ICE trains to St Pancras?

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nw12398

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The lack of direct trains between London and Cologne is a missed opportunity in my opinion. The cities of the NRW region have a population, and culture that comes with it, rivaling the entirety of the neighbouring Netherlands or Belgium (not the two combined, of course), and it is right on the UK's doorstep without needing a plane. A direct service would probably take less than 4 hours - I recently did the journey changing at Bruxelles-Midi, with 3 hours 55 min worth of travelling time with stops in Aachen and Liege. But when doing this you have to account for possible delays when making a connection (best to budget at least 30 minutes), passport checks mid journey (another 30 minutes to be safe) and awkward connection times.
 

TheEdge

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The lack of direct trains between London and Cologne is a missed opportunity in my opinion. The cities of the NRW region have a population, and culture that comes with it, rivaling the entirety of the neighbouring Netherlands or Belgium (not the two combined, of course), and it is right on the UK's doorstep without needing a plane.

I think I'd be on that service every weekend if it ever happened.
 

Peter Wilde

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Agree London -Cologne would be very useful.

I suggest it will happen … eventually. Factors to consider are not just journey time and convenience, but also carbon and the relative costs of rail and air travel. Things are going to have to change, as with the swing back to night sleeper services.
 

zwk500

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Agree London -Cologne would be very useful.

I suggest it will happen … eventually. Factors to consider are not just journey time and convenience, but also carbon and the relative costs of rail and air travel. Things are going to have to change, as with the swing back to night sleeper services.
It won't happen until air travel is taxed heavily enough to swing the balance back to the train, or (less likely) the UK joins Schengen zone.
 

Peter Wilde

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Yes the situation requires either more taxation of air travel (politically difficult at this moment); or more subsidy for rail. Or some combination of the two.

Maybe the German super-cheap fares scheme will demonstrate a possible way forward, if cheaper fares are justified by a big increase in tickets sold. Though the scheme was presumably a response to the need to kickstart travel post-Covid, rather than the climate emergency.
 

Davester50

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Agree London -Cologne would be very useful.

I suggest it will happen … eventually. Factors to consider are not just journey time and convenience, but also carbon and the relative costs of rail and air travel. Things are going to have to change, as with the swing back to night sleeper services.

It won't happen until air travel is taxed heavily enough to swing the balance back to the train, or (less likely) the UK joins Schengen zone.

CAA figures
2019 Passengers from:
London Heathrow/City/Gatwick to Cologne/Bonn and Dusseldorf = 1,221,393
London Heathrow/City/Gatwick to Amsterdam and Rotterdam = 3,692,533

You can see why Amsterdam is a much more lucrative market than NRW.
 

TheEdge

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CAA figures
2019 Passengers from:
London Heathrow/City/Gatwick to Cologne/Bonn and Dusseldorf = 1,221,393
London Heathrow/City/Gatwick to Amsterdam and Rotterdam = 3,692,533

You can see why Amsterdam is a much more lucrative market than NRW.

How many of those Amsterdam tickets are KLM passengers interchanging onto intercontinental flights from Schiphol? Worth considering
 

StephenHunter

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How many of those Amsterdam tickets are KLM passengers interchanging onto intercontinental flights from Schiphol? Worth considering
Why go to Schiphol for an intercontinental flight when you can just get it from Heathrow?
 

Davester50

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How many of those Amsterdam tickets are KLM passengers interchanging onto intercontinental flights from Schiphol? Worth considering
It's a valid question, and I don't know. I'd guess that the percentage (not the total number) of connections from LHR/LGW/LCY will be less than the Regions to Amsterdam, mainly due to the availability of direct flights from Heathrow.
With nearly 800K from City to the Netherlands alone, (where the vast majority will be point to point traffic) it's approximately two thirds of NRWs traffic from all three large London airports.
 

TheEdge

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Why go to Schiphol for an intercontinental flight when you can just get it from Heathrow?

KLM are cheaper? KLM offer a strange selection of obscure destinations (or at least they did pre-Covid)

It's a valid question, and I don't know. I'd guess that the percentage (not the total number) of connections from LHR/LGW/LCY will be less than the Regions to Amsterdam, mainly due to the availability of direct flights from Heathrow.
With nearly 800K from City to the Netherlands alone, (where the vast majority will be point to point traffic) it's approximately two thirds of NRWs traffic from all three large London airports.

While all fair points I still want a NRW ICE service.
 

Peter Mugridge

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KLM are cheaper? KLM offer a strange selection of obscure destinations (or at least they did pre-Covid)
It could well be the fares.

Certainly pre-virus it was oftyen cheaper to go London to Paris via Paris on Air France, for example, that direct from Heathrow with any one of the regular carriers on that sector. The same applied for going via Amsterdam with KLM. Not just New York either - virtually anywhere that was a connection in that way would be cheaper than the direct, so it was often a trade off between time and convenience against money for a number of popular destinations.

This becomes very relevant to the Eurostar destinations debate because it's not just a question of the volume on the direct European sector; as @TheEdge says the onward travel pattern needs to be an essential part of the consideration. Nobody will switch to rail if those connecting flights are being included in the long distance fares as effectivel a free add on - unless Eurostar do a connectivity deal with the airlines concened.
 

Bald Rick

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CAA figures
2019 Passengers from:
London Heathrow/City/Gatwick to Cologne/Bonn and Dusseldorf = 1,221,393
London Heathrow/City/Gatwick to Amsterdam and Rotterdam = 3,692,533

You can see why Amsterdam is a much more lucrative market than NRW.

add Stansted, Luton and Southend to the mix and it is even more stark.

Cologne / Bonn + Düsseldorf rises to 1.6m (almost entirely to the latter from Stansted)

Amsterdam rises to well over 5m.

I have no doubt that were we in Schengen we’d have a train every two hours to Köln, with extensions to Frankfurt and Dortmund via Düsseldorf. And at least an hourly service to Amsterdam. Imagine that.

re airline connections via Amsterdam, I have no data other than flight numbers and assumed seat capacities, but would be surprised if more than 1.5m a year London - Amsterdam are connecting (Either at Schiphol or Heathrow), simply because of the range of destinations offered either end. KLM does have a good level of connecting business from U.K. regional airports though.
 
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DanielB

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Also keep in mind that Eurostar doesn't even call at Schiphol Airport, it's passing non-stop through the station. So apparently there are plenty of passengers just travelling to Amsterdam and not transferring at Schiphol.
The financial district in the Netherlands is located in Amsterdam, so that would generate enough demand to and from London on it's own. Those business travellers were part of the business-case of Eurostar, as the UK is the third largest trading partner of the Netherlands (after Belgium and Germany).
 

duesselmartin

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I offen fly KLM from Düsseldorf to various destinations as they often have the right price quality ratio. That flight is 99% transfer PAX.
Amsterdam is from other parts of Europe both a prime destination as well as a transfer hub.
In rail terms you can conpare it to Zürich HB or Milano Centrale.
 

Davester50

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I offen fly KLM from Düsseldorf to various destinations as they often have the right price quality ratio. That flight is 99% transfer PAX.
Amsterdam is from other parts of Europe both a prime destination as well as a transfer hub.
In rail terms you can conpare it to Zürich HB or Milano Centrale.

It's all about the hubs for the various alliances.

Oneworld = Heathrow
Star Alliance = Frankfurt
Sky Team = AMS/CDG

It's all about syphoning money away from the other player, hence the lower connecting price than flying direct.

Just wish BA had paired up with KLM when they had the chance in 1992 and again in 2000. Amsterdam would have been Heathrow's 3rd, 4th and 5th runway.

The big loss is the lack of International (or even a domestic InterCity) rail terminal at Heathrow. But you know. Britain. :rolleyes:
 

StephenHunter

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It's all about the hubs for the various alliances.

Oneworld = Heathrow
Star Alliance = Frankfurt
Sky Team = AMS/CDG

It's all about syphoning money away from the other player, hence the lower connecting price than flying direct.

Just wish BA had paired up with KLM when they had the chance in 1992 and again in 2000. Amsterdam would have been Heathrow's 3rd, 4th and 5th runway.

The big loss is the lack of International (or even a domestic InterCity) rail terminal at Heathrow. But you know. Britain. :rolleyes:
Eurostar did do some trial runs into Heathrow in the 1990s. Also, Gatwick has been served by rail since the get-go, including InterCity services.

With the proposed Heathrow western connection, you could run IETs into there, I suppose. Also, can GWR come up with a better name than IET please? Might I suggest 'Westerns'?
 

delticdave

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Why go to Schiphol for an intercontinental flight when you can just get it from Heathrow?
Cost perhaps?
A few years ago I flew from London to Boston (& return) on Lufthansa via London City & Frankfurt.

Why, very good price + London City is much closer to my home than Heathrow or Gatwick.

I even managed to wave at my house on the last leg of the return journey!
 

Wolfie

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Why couldn't passport checks etc be carried out on the train by officers boarding the train in the station? This happens elsewhere in Europe with no issues
Because UK will not accept that. It didn't when we were in the EU and certainly won't now. Firstly who is paying for all of the costs given that is horribly resource-intensive? Secondly on train checks limit the tools available to Border Force to do the necessary checks.

Why go to Schiphol for an intercontinental flight when you can just get it from Heathrow?
To dodge UK taxes for a start.

It's all about the hubs for the various alliances.

Oneworld = Heathrow
Star Alliance = Frankfurt
Sky Team = AMS/CDG

It's all about syphoning money away from the other player, hence the lower connecting price than flying direct.

Just wish BA had paired up with KLM when they had the chance in 1992 and again in 2000. Amsterdam would have been Heathrow's 3rd, 4th and 5th runway.

The big loss is the lack of International (or even a domestic InterCity) rail terminal at Heathrow. But you know. Britain. :rolleyes:
I think that should be Oneworld - Heathrow/Madrid
 

Bald Rick

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Eurostar did do some trial runs into Heathrow in the 1990s. Also, Gatwick has been served by rail since the get-go, including InterCity services.

no they didn’t.


that source doesn’t say that they went to Heathrow. It says there were trial runs of regional Eurostars to regional cities - which there were. But not to Heathrow. They didn’t have the right signalling for starters.
 

StephenHunter

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no they didn’t.



that source doesn’t say that they went to Heathrow. It says there were trial runs of regional Eurostars to regional cities - which there were. But not to Heathrow. They didn’t have the right signalling for starters.
It was a trial drag by diesel to test clearances.
 

Davester50

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I think that should be Oneworld - Heathrow/Madrid
Yes and no.
Yes, it's a hub for IB.
No, although it's a huge complex, Iberia doesn't have the same monopoly the others have at their home base. Now if the Air Europa take over by IAG went ahead, then that's a different story.

Not on Spain's fantastic high speed system though.

To go back to the ICE trains to Germany, I just can't see it happening now.
Lower hanging fruit for any competitors to go for first that don't have the problems of going to the UK.

As I see it, it's too far from FS or RENFE's bases, SNCF won't compete with themselves, unless they go for a Low Cost model to sit along side whatever the combined Eurostar/Thalys operation is.

Wow! Great find, and a few apologies are due to whoever first mentioned it!
 

mmh

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that source doesn’t say that they went to Heathrow. It says there were trial runs of regional Eurostars to regional cities - which there were. But not to Heathrow. They didn’t have the right signalling for starters.
What signalling wasn't right? I don't think the signalling from the tunnel to Waterloo was changed for them, rather they were built to be compatible with the routes they had to use.
 

zwk500

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What signalling wasn't right? I don't think the signalling from the tunnel to Waterloo was changed for them, rather they were built to be compatible with the routes they had to use.
I don't believe the 373s had ATP to run on the GWML, did they? They had AWS and TPWS for the run into Waterloo.
 

philg999

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Cost perhaps?
A few years ago I flew from London to Boston (& return) on Lufthansa via London City & Frankfurt.

Why, very good price + London City is much closer to my home than Heathrow or Gatwick.

I even managed to wave at my house on the last leg of the return journey!
Apparently, before covid, KLM alone ran up to 120 flights per day from U.K. airports to Amsterdam! It’s quite incredible! A lot of those are obviously international transfers as it’s actually easier to get from many U.K. regional airports to schipol, than it is to get to Heathrow.
 

island

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Or do Bruxelles coming back. Southbound, there is no issue as the Schengen checks are done before boarding in the UK.
It's less trivial now that customs checks are performed on arrival on the continent; only French passport control is performed in St Pancras.
There is a very good reason they don't do this - it would destroy the advantage of the service by lengthening journey times (remember the premium classes can check in down to something like 20-30 minutes before departure) and disrupting the usable time.

Notably, this is what they did for Eurostar to Amsterdam before the border checks were in place - you could do London > Amsterdam in one go, but coming back you had to use a normal European service to Brussels and pick up the Eurostar there. However this is a poor use of the Eurostar resources.
You could, if so inclined, use Eurostar services from Amsterdam or Rotterdam to Brussel-Zuid, where they tipped out before the train set off again to London. Eurostar would not sell it as a through ticket, though, so you would need to hang around a while in Brussel-Zuid and book your return journey as three singles.
AIUI one problem is how to handle border control and security. My understanding is that the British authorities don't consider checks on the train and/or checks on arrival to be sufficient.
It's less a case of insufficient and more a case of impractical, as home office instructions require all passports to be scanned including reading the chip and checked against the warnings index, which is tricky to do on the move.
So you either need to have UK border control at every origin (££££) or you need to do a "Lille shuffle", where you unload the whole train in Lille, run everyone through border control and then load them back on the train.
And Lille-Europe is hopelessly undersized to manage this. Others mention doing it at Brussel-Zuid, which is marginally more practicable. But they manage to put UK Border Force in Moûtiers and Bourg-St.-Maurice for the lucrative ski trains, so provision at every origin is clearly a case of "won't" rather than "can't".
 

RT4038

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And Lille-Europe is hopelessly undersized to manage this. Others mention doing it at Brussel-Zuid, which is marginally more practicable. But they manage to put UK Border Force in Moûtiers and Bourg-St.-Maurice for the lucrative ski trains, so provision at every origin is clearly a case of "won't" rather than "can't".
'Won't' in that the rail operator 'won't' pay the cost of it (or 'can't' and have a service in any way economic)
 

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