/ Ice Climbing by Eurostar

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HardenClimber 24 Jan 2020

Any tips / recent experience...

I've a decent bit of time to sort booking in of stuff at Eurodespatch (phone conversation.... 90 minutes before departure, subject to approval...)

(NB the rules were tightened in 2018, so it is really current experience I'm after).

I get the impression that St Pancras are very tight on adherence (in Summer I've had extended quizing about a 'legal' knife, so 'winging it' seems likely to end in tears) . There is the perversity that if security trip you up, I suspect there isn't time to get round to Eurodespatch.

(Flying with sharp pointy stuff is so easy with checked in baggage...)

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Neil Williams 24 Jan 2020
In reply to HardenClimber:

TBH I'd just fly.  And contact Eurostar and tell them why you did.

They really need a proper airline-style checked luggage service for "dangerous" stuff (and bikes) where your stuff is guaranteed to go on the same train and be returned promptly so you can go for onward connections.

Post edited at 12:01
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HardenClimber 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

Yes, I really don't think they have grasped travel beyond business / weekend trips....which probably makes them enough money.

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libertine 28 Jan 2020
In reply to HardenClimber:

I went via Eurostar to the Alps this summer and used eurodespatch for axes, crampons and climbing kit - had read various stories of security sometimes being ok, and other times not (and had similar feeling to you of it getting a bit tighter in the last year or so).

It worked, but certainly not as straight forward as checked luggage on a plane.

Outbound: We were getting eurostar to Paris, then changing onto TGV trains, so needed our bag to be on the same train we were on otherwise we'd miss connection. I spoke to eurodespatch on the phone, and went to the desk at St Pancras and was told for bags I didn't need to book, and as long as I dropped the bag an hour before the train then it would definitely travel on the same train as me. However when I went to drop my bag off at eurodespatch on the day, I was told it was only a 24hr service and they couldn't guarantee my bag would be on my train. After some discussion around merits of eurodespatch vs trying my luck with security it managed to get a spot on my train.

Picking it up at Gare du Nord was very straight forward bag was waiting for me when I got to the desk (this is a long walk from where the train arrives - maybe 10/15min each way)

Return: Dropping bag off at Gare du Nord super easy, was put on the train 60mins after I dropped it off. Had heard you need to wait for a customs official to check the bag in, but didn't seem to be the case - just gave it to the person at the desk and paid the €40 then it was done.

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Neil Williams 29 Jan 2020
In reply to libertine:

I have taken regular climbing gear on E* a number of times as well as hiking poles.  It's axes due to their extra pointiness that may or may not cause issues.

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robhorton 29 Jan 2020

Funnily enough I was about to post something similar.

I've not had a problem with them in the past but haven't tried for a couple of years. A few weeks ago the security at Brussels tried to tell me skis weren't permitted - they explicitly are on the website but I doubt I'd have got an ice axe through.

I'm going ski touring so can probably just borrow an axe out there but I do wish they'd either just allow them (frankly the risk seems minimal) or provide an easy way to check them in - it would be cheaper for me to buy an axe out there and give it away after than use Eurodispatch.

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Neil Williams 29 Jan 2020
In reply to robhorton:

I would go with an airline-style checked luggage system at a fee (as not everyone needs it I think charging for it is totally reasonable).  Same for bicycles.  There is no reason they can't get stuff on the same train; that they won't guarantee it is simply their arrogance, which is visible in quite a number of areas of their operation.

I think it's a real shame DB AG did not set up their competing operation, as they need something to kick them up the backside.

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HardenClimber 30 Jan 2020
In reply to libertine:

Thanks. I phone them and they said they wouldn't book restricted items (Ice axes etc) as they need to security check them, but if I am 90 minutes (to 7 days) before departure then that would be ok. They have precious little in formation available on the websites, and don't seem to have consistent info by phone. As for a clear plan of where to go...

Good to know about the collection working ok.

I'll see how it goes!

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daWalt 30 Jan 2020
In reply to HardenClimber:

I'm not following that.

You need to book something in because it's restricted, but you can't book it in because it's restricted? 

So, do you have to turn up 90 min ahead of departure so that you can do security and eurodispatch?... 

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daWalt 30 Jan 2020
In reply to HardenClimber:

I'm in the same boat. I think I'll phone eurodispatch tomorrow and probably waste my time. Hopefully I'll waste theirs too, if it becomes a total pain for them they might just get a grip...

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HardenClimber 30 Jan 2020
In reply to daWalt:

They did answer quite quickly....I'd been putting it off as I was expecting a long hold...

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HardenClimber 01 Feb 2020
In reply to daWalt:

Well,  turned up with plenty of time.

The Eurodespatch office is opposite the YouTube offices..ie walk down between KCX and StP. Looks like a bus entrance. Friendly. No queue. Booked my bag on to the train before mine so no delays at Paris. All quick. Ran  bag through an x-ray machine but no other checks. Gave good instructions of where to go at  at GduNord.

Pretty painless so far.

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daWalt 01 Feb 2020
In reply to HardenClimber:

nice one, ta.

hope you have a nice trip - remember to go to the correct passport control now ;-)

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HardenClimber 01 Feb 2020
In reply to daWalt:

Thank you.

Luggage pickup was fine though really obscure. When  you think you have gone to far, go a bit further. Probably right to allow at least 20 minutes for this.

(Other tip: buy your metro tickets from the buffet on Eurostar-one less thing to worry about).

Post edited at 19:12
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clouds 11 Feb 2020
In reply to HardenClimber:

I travelled on Eurostar today with axes and was told by the people on the baggage scanner that I was allowed to keep them with me as they are “tools”.  Will have to see if I’m allowed to do the same on the way back!

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HardenClimber 11 Feb 2020
In reply to clouds:

Glad pple are trying  not to fly...

As always security ends up with individual discretion, tho the terms are quite explicit about ice axes.

There seems to be a view that they are more flexible at the French end.

What was your plan if they declined to allow the axes through?

Anyway, have fun, though the carbon has got to the ice I fear.

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clouds 19 Feb 2020
In reply to HardenClimber:

I was early so was planning to take it to Eurodespatch if necessary, but keen to avoid the £30 fee if I could. 

Absolutely no problems either at Paris on the return trip, and I wasn't even asked to unpack.

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HardenClimber 22:22 Sun
In reply to clouds:

The gamble (in London), I suppose, is wether you'd get it on 'your' train, or if you have a bit of time in hand at the destination.

I do wonder how Eurodespatch will work after 31st October, if we have to have customs checks.

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