Friday, 16 November 2007

First Eurostar to St Pancras from Paris

Arrival at St Pancras
Originally uploaded by malias.

Yesterday (14th November 2007) I took the very first Eurostar from Gare du Nord to the new St Pancras station. The journey to London now takes only 2 hours 15 minutes. In fact it is now quicker to get to Paris from London than it is to Liverpool or York.

The only problem was a transport strike on the French side so of the channel. I left my house an hour earlier than I would do normally, anticipating a long walk to Gare du Nord. As it happened I managed to get a Metro within 2 minutes (bloody French unions you can't even rely on them to have a proper strike these days)

So I had to kill an hour in Gare du Nord before entering the Eurostar terminal which is not easy.

The Eurostar train was full of journalists and train spotters. Half the seats were empty (I suspect that some people were not as lucky as me in overcoming the transport strike).

On arriving at St Pancras we were treated to large crowds and music from the London Philharmonic Orchestra. As I left the terminal I was give a Sun newspaper "Welcome to England" pack which contained: tea bags, Mr Kipling's mince pies and Walker's crisps. It made me want to get on the next train back to Paris.

The highlight of the journey though was St Pancras station itself. Spectacular and beautiful after it's £800 million refurbishment.

It was truly magnificent, which is more than I can say for the mince pies.

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