Something to Declare: Eurostar/ GNER; Newark airport

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The Independent Travel

Bargain of the week: two cities almost for the price of one

Catch GNER to King's Cross, hop across to Waterloo and take Eurostar to Brussels or Paris. The generous pricing policy on combined Eurostar/ GNER tickets means you can travel from stations on the East Coast Main Line via London to Brussels or Paris for little more than the usual fare to London alone – and you are even allowed to break your journey in the capital, permitting a two-centre trip. Just choose departure times that allow you to overnight in London. Stopovers can be made in in both directions, but you must pay for your own accommodation and continue the trip next day.

From Leeds or York to the French or Belgian capital costs £79 return. Durham or Newcastle are a fiver more, while Edinburgh or Glasgow are priced at £89. From further north, eg Aberdeen or Inverness, the fares look absurdly cheap – £94 return to Paris or Brussels, compared with the lowest normal fare of £70 to London alone. You have to book at least a week in advance.

Warning of the week: careful how you handle Newark airport's rail link

You might be surprised to learn that New York's busiest airport is Newark, across the Hudson River in New Jersey. It is also the first of the New York airports to have a direct rail link to Manhattan: the new Airtrain service. The existing airport monorail system has been extended to a new Newark Airport station on the main line between New York and Washington DC. Trains to Penn Station in midtown Manhattan depart about three times an hour, taking around 30 minutes.

That's the good news. But the detail is complicated even compared with Britain's tangled railway network. Two separate companies run trains between Newark Airport and Penn Station. New Jersey Transit (NJT) runs two an hour, but they depart within five minutes of each other. The one-way fare is $11.15 (£8). The other train is run by Amtrak, as part of a long-distance service from Washington DC, and the fare is $23 (£16), even more expensive than the Heathrow Express.

A bonus of the new station is that it enables quick connections to and from Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC. The easiest sources of more information are www.amtrak.com and www.njtransit.com.

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