Using the Chunnel--1st or 2nd class?

Old Jan 12th, 1999, 05:20 AM
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Using the Chunnel--1st or 2nd class?

We plan to fly into London and take the Chunnel to Brussels. Is 2nd class nice enough to skip the extra $ for 1st class? Also how difficult is the connection from Gatwick to the Eurostar? Since we have to reserve a seat for the Chunnel trip, how much time should we allow between plane arrival, and train departure?
Old Jan 12th, 1999, 05:48 AM
Nigel Doran
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I have travelled in both classes, and whilst I prefer first class, standard class is totally acceptable. In first class, you usually get a full meal and complimentary drinks from the bar depending on the time you travel. In standard, you buy your food from the buffet car, but it is on the dear side. Best bet is to buy sandwiches from Boots the chemist at Waterloo station and stock up on your pop, water etc. too. There's nothing to stop you from taking your own wine or beer on board.
As for travelling from Gatwick to Waterloo International, it is not too difficult. I would allow 3 hours to be safe from touchdown to boarding, bearing in mind that you have to be at the train station 20 mins. before departure time minimum. 3 hours might be a bit much, but always best to be safe. Take the train from Gatwick to Victoria and then take the tube, but at rush hour travelling with cases is not nice! Pack light or take a taxi {!} Alternatively, stay in London for a night or two. Alternatively, stay in London for a while first!
Old Jan 12th, 1999, 05:59 AM
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Hi V,

Hope you'll return to Britain and spend time having fun in London! In the meantime, both Gatwick Express and Connex South Central trains go from Gatwick to Victoria station (takes half an hour; unfortunately no direct trains to Waterloo). From Victoria I'd hop in a black cab to get to Waterloo International -- great view of Palace of Westminster/Big Ben as you cross the Thames. Here's more Gatwick info:

In the meantime, here's my personal, biased opinion of my favorite train:

Bon voyage!
-- T
Old Jan 12th, 1999, 08:14 AM
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Take a look at the Railtrack site:

It shows numerous trains from Gatwick to Waterloo that do not require a tube journey or taxi ride in London. They involve changes at either Clapham Junction or London Bridge and take about one hour.
Old Jan 14th, 1999, 10:40 PM
Douglas Amrine
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Unless you are taking many bags, I would definitely take the train from Gatwick to Clapham Junction. This is the Connex train, NOT the Gatwick Express (which is overpriced anyway). At Clapham Junction there are many trains for Waterloo (from platform 11 I think), but to change platforms you will have to carry your bags up and down a flight of stairs (fairly long - equivalent to two normal flights). If you can't manage this, then it is best to take the taxi from Victoria, although this will take a bit more time than taking the train from Clapham. The taxi shouldn't cost more than around 8.00. Have a great trip.

Douglas Amrine
Old Jan 15th, 1999, 03:59 PM
Tony Currie
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By the Chunnel, I presume you mean Eurostar. Although everything that has been said above makes sense, you have to take into account that you will be travelling for 7-8 hours to get to Brussels that way.
A connection flight from Gatwick should take less than a couple of hours and you will be able to get your bags checked thru. The advantage of Eurostar is that the stations are in the centre of the cities, whereas the airports aren't.
I live in SW Ldn and Eurostar to Paris or Brussels would be my preference (over the plane), cos the time difference and cost is negligible.
If you are doing a Euro tour and need to get back to Gatwick to fly out, I'd take Eurostar on the way back, when you are refreshed and alert, and spend some time in London before flying out.
Hope this helps.

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