Fastest journey4hr 46m
There are two main routes from London to Düsseldorf and both begin with Eurostar to Brussels. From there, you can take a direct Thalys train to Düsseldorf. Alternatively continue with an InterCity Express, which requires an extra change of trains in Cologne.
The normal route from London to Düsseldorf (using the direct Thalys service from Brussels to Düsseldorf) is disrupted for a period following the signal-box fire near Düsseldorf on 4 October 2015. On most journeys, an additional change of train in Cologne is therefore necessary, adding at least 20 minutes to the journey time. This disruption may continue into early 2016.
The train journey from London to Düsseldorf is very easy. Eurostar trains from London connect very efficiently at Brussels Midi station with onward high-speed Thalys services to Düsseldorf. There is an alternative route from Brussels, using a German ICE train to Cologne and changing there onto a regional train to Düsseldorf. This route takes slightly longer, but often offers cheaper fares.
Rail tickets from London to Düsseldorf via Brussels normally go on sale three months prior to travel. On your journey from London to Düsseldorf by train, you’ll speed across the territory of four countries: England, France, Belgium and Germany. As the latter three countries are all members of Schengen, there is little by way of border formalities.
London to Brussels
Board a Eurostar service from London St Pancras to Brussels. Little more than an hour after leaving London you’ll already be in northern France, speeding through Flanders fields towards Lille Europe, where almost all Brussels-bound Eurostar trains make an intermediate stop. Some trains make up to three additional stops – at Ebbsfleet, Ashford and Calais.
From Lille, it is just 35 minutes to Brussels, where Eurostar trains terminate at Brussels Midi station. Trains run every five minutes from Brussels Midi to Brussels Central (for the city centre). Your Eurostar ticket is valid for this short onward hop within Brussels.
Remember to factor in at least half an hour for Eurostar’s airline-style baggage check prior to boarding your train. This is a light-touch security scan, and there are no restrictions on taking liquids on board Eurostar trains.
Brussels to Düsseldorf
There are four high-speed trains each day from Brussels to Düsseldorf. These direct trains are operated by Thalys. Additional options are available with a change of train in Cologne. The Thalys trains leave from Brussels Midi in the Belgian capital. In Düsseldorf they stop at the Hauptbahnhof in the city centre.
The first part of the journey from Brussels traverses the flat lands of Brabant to reach Liège-Guillemins station. East of Liège, the train joins a new high-speed line which cuts in tunnels through hilly country to reach the German border just before Aachen. Beyond Aachen, the train traverses flat terrain to reach the River Rhine. The train stops in Cologne before running north to Düsseldorf.
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Image credits: swisscan