Saturday, June 10, 2023

The little-known London train ticket that could save you Eurostar hassle

Two weeks ago I caught a train from Stafford to London Euston that was due to arrive at lunchtime – in time to catch the Eurostar to Brussels two hours later.

However there was a fatality on the line at Rugby, and all trains were cancelled going into London on the west coast mainline. I ended up having to change my ticket from St Pancras to Brussels, at a cost of £125. Eurostar stated that it wasn’t on their service, so it wasn’t their responsibility.

I have come to the conclusion that Eurostar is basically a service for people living in London only as people resident in other parts of the country cannot rely on the service being flexible. What do you think?

CC, Stafford

While I have a great deal of sympathy for you, I don’t really think Eurostar is responsible in this case, as you bought two separate train tickets. Had you been travelling to Heathrow to get a flight you missed, you wouldn’t expect the airline to give you a free alternative flight. Your travel insurance should cover this.

However, the reason for running this letter is to tell you and others about little-known train tickets that cover you in cases like these.

Had you bought a CIV train ticket, Eurostar would have been obliged to put you on the next train for free. You can only buy these tickets in person at a staffed station (not online) and you need to show your Eurostar booking to qualify.

The Man in Seat Sixty-One website says that ticket office staff aren’t always familiar with these London International CIV fares, so say you want destination code “LNE”.

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