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Old 3rd January 2017, 17:31   #16
Polarbear
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Originally Posted by swt class 450 View Post
Thanks for all the info. Its very helpful. Its a shame that Eurostar dont cater more for those who want to just turn up before their train on the day. I think i will just have to pay extra and turn up on the day and buy my ticket. I dont really like booking in advance or restricting myself to using a certain train.

If i was to buy my ticket on the day is it a simple process? Do i just go to the ticket office and ask and pay for my ticket? Or do you have to give your name and address and passport and personal details?

Also what exactly does "Check In" mean (for example it says you must "Check In" 30 minutes before your train)? Does this mean the latest you can buy a ticket is 30 minutes before your train? Or does this mean the latest you can go through security or passport checks is 30 minutes before your train?
I appreciate why you may be reluctant to book in advance, but with Eurostar, it is much, much cheaper to do so. It really does operate more like an airline than a rail service and prices it's market accordingly.

If you do turn up on the day, be prepared to wait until a train has availability as it's unlikely that Eurostar will sell tickets for trains that are shown as full. In any case, you are pretty much tied to one train as even if you turn up on the day, you will be allocated a seat on a specific service & whilst you can change this, I can't see why you would want to.

It's likely that you will need to show your passport when buying a ticket over the counter (I haven't done so since the days of the cheap weekend returns back in the mid 1990's).

As regards "check in", I would allow 30 minutes to go through customs & luggage checks, longer to buy the ticket on the day. In practice, it can be quicker, but bear in mind that the seating capacity of a 374 set is around 900 & if it's full, customs will be somewhat busy!
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Old 3rd January 2017, 19:03   #17
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Originally Posted by trainmania100 View Post
I never knew it was airport style security
I havent seen those metal detector things at ashford nor st pancras
Passport control and luggage scan before enterering the terminal is very un-rail like. Only the one element missing as you mentioned. Also the concourse experience is more like an airport und than a station.
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Old 3rd January 2017, 19:48   #18
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Originally Posted by swt class 450 View Post
Thanks for all the info. Its very helpful. Its a shame that Eurostar dont cater more for those who want to just turn up before their train on the day. I think i will just have to pay extra and turn up on the day and buy my ticket. I dont really like booking in advance or restricting myself to using a certain train.
Have you seen how much it costs just before departure? Just look at the website and pretend to book the next train. The lowest fare for the 2001 to Paris (just over an hour from now) is £180, one-way.
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Old 3rd January 2017, 22:17   #19
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Do you intend to do the same on your return as well? Hope you can fund a couple of days in Paris (although trains from Brussels are less busy, mostly)

Last edited by Hophead; 3rd January 2017 at 22:19.
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Old 4th January 2017, 10:29   #20
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To the person who said drinks are banned from Eurostar i took 48 can's on the train last time so i'd check before travel
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Old 4th January 2017, 10:58   #21
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I think the point that myself & others are trying to get across about ticketing, is that on Eurostar, there isn't an equivalent of an "Open" or "Anytime" return as you would know the concept in the UK.

In the UK, if you have an "Anytime" ticket, you can just hop on any train. That isn't the case with Eurostar as seat reservations are compulsory on every service. By definition, you are therefore pinned to a specific service, whether you book months ahead for £39.50 single, or pay something in the region of £180 on the day for the same service.
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Old 4th January 2017, 12:36   #22
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I have not been told of restrictions on liquids for Eurostar, and am packing a bottle of champagne for a trip tomorrow (seems odd to take a bottle of champagne back to France!).

While it is airport like security, the checking is a lot less thorough. The metal detectors don't seem to be set to be too sensitively, and I don't think I've ever seen people being stopped and asked to open bags.

Do they do swaps for explosives? Do they even have the equipment for that?
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Old 4th January 2017, 12:53   #23
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I have not been told of restrictions on liquids for Eurostar, and am packing a bottle of champagne for a trip tomorrow (seems odd to take a bottle of champagne back to France!).

While it is airport like security, the checking is a lot less thorough. The metal detectors don't seem to be set to be too sensitively, and I don't think I've ever seen people being stopped and asked to open bags.

Do they do swaps for explosives? Do they even have the equipment for that?
Yes - they do random bag swap tests and bag inspections. Not had one myself , but seen it done.
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Old 4th January 2017, 15:26   #24
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I've had the bag swab test at St Pancras. Everything out and repack. They were quite nice about it.
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Old 4th January 2017, 18:03   #25
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To the person who said drinks are banned from Eurostar i took 48 can's on the train last time so i'd check before travel
That might have been me. I said that cups of tea/coffee are barred. There's no - as you discovered - problems with sealed cans/bottles.
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Old 4th January 2017, 23:40   #26
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That might have been me. I said that cups of tea/coffee are barred. There's no - as you discovered - problems with sealed cans/bottles.
It's a ban on any open drinks being taken through security; the very sensible reason is the risk of spillage during the security checks - nothing more than that.
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Old 5th January 2017, 03:41   #27
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Fair enough. Sounds logical, and because I'm used to airport security I've never tried taking a coffee or other (open) drink through.
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Old 7th January 2017, 10:49   #28
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Originally Posted by swt class 450 View Post
If i was to buy my ticket on the day is it a simple process? Do i just go to the ticket office and ask and pay for my ticket? Or do you have to give your name and address and passport and personal details?
I wouldn't recommend this unless you really do have money to burn. It's not like rocking up at Kings Cross, buying an Anytime Return to Edinburgh and boarding any train.

You can only board a train if you have a reservation for it - some tickets allow flexibility but if the train you want to go on is fully booked you won't be able to use it regardless of how flexible your ticket is.

As a side issue I suspect many domestic TOCs would like to operate this sort of system - I really hope this never happens as the flexibility of the walk on railway would be lost in an instant.
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Old 7th January 2017, 17:10   #29
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As a side issue I suspect many domestic TOCs would like to operate this sort of system - I really hope this never happens as the flexibility of the walk on railway would be lost in an instant.
I don't think so, as that would impact their bottom line. After all, a train can carry more people than it has seats - a passenger who really wants to be on a specific service can always sit in the aisle, or stand.

On Eurostar it's a different model, which also has to do with safety regulations. If a Eurostar breaks down inside the channel tunnel, evacuating 750 (373) to 900 (374) people is hard enough. You don't want to evacuate hundreds more.
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Old 7th January 2017, 17:58   #30
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As a side issue I suspect many domestic TOCs would like to operate this sort of system - I really hope this never happens as the flexibility of the walk on railway would be lost in an instant.
Compulsory reservation exists on domestic services in Europe, for example in France, Spain and Italy. Compulsory reservation doesn't necessarily mean you can't travel flexibly. As long as there are seats, you can book just before departure. SNCF has long had clever machines which can exchange printed tickets and presumably with mobile phone bookings it is potentially even easier to change booking.
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