Getting to the Vennbahn

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mjr
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Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby mjr » 15 Jan 2018, 1:09am

Has anyone here found a way to get from England to/from the Vennbahn between Aachen and Troisvierges, Luxembourg easily and fairly quickly? All reasonable options I've found involve a ferry, cycling and multiple trains.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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HobbesOnTour
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Re: Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby HobbesOnTour » 15 Jan 2018, 4:36pm

Hi, as you've discovered it's not the most accessible to get to.

Did you try Flixbus? Never used them, but they seem cheap & take bikes whole. You would need at least one connection though.

Or else fly. There is an Aachen Maastricht airport, but I've no idea who flys there from the UK.

The Vennbahn itself is really only a couple of days cycling, but there's lots of routes around it in both Belgium & Germany. I'm sure if you took the most direct route to as close as possible by plane/train/bus you could come up with some interesting routes to get to the Vennbahn itself.

Good luck!

Frank

pete75
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Re: Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby pete75 » 15 Jan 2018, 5:09pm

mjr wrote:Has anyone here found a way to get from England to/from the Vennbahn between Aachen and Troisvierges, Luxembourg easily and fairly quickly? All reasonable options I've found involve a ferry, cycling and multiple trains.


Don't the cheapo airlines fly to Luxembourg.

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Re: Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby mjr » 15 Jan 2018, 8:28pm

pete75 wrote:
mjr wrote:Has anyone here found a way to get from England to/from the Vennbahn between Aachen and Troisvierges, Luxembourg easily and fairly quickly? All reasonable options I've found involve a ferry, cycling and multiple trains.


Don't the cheapo airlines fly to Luxembourg.

Easyjet do but we'd rather not fly either, for various reasons, including how good airports often aren't at handling bikes!

Another place suggested two options: overnight ferry to the Hook of Holland, 50ish mile ride to Utrecht, one train to Maastricht, overnight stop, pedal to Aachen (or reverse); daytime ferry to Dunkirk, 45ish mile ride to Oostende, one train to Liege and then one to Troisvierges or Maastricht (or reverse). Oostende-Liege and Liege-Troisvierges or reverses and any of the mentioned trains from Maastricht (but not to) would be boarding them at their starting points, so a bit less time pressure and usually first crack at getting any casual spaces, unlike some of the multi-change routes I was seeing.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby mjr » 15 Jan 2018, 8:47pm

HobbesOnTour wrote:The Vennbahn itself is really only a couple of days cycling, but there's lots of routes around it in both Belgium & Germany. I'm sure if you took the most direct route to as close as possible by plane/train/bus you could come up with some interesting routes to get to the Vennbahn itself!

Thanks! That is part of the attraction! There aren't so many days when everyone can come!
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Re: Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby Slowroad » 21 Jan 2018, 8:56pm

I've been planning just that for Whitsun! Intended to take my tourer and camp but the complexity of train bookings with bike put me off. So my Brompton is going on holiday again and I'm youth hosteling. I've booked Rail & Sail London Liverpool St to Hook of Holland - then it will be the replacement bus to Schiedam and train to Maastricht - all part of the ticket. Then cycle to Aachen. Next day Vennbahn. Having a bit of trouble with hostels around there being booked so a long day followed by a very short two days. Looking at alternatives - Gites d'etape or B&B. Hostels down through Luxembourg following the Our, Sure and Moselle. Then train from Luxembourg to Roosendaal (costs E45.20 for about 5 hours travel!) and back to the ferry.
Almost sorted - just need the train tickets to become available in a few weeks. I can see why people go for Bike Express! Much simpler.
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Re: Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby mjr » 22 Jan 2018, 12:34pm

Slowroad wrote:Having a bit of trouble with hostels around there being booked so a long day followed by a very short two days.

Yes, that seems to be a general problem with Whitsun and so we're looking at going earlier - but here's a silver lining for you: Whitsun was even more booked up last year because of Ascension Day falling close to it (25th May last year, 10th this year).
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Re: Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby mjr » 22 Jan 2018, 12:39pm

Slowroad wrote:I've booked Rail & Sail London Liverpool St to Hook of Holland - then it will be the replacement bus to Schiedam and train to Maastricht - all part of the ticket. Then cycle to Aachen. Next day Vennbahn.

Would you be willing to share the schedule for that, please? I think we looked at that and it didn't seem like it would work well with a freewheeling group of full size fully-laden touring bikes that can't use the replacement bus, which is why we looked at spending a day riding lovely Netherlands roads before getting a train to Maastricht and overnighting there.
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Re: Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby Slowroad » 22 Jan 2018, 8:18pm

Slowroad wrote:
I've booked Rail & Sail London Liverpool St to Hook of Holland - then it will be the replacement bus to Schiedam and train to Maastricht - all part of the ticket. Then cycle to Aachen. Next day Vennbahn.


Would you be willing to share the schedule for that, please? I think we looked at that and it didn't seem like it would work well with a freewheeling group of full size fully-laden touring bikes that can't use the replacement bus, which is why we looked at spending a day riding lovely Netherlands roads before getting a train to Maastricht and overnighting there.

Actually my plan isn't that different - just with a Brompton I can use the replacement bus and miss out the 25km ride to Schiedam - where the bus stops and trains start. It's an interesting ride but I've done it lots! So from Schiedam Centrum there are trains to Maastricht at 19 & 49 past hour and it takes 2hrs 42mins, e.g., I might catch the 8:49 getting in at 11:31. But there are changes at Rotterdam and Eindhoven so wouldn't be too good for laden touring bikes. Hope your plans work out OK! On the way back the train from Luxembourg to Roosendaal via Brussels is the cheapest shortest route.
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Re: Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby Slowroad » 22 Jan 2018, 8:24pm

Slowroad wrote:
Having a bit of trouble with hostels around there being booked so a long day followed by a very short two days.


Yes, that seems to be a general problem with Whitsun and so we're looking at going earlier - but here's a silver lining for you: Whitsun was even more booked up last year because of Ascension Day falling close to it (25th May last year, 10th this year).

I was cycling down the Rhine from Cologne to Speyer last year - I did find a couple of hostels booked up - Mainz and Worms - and booked Zwingenburg and Mannheim instead. Both turned out to be interesting diversions!
This time it's Monschau which I've had to replace with Malmedy, and Trier, where I may try to find an Airbnb. I'm a bit stuck with having to tke holidays at Whitsun, but useful tip about Acsension. Actually this time I'm just going to miss an incredible Whit Tuesday dance of 1000's of people at Echternach. Bit of shame but I guess the place will be rammed.
Of course I could get fitter and camp with my Brommie... but I do rather like hostels in Europe!
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― Peter Golkin

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Re: Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby brynpoeth » 22 Jan 2018, 8:51pm

Trier is worth a visit, might be busy mind this year because the 200th birthday of Karl Marx is being celebrated, +1!

Schengen is not far away, the capital of Schengenland
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Slowroad
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Re: Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby Slowroad » 22 Jan 2018, 9:19pm

Trier is worth a visit, might be busy mind this year because the 200th birthday of Karl Marx is being celebrated, +1!

Schengen is not far away, the capital of Schengenland

I'm keen to see the cathedral, having seen Aachen, Worms and Speyer - however if I don't get this year I hope to do the Moselle at some point.
Schengen is on my route, which has a certain theme. After the 2016 referendum I thought I'd do a cycle version of a trip I did by motorbike in 2001 the year before the Euro fully came in - 5 countries in 1 week. Big smile when I saw the write-up in Cycle magazine of a couple who had exactly the same idea, only did it sooner!
“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.”
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Slowroad
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Re: Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby Slowroad » 22 Mar 2018, 8:51pm

Just received a nice litte Vennbahn map from Belgium - at about 8 euros inc P&P it's much cheaper than others. It's from http://www.vennbahn.eu/en/service/map/
“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.”
― Peter Golkin

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Re: Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby willem jongman » 25 Mar 2018, 3:54pm

There are currently no trains from Hook of Holland. The easiest way to address this is to ride your bike to The Hague Central station, and then take a train to Heerlen (on the Dutch side of Aachen). You only have to change once, in Utrecht, and you have 14 minutes (there are elevators).
www.ns.nl for Dutch train time tables.

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Re: Getting to the Vennbahn

Postby Slowroad » 25 Mar 2018, 8:47pm

There are currently no trains from Hook of Holland. The easiest way to address this is to ride your bike to The Hague Central station, and then take a train to Heerlen (on the Dutch side of Aachen). You only have to change once, in Utrecht, and you have 14 minutes (there are elevators).
www.ns.nl for Dutch train time tables

Good idea!
Over the last year or so when there's been no train from Hoek van Holland I've just cycled to Schiedam and caught a train there, but you have to change trains at Rotterdam. Going to Den Haag would make a nice change, especally as the canal cycle route was affected by the train route works last time I went!
Also I was going to go to Maastricht and cycle to Aachen - nice countryside - but Veerlen is much closer. I have a flexible rail and sail ticket so I can decide at the last minute.
I wonder if there's ever going to be a rail link from Hoek van Holland again for cyclists?
“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.”
― Peter Golkin