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Have you taken Train from London to Amsterdam

How is the train from London to Amsterdam?

Posted by
23355 posts

Great. Very smooth and fast. Tickets are cheaper if purchased early.

Posted by
1817 posts

All the disadvantages of a train with none of the advantages in this case. You can as well fly...

And I am saying that as someone who loves to travel by train, and will travel by train whenever possible. But the moment you make me queue up to board you lose me. Then I can as well fly.

Posted by
6470 posts

You'd still have to queue if flying.

While I do agree that there is too much faff before boarding the Eurostar, travel time city centre to city centre is roughly the same as flying. And you get better seats on the train. The train is also pretty cheap if bought in advance. Not to mention a lot less polluting.

Posted by
9720 posts

You in no way lose all of the advantages of taking a train when taking the Eurostar vs. flying.

  • You don't have to haul yourself out from the city center to the airport (and get back into town on the other end). You save time and expense in this way.
  • You don't have to bring only 100 ml/3 oz liquids, nor separate them out in your luggage for easy access for security.
  • You don't have to artificially restrict your packing between bags to meet certain carry-on vs checked size and weight requirements. As long as you can carry and handle it, you can bring it.
  • You can bring a picnic knife or corkscrew with a knife in your bag without worrying about it.
  • You can enjoy much more comfort during the trip (your seat is significantly more comfortable), and you can freely get up and walk around if you like.
  • You will be generating a significantly smaller carbon footprint.

So, while one does have to go through security in order to take Eurostar (and therefore have to be at the train station earlier than for a “normal” train), you will see that taking Eurostar in no way carries all the disadvantages of taking the train with none of the benefits.

Posted by
1817 posts

It is true that to board a plane you have to queu as well. But you miss the point.

If you make train travel as annoying as air travel you can as well fly and have a shorter trip. Eurostar wants you to be at the station 90 minutes before departure now. So there is no time advantage anymore. Getting out to Heathrow or City is easy, and especially if you fly via City you are going to have a much faster downtown-to-downtown trip than on Eurostar. And the waiting experience at the average airport is far better than at st. Pancras.

No, the way Eurostar is operated now I really hope it dies. That might kick some common sense in to the powers that be, and allow cross channel train service to be operated as a proper railway. The moment you make people queue up to board a train you are a failure as a railway.

Posted by
1817 posts

"You can bring a picnic knife or corkscrew with a knife in your bag without worrying about it."

You can actually take these on a plane in Europe. You can even buy Swiss army knives in the tax free at ZRH.

Posted by
7394 posts

Well, returning Americans kind of like having PRE-Boarding Customs and Immigration at Shannon. Presumably Eurostar was forced to have pre-travel formalities because the EU zone is not ... how you say ... happy ... with Brexit? Even after all the money the EU voluntarily poured into aging post-industrial places in England, kind of lend-lease.

Having to check-in 90 minutes early for Eurostar is not likely to be "their" idea.

Apocryphal London newspaper headline: "Fog In Channel; Continent Cut Off!"

(Edited once)

Posted by
7584 posts

Eurostar was forced to have pre-travel formalities because the Shengen zone is not ... how you say ... happy ... with Brexit?

There were always preboarding immigration activities on Eurostar, since its inception in the mid 90's. UK was never part of the Schengen agreement, so it was always there. Though in the days of the UK as part of the EU, immigration checks were less of an issue for those from EU member states (just show your ID).

Posted by
9720 posts

Paul's exactly right. Since the UK never joined Schengen, there have always been immigration formalities for Eurostar (or any other travel between the UK and the continent).

Posted by
7394 posts

Maybe you two faculty members could offer another explanation than Brexit for the increase from 30 to 90 minutes, and reports here of worse? Rule, Brittania!

Posted by
6084 posts

And the issue is not just confined to Eurostar. The Channel ferries have the same issue.

Half of it is that there was no maximum stay before, and you could just wave your passport vaguely at Border Control. Now it has to be physically inspected and stamped with the dates of exit/entry whatever.

Posted by
1817 posts

Before Schengen were trains crossed borders passport control was just done on board, while the train was moving. You would eg. board a train in Paris for Switzerland and at the last stop before Switzerland border police would board, and walk the train calling out "passports please" and then would get off at the first stop after the border. That is how pretty much all border crossings would be done.

That had two advantages: no time loss for the passengers, as the check was done while the train was moving, and it made it easy to serve domestic and international markets on the same train.

If cross channel services were done like that it would have been easy to provide eg. an Edinburgh - Brussels or a London - Geneva service...

But when Eurostar started the climate in the UK was a bit anti railways, and thus Eurostar went to some lengths not to like like a train service...

Posted by
6084 posts

I think that is a gross over simplification as to why the Regional Eurostar services never came to pass, and has never been cited as one of the real reasons for the fact that the services never ran, including the regional nightstar services.

All the nightstar cars eventually went to VIA rail in Canada

It didn't help that the regional trains were unable to call at London due to the original Eurostar terminal being at Waterloo.

None of this is really helping with the OP's actual question.

Some (many) people think that the Eurostar (or change from Eurostar to Thalys at Brussels) is the way to go for various reasons already stated.
As an overall product very different to flying, and not unimportantly, far more environmentally responsible.
Others are clearly not for turning.

Posted by
1817 posts

When I have to go to Berlin or Vienna I take the train, and spend a whole day to do so. I like travelling by train. I refuse however to be at the station more than 10 minutes before departure. A railway that requires that is a failure. Eurostar is transporting only a fraction of the passengers predicted when it started.

Posted by
9720 posts

Knives and corkscrews are of course prohibited on planes in Europe, just as they are in the U.S.

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/carry/luggage-restrictions/index_en.htm

When travelling by plane from an airport in the EU, you should keep in mind certain security requirements when packing and boarding:

Any sharp objects that might be used as weapons are not allowed in the aircraft cabin. These could be everyday objects such as corkscrews knives and scissors of a certain size, which should be packed in your hold luggage.

Posted by
6084 posts

Essentially the same rules apply for flying from the UK, no sharp objects in hand luggage except scissors with blades of less than 6mm-
https://www.gov.uk/hand-luggage-restrictions/personal-items

Interestingly though (in contradiction to the above government document) LHR allows knives of less than a 6mm blade-https://www.heathrow.com/at-the-airport/security-and-baggage/hand-baggage-and-liquids,

as does MAN- https://www.manchesterairport.co.uk/help/passenger-guides/security/

and as does GLA- https://www.glasgowairport.com/at-the-airport/airport-security/hand-baggage/

But I don't think I would want to argue the point with the security officers who actually determine what is allowed.

That size, I think, is UK law for what can be carried on the streets.

Posted by
11272 posts

with blades over 6cm),

Not 6mm noted above.

(2.3 inches, not 1/4 inch)

Posted by
5 posts

Wow...tons of information. Thanks! We do want to take the train...being from Hawaii, and wanting the experience. We do way too much flying from here...
It was pointed out to me I should be on the Netherlands Forum, or another? London? Or?

Posted by
6084 posts

Ideally it would have been in the Netherlands Forum, but now it's here with all these answers I think it may as well stay here. You can't move it, that would need the webmaster.
Anyone else who puts in the search term will find it.

One other word of advice.

I was racking my brains to remember the dates but my brain's filing system isn't working.
Apparently sometime in 2024 or 2025 a big project to refurbish Amsterdam Central station is starting.
There is talk about that resulting in reduced track capacity and that as a result the through service may (early planning days yet) have to be reduced in that period. So a change to Thalys or the NS inter city service would be needed at Brussels.
I think they were saying that may affect other international services to Germany and the sleeper trains as domestic services are prioritised on the available tracks.
I am sure we will hear more if and when that happens, but just a heads up to keep a watching brief.

Posted by
1817 posts

The rules for Europe are clear, knives and other sharp objects are in fact allowed if the sharp part is less than 6cm. Anyway, if you wanted a longer knife you could always swipe one in a restaurant air side...
(The rules do not make sense, but that is because they are not intended to make sense. Its all theatre...)

I have travelled with a small pocket knife by air all over Europe without issues. That you can't take larger knives on Eurostar is in fact an issue as Eurostar does not have checked luggage.

Posted by
1817 posts

The problem with the renovations in a station is that this often requires temporarily taking a track out of service. Now with other international services this is not an issue. A train to Germany can leave from any track in Centraal, so you just move the departure platform. So they can shuffle things around as needed.

But because Eurostar requires a separate, secured platform they cannot just pick another departure track. The special treatment Eurostar requires really complicates things massively (and explains probably also why it is so expensive)