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Author Topic: Eurostar to Europe,  (Read 265 times)
rogerpatenall
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« on: November 12, 2018, 06:16:54 pm »

As encouraged by Grahame, these are my thoughts on the new Eurostar to Holland.

An annual visit to North East Holland (Gelderland) is usually overshadowed for me by the long drive from Dover or Dunkerque, as I get older! So I started to look at alternatives about three months ago. First research stop was Eurostar. Two seats on the Friday morning service from St Pancras to Rotterdam came up at 36 each. Seemed too good a deal to miss!. I was not enamoured with the proposed Eurostar return because of the enforced security change at Brussels. I did do that a while ago with hand luggage only. And there is no facility for sending luggage (ie my wife's shoes) in advance by freight train these days. But BA were offering Sunday evening singles from Rotterdam to London City for 38 each. Add to that 90 for three days car hire from Six, and it turned out to be an economical way of travelling.

Sadly, the Eurostar does not stop at Ebbsfleet, where boarding is a joy. Long queue at St Pancras for security which actually moved quite fast. British Border control were using new handheld passport readers which are considerably quicker than the old scanners. But the French control were still using the scanners, so overall there was no speed up.

Even with our bargain fares, thanks to American Express, we had access to the very nice lounge. Boarding was quick, and the train was packed. I do find the interior of the new Eurostar units quite claustrophobic due to the seat design. In contrast, standard class on Thalys is far more comfortable and less claustrophobic. But thats another story.

A random question. What do the two Train Managers do apart from walking through the train once?

Anyway. On time at Brussels for a very short stop. Then through Antwerp at 100 mph. On the Friday drive from the channel ports, getting around Antwerp is a nightmare at any time. So that was a bonus. A visit to the Metro cafe, which as usual left me thinking that there is nothing worth spending money on. If I were really rich, I would travel in a class that gave me a proper breakfast and a quarter bottle of Champagne. But for an extra 176 each, 'no thanks' was quite an easy decision.

Arrival at Rotterdam was, of course, spot on time. Most travellers seemed to be travelling through to Amsterdam. Restful, economic, and does exactly what it promises.

Saturday, whilst my wife was at her conference,I travelled from Arnhem to Utrecht on a German ICE, (an ICE3 I think?). Now these are comfortable, and light and roomy and the excellent coffee is no more than German high street price. And if you ever find yourselves in Utrecht, which I love, I can really recommend a visit to the Dutch National Railroad Museum.

Roll on Bordeaux or wherever the next destination may be, and I hope that Brexit doesn't scupper the easy border crossings.
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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2018, 08:26:28 pm »

As encouraged by Grahame, these are my thoughts on the new Eurostar to Holland.

Very interesting read (and others are reading it too) - thank you Roger.   I have been a user of the Harwich - Hook ferry in the past - sleep as you cross; not so that remains a sensible balance with Eurostar beyond Brussels and Hook becoming a light rail not a train to an easy change at Rotterdam Central.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2018, 08:55:59 pm »

As encouraged by Grahame, these are my thoughts on the new Eurostar to Holland.

Very interesting read (and others are reading it too) - thank you Roger.   I have been a user of the Harwich - Hook ferry in the past - sleep as you cross; not so that remains a sensible balance with Eurostar beyond Brussels and Hook becoming a light rail not a train to an easy change at Rotterdam Central.

Used to go Harwich-Hoek ferries overnight services as a child every year in the 60s and 70s then onwards/return on the now non existent Holland Scandinavian Express to Hamburg. Found a very interesting book about the history of the Harwich Ferries but still looking for similar on the history of the express. It may never have been one of the classic European rail expresses but it had it's charms and is obviously of interest to me. Some other express routes leaving from Hoek each morning had rather more famous names such as the Rhinegold (I think) which became a TEE service at some stage with those iconic designs/liveries.
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rogerpatenall
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2018, 09:27:52 am »

Yes. I have looked enviously at the Harwich-Hook schedules, but my wife prefers not to (try to) sleep overnight on a ferry. And the Friday crossing would not get us to Hook in time for the conference start (She has to be there for the start). Besides, I will take any excuse for a train ride . . .
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