Eurostar ES9116 London St Pancras to Brussels Midi, STANDARD PREMIER – Train vs Plane
In this… comparison.
- A Surreal Weekend Out
- Early Morning Virgin Trains and St Pancras International
- Eurostar ES9116 London St Pancras to Brussels Midi (Standard Premier)
- Crowne Plaza Le Place, Roiger, Brussels
- Enjoying time in Brussels and Leuven
- Off to Trainworld
- Back to Brussels Airport, British Airways Terraces Lounge
- BA399 Brussels National Airport to London Heathrow (Club Europe)
- Heading back to Marylebone, and heading home
- Train vs Plane? Which wins in this round?
Eurostar ES9116 London St Pancras to Brussels Midi
Coach 3, Seat 44.
£157 Single, 157 Eurostar points earned.
I headed down to Coach 3 after heading up to the platform.
I was greeted by the on-train staff, who checked I was entitled to sit in Standard Premier. With that tick done, I head directed into the coach and where I need to sit.
So let’s take a look at the train seat. It’s a much wider seat than the standard Eurostar seat, with the carriage, laid out in a 1-1 to a 2-1 formation, with a mix of airline and table seating. My assigned seat was an airline-style seat.
The seat has a recline function too, and lots of leg space. Always welcome to see. There’s also a USB charging port and a French-style mains socket – which is useful if you have a multi-function adaptor block that has 2x 2.1a outputs on it.
Each seat had its own individual lamp connected to it to
With the train filling up, it wasn’t going to be a quiet run to Brussels today. Nor a quick one as we would be stopping at Ebbsfleet International (Kent), Calis Fréthun, (Pas-de-Calais), Lille Europe (Hauts-de-France) and Brussels Midi/Zuid.
With 2 hours 11 on the clock, our train pulled on time at 8:55.
One thing that I forget is that Eurostar trains are long – with this example being 16 cars long`. As you can see from the video – the train took its train leaving the Barlow shed at St Pancras, and clearing out in the open air.
I also hooked on to the on-train WiFi. As before, there was a useful warning before you connected.
I didn’t speedtest wifi the service on ES9116 it, but it felt about the same as before
WIth the train bearing right, it dived under North London to begin the underground trek to South West Essex and across the River Thames to Ebbsfleet International.
Ebbsfleet is used for pick-ups only (with SouthEastern High Speed/SouthEastern conventional rail being the only other way to visit the station). It’s also rather near the M25 London Orbital railway – As such its a useful parkway station on the way to France or Belgium.
At this point, the “breakfast service” commenced in Standard Premier. Those of you who like to be disappointed by breakfast services in on a train… get ready for this.
- A croissant
- A bread roll
- Orange Juice
Coffee and tea were also offered, as well as a pain au chocolat
That is about it. With this service, its as I stated more of a premium economy service. You’re paying for a larger seat and a few nibbles to tide you over.
So if you do want more substantial food on this train, either hike all the way up to the catering cars in coach 8 and 9… or visit Marks and Spencer’s before departures.
Once the train had picked up a few passengers, it accelerated onto HS1 again, with it slowing for a moment before tunnel approach.
With the train cleared to proceed, it accelerated down the Channel Tunnel.
In the past, this was actually noted by the train captain (yes, they have train captains in Eurostar land). These days, it’s just treated as part of the journey and nothing special)
Which in a way, it is. It is just 25 minutes or so in darkness. For the engineering feat that is the channel tunnel though – it’s not the greatest commemorations
Additional coffee and water were offered at this point.
25 minutes later, the train popped out of the other side of the tunnel, slowing for Calis Fréthun to let a few people off (although I spotted no-one getting on).
After a three minute wait, the train pulled out and accelerated to line speed – 300km/h down the LGV Nord for 45 minutes.
My body took this as a hint to get some limited rest.
The train pulled in smoothly to Lille Europe, where there was a five-minute wait. Lille Europe is a good stop in many respects as it provides connectivity to the French SNCF TGV and OuiGo networks at the northern point of the network.
A few people again got off and got on (this being now a country to country service). With that, the train took off for the final 30 minutes to Brussels Midi.
And the only real way you realise that you’ve gone from France to Belgium is when you look at your mobile phone, and instead of it being a French operator, it’s now a Belgium phone operator
With the train rushing along into Brussels Midi, passengers started to busy themselves as it closed in, with ES9116 leaving the high-speed line and joining the conventional lines.
The train continued on its way, with it passing Brussels Forest Depot, and turning towards Brussels Midi.
I took the time to gather my items, ready for the long walk at Midi.
With ease, the train slowed for Midi station, stopping gently.
With the doors pinging, I exited the ES9116 and headed into the darkness that is Brussels Midi.
A premium economy service sums it up. You get the larger seat of the business class cabin, with a minimal catering offer. But it’s a comfortable way to get from centre to centre.
And depending on how far in advance you book the ticket, it can be had for a reasonable price.
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