Dutch Flyer - a missed opportunity?

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mercalia
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Dutch Flyer - a missed opportunity?

Postby mercalia » 9 Jan 2020, 2:48pm

£55 one way any station to any station East Anglia to Holland

Q: Can I take a bicycle with me?
A: Unfortunately, it is not possible to include bicycles as part of our Rail & Sail Dutchflyer Ticket. If you wish to travel with your bicycle, all rail travel must be booked directly on the railway carrier websites. For all information, please visit Greater Anglia to book the UK leg of your journey and NS Railways or RET (Rotterdam Public Transport) for the Dutch leg. You can book your bicycle on our ferries but this has to be done separately as a foot passenger and not as part of our Rail & Sail package. Please note, due to a planned upgrade to the rail network from Hook of Holland to Rotterdam, there is a replacement bus service and bicycles are not permitted on this service.


when will these people learn?

https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/railandsail?utm_campaign=459376_Dutch%20Flyer%20e-shot%209_01&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Abellio%20Greater%20Anglia%20Limited&utm_link=Hero%20Image&dm_i=4ZH8,9UGG,29RAPP,11KSO,1

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mjr
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Re: Dutch Flyer - a missed opportunity?

Postby mjr » 9 Jan 2020, 4:21pm

It is a missed opportunity, but the railways both sides are run by NS (Netherlands Railways) and are pretty pathetic at cycling: generally 4 or 6 bikes per train (which is probably why they don't let the discount tickets include bikes - why discount things where supply often exceeds demand?), peak time restrictions (which affects both the Harwich-London morning boat train and RET Metro from and to Hoek van Holland Haven) and non-reservable (except London-Manningtree-Ipswich-Norwich expresses), so it's probably better to pay the £43 cyclist ferry ticket, save the £12 and ride to/from the ports if you can, rather than have an irritating hour wait in the mornings. Apart from the abominations in Harwich, National 51 isn't bad for connections to the west or southwest and now that there is a cycleway (untested) over the causeway to Cattawade, the B1352/B1070 seems OK to the north or northwest - and the Netherlands are, well, the Netherlands.

However, if you do choose to wait for a train, the Mayflower in Harwich is OK as chain pubs go and there's usually plenty of places to lock the bike by the windows; and the cafe by the tourist info in the HvH marketplace or the nearby Saam pancake restaurant are both good.

Of course, if you've got a folding bike, you can simply ignore the train travel restrictions. Best of both worlds?

But yes, it's hardly an integrated transport solution. Some others are far worse, though. At least the train station at Harwich and metro station at HvH are linked to the boat. Dover is now an half-unsignposted cross-town ride, Calais is a confusing U-turn through a fence and then ride into town, while Dunkirk ferry port is now 10 miles from the town and the good-looking cycle lane in the port misleads you on a busy motorway feeder road where it simply ends. If you take any of these up with the ferry or railway companies, you'll get warm words and no actions, sometimes mentioning a lack of demand for anything other than cars.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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JJF
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Re: Dutch Flyer - a missed opportunity?

Postby JJF » 10 Jan 2020, 11:40am

I have in the past bought a Dutch Flyer ticket without cycle provision. On arrival at Harwich join the queue of cars in standard cyclist manner. At the passport/boat ticket booth ask for a ticket for bike. This has been provided without comment.

On the matter of train travel to Harwich, the vast majority of trains don't require reservation. You just turn up and get on. No payment. I have never seen a crowd of cyclists but I tend to travel midweek.

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mjr
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Re: Dutch Flyer - a missed opportunity?

Postby mjr » 10 Jan 2020, 12:39pm

JJF wrote:I have in the past bought a Dutch Flyer ticket without cycle provision. On arrival at Harwich join the queue of cars in standard cyclist manner. At the passport/boat ticket booth ask for a ticket for bike. This has been provided without comment.

Did they charge for the bike? When did you last do this? Is it documented anywhere or are you relying on goodwill of the booth worker?

On the matter of train travel to Harwich, the vast majority of trains don't require reservation. You just turn up and get on. No payment. I have never seen a crowd of cyclists but I tend to travel midweek.

Yes, you'll usually be OK going to Harwich, especially midweek, but you can't reserve which is always a worry. Leaving Harwich or Hook on the morning trains is not as easy due to the time restrictions and limited bike spaces.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Jdsk
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Re: Dutch Flyer - a missed opportunity?

Postby Jdsk » 10 Jan 2020, 3:02pm

mjr wrote:Leaving Harwich... on the morning trains is not as easy due to the time restrictions and limited bike spaces.

Yes, no good options. Kill time at Harwich or hire a car? Thrifty will come and collect you, and we tried that last time. Not bad in theory but they were so inefficient that next time we'll probably hang around for the first train to London on which we're allowed the bikes.

Jonathan

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mjr
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Re: Dutch Flyer - a missed opportunity?

Postby mjr » 10 Jan 2020, 3:16pm

Jdsk wrote:
mjr wrote:Leaving Harwich... on the morning trains is not as easy due to the time restrictions and limited bike spaces.

Yes, no good options. Kill time at Harwich or hire a car? Thrifty will come and collect you, and we tried that last time. Not bad in theory but they were so inefficient that next time we'll probably hang around for the first train to London on which we're allowed the bikes.

If I was getting a train, I'd sleep in on the boat a bit more, not rush for its breakfast, then head to the aforementioned nearby pub or cafe for breakfast to kill the hour to the permitted unreserved trains. Unless it's changed, one oddity at Harwich is that foot passengers walk over a link into the station but bike passengers have to exit with cars and then ask at another security barrier to get back into the port to use the station.

Bizarrely, if heading to London, I think you can now use the 0657 or 0721 Harwich-Manningtree shuttles, reserve a bike on the 0743 Manningtree-London non-stop and actually arrive before the direct boat train if all goes well! Not much help for us in the fens, though.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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JJF
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Re: Dutch Flyer - a missed opportunity?

Postby JJF » 10 Jan 2020, 10:13pm

In answer to mjr's questions
The most recent occasion was June 2016.
I was charged the difference between a foot passenger and a cyclist with bike. ie looking at today's prices that would be £5.
It wasn't written in a rule somewhere. Whether the person in the booth would do the same today I don't know.

millimole
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Re: Dutch Flyer - a missed opportunity?

Postby millimole » 11 Jan 2020, 8:54am

JJF wrote:On the matter of train travel to Harwich, the vast majority of trains don't require reservation. You just turn up and get on. No payment. I have never seen a crowd of cyclists but I tend to travel midweek.


The last time we used the Dutch Flyer ticket, about 18 months ago, we got the shuttle from Manningtree. Maybe a dozen cyclists were on the train - the guard was very helpful and seemed to be used to that number of bikes. This was early evening.
Leicester; Riding my Hetchins since 1971; Audaxing on my Dawes; Riding to work on a Decathlon Hoprider

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Re: Dutch Flyer - a missed opportunity?

Postby PH » 11 Jan 2020, 11:18am

Jdsk wrote:
mjr wrote:Leaving Harwich... on the morning trains is not as easy due to the time restrictions and limited bike spaces.

Yes, no good options. Kill time at Harwich or hire a car?
Jonathan

What's the hurry? I'd understand if it was part of a daily commute, but an hour or so on holiday isn't an irritation it's another couple of chapters of your book.
I often find when splitting train tickets that a gap saves money, the latest was a three hour break in Glasgow saving £40.

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mjr
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Re: Dutch Flyer - a missed opportunity?

Postby mjr » 11 Jan 2020, 12:11pm

PH wrote:What's the hurry? I'd understand if it was part of a daily commute, but an hour or so on holiday isn't an irritation it's another couple of chapters of your book.
I often find when splitting train tickets that a gap saves money, the latest was a three hour break in Glasgow saving £40.

If I want to read a book, I can do that at home. I've seen both Harwich and the Hook before and I want to get to the cycling!

And this is different to deliberately splitting tickets or using slower trains to save money. It's not a choice. This is a break forced by a bike ban. There is no option to pay extra and travel anyway - or at least not by that method.
Last edited by mjr on 11 Jan 2020, 3:21pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PH
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Re: Dutch Flyer - a missed opportunity?

Postby PH » 11 Jan 2020, 2:14pm

mjr wrote:
PH wrote:What's the hurry? I'd understand if it was part of a daily commute, but an hour or so on holiday isn't an irritation it's another couple of chapters of your book.

If I want to read a book, I can do that at home. I've seen both Harwich and the Hook before and I want to get to the cycling!

Oh well, I'll just put it down to another of the differences between us.
I tour partly to get away from the rush of everyday life, finding something to amuse myself in the time between train and ferry, or simply wallowing in idleness, is a part of it. The idea that it's such a big deal someone would consider hiring a car to avoid it is beyond my comprehension.

Jdsk
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Re: Dutch Flyer - a missed opportunity?

Postby Jdsk » 11 Jan 2020, 2:27pm

PH wrote:The idea that it's such a big deal someone would consider hiring a car to avoid it is beyond my comprehension.

Perhaps if you knew the details of the onward journey it would have helped you to understand.

Jonathan
Last edited by Jdsk on 11 Jan 2020, 3:51pm, edited 1 time in total.

willem jongman
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Re: Dutch Flyer - a missed opportunity?

Postby willem jongman » 11 Jan 2020, 3:48pm

This is a connection that I have often used and enjoyed. On the Dutch side things have become more complicated with the replacement of the train connection between Hook of Holland and the Rotterdam area by a metro system. This means that unlike in the past on weekdays you can only take your bikes from 9.00 – 16.00 and after 18.30. There is no restriction during the weekend. Unfortunately the first train after 9.00 leaves 9.17 from the Hook. If you are really in a hurry you could gain 20 minutes by riding your bike to the next station (Maasluis Steendijkpolder) and take the 9.03 from there. It is only 9 km. Alternatively you can ride your bike all the way (25 km) to Schiedam Railway station for a real train. Alternatively, you can ride your bike to either Delft or the Hague (both about 21 km).