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Eurostar - London to Brussels with an option to Lille?

Eurostar - London to Brussels with an option to Lille?

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Old Mar 16, 15, 8:54 pm   -   Wikipost
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Old Jan 15, 15, 3:16 pm
  #1  
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Eurostar - London to Brussels with an option to Lille?

Hi all,

I am planning to go to Lille from London using the Eurostar, but if the Lille plan falls through I'll just go to Brussels instead. This is on a one way ticket.

I noticed that prices for Brussels and Lille are the same, so I was considering just buying the ticket to Brussels early (cheaper fares), while ensuring it is a train that also stops at Lille, and, if the Lille plan does materialise, just exit the train at Lille and forfeit the Lille to Brussels part of my ticket.

Apart from making sure that I am on a train that actually stops in Lille, does anyone see a weakness with this plan?

I think it's pretty foolproof but you never know.

Al
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Old Jan 16, 15, 3:13 am
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Sounds fine to me. According to the conditions of carriage, section 8:

http://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/conditions-carriage

you are not entitled to break your journey - if you get off at an intermediate station, you may not continue your journey. Which implies that you can get off at Lille, as long as you don't expect to hop on a later train to Brussels.

Eurostar have also had an unofficial policy of letting you board at later stations (e.g. Ebbsfleet and Ashford) if you let them know in advance, but Lille may be a special case (given the well publicised 'Lille Loophole').
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Old Jan 16, 15, 10:26 am
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If you book a Brussels ticket, then provided the train stops in Lille (almost all Brussels ones do, but IIRC not every one), you can get off in Lille. There are no ticket checks, no barriers etc, you just get off with everyone else and exit the station. Once you've done that though, you can't then carry on to Brussels at a later time.

Coming back, if you book a Brussels ticket, you must board in Brussels. It is not possible to board in Lille with a Brussels origin ticket, you will be turned away at checkin.

Also on the returning from Brussels front, if you buy a Brussels to Lille ticket, you must get off in Lille. Brussels to Lille travellers go through a different checkin, are restricted to just coach 18, not permitted to go to the buffet, and security staff ensure they leave in Lille + exit via a special escallator from the otherwise secured platform. Customers on a Brussels to London ticket are not permitted to exit at Lille, as they will have exited the Schengen zone in Brussels. (The Lille Loophole was closed a year or two back with the special coach 18 setup + separate checkin area)
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Old Jan 17, 15, 3:39 am
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All Eurostar trains to/from Brussels stop at Lille, I believe.

Originally Posted by stut View Post
According to the conditions of carriage, section 8:

http://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/conditions-carriage

you are not entitled to break your journey - if you get off at an intermediate station, you may not continue your journey. Which implies that you can get off at Lille, as long as you don't expect to hop on a later train to Brussels.
If you wanted to go from London to Brussels with a stopover in Lille (up to 48 hours), a DB London-Spezial ticket to Cologne would allow this, as long as you book specific trains, of course. It may also work out cheaper than a London - Brussels Eurostar ticket.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 3:58 am
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I recall once taking the Eurostar from Brussels to Lille because for some reason the pricing was much cheaper than taking a normal train. I was hassled a bit by the police when I got off the train because they wanted to see my passport and ticket and I had binned the ticket as I got off the train. But as I had an onward ticket from Lille that was good enough for them. I don't know what the current set up is regarding passports, but be ready to show passport/ID when you get off at Lille.
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Old Jan 18, 15, 5:36 am
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If you book a Brussels to Lille ticket, you will not have to show a passport or ID card. The whole point of the new setup (including the special schengen departure lounge upstairs at Brussels) is that routine checking of passports or ID cards for intra-schengen journeys is not allowed. As such, a Brussels to Lille ticket gets you a different checkin area, a dedicated coach (18) with a security guard checking you don't sneak off, and a special exit at Lille (with security guards again checking you don't sneak off)

If you booked a Brussels to London ticket, and tried to leave the train in Lille, you will need to show a passport or ID card. You'd have left the Schengen immigration area in Brussels, and so would need re-admitting one way or another in Lille. Expect it to be a faff, and lots of questions, as that's not how you're supposed to do it!
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Old Jan 18, 15, 9:12 am
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This was maybe 3 or 4 years ago, but what you describe was not what I experienced. I had to show my passport before getting on the train in Brussels even though I explained I was only going to Lille. I claimed that this was Schengen, but I was told that once I boarded Eurostar, I left Schengen. But maybe that has all changed nowadays.
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Old Jan 19, 15, 2:39 am
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It has changed. Long story - google "Lille Loophole" for the full details.

Basically, Belgium started objecting to the UK Border Agency insisting on checking passports of Brussels-Lille passengers, as this is against the Schengen agreement - at one point allegedly threatening immigration officers with arrest. This resulted in a situation where Lille passengers didn't have to show ID, so anyone wanting to enter the UK illegally could quite easily buy a Brussels-Lille ticket, travel to Lille, and stay one, holed up in the café bar or similar.

Once this was publicised, there was a predictable response in the UK, and incoming immigration checks were introduced at St Pancras for Brussels arrivals.

The eventual solution was to have Brussels-Lille passengers confined to a single, guarded carriage, aligned with a dedicated Schengen section of the Eurostar platform at Lille.
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Old Jan 27, 15, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by stut View Post
[...]
Eurostar have also had an unofficial policy of letting you board at later stations (e.g. Ebbsfleet and Ashford) if you let them know in advance, but Lille may be a special case (given the well publicised 'Lille Loophole').
I think that was an official policy, but regardless it changed some time ago anyway.

The current policy is described in this Eurostar FAQ:

Can I board the Eurostar from a different station?

Tickets from London St Pancras International are also valid from either Ebbsfleet or Ashford International stations, however please bear in mind that not all Eurostar trains are scheduled to stop at Ebbsfleet or Ashford.

If you wish to change stations and your train does stop at Ebbsfleet or Ashford just check in for your journey at the station of your choice.

If you have a ticket to travel from Ashford or Ebbsfleet International stations
Some tickets booked to depart from Ebbsfleet or Ashford International stations are restricted to those stations and cannot be used to depart from London St Pancras. This will be indicated on your booking

In terms of getting off a Eurostar train from London at Lille, whilst holding a ticket to Brussels - I can't see any problem with that whatsoever. You'll have already passed through the Schengen zone immigration check (operated by the French) in London St Pancras station before boarding the train.
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Old Apr 6, 15, 3:51 pm
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The short answer is no, you can't. This is a security/immigration issue rather than a Eurostar ticketing issue. You maybe lucky if you try but expect hassle with the authorities and even the possibility of having to wait for the next train to take you to BXS. In a nutshell, getting off at Lille with a BXS ticket creates a Eurostar passenger manifest conflict with various security organisations and also challenges territorial PAF and DGA expectations.
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Old Apr 7, 15, 10:44 am
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I think you're mistaken Eric. Eurostar (+ immigration authorities) care a lot about making sure people with a Brussels to Lille ticket really get off in Lille (and don't stay on until the UK), with various special checks around this (dedicated checkin area, dedicated carriage, security staff etc). However, for a UK -> France+Belgium journey, you clear French immigration in London, and are then "in Schengen" for immigration purposes. There are no issues with you getting off in Lille (provided the train stops there!) on a Brussels ticket, no checks, no-one notices. Tickets from Lille to Belgium on the regular trains can be bought with cash for a few euros (special Trampoline tickets), there are no issues with ID checks or anything for an intra-schengen trip like that
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Old Sep 18, 19, 6:18 am
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Does anyone know if it still possible to do this -- to get off at Lille with a London -> Brussels eurostar ticket? The ticket t&cs don't make this clear, so I asked the Eurostar helpdesk and they say it's not allowed. They said you are not allowed to get off in a different country (France v Belgium). So I am wondering if this is just a formal rule or if someone is going to be checking tickets and issue a fine.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 1:59 pm
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From a practical point of view: there are no exit ticket controls, so there is nothing to stop you, and no way that Eurostar could even prove you left the train at Lille. From a legal point of view: The European regulations governing train travel actually do permit cutting a trip short.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 3:18 am
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Originally Posted by Novachord View Post
Does anyone know if it still possible to do this -- to get off at Lille with a London -> Brussels eurostar ticket? The ticket t&cs don't make this clear, so I asked the Eurostar helpdesk and they say it's not allowed. They said you are not allowed to get off in a different country (France v Belgium). So I am wondering if this is just a formal rule or if someone is going to be checking tickets and issue a fine.
As already mentioned in this thread, from an immigration perspective the only thing that you must do on Eurostar is go through the Channel Tunnel, or if your ticket does not include travel through the Channel Tunnel then you must not go through it.

If you ask them, yes they will say you can't get off at a different stop, but you can.

What would be the basis for a fine, who would be trying to levy a fine and where? At the very most, if Eurostar could demonstrate that Lille tickets were more expensive than Brussels tickets at the time you purchased it, and it was made very clear during the purchase process that you must take the full booked journey (which it isn't), they could invoice you for the extra fare.

Nobody has ever checked my ticket on a Eurostar train, except at the entry point to the station. And this check has only ever been that a ticket has been purchased. Nobody has ever checked the name on my Eurostar tickets. Immigration authorities are not concerned about whether I have a ticket, only that I am allowed to go where I am going.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 10:51 am
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Originally Posted by KayVeeBee View Post
From a legal point of view: The European regulations governing train travel actually do permit cutting a trip short.
And what regulations are these? Please could you provide a link?
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