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Unread 16th October 2011, 14:01   #1
arb
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Default Cambridge to London day return with travelcard

I'm asking this question as a result of an incident a couple of months ago, having just rediscovered the ticket in question whilst clearing out my ticket wallet.

I sometimes buy a Cambridge to London day return + travelcard ticket for trips to London at weekends. I've always assumed that this allows a return journey between Cambridge and a London station (i.e. Kings Cross or Liverpool Street, or one of the stations on those lines), and then unlimited on the tube and National Rail services in the zones 1-6 area. First question - is that correct?

On the day in question, I specifically wanted to travel to Liverpool Street, and then stay on the Eastern side of London (ultimately getting a SouthEastern service to from London Bridge to Charlton), so I opted for the cheaper version of the Cambridge to London ticket, that only allows travel to Liverpool Street, not Kings Cross. The ticket achieves this restriction with a "Route: NXEA trains only" addition - which makes sense, since NXEA don't run trains to Kings Cross.

However, the ticket barriers to enter and exit the SouthEastern train service between London Bridge and Charlton didn't accept my ticket. I didn't really think anything of this (it's just one of those things that happens occasionally), and showed the ticket to the person manning the barrier, who always let me through without question.

But thinking about this incident again has left me wondering whether the "NXEA trains only" restriction applies only to the Cambridge to London part of the ticket, or throughout the London travelcard area as well? And was I therefore allowed to do the journey I did on that ticket, or not?

Experimenting with the East Coast journey planner, entering Cambridge to Charlton via Liverpool Street, I see that it doesn't offer me the cheaper "NXEA trains only" version of the travelcard. But it does if I enter a London Zone 6 station served by NXEA (specifically Harold Wood) - which adds to my suspicion that the restriction applies to the travelcard area as well, and I wasn't allowed to do what I did. If so, is it documented anywhere what exactly I can and can't do with this NXEA only travelcard? Tube? London Overground? DLR?
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Unread 16th October 2011, 14:05   #2
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I'm pretty sure that, presuming that the ticket bought was a Day Travelcard from Cambridge, the NXEA Trains Only restriction only applies between Cambridge and London. As I travel between Cambridge and London a few times per month, whenever I use the line to Liverpool Street and get an NXEA Trains Only ticket, I haven't experienced any problems.
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Unread 16th October 2011, 14:06   #3
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Between Cambridge and the boundary of zone 6, to be precise. Once inside the zones a travelcard is a travelcard and is valid on everything.
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Unread 16th October 2011, 22:16   #4
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You're even valid to board a Cambridge-bound service at Kings Cross, though you'll have to alight at Finsbury Park (almost no trains to Cambridge from Kings Cross stop at any other Z1-6 station)
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Unread 16th October 2011, 22:20   #5
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Two fares available: Which priced ticket was it?

22.10 NXEA Only
28.00 Any Permitted
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Unread 16th October 2011, 22:23   #6
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From what I've found (I've used Cambridge-London travelcards a lot) they do not work in any NR barriers except the ones at the terminal for the journey to/from Cambridge, but they do work on LU - I have no idea why, it's quite annoying.
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Unread 17th October 2011, 10:58   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by district View Post
Two fares available: Which priced ticket was it?

22.10 NXEA Only
28.00 Any Permitted
It was the cheaper NXEA only version. Although it was a weekend, where cheaper versions of the two tickets are available (19.40 and 22 respectively). And at the time I had a Network Railcard, reducing the fares again to 12.80 and 14.50 respectively.

So the general concensus of this thread is that the "NXEA only" part doesn't apply to the travelcard area? I've done some more experiments with the East Coast journey planner and it disagrees

One case I've found that really highlights this is a journey from Cambridge to West Ruislip (reachable by either the Central Line or Chiltern Railways). Ask the journey planner for this journey, via Kings Cross, for today, and it offers me the 28 travelcard (or a 24 return fare). But ask for it via Liverpool Street, and it offers the two different routes:
  • Central Line from Liverpool Street all the way to West Ruislip
  • Metropolitan Line from Liverpool Street to Marylebone, and Chiltern from Marylebone to West Ruislip
It does offer the 22.10 NXEA-only travelcard, but only lets me use it on the tube-only route. If I select the Chiltern route, I'm limited to the 28 (or 24) fare.

Various other non-NXEA train stations in London are limited to the 28 fare via Liverpool Street as well, but West Ruislip is the only one I've found where it offers a tube-only route for the cheaper fare.
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Unread 17th October 2011, 12:18   #8
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I think you've probably confused the system a bit. A travelcard is definitely valid on all services within the zones (after 0930 if it's off-peak) full stop. The booking engine may be having trouble because you are asking for other operators services, but as long as they are within the zones it is fine. West Ruislip is in zone 6, so no problem. You are only limited to NXEA until you cross the zone 6 boundary on the way in and from just before crossing it again on the way back out.
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Unread 17th October 2011, 12:19   #9
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A Travelcard is a Travelcard. If it were limited to a specific TOC it would not be a Travelcard. See this thread for the following quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Manual
•In instances where more than one Day Travelcard fare is available, prices will be specifically routed from the origin station, e.g. Peterborough to London Zones 1-6 (Route ‘FCC only’ or ‘Any Permitted’). Wholly within the Fare Zones however, they are both valid for travel on all participating operators’ services.
The EC booking engine is Doing It Wrong.
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Unread 17th October 2011, 13:17   #10
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Sounds to me as though the various booking engines, and possibly the encoding on the OP's ticket are treating the Travelcard part as tube/bus only, rather than including LO as well.

Was that not the case many years ago, before TFL/LO came into existence.

Really needs someone to look up the fare conditions for the OP's ticket.
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Unread 17th October 2011, 13:27   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harz99 View Post
Sounds to me as though the various booking engines, and possibly the encoding on the OP's ticket are treating the Travelcard part as tube/bus only, rather than including LO as well.

Was that not the case many years ago, before TFL/LO came into existence.

Really needs someone to look up the fare conditions for the OP's ticket.
London Overground is a distinct TOC which operates in London, it's not a catch-all term for TOCs operating suburban services in London. The Travelcard in its current form, covering train travel as well as tube, bus etc, has been around since 1989.

The online booking engines struggle with Travelcards since they are not programmed to deal with zonal travel. For instance, if you add some via point within London in NRE, it often says that multiple tickets are required since the route involves doubling back; even to the point of suggesting a Z1-6 Travelcard plus a Z1-6 Travelcard!

Likewise I would imagine that they simply check that the operator matches any TOC restriction on the ticket. The alternative would mean that they would have to check whether the whole of the journey on the "barred" TOC is within the Zones, which would add quite a bit of complexity.
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Unread 17th October 2011, 14:09   #12
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Thanks Lexyboy; that's this old codger updated on how things have changed!
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