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oyster question for family and Heathrow connection

oyster question for family and Heathrow connection

Old Mar 20th, 2007, 10:28 AM
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oyster question for family and Heathrow connection

We are a family of 6 with 4 kids ages 18, 15, 14 and 8. We will be in London in June arriving 7 AM Tuesday and taking Eurostar on Friday. We are staying in an apartment by Woolwich Arsenal Station. My husband and I have been to London few times, but first time for the kids. Here are my questions and I sure appreciate all the advice!

1. Do my boys ages 14 and 15 need a photo card to travel on buses for free? How do we get those from the States??

2.PAYG oyster cards seems best for me, DH & 18 yr old--and my son who is 8 doesn't require any card as long as he is with us. Is this right?

3. Am I crazy to think it's worth it to save money by taking the tube into London and waiting until 9:30 to go off peak. TFL says its a 2 hour journey to Woolwich Arsenal.So it's a time saving vs money saving debate. Just looking for opinions. Thanks!
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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From Woolwich Arsenal, you won't be taking the tube, but suburban surface railways, into London Bridge and then either Charing Cross or Cannon St. Journey time is about 25-30 minutes. The timetable (in PDF) is at

http://tinyurl.com/38wmzh

Oyster cards are NOT the best for you (or at least, not for your main travel to and from Woolwich) because Woolwich Arsenal station is not yet equipped to handle them. It's in zone 4, and the best deal for you is probably to get three-day and one-day travelcards for the adults. Children aged 5-15 can travel with an adult travelcard holder for £1 for travel starting before 0930 (free after 0930). Child photocards are not needed for 1 and 3day travelcards.

You should be able to get paper travelcards at Woolwich Arsenal station, or at any of these shops in Woolwich:

http://tinyurl.com/2lb39m
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 12:04 PM
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I've just thought - are we definitely talking about Woolwich Arsenal station in south-east London, and not Arsenal tube station in north London?
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 12:19 PM
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Thanks for responding so quickly, Patrick. Yes it's in South East London.

I just read a similar post where it was inferred that travelcards couldn't be used at Heathrow. Is that correct? So what would be the cheapest route to get from airport to the apt?
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 12:21 PM
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Travelcards can be used on London buses & the tube from Heathrow. You can't use Travelcards on either the Heathrow Express or Heathrow Connect services
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 12:26 PM
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As for Heathrow to WA well, in the words of the old Irish joke, "if I was you I wouldn't start from here".

Aside from a car service all I can suggest (and it isn't going to be nice at that time on a weekday) is Tube to Hammersmith, walk across the platform and get on a District line Tube going towards Tower Hill, get off at Embankment & walk to Charing Cross station where you can get a train to Woolwich Arsenal.

Any other public transport route with 6 people is going to cost more than a car service
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 12:28 PM
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forgot - you can get a train from WA to Waterloo East where it's a relatively easy walk to the Eurostar terminal
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 12:46 PM
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After reading these boards for several months it is very exciting to get specific answers. Thank you!

The train to WA from Charing Cross Station is not the DLR,is it? That would be too easy. I'm inclined to agree with the Irish on this one.

Is this suburban surface railway a different ticket than the travelcards?

Well it will be an interesting start to our European adventure!
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 02:53 PM
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No, it's not the DLR - it's the south-east commuter train.

I have a friend who lives in Woolwich; last time I visited him I went from Charing Cross and back to Waterloo East. I had a one-day travelcard for zones 1-4; I think it was around five pounds, maybe a little more.
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 04:47 AM
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The DLR is building an extension to Woolwich Arsenal, but that's not due for completion for a while.

For a whole raft of historic reasons too tedious to go into (not enough room for separate tracks, basically), the suburban commuter trains run by rail companies travelling longer distances were never integrated into London Transport and the tube, expecially in South London. Trains through Woolwich Arsenal go much further into northern Kent.

However, travelcards and travelcard zones apply on these lines, but Oyster (and especially Oyster PAYG) mostly doesn't, and not on this line, for the time being.

Rather than get an all zones travelcard just to cover the extra zones between Heathrow and central London, you could ask for a zones 1-4 card with a one-off add-on to get you from Heathrow into zone 4.

Changing between the tube and the train out to Woolwich is a bit of a palaver however you do it. Alan's way means you have to walk up Villiers St to Charing Cross mainline station - not too bad if you're not in a hurry or encumbered with luggage, but about 100 yards up a slope.

A simpler option would be to stay on the District Line train to Cannon St, where trains run to Woolwich Arsenal about every ten-fifteen minutes in the morning. I don't know Cannon St station; it is likely to be quite busy at commuter times, but it is smaller and less confusing than the other main terminals.

Another option is to get off the District Line train at Westminster and take the Jubilee Line from there to London Bridge: you'd have reasonably smooth escalator access under cover, rather more space to collect yourselves together from time to time, and possibly more trains from London Bridge.

I'd resist the temptation to get on your way as soon as possible from Heathrow: take your time and let the commuter crowds go.

For the sake of completeness, there is a limited commuter boat service from Woolwich Arsenal pier - it's not help on your arrival day, but it might be an option at another time (and with a travelcard you get one-third off the fare, though it's still not cheap):

www.thamesclippers.com
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 08:56 AM
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Thank you all for great answers. I have looked over the link Patrick sent with timetables for the Southeastern Rail. It looks like an easy way to get into town from the apt.

I appreciate knowing that travelcards work on this line. I was searching all over the rail website for that answer and was confused until I read Patrick's and Tania's replies.

So we'll get one and/or 3 day travelcards for zones 1-4 with a one time extension for zone 6. We'll hang out at the airport until 9:30--eating breakfast and buying travelcards--and we'll make our way to central London--then take the district line to Westminster--then Jubilee to London Bridge and train to WA.

So glad to know we can use travel cards and don't have to worry about photocards for the kids.

Thanks again!

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