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How much time should one allow to change trains from the Eurostar platform (from Paris) to platform A at St Pancras going to Gatwick?

  • Welcome new user! – Fattie Nov 11 '18 at 6:16
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In general I'd budget at least 30 minutes for that connection, but it'll depend on wether you're a fast walker, if you have (heavy) luggage, if you know the station already and if you need to buy tickets for the Gatwick train.

The Eurostar arrival takes you down an escalator and through a maze of corridors with immigration and customs facilities (which aren't in use, as you clear UK immigration in Paris already). This is different from Paris, where you just walk from the platform into the station.

You'll also have to find your way to Platform A once you're in the station - if you accidentally end up at the wrong side of St. Pancras this may be a bit of a walk as well.

For tickets you should be able to use a contactless credit card (or Oyster card) at the ticket barriers. This is probably the quickest and most convenient option by far, as you can just "walk in", although it'll always be the standard fare[2] without discounts.

Buying tickets locally may take some time. The whole fare system from and to Gatwick is a mess and you may need some human assistance, either a manned counter, or from a guide at the ticket machines. (I'm not sure about getting tickets in Paris (or on the Eurostar)).

That said, services to Gatwick should be quite frequent, so you can just take the next available train if your faster or slower than expected.

Finally, you should also take into account possible delays - which are not too uncommon - on the Gatwick connection and the time it'll take to get to your gate in Gatwick.

[2] At the time of writing, Thameslink quoted the "Anytime" flexible single ticket at £10.70, while a "Offpeak" saver single fare was at £9.40

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    You can also buy tickets in advance from National Rail and pick them up from a ticket machine at the station. You'll need the credit/debit card the ticket was bought with, and the alphanumeric confirmation code from the booking. – David Richerby Nov 11 '18 at 10:56
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    The passport control facilities at St Pancras are normally not used for passengers from Paris Gare du Nord (things are different for trains from Disneyland or other destinations, and it was the case for trains from Brussels at a time), but customs checks still take place for everyone at this point. Most passengers just go through, but there’s always the possibility you could be stopped, queried and eventually searched. – jcaron Nov 11 '18 at 12:49
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The minimum connection time at St. Pancras according to the timetable is 15 minutes - from the Eurostar Arrivals exit, turn right and you'll see the Thameslink platforms signposted (note you'll want to go downstairs to platforms A and B for Gatwick Airport, the trains upstairs head north).

If you also need to buy tickets it would be wise to leave at least another ten minutes to do so, but you should be on the Thameslink platform within 25 minutes of arrival without too many issues.

  • @Simon You’ll save time and money if you buy your ticket in advance online eg thetrainline.com/train-times/… – Traveller Nov 11 '18 at 9:07
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    Hi @Edd - please note that the 15 Minutes is for "St. Pancras", and brtimes.com actually gives you 35 minutes for "St. Pancras International". I'd say that 15 minutes are very optimistic if you have to clear the Eurostar corridors first - see my answer. – averell Nov 11 '18 at 9:37
  • @averell aha! I assumed that was for connections to Eurostar (including the check in time), and that coming from Eurostar (without immigration/customs etc) the 15 minutes applied. – Edd Nov 11 '18 at 9:49
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    @Edd For departing Eurostar you have to check in at least 30-45 minutes before departure to clear security and immigrations. unless you travel business, where they whisk you through the fast track even 10 minutes before (the actual distance from the checkin to the train is actually less than when arriving). I think you can make the connection to Gatwick in 15min if you know where to go, you walk quick, don't buy a ticket and don't have much luggage, though... but if you have a plane to catch, that'd be cutting it close. – averell Nov 11 '18 at 10:08
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    @Traveller Don't use thetrainline.com: they charge a booking fee. You can buy British train tickets without any booking fee via the National Rail website, which allows you to select your journey and then passes that to the train operator for them to sell you the ticket at cost price. – David Richerby Nov 11 '18 at 10:54

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