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News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"

By Phil Hollis
May 18 2009

Not long to go now before Saints take on Bourgoin in the final of the European Challenge Cup. editor Phil Hollis attempts to provide the ultimate travel guide for those who are making their way to the Stoop on Friday...






There are a number of options available to Saints fans who are making the trip to the Twickenham Stoop on Friday for the European Challenge Cup Final against Bourgoin. This guide will, hopefully, give full details of all the various means the intrepid traveller needs to make it to London in time for kick-off…


travel old coachIf you have booked on a club coach, coaches are leaving between 1pm and 2pm. As one coach fills it will leave. Coaches will leave from CAR PARK B. Car parking for all travellers is available at the ground in CAR PARK D.



travel jeffcoachSupporters Club coaches will leave at 3pm prompt from the BEACON BINGO CAR PARK. Supporters using these coaches should arrange to be at the car park by 2.45pm latest. There will be no hanging around for stragglers!



travel carThis is Black Friday. That is to say, those that know reckon that this Friday is the busiest Bank Holiday Friday of the year. Blimey! There are of course various options available to those that are getting there by car but, here is some advice from a lady who “does travel” for a living…

Helen Blaby of BBC Radio5Live writes exclusively for and says… As for driving - well bloody hell, what a day to have a final in London! It's a Bank Holiday Friday, and without boring you with loads of Highways Agency stats...Bank Holiday Friday rush hours tend to start at 3 and last until about 9pm. So, if you are going to drive down then allow plenty of time. If I had to make a choice I'd do the M40/M25/M3/A316 route, just so you cut out more of the M25 than you would if you were going to go down the M1 - but you'll be going anti-clockwise on the M25 anyway, which *ought* to be better than going clockwise on a Friday night, but with it being Bank holiday you never can tell.

If you don't fancy trying to park round the ground then The Stoop is on the Reading-Waterloo line and Staines might be worth thinking about as a place to "Park and Ride."”

Thank you, Helen!

If you are relying on your Sat-Nav then the post-code for The Stoop is TW2 7SX.


travel trainI am indebted to Mark C who offered this invaluable information…


Ok here goes...

I have planned the journey from London out of Waterloo as this is where the service starts from and you are going to have more chance of a seat! Some of you may have been given Vauxhall as the station to leave London... this is simply the next stop after Waterloo 3 mins down the track.

Trains from London Waterloo to Richmond
(Twickenham station is the next stop but Richmond is a more common meeting place)



Now, getting to London...

M. Harborough, Kettering, Wellingborough, Bedford... into London St. Pancras.

The transfer time St. Pancras to Waterloo states to allow approx half hour. It may be actually be quicker than this, but the system here has to allow for those who walk slowly.

Depart..........Depart..........Depart..........Depart ..........Arrive
Kettering......Mkt. H...........W'boro..........Bedford.........St. Pancras








Note: There are two trains above that start from Corby.
The 16:26 from Kettering, leaves Corby at 15:43
The 17:26 from Kettering, leaves Corby at 16:43

Now, let’s consider Long Buckby, Northampton, Wolverton and Milton Keynes to London Euston. The system allows 30 mins for transfer to Waterloo although I'm sure most of you could do it quicker.

Depart..........Depart..........Depart ..........Depart..........Arrive
L Buckby........N'pton..........Wol'ton.........M. K. Ctl.........Euston











RED = Virgin Train

Coming Home


and more up until 00:15!

Now getting back from London...

From London St. Pancras

St. Pancras ...Bedford........W'boro........Kettering.......Mkt. H


Change at Kettering for a train to Corby.
Departs K: 23.05 Arrives C: 23.14


from London Euston...

Depart.......... Arrive .......... Arrive ..........Arrive
Euston........M. K. Ctl..........Wol'ton.........N’pton






Virgin Trains Euston – MKC = 22:43 – 23:23 & 23:43 – 00:26

and now the Watford – Clapham – Richmond route…
From Northampton, Change at Watford Junction and Clapham Junction
From Milton Keynes Ctl. Change at Clapham Junction only.

Northampton 2 journey options

Depart N’pton -------15:50 or… 16:50

ArriveWatford J. ----16:29------ 17:29

Depart Watford J. --16:51------ 17:51
Arrive Clapham J. -- 17:32------ 18:32

Depart Clapham J. - 17:45----- 18:45
Arrive Richmond ----17:53-------18:53


The trains above from Watford Jcn to Clapham Jcn actually start from Milton Keynes Central. Therefore:

16:13 depart MKC arrive Clapham Jcn 17:32
17:13 depart MKC arrive Clapham Jcn 18:32

Returning Home

Depart Richmond ----22:15
Arrive Clapham J. --22:23

Depart Clapham J. --22:38
Arrive Watford J. --23:23

Depart Watford J. --23:41

Arrives in M.K. Ctl at 00:22, Wolverton at 00:26 and Northampton at 00:40.


Please note: East Midland trains have announced track repairs for weekend 22/23/24/25/26 May, so no return trains from St Pancras after 20:30 on the Friday night to Bedford/Kettering or Wellingborough. From what I can see, the last train from St Pancras leaves for the north at 20:25. I am happy to be corrected on this as it is extremely important that we get this information right for those trying to get home by this route!


travel bikeBike racks are available in the car park behind the North Stand.



travel boatThe Duke of Northumberland's River runs behind the LV Stand. However, it would appear that the chances of getting adequate mooring for anything larger than a coracle may prove a tad tricky. Oh, and the sort of jabs that you would need to visit  the out-skirts of Leicester are advised before attempting this particular method of access to the Stoop.


travel planeThe closest airport is London Heathrow. From Heathrow you can get a cab (about 25 mins, £15-£20) or more cheaply get take the Shuttle-Bus to Feltham Station, which is two stops from Twickenham. London Gatwick and London Stansted are a good deal further, and you'd want to travel to Twickenham by rail.


travel chopperHarlequins Rugby Club is the only landing site within the Twickenham/Richmond area. Go on, book one, fly in and see what happens!


travel weatherThe BBC suggests heavy showers on Friday, the Weather Channel suggests dry and cloudy and the Met Office is at present vaguely indifferent. Cover all bases and take umbrella, sun cream, sou’wester, flip-flops, shades, wellies and that floppy hat you bought last time you were in Spain.



Many thanks to the following for their help in compiling this article…

Helen Blaby for her travel advice. Helen can be heard on Radio5Live from daft o’clock until lunch-time, weekdays. For more information, go to BBC Travel

Mark C (and others) for the rail information.

The Prof (Duncan) at for general travel information. CAW’s travel guide (from which some of this information has been taken and is used with kind permission) can be found here.





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News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide" (IP Logged)
18/05/2009 23:06
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2009:05:23:00:21:15 by Phil..

Re: News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"
SumoSaint (IP Logged)
18/05/2009 23:10
Wow! Now that's what I call comprehensive. Many thanks, Phil.

Re: News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"
nn9saint (IP Logged)
19/05/2009 07:25

Re: News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"
ChrisG (IP Logged)
19/05/2009 07:42
I notice there is also a 01:34 train out of Euston to MK for any stragglers, might not help much if you live in N'ton but then again its nearer home and only a 50 cab ride away rather than a couple of hundred quid.

Rucken Mawle
Re: News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"
Rucken Mawle (IP Logged)
19/05/2009 09:08
Just goes to prove what an utterly stupid date time and venue for a final. Good luck to all of you going I hope your journey is trouble free.As for me I will be there in spirit as I can't leave work early so I have no chance of getting there.

Re: News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"
norfolksaint (IP Logged)
19/05/2009 09:46
I've just spoken to the Harlequins regarding car parking. Their car parks are due to open at about 4:00 with the ground opening at 5:00. These are on the Stoop side of the Chertsey Road (A316).

I'm not looking forward to braving the M11/M25 on a Bank Holiday Friday :-( but looking forward to the game :-)

Re: News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"
wheely (IP Logged)
19/05/2009 10:07
Great info. Cheers.

Word of warning though for Kettering etc bound travellers... The Stoop is still a walk (albeit a short one from Twickenham station).

IF the game finishes in regulation time without injury time ie 40mins each way, 15mins HT, the game will finish at 9.20.
That leave precisely 1 hour and 5 minutes from your seat in The Stoop, to your seat on a train at St Pancras.

A tall order on the best of days and allows no time for injury time, or even a round of applause for the boys if they do well.

Good luck!

Re: News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"
Stockers (IP Logged)
19/05/2009 10:44
Can't I land the helicopter on Billy William's Cabbage Patch?


Re: News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"
Sarge (IP Logged)
19/05/2009 11:20
The East Midland engineering work kicks off on Saturday rather than Friday. The last train for Wellingborough, Kettering, etc, leaves at 10.25pm, rather than 20.25pm as shown above.

For Bedford, the normal service should be in operation, so trains will be available as late as 01.38 on Saturday morning (and then limited services through the night).

Re: News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"
brancastersaint (IP Logged)
19/05/2009 11:46
as the roadworks on the M25 between j18-16 have now kicked in and it being bank holiday would be better to leave M40 at High Wycombe, take A404 to M4 and the navigate past Heathrow to Twickenham.
Anyone considering getting the train from Windsor, be aware that it's the Royal Windsor Horse Show, and the car park at Home Park by the station is closed, next station up - Datchet is best bet with plenty of parking available.


Re: News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"
SaintsDuncan (IP Logged)
19/05/2009 11:55
I could give you a hand with that Stockers, being partially qualified winking smiley

I did note the omission of details for saintian's luxury charabanc tours. Any news on that would be most helpful

Re: News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"
shendy (IP Logged)
19/05/2009 17:38
Noo - don't mention Staines as a possible "park & ride" - that's where I was going. Keep a space for me!
Haven't lived there for nearly 13 years, so no idea what the parking is like now.

Jim Winning
Re: News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"
Jim Winning (IP Logged)
20/05/2009 10:20
Well done...espcialy the driving bit (for me anyway). Helen Blaby is now my Hero. If someone can make miniture Helen Blaby clones - I would buy one instaed of Sat Nav.

Re: News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"
ChrisG (IP Logged)
20/05/2009 10:23
I have a Helen Blaby SatNav, it does good warnings of overturned haywains in Marsh Gibbon.

Mark H
Re: News: ECC Final - Travel - "The Essential Guide"
Mark H (IP Logged)
21/05/2009 18:50
Also further down the message board list under "IF we win on friday...what happens afterwards?"
Posted by: Mark H (IP Logged)
Date: 21 May, 2009 18:24

LOM has received word from one of her mates very close to the club that the team are planning to meet up with the travelling supporters after the game at the Stoop, this is because it will be about 1.30am before they return to Franklins Gardens and all the bars will be closed.

Hopefully this will be confirmed on the offy before we all set off tomorrow....

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