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Sail & Rail to Belfast via Liverpool

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TravelDream

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Hi all,

Is it possible to book SailRail tickets to Belfast visa Liverpool?

I can find those going to Scotland, but that means a lot of changes and a long train journey from South Wales.

Thanks :)
 
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bangor-toad

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The short answer is "No" I'm afraid.

It hasn't been possible to book SailRail Liverpool <--> Belfast for a few years now. Whilst the fares still exist and can be seem in brfares.com it's just not possible to book them. Someone on the Forum once said that there was no ferry availability loaded onto the system so that's why they never come up.

If you want SailRail you've got the choice of the trip via Scotland for the Cairnryan <--> Belfast ferry or to North Wales for Holyhead <--> Dublin and then a train / coach up to Belfast.

On the brightside, for July and August there are three sailings each way for the Cairnryan <--> Belfast crossing that you can use SailRail on which makes it a bit better.

Have a good trip,
Mr Toad
 

TravelDream

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Thanks both.

The main advantage of sail rail tickets tends to be cost as they are very cost effective.

The Belfast via Scotland ticket is £56 single. The same trains to Ayr have a ticket price of £150 for an off-peak single (which is actually anytime based on the conditions).

Via Dublin isn't an option due to travel restrictions in the Republic at the moment.

I can't find the via Liverpool fare on BR Fares to be honest.
 

danm14

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Just to note that if you do need to buy separate tickets, Belfast-Liverpool is not as expensive of a route as Dublin-Holyhead or Belfast-Cairnryan as a foot passenger. Assuming you're travelling on the morning sailing, it's only £22, and £32 on the evening sailing. There's usually (albeit not currently) a pretty much permanent additional half price promotional offer for the morning sailing.

Also, regarding travel restrictions in the Republic, it is perfectly legal to enter the Republic, and to cross the border, for any reason as of May 10th - and you don't need to quarantine if you're going to Northern Ireland, provided you leave the Republic directly and don't return (unless for the sole purpose of taking a flight/ferry back out of the country) for 14 days. You do need to fill out the passenger locator form and get a private PCR test no more than 3 days before travel, but the testing requirement will likely be waived from July 19th for those holding proof of full vaccination.

There are also no restrictions on returning to GB from the Republic - the fine for non-essential travel abroad only applies to Irish residents; and the UK treat the Republic as part of the UK for the purposes of travel restrictions.
 

D6130

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If you're travelling to Belfast from South Wales, why not take the Fishguard-Rosslare ferry and then trains Rosslare-Dublin-Belfast?
 

TravelDream

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If you're travelling to Belfast from South Wales, why not take the Fishguard-Rosslare ferry and then trains Rosslare-Dublin-Belfast?

I also considered CDF-Holyhead-Dublin. My understanding is that wasn't allowed though.
@danm14 says it is allowed though. Maybe I need to look further into it.
 

danm14

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I also considered CDF-Holyhead-Dublin. My understanding is that wasn't allowed though.
@danm14 says it is allowed though. Maybe I need to look further into it.
Yes, it is now legal. The restrictions which prohibited it were lifted on May 10th.

The only legal restriction on movement to, from or within the island of Ireland (with the exception of travel from "red list" or equivalent countries) currently in effect is a ban on travel to airports/ports in the Republic of Ireland by Republic of Ireland residents for the purposes of non-essential foreign travel.

Unfortunately, the Irish government have been orders of magnitude worse than the British government as regards intentionally pretending guidance is law.
 

Grumpy Git

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Pedant mode on: Liverpool-Belfast is actually Birkenhead-Belfast, but as an overnight option (with a cabin) it's a great way to travel to Ireland and back, particularly when (like me) you live only 10 miles from the berth.

I've used it about four times in the last six months, beats flying hands-down when you need to take some gear.
 

Dai Corner

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TfW are offering Cardiff-Holyhead Advances at £25 or Cardiff-Birkenhead at £27 each way at the moment. Add £22 or £32 for the ferry and it comes to £47-£59; cheaper or only £3 more than going via Scotland.
 

Dr Day

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Am also looking to travel from GB but my reading of the Irish Government website was that they weren't letting anyone into the Republic from GB without a negative PCR test (ie the private, expensive one) and they would have to isolate in Ireland for 10 days (although this could be reduced to 5 with a negative test). No issues coming back to GB.
 

Watershed

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Am also looking to travel from GB but my reading of the Irish Government website was that they weren't letting anyone into the Republic from GB without a negative PCR test (ie the private, expensive one) and they would have to isolate in Ireland for 10 days (although this could be reduced to 5 with a negative test). No issues coming back to GB.
Unfortunately the PCR test is unavoidable but the quarantine is not necessary if you are just transiting.
 

reb0118

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I can still find times via Birkenhead on my mobile ticket device. No fares as yet though.
 

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danm14

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Am also looking to travel from GB but my reading of the Irish Government website was that they weren't letting anyone into the Republic from GB without a negative PCR test (ie the private, expensive one) and they would have to isolate in Ireland for 10 days (although this could be reduced to 5 with a negative test). No issues coming back to GB.
Off topic, but an NHS PCR test is fully compliant with the Irish legislation that implements the requirement for a test. It won't be accepted - the airlines and ferry operators have been told to refuse boarding - but they fully meet the requirements of the legislation.

While it would be fraudulent to claim to have symptoms you don't have to obtain an NHS PCR test, there are many ways in which they could be obtained legitimately (e.g. you work in a field such as healthcare where you are asymptomatically PCR tested; you avail of asymptomatic surge PCR testing; or you report your hayfever symptoms on the ZOE Symptom Study app which results in permission to get an "asymptomatic" PCR test) - and while they won't be accepted, they legally should be.
 
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mmh

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Off topic, but an NHS PCR test is fully compliant with the Irish legislation that implements the requirement for a test. It won't be accepted - the airlines and ferry operators have been told to refuse boarding - but they fully meet the requirements of the legislation.

While it would be fraudulent to claim to have symptoms you don't have to obtain an NHS PCR test, there are many ways in which they could be obtained legitimately (e.g. you work in a field such as healthcare where you are asymptomatically PCR tested; you avail of asymptomatic surge PCR testing; or you report your hayfever symptoms on the ZOE Symptom Study app) - and while they won't be accepted, they legally should be.

The OP lives in Wales, where asymptomatic PCR testing happens a lot - asymptomatic contacts of positive testees are routinely requested to take PCR tests here.
 

D6130

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TfW are offering Cardiff-Holyhead Advances at £25 or Cardiff-Birkenhead at £27 each way at the moment. Add £22 or £32 for the ferry and it comes to £47-£59; cheaper or only £3 more than going via Scotland.
But then of course you would have to factor in the additional cost of the Dublin-Belfast rail fare. I am in the fortunate position of having free staff passes when I travel in Ireland - on both sides of the border - but, IIRC, there were (pre-Covid) some very good value on-line advance fares available in both first and standard class.
 

Dai Corner

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But then of course you would have to factor in the additional cost of the Dublin-Belfast rail fare. I am in the fortunate position of having free staff passes when I travel in Ireland - on both sides of the border - but, IIRC, there were (pre-Covid) some very good value on-line advance fares available in both first and standard class.
There's are ferries from Holyhead and Birkenhead to Belfast.
 

D6130

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There's are ferries from Holyhead and Birkenhead to Belfast.
True, but they're much longer crossings than Fishguard-Rosslare and Holyhead-Dublin. I suppose it all boils down to whether you would rather spend more time on a ferry, or on a train. I know which one I would choose!
 

Djgr

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Pedant mode on: Liverpool-Belfast is actually Birkenhead-Belfast, but as an overnight option (with a cabin) it's a great way to travel to Ireland and back, particularly when (like me) you live only 10 miles from the berth.

I've used it about four times in the last six months, beats flying hands-down when you need to take some gear.
Worth remembering this when planning your journey. Taxis from Lime Street will add two lots of tunnel fees onto your fare. And strangely don't seem to have the fob that everyone else has that almost halves their cost.
 

reb0118

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Worth remembering this when planning your journey. Taxis from Lime Street will add two lots of tunnel fees onto your fare. And strangely don't seem to have the fob that everyone else has that almost halves their cost.

That's why I would just get the train to Hamilton Square & walk to the terminal. It doesn't take long.
 

gerjomarty

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Has anyone checked whether the new weekend sailing from Holyhead to Belfast is eligible for SailRail? Given how unloved the fares/timetable database is I'm almost certain it wouldn't have been added even if it was technically available.
 
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