Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Excellent advice

Posted in Customer service, Europe, Great Britain by Chairman Pip on 19 April 2010

The Guardian has listed travel advice for people unable to fly owing to the continuing volcano problem, and has some excellent advice from “The Man in Seat 61” (aka Mark Smith), who set up his website to offer help for people that want to travel by train and boat, rather than flying. His major suggestions are two:

  1. If you’re travelling from Scandinavia or central Europe, go via the Harwich/Hook of Holland ferry service with Stena Line. The train services at each end are fully integrated with the ferries – so, unlike Dover-Calais, you don’t have the bus/taxi connections to make. It’s also much more economic – the prices aren’t as steep as Eurostar – and you can book through tickets in the Netherlands to London
  2. The German railway website Deutsche Bahn is a very good starting point for planning your journey in Europe. You can’t buy tickets on the site, but you can plan your journey on the site, and buy your tickets at the railway station. Your journey will be fragmented – you won’t be able to buy a ticket all the way from Zagreb-London for example, but don’t be afraid of this. Just plan your journey to major interchange points and buy tickets to and from each point.

The advice about using the Harwich-Hook of Holland is particularly good, given that it is a single integrated fare for train and boat, which can get you to any railway station in the Netherlands. Obviously Amsterdam Centraal is probably of most use, as most of the international trains to other countries depart from there. The same advice can be applied to travelling to Ireland by using Sailrail, a partnership between Irish Ferries, Stena Line and four rail operators (Arriva Trains Wales, First Great Western, Iarnród Éireann and ScotRail).

So, if we do find ourselves ground by a massive volcanic eruption in the future, there’s some good advice for you to make your way to and from the UK out to Europe, should you need to of course.

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