SailRail Advance (Northern Ireland)

Starmill

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Hi

Is it actually possible to book these tickets from any stations apart from Belfast Lanyon Place, Portadown and Newry? I note that they are all in the data for the most part for journeys via Holyhead and Dublin Conolly on Irish Ferries or Stena Line and then IE, but there appears to be no timetable data in place for any Northern Ireland Railways services? Is there some means to buy the Advance tickets without the NIR timetable?

Presumably Standby tickets are still available. If there is any history in this, or if I have not correctly understood ticket availability, I am interested to hear it.

Thanks
 
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causton

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Have you tried phoning Stena?

I note on their website;

"Tickets can be purchased at any time online or via telephone. For Belfast departures within 7 days please call us on 08445 762 762 to arrange your Sail & Rail ticket collection from the Stena Line ticket desk, Belfast, prior to check-in."

I wonder if they would be able to help in this circumstance.
 

paul1609

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Hi

Is it actually possible to book these tickets from any stations apart from Belfast Lanyon Place, Portadown and Newry? I note that they are all in the data for the most part for journeys via Holyhead and Dublin Conolly on Irish Ferries or Stena Line and then IE, but there appears to be no timetable data in place for any Northern Ireland Railways services? Is there some means to buy the Advance tickets without the NIR timetable?

Presumably Standby tickets are still available. If there is any history in this, or if I have not correctly understood ticket availability, I am interested to hear it.

Thanks
I suspect the reality is that nobody buys the tickets so it's no longer worth putting the data in.
I did a trip to Galway last year and the IE conductor said my sail ticket was the first he'd personally seen for a couple of years.
I normally travel on the overnight services and the number of people doing the train and ferry is normally in single figure.
 

Starmill

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I suspect the reality is that nobody buys the tickets so it's no longer worth putting the data in.
I did a trip to Galway last year and the IE conductor said my sail ticket was the first he'd personally seen for a couple of years.
I normally travel on the overnight services and the number of people doing the train and ferry is normally in single figure.
I'm sure you're right that they're not well used in Northern Ireland, and certainly not via Holyhead. But with some notable (significant) omissions, there actually is quite comprehensive timetable data online for IE services.
 

paul1609

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Ive never been on the Cairnryan services myself but I have been to the ferry port several times to pick up/ drop off crew members and the impression I get is that there are very few foot passengers (including for the rail link coach) at this time of year. Even in the summer holidays you'd be looking at maybe 20 on a busy day. Id imagine that the number of rail passengers not travelling to Belfast is probably zero.
 

bangor-toad

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Hi,
As far as I know it's not been possible to book a via Cairnryan ticket to anywhere other than Belfast in NI.
I tried to look into a few years ago and the closest explanation I could find was that NIR services aren't loaded into the UK database so the booking engines can't see them and you can't book them.

SailRail has always (well last 5 years at least) been a forgotten ticket and there were usually many data glitches that often meant you couldn't book anything or it came up with bizarre routings. I was once offered London, Holyhead, Dublin, back to Holyhead, Chester, Birkenhead and then Belfast...

paul1609 says it accurately. Even in busy times such as the summer and just before Christmas there were very few passengers on the SailRail coach between Cairnryan and Ayr. Many times I've been on it and there were less than 10 people on the coach.
This was, sadly, finally noticed by Stena recently and they've dropped down to 1 coach per day making long distance UK rail trips basically impossible. A great shame and annoying for me but I'm one of a tiny minority who benefited from what must have been a really uneconomic service.
Stena's current suggestion, both on the website and via private e-mail, is to get a coach instead.


The phone helpline and going to the Belfast Stena terminal in person are not as helpful or knowledgeable as you'd perhaps like. There are very few SailRail tickets sold it seems and there doesn't seem to be a lot of knowledge about them.

If you can make the Cairnryan SailRail work for you it means you'll arrive into Belfast Port at 5:45pm. If you are travelling further in NI then you'll have to buy another ticket. However, these are cheap compared to most of the mainland tickets, the most you'll ever need to pay for a day's travel is £17.50. (iLink pass including a card).

Good luck with your trip planning,
Mr Toad
 

Starmill

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Hi thank you for all of your advice.

Apologies if my OP was unclear, but as I alluded to with via Holyhead my journey is actually Bangor (NI) to Manchester. This would be sailing at 1450 from Dublin Stena.

I note that Sailral Advance tickets are available on this and almost all Stena crossings from Dublin to Manchester.

Bookings in the closer future however indicate that there are cheaper Web Saver tickets from Belfast Lanyon Place to Dublin Conolly available from Northern Ireland Railways than from IE. Perhaps this splitting is the answer?

The downside would appear to be the theoretical loss of protection in case the Enterprise is dramatically late and the booked sailing is missed. Does anyone have experience of missing their booked sailing from Dublin because of long IE delays, and being permitted onto the next crossing?
 

paul1609

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Id go on the 10.30 Stena sailing to Birkenhead and then just buy a walk on ticket to Manchester or the 14.50 sailing to Cainryan and then National Express to Manchester they are both showing as £40ish for tomorrow undercutting sail rail. Thats the problem with Sailrail its only really attractive to rail enthusiasts these days.
 

bangor-toad

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Hi Starmill,
Bangor (NI) to Manchester is a trip I've done a few times.

The routing via Dublin (£57) is my least preferred. Whilst the Belfast - Dublin service is generally reliable at the moment (and there are about 2 or 3 coaches an hour if the train gives up) and the ferry companies are reasonably accomodating about travel on a later ferry, the next Stena ferry after the 2:50pm out of Dublin is at 8:40pm. That doesn't give connections on the train in Wales and it's an overnight at Holyhead station...

My Sailrail preference is the Cairnryan ferry. (£48) To get there on public transport you need to leave Bangor on the 8:31am (or 8:51am if you're feeling bold and know exactly where to go), into Belfast and then the 96 bus up to the Stena Ferry terminal. You get there at 10am though for a 11:30am sailing. After a coach ride to Ayr, there are many trains to choose from to get to Manchester.

As paul1609 says, the other ferry option is the Belfast to Birkenhead. You can't get a SailRail ticket on that but you can goot foot passenger tickets for £11. That goes at 10:30am and it'd mean leaving Bangor on the 8:11am train and then the 96 bus up to the other Stena Ferry terminal. In Birkenhead there's a bus (£3 I think) to Hamilton Square station and then there are lots of options to Manchester.

For completeness, Flybe fares between Belfast City airport and Manchester start from £29.99.
There are two trains per hour off peak (three in the peak) between Bangor and Sydneham which is basically opposite the airport.


Enjoy your trip over here,
Cheers,
Mr Toad
 

Starmill

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Thank you for the advice.

Unfortunately I'm not really interested in flying and although the Cairnryan route is something that's very interesting, I'm arriving from Glasgow, so I'll be coming that way, on Hannon Coaches.

If there were a way to actually buy the £57 Advance ticket, I would just buy it. Sadly there seems to be no way to do so.

Thank you anyway
 
Last edited:

NorthOxford

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13 Feb 2012
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Hi

Sorry if this is in the wrong post, but how long are the recommended connection times at Lanyon Place?

Once we can all start travelling again, I'm hoping to get a Sailrail ticket from Birmingham to Belfast and then a single to Portrush.
The 19:00 Enterprise gets to Lanyon Place for 21:05, leaving me about 10 minutes before the Victoria Street to Derry leaves Lanyon Place at 21:18.

Is 10 minutes enough time and is the Enterprise often late?
Or should I have a back up plan? - the next train leaves Lanyon Place at 22:50 and only goes as far as Coleraine - I'd have to get a cab for the last bit.

Thank you for your advice.
 

Elwyn

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I travel fairly regularly on the 19.00 Enterprise. It normally connects fine with the Londonderry train. If it is running late, the conductor comes through the train to see how many passengers there are for the Londonderry line. He usually phones ahead and ensures the train is held. (The beauty of just having a single operator). In addition they sometimes divert the Londonderry train into platform 1 at Belfast so that you get a cross platform change. (Enterprise usually uses platform 2, and the Londonderry train platform 4.).
 

danm14

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Hi

Sorry if this is in the wrong post, but how long are the recommended connection times at Lanyon Place?

Once we can all start travelling again, I'm hoping to get a Sailrail ticket from Birmingham to Belfast and then a single to Portrush.
The 19:00 Enterprise gets to Lanyon Place for 21:05, leaving me about 10 minutes before the Victoria Street to Derry leaves Lanyon Place at 21:18.

Is 10 minutes enough time and is the Enterprise often late?
Or should I have a back up plan? - the next train leaves Lanyon Place at 22:50 and only goes as far as Coleraine - I'd have to get a cab for the last bit.

Thank you for your advice.
In addition to the advice from Elwyn above, there are buses to Derry from the Europa Buscentre at 11pm, 12am and 1am (although obviously not at present).

Your ticket to Belfast will allow you to travel by train on to Great Victoria Street, which is adjacent to the Europa Buscentre.

Alternatively, you could consider the X3 and X4 buses from Dublin to Derry, which leave from Busaras, across the road from Connolly Station.


You can ignore this, I assumed you were travelling to Derry, not Portrush.
 

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