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    Rail ticket 'rip-off': passengers routinely denied cheapest fares

    Today's Daily Telegraph leads with the results of its own investigation, which found that self-service machines — which are used to purchase almost a quarter of all rail tickets — offer wildly different fares. Full story: Daily Telegraph
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    FGW seating plans

    On this FGW seating map, what do the pink seats indicate? There's no key on the diagram itself, and I can't find another map online. (I've been allocated Coach L Seat 10 for a forthcoming journey, and am curious what I might find opposite me!)
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    Eurostar seat reservations with DB London-Spezial

    Last Saturday I travelled from London to Hanover on a DB London-Spezial ticket. The print-at-home ticket included details of the reserved seats for all three trains, and all three were a pair of facing solo seats, as requested. When we checked in at St. Pancras we were given boarding passes...
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    Highbury & Islington to Gunnersbury via Zone 1

    Several times a week I travel between Highbury & Islington and Gunnersbury, to visit a client site. I normally catch the direct Overground service, which takes about 40 minutes and costs £1.60 using pay-as-you-go Oyster. This morning, due to my train being cancelled, I travelled via the...
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    Can I load RTVs onto an Oyster card?

    I'm sure this has been discussed before, and hinted at fairly recently, but the Search facility didn't return anything useful. I have £70 in Rail Travel Vouchers, issued by First Great Western in respect of a journey that "did not meet my expectations on this occasion" (as customer services...
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    Extension to Overground announced in Budget.

    I haven't been able to find the details online, but this evening's Evening Standard is reporting that George Osborne has given the green light to a £150m extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking Overground line in London as far as Barking Riverside, where a new "garden town" of 11,000 homes is...
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    First class all the way (trip around the UK)

    There's a beautifully-written article in the travel section of the Australian newspaper The Age, about the author's journey around the UK, travelling by train and staying at railway hotels. His route was London - Edinburgh - Glasgow - (Settle & Carlisle) - Leeds - Manchester - London (although...
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    FGW coffee service takes a downward lurch

    I asked for a coffee on an FGW train today - and what I got was a paper cup of hot water, an unbranded sachet of instant coffee, a stick and the instruction to "make sure you stir it". This would not be acceptable in any other cafe in the entire country, so why does FGW think it's acceptable...
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    FCC ticketing error in Guardian

    The Guardian's consumer affairs champion takes on the case of a reader who was prosecuted after he was sold the wrong ticket by an FCC booking office clerk. Luckily, the Guardian managed to get FCC to change their mind: Full article here.
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    A couple of interesting railway books

    I've just received a couple of new books from Amazon, and am very pleased with them. The first is The Cambrian Railways: A New History. This is a lovely coffee table book, packed with old photographs of my favourite pre-grouping railway company. I was pleased to see the number of photographs of...
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    Unable to select seat on East Coast

    I've been trying to book a return journey from London to Edinburgh (in first class) on East Coast. I didn't like the seats the system assigned to me and tried to change them. Most of the seats in the train are apparently unoccupied. However, no matter what seat I chose, I repeatedly got the...
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    Poor behaviour of off-duty rail staff

    A journey from Swansea to London Paddington earlier this week was marred only by the behaviour of four off-duty FGW staff who took up residence in the first class quiet carriage and, frankly, behaved like schoolchildren. Each of them occupied an entire bay of seats, and they proceeded to play...
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    No more loco-hauled over Bernina Pass?

    At the end of this week I'll be setting off on a three-week trip to photograph the Rhaetian Railway in south-eastern Switzerland. The first week will be devoted to the Bernina line between Pontresina and Tirano. I'm just looking at the timetables and motive power diagrams to plan my trip, and...
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    Standard ticket holders in first class accommodation

    Today I took a London Midland train from Birmingham International to London Euston. The first class compartment was surprisingly busy and I spent part of the journey idly trying to identify the passengers who held first class tickets and those who probably didn't. (Trying not to judge people by...
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    FGW delay: "Never apologise, never explain"

    Simon Calder's regular column in the Saturday edition of the Independent is devoted today to the experiences of passengers on a broken-down FGW train last Friday. No happy endings to "The Great Escape" from Paddington Why is it so apparently so difficult for train operating companies to...
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    Praise for Virgin Trains (yes, really)

    It's not often I think good things about the UK's rail network, and even less frequently that I say them out loud. But, fair's fair, Virgin have just surpassed my expectations. About a month ago, on the weekend of the big snowfall, I travelled between London Euston and Blackpool South on a...
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    WCML Christmas "travel chaos" - Guardian

    The West Coast main line is going to be closed yet again over the Christmas period. Article in Guardian I seem to remember Network Rail assuring us a few years ago that the misery we all endured for months on the WCML would be worth it because it would deliver a world class railway and that no...
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    East Coast apologises for "heavy-handed" treatment of passenger

    From today's Guardian: Full story here. What does the rulebook have to say about such situations? How long does a passenger have to produce a valid ticket? It seems extremely harsh for East Coast to refuse a refund when the ticket was found "shortly after" the passenger was made to buy another...
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    "Too many railway workers are paid to do nothing"

    From today's Independent. Full article here. Maybe the author is using a bit of artistic licence, but there's little doubt that we need to get the cost of running the UK's rail network down to European levels. I have just travelled half the length of Spain for 20 euros, and bought a four-day...
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    "Fewer than 70% of trains on time"

    BBC News This is a welcome first step to reporting the true performance of Britain's rail companies, where generous definitions of "on time" and excessive timetable slack paint a picture much rosier than the true one.