Central Station & Trains, Amsterdam
Amsterdam's Centraal Station - busy, bustling and hectic during the day... and much the same at night! You can get trains here to other cities within the Netherlands and the ICE train to other European countries. The staff here are (in my experience) very helpful and patient with non-Dutch travellers! The queues at the ticket offices are long and the ticket machines don't accept paper money so be prepared!
The website has more info in English.
Having only travelled to Amsterdam by plane and coach - I have never actually arrived at Centraal Station. It has regular connections with key cities in Germany, Belgium and France as well as larger towns and cities in other parts of the Netherlands. Just outside the station are the trams #4, #9, #16 #20, #24, #25., as well as buses and taxis.
The photo was taken at dusk - from PrinsHendrikkaade.
We took a train (Thalys) from Paris to Amsterdam and arrived at the Central Station. We had no Hotel reservation nor departure tickets. But we found all of the help we needed right there at the train station. We bought our tickets (Amsterdam to Prague) at the conviently located ticket office. We then walked down the street and got a couple of great rooms at the Swissotel Amsterdam.
I am not sure if this is a warning but its about transportation so I will but it here. The Centraal Station in Amsterdam doesnt take credit cards or debit cards from the US. They only accept cards from the Netherlands. I dont remember if it was like this the last time I came but it was somewhat of an inconvenience for me. There are ATMS there in the station so you will have to get money out first then get your tickets.
I just wanted to share an experience I had which I think would be useful for others to know of. I booked online from my hotel with Vizivo Car Hire at the new Amsterdam Central Station location and picked the car up 20 minutes later. I didn't think these online car hire rental companies could do that. I used http://www.vizivo.com. They emailed the voucher and off I went, pretty cool.
There are still train tickets counters at the West Hall of the station.
For tickets (single, day return, day travel card, railrunnerand other special upgrades or deals) there are Ticket Machines available.
From October 1 2009 the new electronic ticket called OV/chip card will be introduced.
Electronic tickets and the old paper tickets will be used next to each other for some years.
The electronic ticket can be used at all public transportation, the paper train ticket is only valid for train travel.
For complete organised train travels, visit the Treinreiswinkel at Singel 393.
Best way to reach Centraal or the mdidle of Amsterdam through train directly from the airport. It costs about 3.5-4 euro per head.. Besides manual counters you can also get the tickets through self service kiosks in the terminal building close to the underground entry point to the train departures.
the machines accepts credit cards and I think also cash in Euro.
Before going down through the escalators you need to validate the ticks in the small yellow machines which are placed next to the escalator entry point.
Journey time is around 20 minutes.. check the website below for more details
At Central Station in Amsterdam, I went to buy my ticket from the counter. I was going by Train to Apeldoorn, then train to Utrecht, then train back to Amsterdam. What I didn't know was that I could BUY ALL THIS ON THE ONE TICKET, there and then, and at a cheaper cost. Just don't lose your ticket, as Inspectors do get on the Trains. It doesn't matter how many towns you visit, as long as you start at Amsterdam and finish at Amsterdam, you can buy a all in one return ticket.
So you want to take some trips out of Amsterdam? The train is the best option but you do need a slight understanding of how to find your train. If you look at photo 1 - this shows a station finder board - simply look up the station you want and this tells you the times of the trains and which platform(spoor) they go from. Photo 2 shows a station departure electronic sign. This shows the train is the 11.05 to Amsterdam Centraal (from Amersfoort). It shows the stations where the train will stop but is confusing because it says the train will stop in Zaandam. It will but after it has stopped at Amsterdam Centraal. I wonder how many people think they are on the wrong train because of this? "Verder sprinter Uitgeest" means this Sprinter train will go on to Uitgeest. "Voor Schipol overstappen in Weesp" means For Schipol change at Weesp.
There are also station announcements in Dutch only and on train announcements again in Dutch only. The only exception are Schipol bound Inter City trains which have announcements in Dutch, English and German.
Getting to and from Amsterdam, either to and from the airport or to other Dutch, or further afield, cities, will usually involve passing through Centraal Station. Not only is this very busy station one of the easiest that I have ever come across to work out but is interesting as building in its own right. Train information is presented on traditional timetables around the station as well as on electronic displays and if you are still confused there are generally 2 help desks more than willing to assist with queries. Most ticket purchasing is usually done by self-service machine, though beware that these don't necessarily accept all cards - a fact that still really infuriates me!!! If, for whatever reason, you don't use the machines the ticket office will sort you for a small surcharge.
One particularly useful thing is the electronic display specifically with the airport trains on it, which platforms they are leaving from and which also indicate whether the trains are fast or slow.
Of all the railway stations I have so far passed through this is definitely my personal favourite (London Paddington also being in the running) - AND you can get a pretty decent lunch at 1'er Klasse (see restaurant tip!).
Phone No is the tourist office:
The Central Station of Amsterdam (Also refferd to as Amsterdam Centraal or Amsterdam CS). Not the main train station of the country, that's Utrecht. But Amsterdam is a nice runner-up. About 25 different rail lines (both National and International) make a stop in Amsterdam. Since raillines are of very frequent service, on average almost every minute a train departs from the station.
Nationwide you go everywhere by Intercity, usually they run 2x per hour. At night the nightrain makes a circle servicing the "randstad" with Amsterdam, Schiphol, Rotterdam, Utrecht, The Hague. This train drives every hour.
Local destinations like Schiphol Airport or nearby cities are usually serviced every 5 to 15 minutes.
Internation destinations include: Zurich, Basle (Switzerland), Osnabruck, Hannover, Berlin (Germany), Sczecin (Poland). High-speed trains drive to: Antwerp, Brussels (Belgium), Paris (France), Cologne, Frankfurt (Germany).
The station is very busy and a base for pickpockets, so look after your belongings.
The start point of many trips to Amsterdam is either the airport or Central station. There is a very regular service between both so easy to get into the middle of town. It's a short walk up the street to Dam Square where you can start your tour of the wonders of Amsterdam.
Centraal Station (CS) lies in the heart of Amsterdam, only a few minutes walk from the Dam. Four times a day the high-speed train "Thalys" arrives here, coming from Paris and Brussels/Antwerp.
The train station is a beautiful and big building. In front of the building is a big square where you will find the tourist office, tram terminal and boat rentals.
Luggage lockers can be found at the left side of the train station. For 3.5 EUR you can put your luggage away for 24 hours. The luggage room, however, is closed from 11 pm to 7 am.
Amsterdam International Station (CS) is linked to the EuroCity rail network. . The station is for one a beautiful building from the end of the 19th century plus it is located in the center of the city right next door to the Amsterdam Tourist Office VVV. You can get trams and buses from the stops in front of the station building to almost every district in the city.
Update!! - I DID arrive at the station on my last visit to Amsterdam in Sept 04!! We traveled through Belgium and France and arrived at Centraal Stn late at night. It was seedy and full of lurking weirdos. Called a cab pdq to take us to the hotel. The cab driver didn't know the way... it was a good job we did.