Which Train Line?

Jan 27th, 2006, 10:20 AM
  #1  
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Which Train Line?

We're going on a cruise out of Southampton this summer and plan on spending a few days in London. We arrive at Gatwick and we'll probably take the Gatwick Express to our hotel near Victoria Station. We'll need to get from Victoria Station to Southampton .. does anyone know which train line that is?? Also, after the cruise we'll need to go from Southampton to Heathrow.. again, which train line? It looks like we have to change trains - will moving the luggage be a real hassle? Should we buy our tickets in advance, or can we wait until we get to London? Also, any suggestions for a moderate priced hotel for the overnight near Heathrow, hopefully with an airport shuttle (we have an 8:00am flight home)?
bconley351 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 10:30 AM
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South West trains - for schedules and fares: www.nationalrail.co.uk - also investigate some kind of day pass that may be cheaper than regular tickets. You'll have to go to Waterloo station for these trains (about a mile from Victoria)
PalQ is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 11:13 AM
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According to www.nationalrail.co.uk, there are occasional direct trains from either London Victoria or London Waterloo to Southampton Central. For more frequent service, you'll need to change trains at least once. To get from Southampton Central to Heathrow, take the train to Reading and then transfer to the RailAir bus. For these routes the Web site doesn't show any price break for buying tickets in advance.
TimS is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 11:46 AM
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I looked for direct Victoria-Southampton trains on nationalrail.co.uk and couldn't find any - all Victoria departures had you changing once - usually at Clapham Junction, joining the Waterloo-southampton line which does offer direct trains at least hourly. I would advise going to Waterloo where the Southampton trains originate as by the time they get to Clapham Junction they could be mobbed at certain times. Plus Clapham Junction, the UK's busiest rail station, is a maze where it's hard to find which of the zillions of platforms your train will come in - posted info is lacking or sucks.
I'm not doubting Tim found some direct trains from Victoria it's just after a fairly exhaustive search i couldn't find any.
Try yourself: www.nationalrail.co.uk
PalQ is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 12:54 PM
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PalQ's recommendation to avoid changing trains at Clapham Junction is a good one.
TimS is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 01:20 PM
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The least-effort way from Southampton to Heathrow is the bus (every half hour, about 100 minutes). Taxi from the dock to the bus station. nationalexpress.com

The second least effort is the train to Woking (not Reading) with the connecting bus to Heathrow. Virtually all the (million a day) direct trains between Waterloo and Southampton stop at Woking.

There's usually about twopence difference between the price of a walk-up offpeak single London-Southampton railway ticket and a walk up off-peak virtually unrestricted return. So your best bet, financially, is to get an offpeak return Waterloo-Southampton railway ticket and get off at Woking on the return journey.

There is virtually never any point in buying railway tickets in advance for journeys within greater Greater London (ie, within about 100 miles radius). The train operating companies are lobbying to change this - the result of a cricial regulatory requirement. The government appears to be supinely accepting their pitch and our increasingly useless Opposition leader (who's supposed to represent a constituency where these things matter a lot, and on this occasion is failing utterly to represent it) has suddenly gone dumb. So it's possible anyone discovering this advice in a year or two should double-check it.

Getting the Gatwick Express to Victoria is, IMHO, a pointless extravagance unless the 2.3 nanoseconds it saves you over the substantially cheaper Southern Railway train really matters.
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 02:02 PM
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In reply to flanneruk, the sooner they re-nationalise the lot, the better and I'll vote for any party that will give me a notarised promise that they'll do it!
Grahamh49 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 02:37 PM
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I agree with FlannerUK. The Bus is probably the easiest, if slower option from Victoria to Southampton. There are usually at least two direct trains an hour to Southampton - not all trains on this route terminate at there - some will have Bournemouth or Weymouth as final destination. If you are forced to take a train that requres a change, then that will be at Basingstoke (underpass linking platforms) or possibly Winchester (Stay on sayme platform).

You need to get out at Southampton Central, and not the first station labelled Southampton (airport parkway.)

I am not sure there is such a thing as a moderately priced hotel near Heathrow (they have always seemed very expensive to me).
willit is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 03:48 PM
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There are hourly trains from Victoria to Southampton, but they go a long way round (via Gatwick and Havant), taking about 2 hours 40 minutes, or more than twice as long as the half-hourly trains from Waterloo.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 02:27 PM
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I went into the South Line website and checked for 'no change' travel to Southampton from both Victoria and Waterloo. For some reason the travel time from Victoria is 2:34, and the travel from Waterloo is 1:34. I'm guessing the train from Victoria sits an hour someplace? At any rate I'm thinking an hour of my life is worth the taxi fare from Victoria to Waterloo.. any differing opinions?
bconley351 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 03:49 PM
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You can guess that the train from Victoria sits for an hour someplace, but you would be wrong. As Geoff explained in his post immediately above yours, the train from Victoria takes a longer, less direct route.

Since you would have to allow a half hour to get to Waterloo, you are really only trading off a half hour against the cost of the taxi to Waterloo.
ron is offline  
Jan 31st, 2006, 07:45 AM
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I believe the Victoria train goes via Gatwick, then possibly Arundel, Chichester, and Havant. It goes through some pretty coutntryside - it depends how quickly you wish to arrive.

If it were me, I'd brave the change at Clapham. The correct platforms for trains to each destination are labelled on the top of each staircase from the overhead bridge, or on the upward stairs from the underpass.
willit is offline  
Jan 31st, 2006, 09:40 AM
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Lots of steps to go up and down at Clapham Junction if you have much luggage could be a hassle.
The best way is to take the tube, bus or taxi to Waterloo - this is a no-brainer. Bus would be most luggage friendly except cab.
PalQ is offline  
Feb 1st, 2006, 05:57 AM
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If you take the tube from Victoria to Waterloo, you have to change tubes, so the journey's more complicated than changing at Clapham Junction.
If you get a bus from Victoria to Waterloo, you need to allow plenty of time in case of traffic delays, and, if you've not done the journey before, it'll be as daunting as changing at Clapham Junction.
I'd change at Clapham Junction, but I never have much luggage (it's only one flight of stairs down and one up, anyway) and I know my way around because I've done it before (from memory, the Southampton trains leave from Platform 9).
If changing trains seems too daunting, then you could get a bus from Victoria Coach Station, or the slow train to Southampton. If you get the train, note that only part of the train from Victoria goes to Southampton, so you need to check you're in the right carriage - you can walk through the train after it leaves, but that's awkward with luggage.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Feb 1st, 2006, 08:34 AM
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I still recommend going to Waterloo, by cab preferably and then getting on the train leisurely as it is sitting there for at least several minutes as the train originates there - getting good seats then going to Clapham and facing a crowded platform joining a train that may already be quite full. But i think it depends on what type of traveler you are - the least hassle would be to go to Waterloo by cab and leisurely join the waiting train. I also frequently join trains in Clapham Jct and it seems there are often a lot of people on platforms to join the train as this is after all the "UK's busiest train station" as emblazoned on station walls. Just my opinion. I appreciate the others views as well.
PalQ is offline  
Feb 1st, 2006, 09:38 AM
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I spent a month in So. England in 1989 so my memory is a tad dim, but as I recall, the above observation that there is no benefit to advanced tix is correct. This means that you can wait until you get to Gatwick to make your decision. You simply walk up to the ticket counter or any BritRail employee with your luggage and say, "here is what I want to do, what do you suggest?" The advice by "flanneruk" is excellent. Go with the least expensive train from Gatwick to London. Changing trains at Clapham Jnt. is OK if you are commuting and have spent a lifetime drinking brown ale, but for most tourists it can be confusing, finding the correct stairs and platforms are a bit of a hassle, and if the weather is foul it can be a downright bad experience. I'd get the rndtrip Waterloo-Southhampton ticket and as you are heading south, engage the train crews on how is best to return to Heathrow. It will give you something to talk about while you are enjoying the trip, and there can be realtime changes in the capabilities of the rail or bus systems (such as unexpected construction) that we cannot anticipate in advance, and can make your plans go haywire. So, this is a situation where a last minute decision might be a good plan.
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