Post by Peter Post by Arthur Figgis
"Eurostar, the Dutch government and Dutch national passenger operator NS
have signed an agreement for the launch of direct services between
London and Amsterdam Centraal in December 2016."
Last time this subject dropped up here we seemed to conclude the trains
would operate from Amsterdam Zuid/WTC (iirc).
Post by Peter
It's a lovely idea, but a four-hour journey time doesn't sound
terribly attractive. Even allowing for all the time spent hanging
around at airports, wouldn't it be significantly quicker to fly?
As ever, it depends where your end points are.
When I lived in Nottingham it was a half hour bus/drive to East Midlands
Airport and an hour was plenty of check-in time. On the train I'd have
to allow 20 minutes to the station, and it was then an hour and 45
minutes to St Pancras (so no cross-London allowance required) and say
half an hour check-in [a bit brave given the typical timekeeping on the
Midland Mainline]. So by the time the E* was leaving St Pancras the
plane could be at the gate at Schiphol.
Then half an hour to Centraal.
Coming back, much the same: half an hour from Centraal, an hour
check-in, a one hour flight and half an hour drive back home.
If you were really unlucky there might be a short delay at Schiphol
immigration if you landed after a couple of flights from the far east,
but they have more than one immigration facility, if you know the ropes.
At East Midlands, just a short bus ride and if you knew which door to
stand next to, at the front of the queue in an empty immigration hall.
Of course, it's not always like that - Luton had dreadful queues in the
evening when I flew back from Geneva, and it was a two hour drive home.
And BMIbay is defunct, so no Amsterdam flights from East Midlands any
more. But it's only half an hour longer to get to Birmingham airport for
Flybe and KLM.
Post by Peter
I wonder how the costs will compare? Can the train really compete on
With both planes and trains offering various advance purchase options,
comparing prices is difficult. I looked at Cambridge-Amsterdam flights
for the 21/22 October just now, and it's from £150 return. Fully
flexible tickets are £700, but a Business Premier return to Brussels on
E* is £490.
Post by Peter
I wonder if Eurostar might do better looking at routes
that run more-or-less in the same direction as the tunnel, rather than
ones that require a (relatively) sharp turn at the French end?
They are using the only HS rail link, via Brussels. I'm sure that's much
faster than going on classic lines via Bruges or Ghent, and also
significantly increases the market.
ps The baggage immigration issues aren't just at Amsterdam, but also at
Antwerp, Rotterdam and Schiphol. This service is clearly Fyra v2,
extended to London.