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Tickets to San Sebastian via Hendaye and Irun



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 21st, 2007, 04:26 PM posted to misc.transport.rail.europe,rec.travel.europe
[email protected]
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Posts: 15
Default Tickets to San Sebastian via Hendaye and Irun

Had an interesting experience in trying to get to San Sebastian from
Biarritz. Using Renfe's and SNCF's website I ascertained that I could
take a train from Biarritz at 10.27am (where I was staying) to Irun
(the first station in Spain) - a Corail Lunea train from the South of
France as it transpired with 'reclined' 2nd class seats that were a
tad uncomfortable to travel during the day in - reaching Irun at
10.57am, leaving me about 15 minutes to take a local Cercanias train
from Irun to San Sebastian reaching there about 11.30am, as the Renfe
station is a good deal closer to the centre and the beach.The best
laid plans of mice and men....

When I reached Biarritz, I had to queue for a fair bit - the all
singing, all dancing SNCF ticket machines wouldn't sell me a ticket to
Irun, never mind San Sebastian. I had assumed that, as the train I was
catching was heading for Irun from Biarritz, I could perhaps buy a
ticket for there ? (SNCF's website at www.voyages-sncf.com had told me
I could indeed for €5.20, €0.40 more than the €4.80 single it charged
from Biarritz to Hendaye, the last station in France). Indeed, when
the train arrived, it had "IRUN" written on the side of the train in
big letters on the destination boards.

I thought I'd chance my arm with "2 return tickets to San Sebastian
please ?" assuming there would be through ticketting for 2
neighbouring countries ? Apparently not. "You need to take a train to
Hendaye and El Topo (the narrow guage Euskotren from Hendaye to San
Sebastian) from there to Amara".

OK, I though, "2 return (or single) tickets to Irun,
please ?" (figuring 15 minutes would be time enough to buy tickets at
an unlikely to be busy Irun Station.

"No, Sir, there are no trains from here to Irun", the ticket seller,
said, meeting my incredulity. "Well, perhaps, one a day in the summer"

I pulled my Thomas Cook out and showed the cornucopia of trains headed
from Biarritz to Irun, probably 7 or 8 a day, as well as the
noticeboard at the station that showed copious trains to Irun.

"Well, that might be true, but I still can't sell you a ticket for
this train, I can only sell you a ticket to here to Hendaye - perhaps
you can buy a ticket at Hendaye for Irun". Not in 4 minutes (the wait
at the station) I couldn't.

I suppose I could have jumped the fare to Irun, and protested that
SNCF wouldn't sell me a ticket there, but I chickened out and changed
at Hendaye and took the Euskotren from there to Amara and walked into
San Sebastian. Very nice place with a fantastic old town and a lovely
beach, if anyone is tempted....On the way back, the timings on trains
from Hendaye to Biarritz were so shonky - a 4 hour gap after 18.57
until the next train, and the Euskotren arrived 2 minutes before the
Hendaye - Biarritz train departed - that I caught a coach from Hendaye
to Biarritz, that had the added advantage of dropping me in the centre
of the town, and not the station, 3km up a steep hill.

Anyone any ideas why this ridiculous state of affairs exists ? It's
already daft that Renfe can operate from Spain to Hendaye (but not
FROM Hendaye to Spain), and SNCF can operate to Irun but not FROM Irun
to France.

  #2  
Old September 24th, 2007, 10:10 AM posted to misc.transport.rail.europe,rec.travel.europe
Mike Roebuck[_1_]
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Posts: 12
Default Tickets to San Sebastian via Hendaye and Irun

On Fri, 21 Sep 2007 15:26:15 -0000, wrote:



Anyone any ideas why this ridiculous state of affairs exists ?


SNCF obviously don't have any international fares programmed into
their ticket machines at Biarritz. That doesn't excuse the sloppy
station staff though. Did you get a classic Gallic shrug as well?

It's
already daft that Renfe can operate from Spain to Hendaye (but not
FROM Hendaye to Spain), and SNCF can operate to Irun but not FROM Irun
to France.


The northbound broad gauge track extends into Hendaye station and
gives onward standard gauge connections into FRance. The southbound
standard gauge track extends into Irun station and gives onward broad
gauge connections into Spain. Presumably no-one sees the need to run
trains in the other direction?

I was on the very first service TGV from Paris to Irun. I well recall
having my bags searched by a Spanish Customs official, who absolutely
stank of alcohol, when I passed through the control at Irun to get the
narrow gauge train back to Hendaye, after arrival.

The old Puerta del Sol Paris - Madrid night train changed bogies in a
shed. I travelled on it once, northbound, but I can no longer remember
exactly where the shed was. The current night Talgo will pass through
a gauge-changing operation on the move, but I don't know where it's
located, either.

(It's a very long time since I was last in Hendaye/Irun).




--
Regards

Mike

mikedotroebuckatgmxdotnet
  #3  
Old September 24th, 2007, 04:15 PM posted to misc.transport.rail.europe,rec.travel.europe
[email protected]
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Posts: 15
Default Tickets to San Sebastian via Hendaye and Irun

SNCF obviously don't have any international fares programmed into
their ticket machines at Biarritz. That doesn't excuse the sloppy
station staff though. Did you get a classic Gallic shrug as well?


How did you guess ?

The northbound broad gauge track extends into Hendaye station and
gives onward standard gauge connections into FRance. The southbound
standard gauge track extends into Irun station and gives onward broad
gauge connections into Spain. Presumably no-one sees the need to run
trains in the other direction?


It's the same at Cebere and Portbou. All I can imagine is that there
is an agreement between Renfe and SNCF not to do so.


I was on the very first service TGV from Paris to Irun. I well recall
having my bags searched by a Spanish Customs official, who absolutely
stank of alcohol


I had a similar experience on the Hungarian/Serbian border, with the
added attraction that I had to convince 'Mihailj' to complete a
currency 'deklaratsia'. I filled it in and he signed it !

  #4  
Old September 24th, 2007, 08:16 PM posted to misc.transport.rail.europe,rec.travel.europe
Neil Williams[_2_]
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Posts: 131
Default Tickets to San Sebastian via Hendaye and Irun

On Mon, 24 Sep 2007 10:10:09 +0100, Mike Roebuck
wrote:

I was on the very first service TGV from Paris to Irun. I well recall
having my bags searched by a Spanish Customs official, who absolutely
stank of alcohol, when I passed through the control at Irun to get the
narrow gauge train back to Hendaye, after arrival.


I won't name the train, but I did encounter a DB guard at the weekend
who one could only assume had spent the day at the Oktoberfest then
gone into work for his evening shift...

Neil

--
Neil Williams
Put my first name before the at to reply.
  #5  
Old September 25th, 2007, 10:56 PM posted to misc.transport.rail.europe,rec.travel.europe
M.G.Schram
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Posts: 1
Default Tickets to San Sebastian via Hendaye and Irun

Anyone any ideas why this ridiculous state of affairs exists ? It's
already daft that Renfe can operate from Spain to Hendaye (but not
FROM Hendaye to Spain), and SNCF can operate to Irun but not FROM Irun
to France.

It is an international agreement from an ancient age for every
Spanisch/French border, that each national railway can run its trains to the
other side with passengers, but have to return empty. The return journey
has to be made with the other railway. This way each railway has only to
issue "national" tickets for local travel. And are completely independ for
timetabling. It also simplifies the customs checking. And the train
employees could rest in there own nation. At the time these where very
important issues and the border crossing was a serious matter with little
trafic.

Now it is a very stupid way to run things, certainly when the trains are not
frequent.

Greetings,

MARC


  #6  
Old September 26th, 2007, 02:09 PM posted to misc.transport.rail.europe,rec.travel.europe
[email protected]
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Posts: 1
Default Tickets to San Sebastian via Hendaye and Irun

On Sep 25, 10:56 pm, "M.G.Schram" wrote:
Anyone any ideas why this ridiculous state of affairs exists ? It's
already daft that Renfe can operate from Spain to Hendaye (but not
FROM Hendaye to Spain), and SNCF can operate to Irun but not FROM Irun
to France.

It is an international agreement from an ancient age for every
Spanisch/French border, that each national railway can run its trains to the
other side with passengers, but have to return empty. The return journey
has to be made with the other railway. This way each railway has only to
issue "national" tickets for local travel. And are completely independ for
timetabling. It also simplifies the customs checking. And the train
employees could rest in there own nation. At the time these where very
important issues and the border crossing was a serious matter with little
trafic.

Now it is a very stupid way to run things, certainly when the trains are not
frequent.

Greetings,

MARC


A couple of years back I caught a train from Vigo in Spain to Poro in
Portugal. The ticket office in Vigo actually sold me two tickets - one
from Vigo to the border and another from the border to Porto. In Spain
a Spanish conductor clipped my ticket and over the border the train
changed conductors and a Portuguese conductor clipped the other
ticket.

On the way back, the person at the ticket office in Porto told me that
he couldn't sell me a ticket all the way to Vigo, but only to the
border. I would then have to buy a ticket from the border to Vigo on
the train once the Spanish conductor got on. Curiously, the
combination of the two tickets this way cost a different amount than
they had in the opposite direction.

It seemed absurd though. One currency, no border checks, and a single
train, but two tickets and two conductors.

  #10  
Old September 27th, 2007, 05:04 PM posted to misc.transport.rail.europe,rec.travel.europe
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Posts: 15
Default Tickets to San Sebastian via Hendaye and Irun

A couple of years back I caught a train from Vigo in Spain to Poro in Portugal. The ticket office in Vigo actually sold me two tickets - one from Vigo to the border and another from the border to Porto. In Spain a Spanish conductor clipped my ticket and over the border the train changed conductors and a Portuguese conductor clipped the other ticket.

I had a very similar experience in the opposite direction. I wanted to
travel from Pontevedra in Spain to Porto in 2005. Once again, they
couldn't sell me a ticket, and sold me a ticket to Valenca Do Minho/
Tuy (the fare was the same) and another ticket from Valenca Do Minho
to Porto. Finding out the latter took forever at 7am, and we were not
the most popular passengers in Galicia that morning.

It actually worked out cheaper than the theoretical "through" fare.

As an aside, we had our passports checked on the train, which was
something of a surprise, as both countries are in Schengen. More
surprising given that a couple of days previously we'd visited Tuy and
Valenca and there was nary an immigration officer to be seen.


 




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