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I seem to be confused as to which rail pass to use when travelling from a Belgium train station to a border station such as Roosendal in the Netherlands.

The RailPlus card is a card that you can get from any European country and allows reduced fair for cross-border trains.

The Belgian Rail Pass gives you 10 trips between any two station for 76 Euros (7.60 per trip).

The RailPlus Card gives the following information:

25% reduction on purchase of standard train tickets for conventional international trains* if at least 1 border is crossed during the journey (not valid for Thalys, TGV and Eurostar).

(*) except for connections from Belgium to Maastricht, Roosendaal or Aachen (and vice versa)

The terms of use of the Rail Pass are:

Journey between 2 Belgian stations/stops, not including border stations.

From the wording it is clear that you cannot use the RailPlus Card for to get a discount between a Belgian station and Roosendal. However, the wording of the Rail Pass terms and conditions seem very ambiguous. Do they mean to say, Journey between two 2 Belgian stops as well as border stations in neighbouring countries?

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You can't use the railpass to cross borders.

The real meaning of their conditions got lost in translation. The Dutch version of the general conditions doesn't mention border stations, but border points (grenspunten). These border points are relevant in different reduction schemes (such as RailPlus). With a rail pass (or the cheaper GO pass for passenger <26y) you can not travel to these borderpoints, but only to the last city where the trains stop.

Which city to use depends on the train you take to cross the border. If for example you want to go to Roosendaal and you take the intercity, you can use the railpass to travel to Antwerp. From there on you would need to buy a regular train ticket to Roosendaal. If you would take the local train to Roosendaal, you can travel up until Essen, from where on you would need to have a regular ticket. A ticket from Antwerp to Roosendaal will be more expensive then one from Essen to Roosendaal.

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    The last paragraph is incorrect. You can combine tickets (with the exception of a Key Card) even if the train doesn't stop in the station. For travel to Roosendaal you can always use the RailPass to Essen and buy a ticket from Essen to Roosendaal. Even if the train you take doesn't stop in Essen. I do this every time I travel by train to the Netherlands and never had a problem with it. The "Travel terms and condtions" explicitely allow it (art 53): belgianrail.be//~/media/Files/Mobility/Support/… (Dutch) – Some wandering yeti Mar 3 '15 at 21:51
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I think that it means just what it seems to mean: You can't use a “Rail Pass” because those stations are not in Belgium and you can't use the RailPlus card either because they are explicitly excluded from its scope despite being across the border.

On the other hand, the Belgian Railways do offer separate special fares for stations close to the border, which are typically a bit higher than similar tickets for journeys entirely inside Belgium. Conditions are also slightly different (for example there are “GO pass” offers for the youth but nothing like the Rail Pass for people over 26). Alternatively, you can travel to the last station in Belgium on your Rail Pass and buy another ticket to Roosendaal.

As @andra explained the bit about “border stations” is an unrelated translation error. This condition stems from the way international tickets are traditionally priced. Outside of special fares, international journeys consist of segments between a station and a “border point” or between two border points (the Dutch and French versions do mention a “point” and not a “station”). Each segment is then priced based on the distance, and it's possible to apply a discount on each segment separately. But the trains do not actually stop at the border point, it's a virtual “station” for booking and pricing purpose.

Using this system, if you have several discount cards, you could get something like 25% on one segment through RailPlus, 50% on another segment with the Swiss Halbtax abo/abonnement demi-prix, etc. In this case however, you can't travel on a Rail Pass up to the border point and then only pay for the distance you travel on the foreign network, you need to stop at an actual station and then cross the border on a distinct ticket. By contrast, with a Swiss or German yearly rail card (Generalabonnement/abonnement général or Bahncard 100), you can in fact do just that and only pay for the segment starting at the border, which is why the Rail Pass card conditions explicitly rule it out.

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