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I want to take a train journey from Rotterdam to London, but instead of the high-speed train from Rotterdam to Brussels, I want to take a slower/cheaper IC train. I can book the segments as separate journeys, or even book a similar complete journey for a different time, so it is a possible journey, just not the fastest.

Is there a booking system that will allow me to specify slower, cheaper connections?

The exact booking I want is:

25 June: 0710 Rotterdam to Brussels (IC Train) 1056 Brussels to London (Eurostar)

  • What price did you find so far? And what exact itinerary are you looking for (Rotterdam to Brussels or to London)? – JJ for Transparency and Monica May 15 '18 at 14:39
  • For a complete journey (with high-speed), I can get €125. For two segments, I can get €85. I suspect I can get €59 for a complete journey with non-high speed, based on similar journeys not at my desired time. – Gremlin May 15 '18 at 16:07
  • I don't see which train you mean departing from Rotterdam. Perhaps you mean the Intercity to Eindhoven departing in Rotterdam at 07:14 with a stopover in Breda, where you have to switch trains to the intercity train to Brussels? This itinerary? – JJ for Transparency and Monica May 15 '18 at 16:19
  • @JJJ IC9212 departs Rotterdam Centraal 07:10 and arrives Brussel-Zuid 09:15. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo May 15 '18 at 18:39
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    @JJJ I have no idea how 9292 selects which connections to show. IC9212 has a longer, scheduled stop in Breda, so the later train IC1123 departing 7:14 from Amsterdam will catch up with IC9212 there and you can save four minutes travel time at the cost of a train change. You can do the same trick in Antwerpen Centraal as well and change there from IC9212 to IC2030. Since IC9212 stops at Brussels Airport and IC2030 does not, IC2030 departs 9 minutes later from Antwerpen, but overtakes IC9212 before Brussels and will arrive 5 minutes earlier. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo May 15 '18 at 19:50
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Answer for your specific connection:

I assume due to the much longer layover of 1:41h for your desired connection, it is usually not shown because there are connections with a shorter layover available for the same arrival time.

One general trick to avoid high-speed trains is to add an via station to your itinerary, which is not served by the high-speed train. Unfortunately on the NS International website there is only on the itinerary planner the possibility to add an via station (and it doesn't provide a price for your specific connection).

But you can book the Rotterdam-London connection on the website of the Belgian Railways and there is also the option to add an via station. I chose Mechelen as the via station, because it is not served by Thalys/Eurostar but the IC stops there. Currently the prices start from 64€:

enter image description here

Original and general answer:

Dutch Railways (NS) provides a separate booking site where you can book international connections. It is also possible to book such a connection on the SNCB website.

There they also offer the slower connections with IC trains between Rotterdam and Brussels:

enter image description here

However keep in mind, that prices are calculated based e.g. on the occupancy rate of the trains and the closer you book to your travel date, the higher are (usually) the prices. It's even possible that a rare situation arises where the slower connection is more expensive than the travel with the Thalys between Rotterdam and Brussels.

  • So for this specific Eurostar, you can get an IC train to Brussels, but for others, it only allows Thalys/Eurostar. I don't know what the logic behind that is. I've added my specific itinerary to the question. – Gremlin May 15 '18 at 16:03
  • I added my thoughts and a possible solution to book your specific connection on one ticket – tallistroan May 15 '18 at 17:16
  • Thanks, I tried this with NS, but it didn't work - looks like you hit it right with the Belgians – Gremlin May 15 '18 at 18:45
  • I have been able to buy the tickets with the IC trains and Eurostar between 4 and 3 months before travel. But if you travel less than 3 months before travel you should be able to select which train you want, allowing you to choice a non-hi-speed one. (Not done it recently, so might have changed.) While the hi-speed train tickets are for one train only, the others can be used for all trains on a given day. – Willeke May 15 '18 at 19:59

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