Thalys is the brand name for high speed trains connecting The Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany. At the end of January Bert, Wim and I travelled from Antwerp to Paris to attend a concert by film music composer Vladimir Cosma at Le Grand Rex.
We travelled Comfort 1. That is how Thalys calls its first class. The perks? More space, a better seat, quiet surroundings, WiFi and you get a snack or a meal, depending on the hour.
Susceptible to delays
Let’s be honest. As this Thalys starts its journey in Amsterdam and crosses three countries, it’s susceptible to delays. But we left Antwerp-Central on time. Between Antwerp and Brussels you don’t get any drinks or meals. The route uses conventional rail lines, so it takes about 40 minutes.
Unfortunately on that day, there was a fire on Line 0, Brussels’ North-South Junction. So at Schaerbeek the train took Line 28, the so called ‘ring line’ or ‘circular line’. It passes the Royal Palace at Laeken and its decommissioned Royal Station, Tour et Taxis and Brussels-West.
At Brussels-Midi/Zuid the train was coupled to another and we left Brussels with only 15 minutes delay.
Between Brussels and Paris-North we had breakfast. It included a bread roll, a croissant, a piece of cake, some fruit, coffee or tea, yoghurt and butter. Enough to still your hunger and to pass the time.
Speaking of time, the journey takes around two hours between Antwerp and Paris. Between Brussels and Paris the travel time is roughly 1h30. Depending on the time of day.
I returned alone to Antwerp the next day, as Wim and Bert continued their trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Vienna and Prague.
My Thalys left Paris-North on time at 5.19PM. At that time of day, you don’t get a meal but a snack. The option were apple pie or a hearty financier. I chose apple pie. It came with mango compote. People going further than Antwerp and disembarking at Rotterdam, Schiphol Airport or Amsterdam get a a second meal after Brussels.
Due to people on the tracks, we again used Line 28. Plus, at Hove a train before us stood still due o police intervention. The result: 39 minutes delay.
As I said, the route is susceptible to delays.
To Thalys or not to Thalys?
Thalys remains a nice product. The rolling stock is aging but it still does the trick. It remains the fastest way from Antwerp to Paris.