London – Hinterzarten

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This topic contains 23 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  MartynSinclair 16 Aug 2014
at 12:07
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 24 total)

  • Anonymous

    NIRscot
    Participant

    First things first, travelling by train in Europe is amazingly easy.

    As well as ordering tickets on Eurostar’s website, you can get some amazing bargains from Deutsche Bahn, who have an allocation of seats on Eurostar services.

    Look for LONDON SPEZIAL on their website, or go here.

    Standard and First Class fares are offered. Note that First Class actually entitles you to Standard Premier (same seats as first class, different food.) Standard Premier is excellent as the carriages are mid-way in the train – perfect for the Brussels short cut.

    So, we settled for the first class fare, and due to our dithering, it went from €109 to €129, but considering that was all the way to the border with Switzerland, a good deal! Standard class was €99 and €119, so a real bargain upgrade.

    No lounge access at St. Pancras, so settled for the next best thing: breakfast in The St. Pancras Grand.

    And of course, a 2-4-1 bargain – £25 for two including a glass of Champagne is better value than any lounge!

    St. Pancras station was looking as gorgeous as ever, and always holds a soft spot for me.

    http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3695/9799480495_2da5a2a09d.jpg

    Security and boarding was quick and easy, and we settled in to our seats. That looked like these:
    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7420/9799499954_debc8e6a48.jpg

    EuroStar is looking tired. There’s no other word for it.

    At 10.58hrs, breakfast was served. Included in the train fare.
    http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5536/9799509366_888ca6602b.jpg

    The Brussels short cut.
    The excellent website Seat 61 offers advice for people connecting onto German ICE trains at Brussels – don’t follow the crowds to the exit, look for the escalators adjacent to Carriage 11 entitled “Correspondences” – that way you avoid queues and can get straight to the correct platform.

    As it’s a through ticket, your ticket is still valid should any connecting service be late.

    So, on to the gleaming white Deutsche Bahn train.

    http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2829/9799524464_6800b07b35.jpg

    Travelling at 286kph (although on some routes even higher speeds can be achieved) gives you an appetite, and in First Class, an at seat dining service is provided. The food was good.

    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7324/9799521274_a96a0a69ab.jpg

    This was about €10.00

    Served on crockery, with cutlery. Drinks in glasses. How civilised!

    http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2835/9802936053_e7901d581e.jpg

    I had a wander around the train and found the quiet coach… which overlooked the drivers cab.

    http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3706/9802936793_09bc0059d7.jpg

    On our second train, it was time for coffee and cake!

    http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5483/9799588043_af59b16255.jpg

    However, it wasn’t all plain sail… training – for some reason, our train made an unscheduled stop at a place called Duren, where a train coming in the opposite direction also stopped on the adjacent plaform. Both sets of passengers were decanted and moved on to the other train. Still don’t know why.

    Our second train was diverted due to ‘an issue’ which meant we missed our regional connecting train. However, the conductor announced refreshed connections for every station so was handled remarkably well.
    We had a forty minute wait, however, this train arrived well ahead of it’s planned departure so we had somewhere nice to sit.

    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7343/9799508725_0252e0e27d.jpg

    We had arranged a taxi to meet us for the last hop to the hotel, and, advised of the delay, was waiting for us at Hinterzarten station.

    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7377/9803316244_e18546eaa5.jpg

    We had booked an aparthotel, so I had a massive room with a kitchen (it was never used!).


    Edski777
    Participant

    Excellent tripreport and I also enjoyed your pictures. It does look very civilized and the prices seem like good value.

    How would you rate this against UK long distance train travel?


    NIRscot
    Participant

    Far superior. It’s a cliche but German Railways are superb. The staff on the ICE trains were brilliant. Although I would add that storage space was an issue as was WiFi.

    Their ticket machines are amazing, they also include a journey planner where you get a print out of connections.

    Our trains were delayed and even diverted (and the DB Regio services had some overcrowding) but the information provided was excellent.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    Great report NIR. Have to agree with every aspect as I’m also a big user of DB. Having a home in Lugano which is very central train is often faster and more convenient than air for me, especially when making multi stop trips.

    With the Swiss Half Pass I also receive a 25% discount on all the DB fares which is an added attraction. DB has its own card offering 50% as well.

    Both the Bahn.de and SBB.ch websites are excellent and sometimes one has special offers the other doesn’t for the same journey. Also both are also in English which is very useful.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    Great report NIR. Have to agree with every aspect as I’m also a big user of DB. Having a home in Lugano which is very central train is often faster and more convenient than air for me, especially when making multi stop trips.

    With the Swiss Half Pass I also receive a 25% discount on all the DB fares which is an added attraction. DB has its own card offering 50% as well.

    Both the Bahn.de and SBB.ch websites are excellent and sometimes one has special offers the other doesn’t for the same journey. Also both are also in English which is very useful.


    TominScotland
    Participant

    NIRscot – great report (as always)

    I really envy you a visit to Hinterzarten, one of my favourite Schwarzwald destinations. I have many fond memories of visits, generally in the winter, though. There are some great rustic hotels and guesthouses there, my favourite being the Parkhotel Adler which has been in the same family since 1416!!

    Very good NIRscot!

    Do you know this? I have never been on EuroStar.


    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    Great review. Ashame they can’t serve food and drink so nicely on (most) first class services in UK!


    NIRscot
    Participant

    Eurostar to get new trains


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    About time!


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Great train check, NIRScot.

    Just wanted to mention that the ICEs cannot operate at their maximum speed in Belgium because of the power supply. (The power supply in Belgium differs from that in German). This can and does affect the reliability of the service as one of our readers tells me.

    Thalys seems to have mastered the technical issues on this particular line whereas the ICE still has some way to go.

    The fact you were detrained at Duren (not far from the power change at Aachen) and switched to another trainset would suggest that something was amiss.

    Eurostar is getting both refurbished and new trains as we have reported. But the refurbished trains are delayed by at least two years and the new Siemens e320 trains are currently being tested prior to, it is hoped, certification in 2015.

    http://www.businesstraveller.com/news/eurostar-to-refurbish-fleet-and-add-new-trains


    canucklad
    Participant

    Ditto the thoughts above,an enjoyable read indeed : )

    The way first class train travel should be Will post a comparison report on my East Coast 1st experience that I’m taking tonight. I shall set my expectations accordingly!


    flier74
    Participant

    Am doing a London to Hamburg on Wednesday, thanks to the DB London Spezial in 06:50 mins.
    Just a bit disappointed that it is not Business Premier on the Eurostar, as I was told ot would be. Was looking forward to check out the lounge etc, but hey ho. On theseating plans coach 8 shows Leisure Select/Business Premier. Do they use the Coaches as per demand then or how does it work? It surely cant be the same.
    Thanks for a great trip report, I look forward to my journey.


    flier74
    Participant

    Having just reached the halfway point (Köln) Ihave to say sp farI am very impressed. Lounge access at St Pancras Int’l courtesy of my DB BahnCard, charming and courteous onboard Crew on the Eurostar offering continental breakfast and endless coffee top ups with a smile, asmooth transit in Brussels, a clean ICE. international train with once Again very friendly staff . Currently in the DB lounge awaiting my InterCity to Hamburg being served by the staff, but it just is too early for a beer (well maybe).
    A great way to travel and a very welcome change to flying.
    I also would like to add that when buying the ticket through DB,it is possible to cancel the DB Speazial ticket up to the day before for a penalty of €15, which is favourbale compared to eurostar through tickets which are mainly non refundable if you want to book a bargain fare.

    Sorry to hijack your thread NIRScot

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