The Anonymous Widower

Edinburgh Tourist Tax Could Be £2 Per Room, Per Night

The title of this post is the same as this article on the BBC.

Will it actually make any difference?

  • I looked up the price of two nights in a Premier Inn in the City Centre for next week and they want to charge me £263.
  • Glasgow was £137 and Stirling £105 for Premier Inns close to the stations.
  • Will the tax apply to Airbnb?

I do think, we’re going to see some innovative tourist taxes and rewards.

For instance, all hotels in Geneva must give you a voucher for a day’s free travel on public transport. This applies for everything from a camp-site to a five-star hotel.

Some hotels in Hamburg, do something similar.

February 1, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Eurostar To And From Amsterdam

On Tuesday I took Eurostar to Amsterdam.

The trip took three hours and forty-one minutes with stops at Brussels and Rotterdam.

The Brussels stop allows passengers to leave and join, but Rotterdam only allows passengers to leave.

As the number of passengers grow between London and Amsterdam, could there come a time, when some or all Amsterdam services don’t need to stop at Brussels.

If so, how much time would this save?

Current stops by Eurostar take the following times.

  • Ashford – 9 mins.
  • Calais – 3 mins
  • Ebbsfleet – 6 mins.
  • Lille – 14 minutes

These times have been calculated by looking at similar services that have different stopping patterns.

Note that, Calais and Ebbsfleet are faster as they are stops on the direct route.

So I suspect that if an Amsterdam service could go through Brussels without stopping, something between 9-12 minutes could be saved.

This could bring the journey time between London and Amsterdam closer to three and a half hours.

What would that time do for sales of tickets?

Eurostar Hold A Lot Of Cards

Eurostar are in a very good position on this route.

  • They could run a flagship express service twice a day for those in a hurry.
  • This could be backed up by slightly slower services calling at places from or to where passengers want to go. These would include Ebbsfleet, Ashford and Antwerp.
  • Immigration and security clearance is probably under thirty minutes at the start of the journey and perhaps ten at the end.
  • Immigration and security times will be reduced, as procedures get better.
  • St. Pancras, Rotterdam Centraal and Amsterdam Centraal are all very well-connected stations.
  • Extra services can be added as demand dictates.
  • Eurostar is more diabled-friendly and those in smaller scooters can drive in!
  • They could extend some Brussels services to Amsterdam.
  • I estimate that just under 4,000,000 people live within the North and South Circular Roads and have easy access by public transport to St. Pancras.

They can also create a very intelligent booking computer system, that optimises their services. Budget airlines have been doing this for years.

What About The Airlines?

Note the numbers of passengers who fly.

According to Skyscanner, there are upwards of two hundred flights a day between London and Amsterdam. An Airbus A320 holds 150 passengers, so if there are only a hundred per flight, that is 20,000 passengers per day.

Looking at the 6th of June, Eurostar are running nine trains between London and Brussels. As each new Class 374 train can hold 900 passengers, that is around 8,000 seats per day.

So the airlines have much more capacity than Eurostar and they can add and remove it, easier than Eurostar can?

The Comfort Factor

I haven’t travelled in steerage on the new trains, as I always pay about thirty-forty pounds extra for Premium Economy, so I get the following benefits.

  • A very pleasant gluten-free meal.
  • A much more spacious environment.
  • It’s also rare that I don’t get a window seat.

But if I did use steerage, it would be a more pleasant experience than flying on a budget airline.

I think it’s been about ten years since I flew to a city within a two-hour flight of London, where there was a rail alternative.

I also tend to come home by rail, where I often get a connection to Brussels or Paris to catch a late Eurostar to London.

Comparing London-Amsterdam With London-Edinburgh

Both routes take about four hours by train, with the Dutch route slightly quicker.

Generally, trains operate between London and Edinburgh half-hourly for much of the day, whereas Eurostar only runs twice a day.

Amsterdam/Rotterdam/Schipol Airport is surely a much bigger market in terms of possible passengers, than the Edinburgh catchment area.

I think we’ll see the astute Dutch, using Eurostar as a marketing tool to attract more passengers to the Netherlands and London’s next airport at Schipol.

Especially, as the British seem very happy with a four-hour train ride in comfort.

Eurostar Will Grow Between London And Amsterdam

For these and other rambling reasons, I think that Eurostar to Amsterdam will grow to be a successful route.

The one thing they must do, is to make it possible to come back to London, without having to clear immigration and security in Brussels.

But Eurostar know that!

Amsterdam Is Just The Hors D’Oeuvre!

Once Eurostar and the Dutch get the route between London and the Netherlands working smoothly, I don’t think it will be long before other routes are inaugurated.

Eurostar have said these could be.

  • Bordeaux
  • Cologne and Frankfurt
  • Geneva

The key will be getting the immigration and security smooth.

I think it will continue to improve, as it seems to do, every time I travel.

Remember, the Belgians, Dutch, French, Germans and Swiss will want it to be smooth, as they will want to market their delights to a whole new market, so suspect a lot of co-operation, despite the decision of Brexit.

But, I think that a limit on a journey time of four or five hours would cut out a lot of other destinations.

Although many of the destinations like Brussels, Cologne, Frankfurt, Geneva and Paris will be places to have an enjoyable day or two before taking another train ride further afield.

The 15:00 From Amsterdam Centraal To Berlin

This train that leaves Amsterdam Centraal just under two hours after the Eurostar arrives and can take you all the way to Berlin, arriving at 21:22.

But this train with a change at Osnabruck, gives you a stopping-off point to Bremen, Hamburg and the Northern part of Germany.

I first came across Osnabruck, when I was left there without a train by Deutsche Bahn, as I wrote about in From Hamburg To Osnabruck By Train.

But I found a delightful hotel on the station forecourt, called the Advena Hotel Hohenzollern.

Trip Advisor give it four out of five and currently say deals are available at under seventy pounds a night.

Osnabruck is not a tourist town, but it sits where the North-South and East-West rail routes cross.


As the network develops, I believe that a whole new form of tourism will take advantage.




May 17, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

London To Geneva Has Just Got Easier

I like Geneva, as did my father, who actually lived there for a time. I’ve flown once recently when I went to CERN and I’ve also returned by train.

The train journey via Paris can be a bit tedious, as you have to get across Paris, which often isn’t the easiest thing to do.

But now according to Modern Railways, Eurostar are offering a service four days a week, with a simpler change at Lille. Here’s what they say.

The service will be available on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Departure from London St Pancras International at 12.58 will allow passengers to arrive in Geneva at 20.16 (local time) with a 37-minute connection at Lille. The return departure from Geneva will be at 08.30, with a 33-minute connection at Lille leading to an arrival at St Pancras at 14.05. On Sundays the return departure runs exactly two hours later, with a slightly longer connection at Lille but the same overall journey time to St Pancras. Tickets can be purchased from Thursday 9 October with return fares starting from £116.

That sounds like a relaxed way to do the trip.

For one of my Home Runs, the 08:30 departure from Geneva would be ideal, as Geneva is a good place to spend a relaxed night, after racing across Europe on umpteen trains.

October 4, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

From Geneva To Paris

Four words sum up the TGV Duplex trip from Geneva to Paris; fast, frequent, comfortable and boring. This bridge was the only interesting thing I was able to photograph.

From Geneva To Paris

From Geneva To Paris

To describe the trip as boring is actually a complement and I arrived in Paris just over three hours after I left Geneva.

If only all travel was as simple.

October 14, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Would I Go Back To Geneva?

See Milan!

October 14, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

At Geneva Station Use The Back Entrance For France

there was some work going on at Geneva station and I had difficulty finding the platforms for the TGV to Paris.

October 14, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

A Welcoming Lith In Geneva

This excellent lith with a map and information, was placed just out of Geneva station on the way to the lake.

A Welcoming Lith In Geneva

A Welcoming Lith In Geneva

Every station exit in the world should have one!

I can’t find anything about these liths and their maps on the Internet.

October 14, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Hotel In Geneva

I didn’t have a hotel, when I arrived in Geneva, so I just walked out of the station and tried the first I saw.

It was a design hotel, called the Hotel Christal.

There were the usual small design glitches, but I’d certainly stay there again, as it was so convenient for the station.

The thing that annoyed me was that the socket, didn’t take my standard European adaptor. It was a new French design, which looks to be incompatible with the rest of the continent.  In one excellent hotel I stayed in, there was a panel which accepted every possible plug.

I also found the coffee machine too clever for me. When will designers realise that those who buy their products have money.  And many who have money are retired with the odd health issue.

October 13, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

From Milan To Geneva

The train journey from Milan to Geneva goes through the lakes and mountains and the Simplon Tunnel.

It is a journey that must be one of the most spectacular in a train on a regular rather than a tourist service.

It is also pretty fast, as my journey took under four hours. It’s not expensive, as for the 17th November, you can book the same train for just £20 and First Class for £110. By comparison London to Newcastle on the same day at a similar time are showing at £60 and £90 respectively for a journey an hour shorter.

October 13, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

More CERN Photos

There are more CERN photos uploaded here to Flickr by other visitors from our Liverpool University Alumni Relations group.

May 21, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , , | Leave a comment