Eurostar question - Lille

kingston_toon

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16 Oct 2014
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26
Hi everyone,

We have a one way Eurostar ticket from St Pancras to Brussels booked for next week, on a train that calls at Lille. Should the UK government reimpose a 14 day quarantine for those arriving back from Belgium, is there anything to stop us simply alighting the train at Lille and staying in France instead? Will all the doors of the train open?

Cheers
 
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duncanp

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16 Aug 2012
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The problem is that, according to the regulations, if a train makes a "transit stop" in a country where the quarantine rules apply, then anyone on that train must self isolate when you arrive in the UK.

This affects the return journey so, because the train from Lille to London starts from Brussels, anyone on that train must self isolate on their return to the UK.

There is nothing to stop you from alighting from the London to Brussels train at Lille though. All the doors will open and no one is going to stop you from getting off.

On your return to the UK, you can get round the problem of the Lille to London train starting from Brussels by travelling to Paris Gare Du Nord from Lille (1 hour) and then take the train from Paris to London (which travels back through Lille)

As the train from Paris to London stays in France all the time, quarantine rules will not apply and anyone on that train will not have to self isolate.

It's all a bit of a nonsense really, as Lille is only a few miles from the Belgian border with cross border bus and train services, so there are plenty of plague ridden Belgian citizens who travel to Lille on a daily basis.
 
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kingston_toon

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16 Oct 2014
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26
The problem is that, according to the regulations, if a train makes a "transit stop" in a country where the quarantine rules apply, then anyone on that train must self isolate when you arrive in the UK.

This affects the return journey so, because the train from Lille to London starts from Brussels, anyone on that train must self isolate on their return to the UK.

There is nothing to stop you from alighting from the London to Brussels train at Lille though. All the doors will open and no one is going to stop you from getting off.

On your return to the UK, you can get round the problem of the Lille to London train starting from Brussels by travelling to Paris Gare Du Nord from Lille (1 hour) and then take the train from Paris to London (which travels back through Lille)

As the train from Paris to London stays in France all the time, quarantine rules will not apply and anyone on that train will not have to self isolate.

It's all a bit of a nonsense really, as Lille is only a few miles from the Belgian border with cross border bus and train services, so there are plenty of plague ridden Belgian citizens who travel to Lille on a daily basis. EU freedom of movement rules also mean
Thank you, that's exactly what I needed to know. There's no issue with the return as I have nothing booked for it as yet - will likely burn a few Avios and fly back from somewhere a bit further south after a few days train travel in France. The important thing is avoiding being hit with Belgium going on the naughty list while physically in the country and thus two weeks self-isolation on return.

I totally agree re: proximity of Lille to Belgium. I've previously flown into Charleroi and taken the train from there to Lille then Eurostar home where that's been cheaper than a direct flight :)
 

duncanp

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16 Aug 2012
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Birmingham/Smethwick
Thank you, that's exactly what I needed to know. There's no issue with the return as I have nothing booked for it as yet - will likely burn a few Avios and fly back from somewhere a bit further south after a few days train travel in France. The important thing is avoiding being hit with Belgium going on the naughty list while physically in the country and thus two weeks self-isolation on return.

I totally agree re: proximity of Lille to Belgium. I've previously flown into Charleroi and taken the train from there to Lille then Eurostar home where that's been cheaper than a direct flight :)
Do bear in mind though that, as you checked in for a train from London to Brussels, the UK Border Force Farce might think you have been in Belgium.

You can get round this by showing evidence of having been in Lille, such as an onward train ticket from Lille to elsewhere in France, or a hotel booking or restaurant receipts in Lille.

I have a two week holiday booked in Lille for early September, and I will have to double back via Paris if this silly rule is in place.

As the French would say "...franchement, c'est un grand tas de conneries..." (I won't translate otherwise the post might get deleted) :D
 

Porty

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31 Mar 2020
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Anyone entering the UK currently has to have a completed form (online or paper) which you can only complete within 48 hours of your return journey. This is required for Eurostar, ferry or air passengers. You have to specify any country you've been to in the previous 14 days. So, for example, someone travelling back from Spain and stopping off in Paris to get the Eurostar has to certify which countries they have been in. Therefore one could avoid quarantine in the u k only if you lied on the form. Just filled mine in for my Italy-UK flight tomorrow.
 

Peter Kelford

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29 Nov 2017
Messages
832
Hi everyone,

We have a one way Eurostar ticket from St Pancras to Brussels booked for next week, on a train that calls at Lille. Should the UK government reimpose a 14 day quarantine for those arriving back from Belgium, is there anything to stop us simply alighting the train at Lille and staying in France instead? Will all the doors of the train open?

Cheers
Yes that is technically fine but your return ticket may (this is dealt with informally as far as I can tell) be forfeited and you may still be asked to quarantine because the ticket says that you have come from Brussels.
 

ashkeba

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13 May 2019
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1,287
I have a two week holiday booked in Lille for early September, and I will have to double back via Paris if this silly rule is in place.
TER-Ferry-Javelin looks like it may be as quick. I think it will surely be cheaper if you manage to buy a Calais Day Trip restricted-sale special and use the return half of it.
 

kingston_toon

Member
Joined
16 Oct 2014
Messages
26
Yes that is technically fine but your return ticket may (this is dealt with informally as far as I can tell) be forfeited and you may still be asked to quarantine because the ticket says that you have come from Brussels.
Thanks Peter. It's a one way ticket so no return implications.
 

kingston_toon

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Joined
16 Oct 2014
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26
Alternative strategy: do the responsible thing and be prepared to quarantine, rather than look for loopholes?
I'm unclear whether this is aimed at me or the other comment about returning from Spain. From my perspective, I'm not looking for loopholes and am fully prepared to self-isolate if I have been in one of the countries with such a requirement. My query was only intended to clarify whether I could change my plans and not travel to Belgium / Luxembourg at all, but alight in France and stay there, where there is (currently) no need to self-isolate on return.
 

eastwestdivide

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17 Aug 2009
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I'm unclear whether this is aimed at me or the other comment about returning from Spain. From my perspective, I'm not looking for loopholes and am fully prepared to self-isolate if I have been in one of the countries with such a requirement. My query was only intended to clarify whether I could change my plans and not travel to Belgium / Luxembourg at all, but alight in France and stay there, where there is (currently) no need to self-isolate on return.
Ah, apologies, I misunderstood the original post. The thread in general looked like it was heading in the direction of loopholes and I misunderstood your post as intending to hop off in Lille on the return, as the "alighting at Lille" followed in the same sentence as "arriving back from Belgium":
...Should the UK government reimpose a 14 day quarantine for those arriving back from Belgium, is there anything to stop us simply alighting the train at Lille and staying in France instead
You can see where I went wrong.
Apologies again.
 

kingston_toon

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16 Oct 2014
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26
Ah, apologies, I misunderstood the original post. The thread in general looked like it was heading in the direction of loopholes and I misunderstood your post as intending to hop off in Lille on the return, as the "alighting at Lille" followed in the same sentence as "arriving back from Belgium":

You can see where I went wrong.
Apologies again.
No worries, just a case of lost in translation! :)

So what actually happened? Luxembourg went on the naughty list at the list minute so I booked a cheap staff travel Eurostar ticket back from Marne-la-Vallee for Monday, just to tick off the station. As it turned out, this was a great move as the train was almost empty. On the way out on Friday, we had booked Eurostar to Brussels but, as advised above, hopped off at Lille and spent a very pleasant two nights there. Then took the train down Amiens for a night there on Sunday, and finally to Paris to return home on Monday.

In the end, Belgium stayed on the exemption list so we could have gone, but with masks mandated almost everywhere outside it wouldn't have been that much fun. France is slowly going the same way but was very relaxed at the weekend. The one thing that struck me was how well demand on SNCF and RATP services seems to have held up in light of Covid-19. I noticed the same thing in Switzerland, Germany and the Czech Republic the previous weekend - it was slightly quieter than normal but not substantially so. Whereas we still seem to be running trains full of fresh air all over the country. I have every confidence the railways on the continent will recover from this, but worry a lot about the future of ours.
 

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