Rail -Sail.

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by reb0118, 8 Nov 2011.

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  1. reb0118

    reb0118 Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I'm taking my mum to Portrush for the weekend via the Stranraer - Belfast ferry. I have a few questions:-

    1) My mum's ticket has been issued as a flexible return but how flexible are Stenaline ie can you just turn up at the port or do you have to book in advance?

    2) How do get from the ferry terminal in Belfast to Yorkgate station to connect with the Portrush train?

    Many thanks.
     
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  3. 4SRKT

    4SRKT Established Member

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    You can get any boat as far as I can see. For example it isn't possible to book rail & sail for the 03:00 sailing, but I and others I know have just turned up and caught it anyway.

    There is a bus operated by Metro in Belfast into town (no 96). I don't know it if goes on the motorway, through the docks or along the A2. If it takes the motorway it may not stop near Yorkgate but will probably go to the Europa Bus Centre, which is co-located with Great Victoria Street where the Portrush trains start from. Yorkgate isn't a very nice place to wait for a train compared to Central or GVS, and the surrounding area is quite grim. During the Troubles it was downright dangerous.

    Personally I walk from the Stena terminal to Yorkgate, but it's three miles and I never see any evidence that anyone else does this!
     
  4. wintonian

    wintonian Established Member

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    Assuming you mean this weekend you can turn up and get any ferry that carries foot passengers see timetable although I would double check as I once found my self stranded at the ferry port in Belfast with the terminal locked up despite the timetable at the time saying foot passengers were accommodated on the 03:30.

    As far as I can remember there may be a bus that connects with some sailings but not all.
     
  5. 4SRKT

    4SRKT Established Member

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    I'm sure he won't be taking his mum on boats at three in the morning!
     
  6. bkhtele

    bkhtele Member

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    Just on my way back on a rail sail ticket. Was in Portrush last Sunday using the Sunday anywhere by rail ticket £6 great value
     
  7. Lrd

    Lrd Established Member

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    I got the bus (think it was 96) from Belfast town centre to the ferry terminal and it went though the docks, if it wasn't the docks then it was a very large industrial estate.

    The times were fairly infrequent though, iirc it was every hour from about 1000 till 1300 then one more at 1630 for the 1700(ish) ferry.

    But that was going the opposite way.
     
  8. reb0118

    reb0118 Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Thanks for replies.

    Still awaiting email confirmation from stena for my port tax payment. They've got my email 'cause I've received advertising bumf to my inbox.

    Off tomorrow - looking forward to it.
     
  9. reb0118

    reb0118 Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Just thought I'd update you on my trip. On the whole it was excellent as we got the best of the weather. The North Antrim Coast is spectacular and well worth the trip. Locals very friendly too.

    Now specifically regarding the transport there & back. To put you in the picture I'm a Scotrail employee so get a hefty discount on the trip but I will put myself in a full fare paying passengers shoes so to speak. I was travelling with my Mum, a Senior RC holder and she held a North Berwick - Portrush NI SOR route Stranraer Stena - a bargain at £44.90

    1) Trains:- all the trains ran to time with the exception of the Belfast - Portrush service (however this was a wee bonus see below). The only real problems were our fellow passengers, to be specific a group of so called loyalists who managed to slowly but surely take over the train. Loud, obnoxious, tattooed, obscene language, feet on seats, buckfast, music, &c., &c. I'm sure you get the picture.

    2) Ferries:- Our outward HSS was cancelled due to the weather but was replaced with the slower conventional ferry. We received this info in advance (via text message from Stena) and as we had arranged car hire in Coleraine we were able to arrange for the car to be left at the hotel as we would not make it to the garage before closing time. Stena also faxed through a copy of my driving licence to the garage at no additional cost. So well done there. Another bonus was that they refused bar service to the jaikes from the train & informed them of the no football colours rule on board. Result!!

    We both had a meal on board & although not cordon bleu it filled a hole, a wee bit pricey though as was the drinks, but anyway a good service to have on board as there were no catering facilities on any of the trains we used. On the return crossing (HSS) we again partook of the meals service if anything this time it was slightly cheaper but better quality food wise (the fish 'n' chips were excellent) - although served on disposable plates with plastic cutlery.

    My major gripe with the ferry was the time it took to disembark the foot passengers (30-40 mins) & the lack of viable connections to any of Belfast's main stations (Central, Yorkgate, or Great Victoria Street). We had to grab a fast black to Yorkgate @ £7.50 and we just managed to catch the delayed service to Portrush. The taxi driver was insistent on taking us to Central but I put my foot down otherwise we would have missed the last direct train. On the return journey there was no connecting bus so again a taxi was required but we managed to share with a fellow passenger so that brought the cost down a bit.

    We stopped off at Troon on the way back for a few hours. Lets hope that they don't meddle too much with the railsail tickets in the future so that break of journey is removed.

    All in all we enjoyed our trip & would do it again. I heartily recommend a wee trip to the Emerald Isle.

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: 21 Nov 2011
  10. bkhtele

    bkhtele Member

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    Glad you had a good time, I went back on the evening Irish Ferry via Dublin & the enterprise. All went sooothly had the bonus of half a day in Dublin - Bus service from near Connolly station c 2€, stopped over night at Holyhead travel lodge £12, back to Euston - not so handy for North Berwick but worth trying!
     
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