Eurostar 9051 Train from Paris Gare du Nord to London St Pancras International
Eurostar is an international high-speed rail service connecting England with France, Belgium and the Netherlands, with the most frequent train service being the Paris-London route. Heading back to London after the overland trip in Germany and France, I made it a point to try out the Eurostar at least once on this Europe trip, and this sector of my trip would be the most ideal since I had already done my journey overland since Berlin, so I would be completing a Germany to England overland journey.
Paris Gare du Nord
Eurostar departures are 1 floor up near the middle of the station concourse.
The ground floor is for Eurostar arrivals only, with a 1-way exit for arriving passengers only. Departing Eurostar passengers must clear immigration and customs first before boarding the train.
Heading up to the Eurostar departures level.
The Eurostar departure steps are provided on the big board in front up from the escalator.
There’s also a warning on not bringing artillery, ammunition, or weapons on board the Eurostar. I thought this would have been common sense, but apparently it warrants a big tall sign.
Queues are separated based on departure timings.
As I had allowed plenty of time for my connection, just in case my OUIGO 7692 got delayed, I arrived at very early for my Eurostar 9051 train.
Check-in opens 2 hours before departure at Paris Gare du Nord.
There are also ticket counters and machines at Paris Gare du Nord for immediate departures, though I think this would be even more expensive than my pre-purchased ticket.
Heading down the queue for my Eurostar 9051.
The queue offers a great view down to the ground level where Thalys and TGV trains are departing.
The queues merged back near the check-in gates, so I’m not sure why there’s a separation. Maybe it’s just to allow late arrivals for the departing train to skip this part, but the line merges from here on through immigration.
Scanning my ticket at the ticket gate to check-in for my Eurostar 9051 to London.
The first step after checking in is to go through France Immigration to exit the EU. These are all done at manual counters for non-EU passport holders including Singaporeans as an exit stamp needs to be issued.
Following France Immigration, UK Immigration immediately follows. Both manual counters and automatic ePassport gates are available for use by Singaporeans, but I opted for the manual counter as I wanted a stamp in my passport and most passengers were queuing for the automatic ePassport gates anyway.
Once done with UK Immigration, there was a scan at UK Customs which probably doubles up as security screening for the Eurostar. However, there are no liquids, aerosols, and gels restrictions on the Eurostar.
Once done with French and UK immigration, I am technically in the UK.
As such, this transit area is also known as the London Hall.
Like an airport, there are duty-free shops around, though the selection isn’t great.
The London Hall is 1 floor above the Eurostar platforms.
The waiting area isn’t great with limited seats at popular areas, so many Eurostar passengers had to stand to wait for the train.
The first departure gate here is Gate A for cars 11 to 18. Cars 17 and 18 are on the Eurostar e300 trains which have shorter train cars.
There are various shops around the London Hall to while away the waiting time.
Water fountains are available to drink from or fill up your bottle.
For food, PAUL seems to be the most popular option based on price and value.
The map of restaurants available in the London Hall.
There is a small passageway to continue to the next part of London Hall after PAUL.
There are more seats at this end with 2 floors of waiting areas.
The second departure gate here is Gate B for cars 1 to 10.
A closed food concession here.
And a grab-and-go outlet at the final end which is a bit pricey.
Heading up the spiral staircase to the waiting area.
The waiting area on this level is less crowded than those on the departure floor.
There is also a bar seat with charging ports.
A 2-pin Europlug power socket, 3-pin UK power socket, and 2 USB power sockets are available on each power socket set.
I headed down to Gate B for boarding about half an hour before departure. Eurostar boarding opens between 20 to 30 minutes before departure.
My Eurostar 9051 would be departing from Platform 5.
A familiar sight of international passengers waiting in front of a small glass door for an international train.
Another familiar sight of international passengers rushing through the small glass door once it opens for boarding.
Heading on the bridge at London Hall level to Platform 5.
Crossing over my Eurostar 9051 train.
Heading down the travellator to Platform 5.
Walking to the front of the train to hopefully get a front picture, but the platform was only as long as the Eurostar e320 so the front view is not possible.
The Eurostar branding on the Eurostar e320 train set.
Boarding my Eurostar e320 to London.
The interior of the Eurostar e320 Standard Class. Seats are mixed in tables and airline-style in a 2+2 configuration.
Luggage racks are available near the doors.
I picked seat 61 in coach 6 as it was a forward facing window seat with a full window view.
The legroom available on board the Eurostar e320 Standard Class.
A fold-down tray table is provided at the back of each seat.
A slide recline can be done using the side lever.
A 2-pin Europlug power socket and 3-pin UK power socket are available under each pair of seats.
The view of the Eurostar e320 Standard Class coach from my seat.
The clean toilet on board the Eurostar e320.
The automated tap takes a while to react to your hands.
There is a full-length mirror at the back of the toilet door.
My Eurostar 9051 departed from Paris Gare du Nord on time at 6.13pm.
Speeding out of Paris.
At the time of my trip, masks were required on board the Eurostar based on French laws despite technically being in the UK already.
A lot of city views were blocked by sound barriers along the line.
Heading out to the French countryside.
Some information on the Channel Tunnel were displayed on the screen along the way to the Channel Tunnel. It will be a 50.45km journey through the Channel Tunnel.
At the lowest point, the Channel Tunnel is 75 metres below the sea bed and 115 metres below sea level.
The fastest Eurostar speed had been 334.7km/h.
The current speed, however, was 293km/h.
Many information signs are a mix of English and French. I’m not sure if this is an issue with non-native English and/or French speakers.
Speeding past vehicles on the highway.
Vast spaces in the countryside allow for wind turbines to be built.
I headed over to Café Métropole in the middle of the train at about dinner time to get my dinner.
Café Métropole is the on-board buffet car located at cars 8 and 9 of the Eurostar e320 16-car train.
The interior of the buffet car is simple with standing tables only.
The menu of Café Métropole is placed around the buffet car.
As I didn’t want to have a standing dinner, I took my ordered meal back to my seat.
I bought an all-day meal deal with a main, side, and drink.
For my main, I ordered a Wild Mushroom, Lemon and Thyme Risotto.
This was surprisingly good for an instant meal with the sauce not too watered down, and rice was al dente.
I picked my snack off a basket of choices at the counter, and got a gluten-free Chocolate Brownie. This was nice and surprisingly moist despite being pre-packaged.
For my drink, I got a can of Coke. Coke is coke.
Passing through Calais-Fréthun station on approach to the Channel Tunnel.
Passing by the Eurotunnel Calais Terminal for the Le Shuttle.
The Eurotunnel Le Shuttle tracks merging with the main line on approach to the Channel Tunnel.
Entering the Channel Tunnel and leaving mainland Europe.
Travelling through the Channel Tunnel.
Appearing out of the Channel Tunnel in the evening sun of the United Kingdom.
Another opposing Eurostar entering the Channel Tunnel.
The queue of trucks waiting to board the Le Shuttle.
Passing by the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Folkestone Terminal.
Passing by Dollands Moor Freight Yard.
Continuing on the High Speed 1 (HS1) line.
Approaching London St Pancras International with tall buildings appearing again.
The international Eurostar journey from Paris Gare du Nord to London St Pancras International is just 1 station away, and the next station announcement is also the terminal station announcement.
Announcements are made in English and French.
Passing through Stratford International.
Heading through the York Way South Junction.
Approaching London St Pancras International.
Entering London St Pancras International slowly due to the buffer stops in front.
My Eurostar 9051 arrived at London St Pancras International at 7.41pm – 11 minutes delayed.
Disembarking from the Eurostar at London St Pancras International.
Heading to the end of the platform to catch the front view of my Eurostar train.
Looking back at my Eurostar e320 operating on my Eurostar 9051 train.
The Eurostar 9051 at the end of the line in London St Pancras International.
Heading down the escalator to the exit.
Walking through a passageway to the exit.
The exit leads directly out to London. No further immigration and customs checks are conducted as all formalities have been cleared at Paris Gare du Nord.
There is also a welcome desk for Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK by Eurostar.
The Eurostar is a convenient way to travel from Paris to London in about 2 and a half hours from city centre to city centre. However, the most convenient way is not the cheapest way between the UK and mainland Europe.
I took the Eurostar only as a personal accomplishment rather than being the cheapest way to do things. It might have been cheaper to fly back to the UK from airports around Alsace, but I opted to take the train because I wanted to.
The Eurostar charges a premium fare especially with the advent of budget airlines and competing buses. But even with the premium charged, my Eurostar 9051 still ran almost full.
It’s probably not a full leisure market that Eurostar is targetting, but the Eurostar is so iconic that I think most people travelling between UK and mainland Europe would try it at least once in their lifetime.