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London Gatwick to Paris by train - question about connections & such

London Gatwick to Paris by train - question about connections & such

Nov 26th, 2006, 08:16 AM
  #1  
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London Gatwick to Paris by train - question about connections & such

Good morning all!
My sister & I are flying DFW-LGW scheduled to arrive on Monday morning, March 12 at 7:55am. We want to take the Eurostar to Paris upon arrival for 4 days before our London adventure. I'm needing advice on which Eurostar train in which to purchase tickets. Allowing time for baggage retrieval & customs, taking the Gatwick Express to Victoria and changing on the tube to Waterloo, would we be safe buying tickets for the 10:40am train? Or...is there a better way to manage this transportation transfer? I plugged in the info on the Tube journey planner which routed me from Gatwick on the southern train transferring at Clapham junction to Waterloo...I confess I don't even know what that means and am hoping for help. Thanks, in advance!
dorkforcemom is offline  
Nov 26th, 2006, 08:51 AM
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Southern Trains = a different train company to Gatwick Express.

Clapham Junction = Major Railway station

The routing suggested is quicker - 45 minutes - (and cheaper) than GEX and means you get off one train at Clapham Junction, find the correct platform for the Waterloo train and get on it.

Check http://journeyplanner.tfl.gov.uk as it's a better choice for London travel - but in this case gives the same results (plus an option via London Bridge)

As for getting the 10:40am train - unless you have a business class ticket you have to check in 30 minutes before departure - ie 10:10 at the latest which would mean leaving Gatwick at 9:25 at the latest. As it's unlikely you'd be out of Gatwick before 9:00am it means that you have 30 minutes "spare" to cope with all contingencies including missing connections, queuing for tickets, queuing for checkin, etc.

In short I wouldn't do it
alanRow is offline  
Nov 26th, 2006, 09:03 AM
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This is exactly the sort of info I need - thanks! I suspected the connection was tight - you've confirmed what I was afraid to admit. The next Eurostar train departs just after 12:00 - allowing quite enough time don't you think? Frankly, I didn't want wait that long. The cost goes from $75 to $89 as well; however, better make the connection and relax than miss it!

At London Gatwick, what is the setup for catching the Southern train versus the Gatwick express?
dorkforcemom is offline  
Nov 26th, 2006, 09:06 AM
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Same station for all the trains - but you have to buy the ticket before you get on the train. Then just read the departure board and find out which platform the train is on. Note that Clapham Junction won't be the end point for the train just one of the stops on it's way
alanRow is offline  
Nov 26th, 2006, 09:19 AM
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You might look at a car service from LGW straight to the Ashford Eurostar station, bypassing London altogether. Probably will cost something between £70 and £100 - lots less hassle and might allow you to make an earlier train. For example, check out http://www.thinktaxi.co.uk/ - one of many.
Gardyloo is offline  
Nov 26th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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Really? You've opened up a possibility I never considered. In other words, have a car service pick us up from Gatwick & drive us to an alternative station (Ashford) to take the train to Paris, eliminating the need to train to London altogether? What are the disadvantages of going this route? Why wouldn't I?
dorkforcemom is offline  
Nov 26th, 2006, 01:55 PM
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Main disadvantage is not all trains stop at Ashford so you only need to make sure you book an Ashford one.
janisj is offline  
Nov 26th, 2006, 04:32 PM
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No way is there enough time for the 10.40am train. You only need a slight delay in your flight to UK and you will miss the train. Also, it is very hard to predict how long immigration will take as it depends on how many flights arrive at once. It is better to allow plenty of time. Finally, you will be tired after the flight and you will be dealing with London rush hour traffic - better to do this when you aren't in a desperate rush yourself.
Carolena
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Nov 27th, 2006, 04:35 AM
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Unless there are virtually no flights to Paris from Gatwick (hard to believe) why on earth go into London to take the Eurostar ? You are already at an airport, just get on another flight and fly to Paris. You can get a one way ticket if you want to do Eurostar back for your stay in London. Honestly, I have never figured out why anyone would want to mess around with getting back into London (no matter how you do it, i.e. train, tube, car service, cab) when you are already at an airport and could fly over just as easily at that point.
Lori is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 04:47 AM
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The simplest route to Waterloo is NOT via Clapham Junction - you'd have to walk from one side of the station to the other, up and down stairs to a tunnel; if you're trying to do it at the same time as a lot of commuters, you will find it very tiresome and confusing.

The simplest route is to take a First Capital Connect (used to be Thameslink) train and get off at London Bridge, where you will only have to wait on the same platform for a train to Waterloo East (there are trains that terminate at London Bridge, and you would have to change platforms - it's on a level then up a slope, rather than stairs, but an added confusion you don't want). Your ticket is to "London terminals" and should be valid all the way to Waterloo.

From Waterloo East you would have some stairs up to a walkway to the main Waterloo station, then down escalators and across the concourse to Waterloo International.

These trains run every 15 minutes or so, taking 40 minutes to London Bridge - allow 50-55 minutes for the whole journey. For a 10.40 departure from Waterloo, you'd ideally need to leave Gatwick on the 0838 or 0852: the 0916 would be getting a bit tight. I'd go for the later Eurostar and then you could take your time at Gatwick and at Waterloo, and avoid floods of commuters.
PatrickLondon is online now  
Nov 27th, 2006, 04:58 AM
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I forgot to mention that with all these tube/train changes you will have to manage your luggage up and down stairs, across platforms, etc.

Unless you are traveling with just a carryon (not so easy these days so check your airline about allowable sizes) you may not be in for a fun time (which is why I suggested flying over since you are already at an airport).
Lori is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 05:17 AM
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A check of www.skyscanner.net indicates there are no "budget" options for flying from Gatwick to any Paris airport.

That doesn't mean you couldn't get a reasonably-priced ticket on another airline.

If you do decide to fly please be aware of any checked luggage weight limits which would probably be more restrictive than those for your transatlantic portion.
Dukey is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 05:38 AM
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Sorry to stray from the question, but since you're traveling AA, is there a reason you didn't just do an open jaw flight -- flying into Paris and returning from London? Perhaps too late to change now, or maybe you bought some super fare, but I'm surprised as normally their open jaw flights would be no more expensive than a round trip to Gatwick -- and a whole lot less aggravation as you're finding out.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 06:03 AM
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As others had already posted, I would expect 4hours for LGW-Waterloo connections to play it safe. It can take 1-1.5hours to de-plane, go through passport control, and get luggage.
AA/BA flights arrive on the North terminal, so you'll need to take a short ride to the South terminal to take the train. It definitely makes more sense to get to Waterloo via Clapham Junction.
Ashford is a possibility, but then you won't be able to use London-Paris round-trip ticket.
W9London is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 06:47 AM
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Amazingly, there is no air service between LGW and Paris. When Eurostar opened, the assumption was that people would take the train instead of the very short flight, so the airlines exited that route, hence the rather convoluted means of getting to Ashford or central London in order to catch the train.

Eurostar seems unwilling to ticket openjaws, so if you got a cheap return ticket to/from Ashford you'd then pay for a separate ticket (probably under £20) from the Ashford station into London on the return. That's probably cheaper than two one-way tickets on the train.
Gardyloo is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 08:44 AM
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Wow - I'm impressed (once again) with the knowledge of those who are able to provide detailed information on how to get these two sisters to their train! I need to examine the options & visualize the choices carefully - I'm extremely appreciative.

As far as flying from LGW to Paris - I've examined (what I think) every conceivable option there and it just doesn't appear to exist. The times are inconvenient or from Heathrow...

Flying open jaw would have made more sense; however, we grabbed these tickets at $380 roundtrip from DFW. The flights to and from CDG or open jaw were much, much more for spring break (very popular week from DFW to Europe) so...we're resolved with training it. In retrospect, we may end up spending that much on train tickets! In any case, I'm excited about my trip...

Now, back to the train dilemna...
dorkforcemom is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 10:46 AM
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Not to throw in yet another option, but there are flights from Gatwick to other places in France. If you were willing to visit one of those, then maybe you could take the train to Paris and get the "bonus" of another location.
WillTravel is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 10:47 AM
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There are also flights to Amsterdam (I can recommend EasyJet) which is an easy train ride to Paris. Silly as it might seem, maybe this is the easier option!
WillTravel is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 11:02 AM
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And from Dallas there are flights to Argentina, too. For yet more choices.
Gardyloo is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 12:32 PM
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Sigh... WillTravel, apologies for the snide. My Snideometer obviously needed calibrating this morning. It's fixed now.
Gardyloo is offline  

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