London to Koln on two tickets, with a French strike

BahrainLad

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Hi there, I wonder if anyone can advise. We are booked London Brussels on the 1104 departure on Friday 6th December, which is when the French will be having a general strike. The plan was then to connect to the 1425 ICE to Koln (actually then on to Dusseldorf). We are on separate tickets.

According to Eurostar they still plan on running our train, but I'm thinking about what happens if - for whatever reason - there is a strike-related delay and we miss the connection (there's 20 minutes and hopefully as the Eurostar continues to Amsterdam it will be a cross platform change at BXL or at least something close to it)

According to Railteam's website we can avail ourselves of the HOTNAT rule but it would be good to know how this works in practice? I have seen online that we could find the train manager for a form, or get a stamp from somewhere (not sure how that works with iPhone tickets :) )? Or should we just head for a ticket office once we have arrived at BXL and have definitely missed the train?

The only other thing - our E* tickets are actually London-Amsterdam, as they were the only ones available on the 1104 when we originally booked the trip.
 
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island

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The train chef can give you an endorsement on your ticket to confirm you can use the next train. I would suggest picking up traditional paper tickets for the Eurostar to allow for this.

I don’t know if that will still hold valid though as you don’t have connecting tickets – I’ve always found Eurostar to be extremely helpful in cases of disruption, but how Deutsche Bahn will treat it I cannot say.
 

gordonthemoron

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The train chef can give you an endorsement on your ticket to confirm you can use the next train. I would suggest picking up traditional paper tickets for the Eurostar to allow for this.

I don’t know if that will still hold valid though as you don’t have connecting tickets – I’ve always found Eurostar to be extremely helpful in cases of disruption, but how Deutsche Bahn will treat it I cannot say.
DB are fine dealing with disruption, I doubt they'd bat an eyelid. I did Bensheim-Brussels last month on a Sparpreis (fixed train) and changed the reservation to an earlier service due to engineering works. No quibble whatsoever
 

BahrainLad

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Thanks, from a deeper dive into Seat61 it seems getting the stamp from the Chef du Train on Eurostar is the best idea - and thanks for the tip to print tickets, we’ll definitely do that.
 

BahrainLad

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Incidentally, the Railteam website would be a hell of a lot more useful if it actually had some detail about the HOTNAT offer rather than just marketing guff. A guide as to what to do when you want to use it would be a start.
 

30907

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Well your tickets are to Amsterdam.... so why should they worry about a connection at Brussels?
Explaining that you booked when DB weren't able to offer Sparpreis London and ES weren't offering London-Brussels will probably work. (I am guessing that's the reason for splitting?)
 

Spoorslag '70

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You will quite likely be all right when asking the Eurostar staff for confirmation and briefly explaining the situation to the host or train manager (depending on who checks you) and briefly explain your situation.

As you would have some time to spare in Brussel Zuid, you might also drop down to the international ticket office (IIRC it's near the "international" (1-5 or so) platforms in the central tunnel) and see what they can do for you.

Worst case would be them pointing out that there are no official rights (in the sense of the EU legislation) on split tickets (the Germans deny them at least on domestic journies) but most staff on the ground is very reasonable.
 

AlbertBeale

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You will quite likely be all right when asking the Eurostar staff for confirmation and briefly explaining the situation to the host or train manager (depending on who checks you) and briefly explain your situation.

As you would have some time to spare in Brussel Zuid, you might also drop down to the international ticket office (IIRC it's near the "international" (1-5 or so) platforms in the central tunnel) and see what they can do for you.

Worst case would be them pointing out that there are no official rights (in the sense of the EU legislation) on split tickets (the Germans deny them at least on domestic journies) but most staff on the ground is very reasonable.
Surely CIV rights exist on international connections, with tickets marked CIV, providing you have a recognised schedule, whether or not it's one through ticket or a series of them (especially since the latter is often necessary these days, unlike the integrated through tickets of years gone by)? I'm not sure of the "split ticket" relevance here, since so many international journeys can now only be done on "split tickets".
 

paddington

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Does Eurostar officially permit stopping short - especially when doing so to get a cheaper fare? I know nobody will care in practice.
 

island

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Surely CIV rights exist on international connections, with tickets marked CIV, providing you have a recognised schedule, whether or not it's one through ticket or a series of them (especially since the latter is often necessary these days, unlike the integrated through tickets of years gone by)? I'm not sure of the "split ticket" relevance here, since so many international journeys can now only be done on "split tickets".
They do, but the journeys have to connect end on end.
 

urpert

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You will quite likely be all right when asking the Eurostar staff for confirmation and briefly explaining the situation to the host or train manager (depending on who checks you) and briefly explain your situation.

As you would have some time to spare in Brussel Zuid, you might also drop down to the international ticket office (IIRC it's near the "international" (1-5 or so) platforms in the central tunnel) and see what they can do for you.

Worst case would be them pointing out that there are no official rights (in the sense of the EU legislation) on split tickets (the Germans deny them at least on domestic journies) but most staff on the ground is very reasonable.
Agreed - I’ve found the international ticket office staff at Midi incredibly helpful in case of disruption before.
 

island

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Does Eurostar officially permit stopping short - especially when doing so to get a cheaper fare? I know nobody will care in practice.
Officially they allow it in the UK but not anywhere else.

As you say, in practice nobody will care.
 

BahrainLad

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Well, everything worked out perfectly. Leaving St Pancras on Friday was a dream, the 1104 was the only train in the international platforms so everything was so quick. Had plenty of time for a nice fruit smoothie from the bar in the BP lounge and then we left on time. I think we were a couple of minutes late into Brussels but we pulled into platform 4 and the ICE was waiting on platform 3 so it was a very simple cross-platform change. We also managed to have a compartment to ourselves in 1.Klasse on the ICE all the way to Cologne which was very pleasant.

Incidentally, it seems madness that these Amsterdam trains only open for London-Brussels bookings -60 days out, as they could be set up to connect perfectly with the ICE (they could in theory always offer a cross-platform transfer, perhaps even holding the onward train if necessary). A little bit of joined up thinking here could really improve connections. Eurostar could market 3x trains / day to Cologne/Frankfurt without investing a penny!
 

JonathanP

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Incidentally, it seems madness that these Amsterdam trains only open for London-Brussels bookings -60 days out, as they could be set up to connect perfectly with the ICE (they could in theory always offer a cross-platform transfer, perhaps even holding the onward train if necessary). A little bit of joined up thinking here could really improve connections. Eurostar could market 3x trains / day to Cologne/Frankfurt without investing a penny!
They kindof-are. The Deutsche Bahn London Spezial tickets available through bahn.de enable you to book the Amsterdam trains more than 60 days in advance for journeys to Brussels with a change onto the ICE to Germany(at least so long as Eurostar keep delaying the introduction of their new booking system).

Why Eurostar does not market the same deals, who knows. Eurostar is a extremely tight-lipped company and any changes in the booking procedures you generally only hear about via Deutsche Bahn. Perhaps since the prices for a London - Belgium - Germany via bahn.de are sometimes cheaper than the price for just London - Belgium on eurostar.com they would prefer people didn't know about it...

My purely anecdotal experience is that the ICE will be held for a few minutes for a late arriving Eurostar if necessary.
 

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