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Old 13th August 2012, 17:06   #7
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1.4 Restriction/Validity Codes

Some tickets have restrictions on which route you can or cannot take, which Train Operating Companies you must use and what times you can and cannot use them.

Time restrictions will not always be obvious and may be simply be printed on the ticket as "See Restrictions".

1.4.1 Route Restrictions on tickets
Many tickets have restrictions on which routes you may or may not use. These are always printed on bottom of the ticket under "Route".

If the route is ANY PERMITTED you may take any route permitted by the NRCoC or routeing guide (see Section 3 - Routeing)

Some tickets are routed DIRECT. The meaning of this is undefined. However, one interpretation is that the only permitted routes are those taken by through trains or following the shortest route rule.’

Where the route is VIA one or more stations, your journey must pass through these stations although the train doesn't need to stop there. If there is no permitted route that allows travel via these stations, see Tickets routed via stations that are not on a permitted route.

If the route is NOT VIA one or more stations, you may take a train that does not call or pass there, but you must follow a permitted route.

Should you wish to travel on a permitted route that your ticket does not allow, you may be entitled to excess it to allow you to travel on your preferred route.
1.4.2 Train Operating Company (TOC) Restrictions
Some tickets restrict the trains you can travel on by TOC. In this case the names of the TOC(s) you can or cannot use must be printed on the ticket, although sometimes their names are shortened so that they fit in the space allowed. If you are in doubt, please ask on the forum.

For example, a ticket routed LDN MIDLAND ONLY could only be used on trains operated by London Midland. If you were to try to use it on other operator's trains you would be charged the Anytime Single fare as if you held no ticket at all, or you may receive a penalty fare.
1.4.3 Time Restrictions Unrestricted Ticket Types
Certain types of tickets do not have any time restrictions at all. As the name suggests, ANYTIME tickets can be used at any time of the day. Except in some rare cases, season tickets are also valid at any time. Restriction Codes
Tickets that bear the text See Restrictions have an associated restriction code. This is a two letter or number code which refers to the actual time restrictions for the ticket. Sometimes this is also printed on the ticket.

Examples of actual restrictions can be found on the National Rail Enquiries website.

Restrictions vary widely from almost none to very prohibitive. There is no concept of off peak times - each ticket may have different validity and some tickets labelled Off Peak may, in fact, be valid at all times. Finding Restriction Codes
To find the restriction code for a ticket, you can try any of these:
  • ask at a staffed station
  • use National Rail Enquiries
    • Search for a journey on National Rail Enquiries and select the journey and fare that you want.
    • Now scroll down to the blue box titled "Tickets". The type of ticket you've selected will be underlined in this box.
    • Click on this and you'll get a page of information about the ticket.
    • At the bottom of this page you'll find a link called "view the specific 'Validity Code' applicable to the journey plan that you have selected."
    • Click on this for the actual restrictions.
  • use
    • Type in the origin and destination of your journey and click the "Query Fares" button
    • Click on the ticket you require from the left hand column
  • purchase Avantix Traveller
    • This is issued three times a year and available to download from the ATOC website Interpreting Restriction Codes
The easiest way of determining time validity is to use National Rail Enquiries and see if your desired ticket is offered for the train you want to use. If it is, the ticket it valid (you might like to take a printout with you to confirm it).

Some restrictions, such as 8A and W5 are very straightforward. Others, such as 1K or 2W are much more complex and require detailed analysis to check if your journey is valid. They are usually laid out in columns showing restrictions for the outward and return journeys although they sometimes show morning and evening restrictions instead.

There may also be extra rules for specific trains or stations. In this way, each easement is different and needs to be studied independently - there are no "hard and fast rules". Restrictions also tell you if break of journey is restricted for the ticket (see section 1.4).
1.4.4 Advance Tickets
Advance tickets are only valid on the trains on which you are booked and hold reservations for and appropriate connecting trains. If you try to use them on different trains you will have to pay for a new ticket. For more information see section 1.1.3.
1.4.5 Refusal of Valid Ticket
Although rail staff ought to be properly trained regarding restriction codes, that's not always the case.

Because the time restrictions for Off Peak and Super Off Peak tickets vary so much depending on the journey being taken, sometimes tickets that are perfectly valid are refused by on-train or ticket barrier staff.

If you are using a ticket with a generous time restriction, it may be a good idea to take a printout of the restriction with you to show to staff. However it would normally be advisable to follow the instructions of rail staff and pay any excess demanded, then seek advice from the forum to obtain a refund.

Last edited by Mojo; 22nd February 2015 at 16:04. Reason: Links updated
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