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Archive for May 14th, 2008

Well, it turns out that travelling across Europe by train was easier than we dared hope. The bus, tram and trains generally behaved themselves and worked reasonably to schedule, the station staff were friendly, we could carry food and water, go for walks along the train and see the view (except in the tunnel). it was far, far better than flying.

The only slightly stressful part of the journey was the change from the Cologne-Brussels train to the Eurostar. Normally the procedure for changing train was pretty simple: get off train, follow signs to platform, find the approximate place for our coach and wait until the train pulled in. Eurostar insists on shoving its passengers through all manner of checks, and on top of this the British Immigration service checks our passport here, it seems a bit odd to be checking passports for the UK when we have to cross the border to France first, but there we go.

After that it was pretty easy: we shot through the tunnel, arrived in London St. Pancras and ambled over to King’s Cross. Our train was listed, although without the platform details. This was encouraging but only to a point, so I went and asked at the information desk if they knew where the train would come in. They were surprisingly cheerful considering they are probably being asked this question 37 times each shift.
“Well, we know, but we don’t advertise it until 15 minutes before the departure”
Interesting. Why would that be?
A grin: “Well, it’s pretty hard to get on a train full of rubbish.”
Fair enough. Anyway the number came up then and we joined the swarm running for platform 8.

To be fair to National Express, the train left on time, and two hours and twenty minutes later we were in Northallerton. We’d travelled half way across Europe and arrived within two minutes of the planned time- earlier, as it happens.

Try that in a car.

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