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Unread 10-11-2011, 13:48   #61
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Having arrived at Dublin Ferryport for the 08:45 Jonathan Swift fast craft sailing to Holyhead one morning in the Autumn without a ticket, myself and family member had the SailRail tickets we purchased stamped with standby numbers 8 & 9. Luckily all standby passengers were then carried.

I was surprised it was so busy.

Wonder what the book in advance requirement on UK side will entail; at least two hours before commencing the first leg of the journey?
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Unread 10-11-2011, 14:06   #62
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UK will require purchase a day in advance as the requirement is a reserved seat on the train portion.

Neither railway administration correctly implements reservations on ship currently despite the coupon you might be issued
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Unread 10-11-2011, 14:29   #63
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Interesting...I always assumed the ship reservation coupon issued with one's ticket(s) in the UK was somehow transmitted forward to the ferry company through the ticketing system.

A day in advance seems reasonable.
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Unread 10-11-2011, 14:35   #64
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The ferry company does have some say in the number of coupons issued but it has no way to discover how many coupons have been issued.

There is no linkage between the ferry and rail systems. This is why SailRail collapsed during the ash crisis.

Those holding coupons will be second in priority to board after those foot passengers holding reservations issued directly by the ferry company where there is a capacity restriction.

So for Ireland UK you are best to book directly with the ferry company but since Irish Ferries charge crazy handling fees you are better to talk to Stena
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Unread 10-11-2011, 15:53   #65
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There is, I understand, what they term an "allocation" for SailRail for each sailing. In numerical terms I've no idea what that may be. The ceiling of the allocation is probably only reached on occasions when numbers are high e.g. cancellation of fastcraft meaning the conventional ship has many more passengers/ occasions of events such as matches/ closure of airspace etc... If there is spare capacity once the ceiling is reached I daresay additional SailRail passengers are carried in any case.

Agree that Irish Ferries handling fees are very high; have used the online booking facility reluctantly a few times recently as have had to travel to personal appointments and certainty of travel took precedence. (The online booking with Irish Ferries gives one a "firm" booking).

Stena will only issue from the ports (i.e. Dublin/Rosslare/Dún Laoghaire*) onwards into Britain. I've attempted to buy a ticket in advance for a journey starting at an Irish station but they can't/won't issue; the info on the website seems to be informational rather than actual.

(* now served seasonally)

Last edited by Traincustomer : 10-11-2011 at 15:54. Reason: addition of footnote for readers' benefit
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Unread 10-11-2011, 19:19   #66
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You should be safe with a coupon. The only risk route is the Stena Dublin Holyhead

You should be fine on others as the ship capacity is significantly greater than demand and port facilities do not require bus transfer. So unless half of Dublin decides to go to Dun Laoghaire for a HSS sailing there won't be a problem. That said the HSS will operate extra sailings if demand is proven

Stena want the business and are looking at ways to ensure they can carry everyone. There plan is very clever and will really make SailRail more attractive from Dublin, licensing issues have to be resolved first.
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Unread 10-11-2011, 20:53   #67
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I'll go onboard as a stowaway if the coupon doesn't work!

The bus transfers are a pain alright. (Now, I've nothing against buses and enjoy bus travel but in the context of circa three minute runs within Holyhead Port it results in the transfer between train and ship being very cumbersome). The buses used generally seem to be oldish public buses with some of the seats rearranged to increase standing capacity.

With hindsight and if the clock could be turned back over a decade Holyhead Harbour could have been redesigned differently. In the mid-1990s high speed operations were "it" and leaflets at the time talked of the marine motorway etc... But the Inner Harbour is sealed off in perpetuity by both the road bridge and Celtic Gateway pedestrian bridge.

On a recent occasion due to winds the foot passenger walkway to the Ulysses at Salt Island was rendered unusable and it took an age for foot passengers to be bussed off. (The walkway is essentially supported above the sea). In fact the walkway must rank as one of the longest anywhere between terminal and ship.

Long term and subject to a viable business (and possible freight prospects) it wouldn't be entirely out of the question for the track to be extended from Holyhead Station to a basic station to serve the Salt Island berths. The track extends a fair distance beyond Platform 1 in any case (Cetic Gateway Pedestrian bridge is good point to see this) but is overgrown. Thinking this through there would probably have to be freight to make it worthwhile laying the track. As the area is out of public bounds the station would be exclusively for passengers arriving on the ferry/sailing on it/port workers. This could raise a few issues but they shouldn't be insurmountable.

The HSS Stena Explorer has the attribute of adjacency to the rail stations on both sides. Stena's plan sounds promising; I think a key point is to try and align the HSS sailing to Holyhead with the afternoon Virgin Trains to London; do-able if the sailing was advanced and the turnaround time in Dún Laoghaire cut to the half hour/35 minutes of its heyday.

It's a pity P & O don't take foot passengers from Dublin to Liverpool as their terminal (by the East Link Bridge) is just a stone's throw from the LUAS. However the Liverpool terminal is not so convenient and would likely require a bus transfer.

Finally it would be good if the bus link between the Irish Ferries terminal and Busáras (Heuston on first journey) could be an add-on to one's ticket. I have never seen as much commotion with first timers rummaging for coins/not having the money etc... Furthermore a through SailRail ticket say Chester to Kildare should entitle one to travel on this bus without further payment.

Something similar has recently been introduced in the Isle of Man whereby one can buy a rail and sea ticket from a station in Britain to Douglas (via either Heysham or Liverpool) and then get a "Plusbus" add-on for the IOM. So on arrival at the Sea Terminal in Douglas there's no hassle of rooting for cash and one can simply board a Bus Vannin for the onward journey.
Talking of the IOM does anyone remember the through tickets available from Irish Rail stations to the Island? They seem to have been discontinued in the 1990s presumably due to low uptake.

In my view Dún Laoghaire would be preferable for IOM sailings; the sailings are predominantly tourist/leisure orientated rather than freight and also by using Dún Laoghaire foot passengers would have much greater ease of access to/from the sailings.

Last edited by Traincustomer : 10-11-2011 at 22:32. Reason: addition of afterthought
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Unread 11-11-2011, 07:50   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson View Post
That said the HSS will operate extra sailings if demand is proven

Stena want the business and are looking at ways to ensure they can carry everyone. There plan is very clever and will really make SailRail more attractive from Dublin, licensing issues have to be resolved first.
Can't see Stena ever putting on extra HSS sailings. The only reason they did last summer for a 12 day period was when the Adventurer was on refit.

What clever plan have they got? Utilising the aditional sailings the Nordica would provide for Sail & Rail / foot passengers? Surely they could have done this a long time ago if they'd really wanted to.

Last edited by Eddie : 11-11-2011 at 07:55.
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Unread 11-11-2011, 09:27   #69
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The UK rail tickets are already supposed to be invalid without a ferry coupon.

The problem with people stopping was even more pronounced on tickets to Northern Ireland that involved sailings from Scotland, where people just got to Glasgow and threw away the rest of the ticket to get around absurd Virgin Trains peak time fares.
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Unread 11-11-2011, 10:06   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie View Post
Can't see Stena ever putting on extra HSS sailings. The only reason they did last summer for a 12 day period was when the Adventurer was on refit.

What clever plan have they got? Utilising the aditional sailings the Nordica would provide for Sail & Rail / foot passengers? Surely they could have done this a long time ago if they'd really wanted to.
I've spent quite a lot of time trading emails and meeting people behind SailRail to get to the bottom of the issues

The Nordica is out as it passengers capacity at 405 is barely sufficient to cope with motorists, there is no room left for foot passengers. Need to replace the ship, not likely until 2013 at earliest

HSS operates to meet seasonal demand, it has been indicated in meetings that if demand is proven extra sailings could be provided, again this goes back to the lack of prior knowledge of SailRail tickets issued and the lack of a solid booking system to support it.
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Unread 11-11-2011, 10:59   #71
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Can anyone help with this thread? http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showt...p?t=2056447675
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Last edited by Colm Moore : 11-11-2011 at 11:03.
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Unread 28-12-2011, 22:04   #72
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Default Summary of SailRail changes January 2012

What follows is probably not the full picture but nonetheless hope it may be of interest and practical use.

Central corridor:
Dublin Port – Holyhead (Irish Ferries):

* In general fares are increasing between €2 and €3.

* New Britain Zone E including London, Scotland and parts of the West Country (e.g. Cornwall). Consequently Dublin Port to London Euston now ranges from €45 (by Ulysses conventional ferry) to €51 (by Jonathan Swift fast ferry). This is a €5 increase.

* One can check whether their destination station zone has changed by consulting the following list: http://www.irishferries.com/images/p...zones_2012.pdf

* Booking on the day of travel now attracts a €6 surcharge.

* The 12 noon Holyhead-Dublin Jonathan Swift fast ferry sailing is advanced to 11:50 from 6th January inclusive (my thinking on this is to give it more turnaround time at Dublin Port prior to taking the 14:30 sailing ex Dublin).


Southern Corridor (Rosslare-Fishguard): It's unclear what fare increases apply to the Southern Corridor route as Stena Line and ATW material does not appear to have been updated as yet. The National Rail Enquiries website would not display a post 2nd January fare from a welsh station origin to Rosslare.

Judging by the following Arriva Trains Wales' posts in a discussion forum, purchasing through tickets in Britain to destinations in provincial Ireland via Fishguard-Rosslare looks a remote prospect.
http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showt...p?t=2056470571
(posts: # 9, #11, #19 and #25).


Northern Corridor:
Belfast – Port Ryan, Cairnryan (Stena Line):

Since the last boat trains ran to Stranraer on 19th November and the last ferry served the port two days later, Rail & Sail has become disjointed on both sides involving a seventy five minute coach transfer between Port Ryan (not rail connected) and Ayr railway station.

The following report from a local paper interestingly mentions improving the rail and sea corridor between Scotland, the North and Dublin, using the Enterprise.
http://www.gallowaygazette.co.uk/new...line_1_1991471

Interestingly Stena Line at Belfast Port are able to issue the same tickets that railway stations in Britain issue. (i.e. standard card with orange header, footer, BR logo and rail settlement plan background).
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Unread 29-12-2011, 00:30   #73
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Back in 1990-91 when I was a student at Glasgow I could get a through ticket from Glasgow (Queen Street I think)-Stranraer-Larne-Belfast-Connolly-Heuston-Mallow. Was cheaper than flying because this was pre Mick O'Leary. Can't really see it being a "sustainable link between Edinburgh and Dublin" short of another, more sustained ash cloud.
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Unread 29-12-2011, 23:38   #74
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General fare increases, an extra zone, and surcharges for credit cards, fast ferries and booking on the day of travel, all added since the Ash Cloud 18 months ago. The fare was sufficiently low that you'd put up with the additional time it took compared to flying. The sparkle has most definitely gone.
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Unread 30-12-2011, 12:34   #75
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There is no credit card surcharge when you buy via Irish Rail or via Arriva Trains Wales. Irish Ferries charge everyone a crazy credit card fee which is all but impossible to avoid, Stena Line do as well but at least they don't charge a visa debit card.

Its actually cheaper to buy a SailRail ticket from Holyhead station to Dublin than to go foot passenger ticket as a result.

Fast ferry surcharge has been around for some time, Irish Rail wasn't charging it on the Swift for a while due to an admin oversight.
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Unread 29-03-2012, 13:12   #76
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Default Stena HSS returns to Dún Laoghaire tomorrow

The Stena Line HSS Stena Explorer resumes sailings tomorrow, Friday 30th March, 2012.

The sailing schedule is the same as last year - one round trip. This is at 10.00 ex Holyhead and 13.15 ex Dún Laoghaire. Scheduled crossing time of two hours.

The original plan was not to resume until 1st April but the starting date has subsequently been pushed forward.
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Unread 05-04-2012, 23:41   #77
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Interestingly, I have recently completed a survey on behalf on Stena that suggests, if popular enough, they might be looking at tweaking their timetables from Rosslare to Fishguard to either:

Rosslare to Fishguard: 8.30am / 7pm; Fishguard to Rosslare: 1.45pm / midnight (with option to stay in cabin for 6 hrs)

or

Rosslare to Fishguard: 2.30am (option to stay in cabin for 6 hrs) / 4pm; Fishguard to Rosslare: 10.45am / 9pm.

I suspect they are looking at all routes; would be interesting to hear if anyone else gets the survey and has an insight into the Dublin / Dun Laoghaire options.
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Unread 06-04-2012, 07:48   #78
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I can confirm similar proposals for Dublin Holyhead are under investigation by Stena Line management
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Unread 06-04-2012, 10:53   #79
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It's a shame they didn't ask my opinion about constructing an ideal timetable from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead which is potentially of more use to me as I would have said:

Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead: sometime between 11.10am and 12.30pm
Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire: sometime between 2pm and 5pm.

Of course, they will never do this as this would mean basing the ferry in Dun Laoghaire rather than Holyhead.

With regard to the Dublin port to Holyhead service, I like the idea of pulling the morning departure times forward a little to say 7.30am from Dublin (which I think they do occasionally when there are particular football matches taking place), and the option of a 6 hour overnight sailing from Holyhead in a cabin could be very appealing. However, a 7pm rather than a 9pm departure from Dublin to Holyhead would extend even further the already long time from arrival into Holyhead and the next train departure though.
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Unread 06-04-2012, 18:36   #80
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There is a chance Stena wont operate out of Dun Laoghaire in 2013

Almost certainly this last HSS season. The HSC Stena Explorer is the oldest ship on the Holyhead route!
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