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Using Eurostar and TGV


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At the end of the month Mrs D71 is travelling to our place via train, ticket has been booked and paid for but we have a small problem as she is unable to print the tickets at home she has to wait until she gets to  St Pancras and use their ticket machines due to her using both Eurostar and TGV. She is going London to Lille then onwards by TGV to Burgundy.  When she gets her ticket in London will it show the whole trip or only the leg to Lille, will she have to do anything when she gets to Lille as there is only 30mins between trains  Don't want the boss to have any problems on the trip.

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If the trip was booked in one go, the machine will give the ticket for each leg all at once at the outset. If it's a return journey Mrs D71 should get four tickets.

Mind you, if she manages to get the transaction right first time and without asking for help from the attendant she'll have done well. It's over complicated.
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Living in London, I have usually gone into the French Railways office on Piccadilly and booked every leg of my journey over the counter with them.

http://uk.voyages-sncf.com/en/about/travel-centre

That way, you walk out clutching all the tickets in one of their flashy envelopes.

I wonder if your wife could go there a few days before her trip and get printouts done?

Angela
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She'll have to remember to composter her ticket in the machine before she gets on the train from Lille to Burgundy. They are usually quite handy to use.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Did she book online???? IF this was booked on line, then you deserve a medal, of the highest order.

There is no way I can book these days from London to Chambery or Grenoble via Lille on the web. Over the last few years I have written to them and they apparently cannot cope with such a request, that I could do in the past. These days it is via Gare du Nord / Gare de Lyon or nothing!!!!![:@] And why I would want that hassle is beyond me, why anyone would, is beyond me.

They said IF I called and paid their highly inflated phone charges, then maybe they could help............ why would I do that????

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Another thing to check, Dept71...

Is your wife's onward journey from Lille departing from Lille-Europe (the station at which Eurostar arrives)?

Or is it from Lille-Flandres, which is the town's original station, about 10 mins' walk away towards the town centre? It's an easy walk, but you need to factor it in to the timing for changing trains.

Angela
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[quote user="idun"]

Did she book online???? IF this was booked on line, then you deserve a medal, of the highest order.

[/quote]

Idun, yes we booked online, was not hard did it via Eurostar's website. Hope those ticket machines work ok when she gets her ticket, The ticket was paid with my debit card, after the booking was made the web site said the tickets would have to be collected at the station either at the ticket office or at the machines with the card that paid for the journey and the person who's card it is has to be there as well.

Trouble is I am going to France a week earlier and won't be in the UK. Bloody system. She will be taking my card with its pin to stick in the machine to get her ticket, don't want to open the can of worms she may get with a jobs worth if she talks to a human because I'm not there. Its a warning for other people.

The TGV arrives at Lille at the same station, above the Eurostar line. That's what we have been told.

Thanks all

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I have looked at main stations in the Burgundy region and  the eurostar site says via Paris.

As they do for me, at all the stations I would go to, Aix les Bains, Chambery or Grenoble.

So no not easy, no idea how you got the option.

Unfortunately the Capitainerail is members only and I am loathe to join sites that do that. I like to look and see what any site has to offer before I give them my details. If they look OK, then I would join.

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The station that we use in Burgundy is Le Creusot TGV, there is one train per day that goes through Lille  to our station and that is the Brussels to Lyon service, it also stops at Charles de Gaulle airport so we also have the option of Easyjet to Paris then the train. The train gets into Le Creusot at about 10.30pm, this suits us. When booking it asks what time do you want to travel, as I know when it gets in I put "evening" that way it will show the Lille option as well as the Paris options.

The only problem is the return back to Lille that train leaves Le Creusot at 6.30 am.(commuter special?)

 Still SWMBO will be coming back with me in the car but its a pain when friends return to the UK by train. Yes we could go via Paris there are loads during the day but Lille saves the hike across Paris.

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D71 has hit on your problem Idun.

Somewhat logically, the system will only give you a connection through Lille if ........... there's a connection!

Pretty much throughout the year, there are only 3 trains daily from Lille heading south to Avignon & Marseille via Burgundy. They're not hourly. Same applies to most other destinations, but even less frequency.

If you ask (for example) for a 10.30 dep out of St Pancras, then it quite probably won't connect with one of those trains. Thus, it will only give you a journey via Paris.

On a more positive note, connection through Lille Europe works fine. Simplicity itself.

However .......... If perchance there were to be a delay on the outbound Eurostar, then Mrs D71 should speak to the 'Chef de Train'. He / she will stamp her tkt and that will enable onward travel by the next available routing. At that time of the day, almost certainly via Paris.
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One of the major problems with the SNCF website is you have to give them a time period you wish to travel, if no trains run at that time you are out of luck, they don't suggest earlier or later trains what they need to do is make the search more flexible. One other little gem we have been told by the locals, you will never find any cheap deals at our local TGV station from or to Paris, as Le Creusot is the first stop from Paris.

Thanks for that tip Gardian will tell her.

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Not true actually.

This morning, I had a look on the SNCF website to confirm my theory about Idun's Grenoble / Chambery problem. I'll return to that in a moment. Whilst looking at the timetable page and having specified a 10.00 departure, it gave me the option of seeing earlier or later trains.

As for Grenoble / Chambery, there are no direct trains from Lille to either - at this time of the year anyway. All routings involve either a change at Lyon (or sometimes Valence) or the trek across Paris. But the change at both Lille and Lyon works and it took me 10 mins to come up with the options.

Don't get me wrong - the website isn't one of the best, but its better than it used to be.
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"The TGV arrives at Lille at the same station, above the Eurostar line. That's what we have been told."

Well, it certainly used to do when I used it.  You have to go up to the main concourse, find your train, and descend again ... but simple really.

As for booking online with  SNCF, it is I admit some years since I did this, but found I often had to book London to Lille Eurostar separately, on the Eurostar site, then from Lille onwards, especially as I liked to travel 1st on TGV but 2nd on Eurostar (no point in paying a premium for such a short journey!).

Only disadvantage there is that not being booked as a complete journey, you have no redress if you miss the connection, but even so I have always found SNCF staff helpful especially on board train and especially if you are not French - if you print your tickets off the web, they need to check your passport with the ticket, so they soon know you are not French.

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Just a few thoughts on the +'s & -'s of routing via Lille or Paris for onward travel in France.

Lille does of course have the great advantage of being in the same station for one's onward connection. The downside is that there are relatively few direct connections to where you might want to go + if for any reason there's a Eurostar delay, then you could well be up the proverbial creek! Add to that, Lille Europe isn't the nicest of stations, with minimal facilities.

The change from Paris Gare du Nord to (for example) Gare de Lyon isn't impossible. You can buy a Metro tkt from the buffet steward in either direction & the RER is just a couple of stops. The problem is that if you're less than fit & time is tight, + luggage, then it could be too stressful. A taxi is of course a viable alternative, but not cheap.

Best thing about Paris is quicker overall transit times & more options on where you want to get to.

Overall, I'd say that if you're somewhat less than decrepit, with minimal luggage, go Paris.

If not, go Lille, but accept that you'll have fewer options on how to get to your destination.
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So please, where did you find any journey to Chambery or Grenoble via Lille, on the Eurostar site, because I cannot find one.

In the old days, one had the option on the Eurostar web site of saying where one changed trains, but not now, in the best interests of 'good' customer service they reduce the options and the quality of the service offered.

Sadly changing in Lyon has become the norm for the main cities in the Alpes. Not that long ago, we could catch the train in Grenoble directly to Lille, and perhaps it even went onto Brussels and it stopped at Marne le Vallee. No longer. Also we could catch the Geneva/Barcelona train, no changes and it stopped at some of the smaller stations in the Alpes too. The SNCF is not what it was and their web site is even worse than it ever was.

Do I see any improvements with Eurostar or the SNCF, no, progressively worse and worse.

And saying that I like the trains I catch when I am back, usually new stock and very nice, as long as they are running and not on greve.

Which brings me to changing in Paris, what if the metro is on greve? And with my gammy knees, I do not want or need to be hulking my luggage over any distance at all. Didn't want to when I was younger and fitter, but now, no, unacceptable.

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I did the gare du Nord to another one of the Paris stations, might have been est, can't remember now, once about 20-odd years ago, with minimal luggage, when I was still (approximately) young and fit.  Nightmare. Never again (and this from someone who was well accustomed to the London Underground in all its various disguises at that time)..  Changing at Lille is far superior .... and I have seen many a worse station.  I avoid Paris like the plague, unless I am actually going there ... and the last time I did go there to meet up with friends from the UK, my train from down south was late, late... and even later ... whereas their Eurostar journey had been quite uneventful.  They had almost finished their lunch by the time I arrived having set off at some unmentionable hour of the  morning. 

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Idun ........

I used the SNCF site. The Eurostar site will always take you via Paris.

Go to 'Timetables' on the SNCF site and for Lille - Grenoble you'll get 5 daily options which avoid Paris (this was for 21/10). The same ones come up if you go to Reservations. If you then change the departure point to London, some (but not all) of those come up. Some won't because of timing ex London.

Suggestion: you do 10 mins of research on available trains and then ring Eurostar. I've always found the people on there to be excellent and very helpful. They can 'force' the system to give you what you want, but its more than helpful to them if you can be precise about the trains you want.

I think that I covered gammy knees & Paris in my earlier post.

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I have looked at the SNCF site as well as Eurostar, I do know what a lousy service there is these days in comparison to what we used to have. In spite of flights being a lot more expensive, they are still cheaper than anything I have seen Eurostar proposing and I know where I stand with flights and far less problems with luggage.

And I use the train quite a bit when I am in France and still find the SNCF web site, really bad.

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I bought tickets on-line in the UK in August and travelled from Ashford to Brive, via Eurostar. The Eurostar ticket had to be booked separately (I think) - I believe their website claimed that Brive didn't exist!

However, although both on-line printed-out receipts looked the same, and both had a code number to enter into a UK station ticket machine, only the Eurostar one produced a ticket at Ashford. They told me at the Ashford booking office that I had to get the Paris-Brive ticket at the station in France (which is Gare d'Austerlitz - ie not TGV, so not quite the same as D71 trip).

What they didn't tell me at Ashford was that a French ticket machine won't hand out a ticket if it wasn't booked with a French credit card. I had to go to the booking office at the Gare d'Austerlitz instead. And I should say they were very helpful there, and printed out the ticket very quickly.

So I don't know whether JandM was speaking from experience about getting all the tickets from a UK ticket machine - I can only say my experience was quite different.

So D71 might want to leave a bit of time at St Pancras to see if they can get all the tickets there, and be prepared for a bit of a rush at Lille if they can't. It would be nice to hear from D71 after the trip about how the tickets were produced.

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I was speaking from experience, Araucaria, which I thought was standard, but the range of accounts here shows how awkward and capricious the system can be.

In my case, I booked an aller et retour trip over this last summer from Agen to St Pancras using the SNCF site. Collected the four tickets which covered the four legs of the return trip, which was via Monparnasse and Gare du Nord, and, apart from it taking two attempts with the machine on the Agen station concourse, it all went smoothly.

And I've just checked with a friend who did the same return journey in reverse, starting at St Pancras, and he says he got all four tickets from the machine in London.

I don't know about the Eurostar site, but when I booked with SNCF it offered you a pdf that explained with pictures and all how to use the touch screen ticket machines. Of course I didn't bother to print it, which is why I came unstuck at the point of collection and it took more than one go.

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Thanks, I have the option of Lille, but had to smile, my very first option came up like this!

                                   ----------------------------------------------------------

De la gare de :

LONDRES ST-PANCRAS

Transporteur :

EUROSTAR

Numéro du train :

9114

Période

Arrivée à :

10h26

A la gare de :

LILLE EUROPE

Départ à :

11h13

De la gare de :

LILLE EUROPE

Transporteur :

TGV

Numéro du train :

7546

Arrivée à :

12h14

A la gare de :

PARIS NORD

Départ à :

14h41

De la gare de :8h04

PARIS GARE DE LYON

Transporteur :

TGV

Numéro du train :

9249

Arrivée à :

17h38

A la gare de :

CHAMBERY

          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Got to love 'em!

Still there were some options, as I said, better service a few years ago, ie trains directly from Lille to Grenoble for example.

It doesn't really matter where I get to in the Savoie or Isere as I have friends I can stay with in both and actually getting around to the places I need to get to is fairly easy as it is all in the valleys, fortunately and not absolutely nulle part.

Won't be using the train though, as the prices quoted are horrific, I can get far cheaper prices to fly, even using a big airline.

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