take one train earlier or later. With all the other tickets you will have to buy a new ticket if you miss your train. Many people who travel regularly to Belgium find the new rates too high. Supersaver tickets can only be booked online, at least a week in advance, and have a limited supply.

Financial issues and concession
The construction of the HSL-zuid came in at €7,2 billion (original budget €3,4 billion), which does not make it very popular amongst Dutch taxpayers. But also the operation of the line is proving to be difficult:

The concession to the HSL-Zuid for domestic operation (so only in The Netherlands) was awarded to HSA (co-operation between NS and KLM). They offered €166 million per year for the concession. This has proven to be very unrealistic as revenues have been only a fraction of projections. In order to avoid bankruptcy of HSA the national government has stepped in and 'bailed out' HSA with €300 mln. In 2015 the concession of domestic trains on the HSL will be integrated into the national concession and will be awarded to NS (so the high speed section will no longer be separate of the national rail network). KLM will be allowed to 'step out' without too much damage. This will enable NS to introduce new routes on the HSL (continuing on regular rail, for instance to Eindhoven and Zwolle).

It is however a giant breach of the original contracts and intentions (I can imagine the other contestants in the original tender might be a little pissed off).

The international lines running on the HSL-Zuid are subject to EU regulations. Deutsche Bahn and Eurostar have both expressed interest in operating trains from Amsterdam to London through the Channel Tunnel. There are however no details available at this moment.

Last edited by woutero; December 10th, 2012 at 02:47 PM.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 02:45 PM   #673
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woutero View Post
The reservation system is however not very flexible. Only the most expensive tickets allow a reservation change. Since Antwerp and Brussels are so close to Rotterdam and Amsterdam this does not really fit with the way people travel between these cities. Many people go to Antwerp or Brussels for a meeting, for a day of shopping or visiting friends. If you don't know how long your meeting will last, it is hard to get the right ticket.
With a normal full fare ticket (which is what business travellers will probably buy) you can take an earlier or later train without having to change your reservation. Granted, what is missing is the possibility to change the reservation on the platform, like is possible in Italy.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 03:50 PM   #674
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The fastest way to travel between Amsterdam and Bruxelles will not involve a local regional train from Roosendaal, but:

- domestic high-speed train Amsterdam - Breda
- shuttle high-speed train Breda - Antwerpen
- domestic InterCity from Antwerpen to Bruxelles

==============

As from now, according to fare rules actually shown on NS HiSpeed website, you can buy an intermediate (non-fully flexible) priced ticket and get one free change of your train reservation for the same scheduled day. Those reservations cost 13 euros more for Amsterdam-Bruxelles tickets than the supersaver fares (25 second class, 39 first class)
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Old December 10th, 2012, 04:00 PM   #675
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You are right, but that connection to Brussels will only be possible when the Breda-Antwerp train will start (planned in April 2013). Right now that is not yet possible, and the only option without a reservation and without paying the Fyra fares involves the local train from Roosendaal.

I don't have a problem with reservations, as long as it is easy to change them. I am not sure how easy that is right now. Does anyone know? How does it work when you buy a ticket from the ticket machine? Or is that no longer possible?

EDIT:
From what I understand from the NS Hispeed website you can indeed change your reservation once with a semi-flex ticket, but only until the evening before the travel date. So that does not really help with the problem of a longer meeting or any other changes you may want to make 'on the go'.

Last edited by woutero; December 10th, 2012 at 04:09 PM.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 11:51 PM   #676
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Are Thalys trains between Brussels and Amsterdam 12 minutes faster because they stop in fewer places? Is it more expensive to use them instead of Fyra?
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Old December 11th, 2012, 12:11 AM   #677
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Quote:
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Are Thalys trains between Brussels and Amsterdam 12 minutes faster because they stop in fewer places? Is it more expensive to use them instead of Fyra?
Thalys doesn't stop in Bruxelles-Centraal.

Moreover, it has a better path between Antwerpen and Rotterdam.

More expensive or not depends on how far in advance you buy your tickets.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 01:18 AM   #678
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
Are Thalys trains between Brussels and Amsterdam 12 minutes faster because they stop in fewer places? Is it more expensive to use them instead of Fyra?
Thalys services run at higher top speeds. Which is probably the main reason for these 12 minutes.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 01:24 AM   #679
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Thalys services run at higher top speeds. Which is probably the main reason for these 12 minutes.
Plus skipping a station. Plus being booked in at higher speeds... they are being very careful with the V250... go too fast and it stops
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Old December 11th, 2012, 01:46 AM   #680
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Oh, just looking at a V250 is enough to make it stop. I had a 45 minute delay between Brussels and Rotterdam, all thanks to technical faults.
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