Thalys Trains: Discovering the High Speed Rail Network

  • 01 of 03

    Where the High Speed Thalys Trains Go

    thalys route map
    Thalys High Speed Rail Route Map. James Martin

    Here is a route map for the high-speed Thalys trains. Brussels can be considered a hub for the Thalys line, and the other major cities Thalys trains reach are Paris, Antwerp, The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Liège, Aachen, and Cologne.

    Thalys trains have been so successful in Europe that Air France has canceled its Paris Charles-de-Gaulle airport to Brussels route, writing tickets for Thalys instead. Thalys will speed you from Paris to Brussels in a mere hour and 25 minutes, and you won't end up far away from the city in an airport, either. There are 27 Thalys trains a day running the Paris to Brussels route.​

    Thalys tickets can be purchased online in the US from Rail Europe. You can also buy tickets through your travel agent, or in Thalys stations up to a few minutes before the train is scheduled to arrive--if there's room.

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  • 02 of 03

    About the High Speed Thalys Rail Service

    Thalys Train Picture
    Thalys Train Picture: Thalys coming into the station. James Martin

    The Thalys is known as "The Red Train" for the color of its wedgy engine. Two different train sets are used, each has the following characteristics:

    8 synchronous AC traction motors, producing 8.800 kW. Each set weighs 385 tons and has a length of 200 meters. Each Thalys train set features 377 seats--120 in Comfort 1 (first class) and 257 in Comfort 2 (second class).

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  • 03 of 03

    Buying a Ticket and Hopping Aboard

    Thalys Picture
    Thalys Track - Car numbers are posted trackside. James Martin

    When you purchase a Thalys ticket, you will also pay a mandatory seat reservation charge, guaranteeing you a place to sit. You may purchase a Thalys ticket at any station serving the Thalys network up to a few minutes before the corresponding train arrives.

    You can also purchase a ticket at a European travel agency. Most agencies levy a fee on the purchase of tickets so check first if you're on a budget.

    You can buy a Thalys ticket online through Rail Europe, or you can call them at 1-888-382-7245 in the U.S. or 1-800-361-7245 in Canada. You can also buy a ticket through a US travel agent.

    Once you have a ticket, just locate the Thalys track (high-speed track is different than run of the mill track, so Thalys will usually be specially marked). Finding your car is easy--look for the markings on the platform as in the photo.

    Riding the Thalys is smooth and comfortable; you'll hardly notice the speed. Enjoy your trip.