about direct train between Brussels and Basel

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jamesontheroad

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I don’t thinks there has been a EC all the way for a long time. When LGV Est opened it was replaced by a TGV. Referring to the (mostly pre-corona) summer 2020 European Rail Timetable there two TGV a day Brussels/Strasbourg and no obvious connection to Basel with less than 30 minutes wait.
 

jamesontheroad

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Checked what few sources I have - the last Iris ran all the way between Brussels and Basel in 2016. There’s at least one YouTube video of it, all Belgian stock including a blue restaurant car I didn’t know that SNCB possessed.
 

Cheshire Scot

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Checked what few sources I have - the last Iris ran all the way between Brussels and Basel in 2016. There’s at least one YouTube video of it, all Belgian stock including a blue restaurant car I didn’t know that SNCB possessed.
I once dined in a Blue Restaurant car on one of the Brussels Basel workings- it was CIWL blue, with a big blue CIWL badge on the side, build circa 1940s/50s, quite a contrast with the orange and white 1980s liveried Eurofima stock which made up the rest of the train! Needless to say this was decades ago and not at all relevant to this thread but the blue restaurant car brought it to mind!
 

ricohallo

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It ran twice daily until April 2nd 2016, usually consisting of a mix of Belgian I6 and I10 coaches at the time. The blue restaurant car wasn't regularly used, at least not in the last years of operation. AFAIK there are no plans to bringing it back, unfortunately. :(
 

MarcVD

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The lastly installed belgian government, with an ecolo minister in charge of the railways, might change a few things. Though I'm not holding my breath.
 

30907

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The lastly installed belgian government, with an ecolo minister in charge of the railways, might change a few things. Though I'm not holding my breath.
As reinststing it would primarily benefit Luxembourg (and other intermediate cities) I can't see the Belgian government being very interested. The TGV covers the politically important market.
 

dutchflyer

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The main-some may even say only, market for this route is BRUssels-STRasbourg for the EU-burocrats. Hence there was once a replacement TGV along the Paris-avoiding lines between the 2.
BRU-Basel and further into the mountains and skiing if the swiss-just use the german ICE via Cologne/Köln-FRA. Tons cheaper too for advance bookings.
Though comparing it with the completely vanished routes of the old boattrains from Calais to transport the Brits into those mountains across the north of very sparsely populated north of France......
 

in_luzern

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I used to use it about once a month between Basel and Ottignies. As others have mentioned, it stopped running in 2016.

Now the alternatives are either to change at Mulhouse and Luxembourg, with longish waits in both places, or to go via Köln - Liège - Namur. The route via Germany (which I normally use now) is faster, but significantly more expensive. The connection in Liège is also often missed. I regularly get "Why on earth are you doing this?" and "It must have been better in the past" remarks from the ticket inspectors in Belgium.
 

STEVIEBOY1

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I think there used to be 3 trains running from Brussels to Switzerland, Iris, Vauban and I can not remember the name of the 3rd one. I think they all went to Basle and then some went onto Brig & Chur too. I did one of them some years ago, it went via Luxembourg, then part of France and into the SNCF platforms at Basle, where some carriage were removed, then we were shunted to the SBB platforms where were joined up to some Swiss carriages, then we carried on to Brig. It was a very interesting trip. I think now you have to do BRU-Koln-Switzerland. (There were through trains from the Netherlands too, I went from AMS to Switzerland directly too, that was through Germany and Via Basle DB?, then into Basle SBB and beyond.)
 

30907

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I think there used to be 3 trains running from Brussels to Switzerland, Iris, Vauban and I can not remember the name of the 3rd one. I think they all went to Basle and then some went onto Brig & Chur too. I did one of them some years ago, it went via Luxembourg, then part of France and into the SNCF platforms at Basle, where some carriage were removed, then we were shunted to the SBB platforms where were joined up to some Swiss carriages, then we carried on to Brig. It was a very interesting trip. I think now you have to do BRU-Koln-Switzerland. (There were through trains from the Netherlands too, I went from AMS to Switzerland directly too, that was through Germany and Via Basle DB?, then into Basle SBB and beyond.)
Fairly certain the 3rd one was overnight or at least got into Basel around 0100 for connections to Italy (and disappeared along with the mid-afternoon Calais-Basel when the Tunnel opened...). Iris and Vauban were still running about 10 years ago, integrated into the Strasbourg-Bale SNCF 200km/h regional express timetable, as I did Mulhouse-Colmar on one.
Brussels-Strasbourg-Basel by TGV+TER would be the quickest route now, if one of the two daily trains worked.
(OT: London-Paris or Lille-Strasbourg-Basel is also a good route.)

Edit: I was going back too far into the past! After the overnight trains disappeared (two not one) there was a third EC service "Jean Monnet" with slightly more civilised times at Basel.
 
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in_luzern

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During the last year of operation at least, they attached some Swiss coaches to the train between Luxembourg and Basel, a couple of which were first-class coaches reclassified as second class. A very comfy option for that part of the journey!
 

Austriantrain

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The only meaningful way to reestablish something similar would be a TGV Zurich - Basel - Strasbourg - Charles de Gaulle Airport - Lille - Brussels.

Such a service would actually serve several useful purposes, but as long as SNCF is what it is, it’s not going to happen.
 

Welly

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I went on a Basel - Luxembourg train consisting of SBB coaches and an SNCF BB15000 back in 2011, it departed about 3pm. What service might that have been?
 

43096

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I went on a Basel - Luxembourg train consisting of SBB coaches and an SNCF BB15000 back in 2011, it departed about 3pm. What service might that have been?
The two trains show in the Swiss timetable archive as being 1304 off Basel (EC90 "Vauban", 1136 from Zürich Hbf) and 1608 off Basel (EC96 "Iris", 1436 from Zürich Hbf). Interestingly both are shown as IR services within Switzerland as they didn't have the required catering facilities to be an IC/EC for Swiss standards.

Up until the last couple of years they used to run through from within Switzerland, which would give a bonus drop of shunter haulage if travelling from Switzerland into France or beyond. The train would arrive at the SBB platforms at Basel behind a Swiss loco, which would then be removed. The replacement French train loco (normally a BB15000 or Sybic) would then be shunted on by an SBB shunter (whatever was capable of working across the voltage divide). The SBB shunter would then haul the train into the 25kV SNCF part of the station and be removed. In the latter years this would often be one of SBB's Stadler built dual-voltage Ee922 locos.

922016.jpg
 

Frothy

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The Winter 2010/11 timetable has 3 daily Brussels-Basel trains.

Southbound:
EC91 VAUBAN Bruxelles Midi 07.33 - Basel SBB 14.20/14.47 - Zürich Hbf 15.52 - Chur 17.43
EC97 IRIS Bruxelles Midi 13.09 - Basel SBB 19.47/20.13 - Zürich Hbf 21.24
EC295 JEAN MONNET Bruxelles Midi 17.15 - Basel 00.13

Northbound:
EC296 JEAN MONNET Basel SBB 06.46 - Bruxelles Midi 13.27
EC90 VAUBAN Zürich Hbf 11.36 - Basel SBB 12.47/13.04 - Bruxelles Midi 19.50
EC96 IRIS Zürich Hbf 14.36 - Basel SBB 15.47/16.08 - Bruxelles Midi 22.50

None of these are shown with a dining car, regrettable.
 

Richard Scott

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Up until the last couple of years they used to run through from within Switzerland, which would give a bonus drop of shunter haulage if travelling from Switzerland into France or beyond. The train would arrive at the SBB platforms at Basel behind a Swiss loco, which would then be removed. The replacement French train loco (normally a BB15000 or Sybic) would then be shunted on by an SBB shunter (whatever was capable of working across the voltage divide). The SBB shunter would then haul the train into the 25kV SNCF part of the station and be removed.
Only did the train once and surprised at 18435 doing the shunt, the only diesel loco I've ever had in Switzerland!
 

Jamesrob637

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The Milan to Bruxelles used to throw up Belgian stock in the early-00s which was weird to see going through the Simplon!
 

MarcVD

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The Milan to Bruxelles used to throw up Belgian stock in the early-00s which was weird to see going through the Simplon!

Belgian couchette cars used to go quite far abroad : extreme South of Italy, Oslo and Stockholm (with two ferries on the way), and Split, among others.
 

STEVIEBOY1

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The two trains show in the Swiss timetable archive as being 1304 off Basel (EC90 "Vauban", 1136 from Zürich Hbf) and 1608 off Basel (EC96 "Iris", 1436 from Zürich Hbf). Interestingly both are shown as IR services within Switzerland as they didn't have the required catering facilities to be an IC/EC for Swiss standards.

Up until the last couple of years they used to run through from within Switzerland, which would give a bonus drop of shunter haulage if travelling from Switzerland into France or beyond. The train would arrive at the SBB platforms at Basel behind a Swiss loco, which would then be removed. The replacement French train loco (normally a BB15000 or Sybic) would then be shunted on by an SBB shunter (whatever was capable of working across the voltage divide). The SBB shunter would then haul the train into the 25kV SNCF part of the station and be removed. In the latter years this would often be one of SBB's Stadler built dual-voltage Ee922 locos.

View attachment 86301
Yes, that is what I did, in the opposite direction.
 

AlbertBeale

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The only meaningful way to reestablish something similar would be a TGV Zurich - Basel - Strasbourg - Charles de Gaulle Airport - Lille - Brussels.

Such a service would actually serve several useful purposes, but as long as SNCF is what it is, it’s not going to happen.

But this is a massively round-about route, going via Lille. (On a map, at least - I realise that a lot of it is very fast.) And each segment already has a good service. I'd like to see a reinstatement of regular Brussels-Luxembourg-Strasbourg(-Basel) connections. It seems an obvious missing link in through services, and one I found useful years ago.
 

Austriantrain

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But this is a massively round-about route, going via Lille. (On a map, at least - I realise that a lot of it is very fast.) And each segment already has a good service. I'd like to see a reinstatement of regular Brussels-Luxembourg-Strasbourg(-Basel) connections. It seems an obvious missing link in through services, and one I found useful years ago.

The problem with such a route is that end-to-end it is now much too slow. To use your own argument: Brussels - Luxembourg has a very dense, if slow, service. And Strasbourg - Luxembourg would be better served by extending some Strasbourg - Metz TER trains (if at all necessary; Metz - Luxembourg has - at least by French standards - quite a decent service).

A through TGV Zurich - Brussels, however, would at least achieve a half-decent journey time from Switzerland to Belgium, besides giving more parts of Alsace a connection to Charles-de-Gaulle and also enabling London - Switzerland connections at Lille. To achieve this, however, SNCF would need to put more emphasis on marginal services, giving them time to develop, and also give up the absurd separation between TGV and regional services, since between Strasbourg and Basel, such a service would better be integrated with the TER offer (as would actually most TGV services outside of HSL lines).

So it is not going to happen, even though I am sure that the Swiss would go for it, provided that they can integrate it with their own national timetable between Zurich and Basel (as they already do with TGV to Paris and ICE services).
 

davetheguard

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Belgian couchette cars used to go quite far abroad : extreme South of Italy, Oslo and Stockholm (with two ferries on the way), and Split, among others.

Fascinating stuff, looking back at it now. I do wish I'd kept some of those old Thomas Cook timetables when they became out of date; & some of the old national British Rail ones too for that matter!
 

Gloster

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If I remember correctly and am not getting confused with other trips, for a brief period after the start of the Eurostar - or maybe a bit later - I was able to do Brockenhurst-Colmar with only two changes using the Jean Monnet for the last leg.
 

Jamesrob637

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If I remember correctly and am not getting confused with other trips, for a brief period after the start of the Eurostar - or maybe a bit later - I was able to do Brockenhurst-Colmar with only two changes using the Jean Monnet for the last leg.

Brock-Waterloo-Bruxelles-Colmar. 4 changes nowadays including the Underground.
 

STEVIEBOY1

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Fascinating stuff, looking back at it now. I do wish I'd kept some of those old Thomas Cook timetables when they became out of date; & some of the old national British Rail ones too for that matter!
In my travels, I have acquired a 1966 SNCF Chaix, which shows a large amount of intercontinental routes, a 1974 Cooks, which I purchased mailorder from the KWVR and Cooks / ERT 2013 & 2014. I think I got one those from those book swap stalls you see at some Railway Stations, you can often pick up these items from 2nd hand stalls at some heritage railways amongst other rail related items and even clothing, (I have seen BR & newer TOCs Shirts, ties, Sweaters, (I bought a couple of BR Navy Blue Pullovers and a Diamond one) in a number of locations) Also as mentioned look on ebay etc.
 

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