Dutch rail tickets - 'via' station?

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WestCoast

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I've travelled extensively on the NS network, however I've never had the need to do this:

I need to buy a ticket for Schipol to Heerlen. The price is 22,90 euros for a single. The route on the journey planner is given as one change at Utrecht.

Now, I know you can break your journey on NS tickets. I'd like to travel via Amsterdam Centraal and stop there for a few hours, if I put this station in the 'via box' the price increases to around 26 euros.

My question is do you need to enter the via point in this case, or can you buy the cheaper fare and travel via Amsterdam Centraal?
 
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WhiteJoker

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You cannot get off at Amsterdam Centraal because the train to Heerlen doesn't stop there. It does stop at several other Amsterdam stations. You could get off there. If you need to get off at Amsterdam Centraal you have to get a via-ticket.
 

atillathehunn

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I am a student in Maastricht, and regularly travel to and from Schipol, and this train splits/joins at Sittard with the portion from Heerlen on the way to Alkmaar, north of Amsterdam. I have several tickets in my pockets, and none of them say 'via' on them, and I have never been asked which route I would take. And I have travelled via both Utrecht and Amsterdam Centraal. Connections to Schipol are easy. I of course defer to anyone who has official advice, but I have never had a problem going each way.
 

WhiteJoker

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Yeah, but it depends on several rules. If there is a direct connection from a station to another station you have to use that. If you can travel via another station to make your journey faster you can take that route without buying a via-ticket. And I think the last rule is that you can't pass your departure station during your journey (how likely is that?).
 

WestCoast

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Thanks for all your advice. I am meeting some friends in the centre of Amsterdam and we're then heading to Heerlen. They live in Aachen (Germany), so they don't know too much about Dutch rail tickets!

So, the Schipol to Heerlen ticket is not officially valid via Amsterdam Centraal (2 hours 51 minutes) as the fastest route is changing at Utrecht which is 2 hours 38 minutes. I will have to buy the slightly dearer "via ticket".

It's simpler than the UK routeing guide at least!
 

WhiteJoker

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Well, I don't know if they actively penalize it. You could take the risk, but it would mean a 35 euro surplus, which is more expensive than the via-ticket.
 

WestCoast

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Well, I don't know if they actively penalize it. You could take the risk, but it would mean a 35 euro surplus, which is more expensive than the via-ticket.
*Foreigner mode* "I don't understand it, I have a ticket" *Foreigner mode*.

I won't risk it for just under 3 euros.
 

WhiteJoker

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Haha, that's a good mode ;) I always use it when in Great Britain! Well it doesn't happen often that I don't know what to do...
 

WestCoast

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Haha, that's a good mode ;) I always use it when in Great Britain! Well it doesn't happen often that I don't know what to do...
Yes, well NS is much simpler than the UK! If you asked a similar question to this in Britain, I'd have to look at the massive routeing guide (which some rail staff don't even understand!) with its many easements and negative-easements (i.e. exceptions to the rules).
 

WhiteJoker

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Oh, well just thinking about all those exceptions gives me a headache. No wonder I didn't like to travel on trains when I studied in London. Besides the enormous cost of a ticket and the slim chance of a seat. Even the ticket machine was confusing: all operators have their own ticket types and fare rules.
 

atillathehunn

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I knew there would be someone out there who would be able to give a better answer! I have never been questioned on the route, but I have never actually had my ticket checked between Schipol and Utrecht via either the south side, or by going into via Amsterdam Centraal. I always find, as has already been suggested, that the hapless foreigner card gets you a long way...
 
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