Advance fares +connections question

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AndyLandy

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OK, I realise that topics related to this come up quite often, but I have a question about an odd subtlety that's come up in some recent AP tickets I've purchased.

I've got a ticket from Hartford to Southampton, with a via-London Maltese cross. I've also been allocated reservations from Hartford to Stafford with London Midland, and Stafford to Watford Junction with Virgin Trains. There's nothing missing, the ticket clearly states it is comprised of three coupons.

Thing is, I've not been issued any further reservations. What are the restrictions there? Am I permitted to stay on the STA-WFJ train all the way to Euston? What about from Waterloo-Southampton? Normally I'd get a reservation on that stretch, but I don't have one this time. I assume the presence of a Maltese cross will mean the ticket will work tube ticket gates.

Odds are at the time of evening I'll be travelling, there won't be anyone around to check tickets anyway, but I'm a firm believer in doing this "by the book", so I'd just like to ensure I'm not likely to get into any trouble by riding (what seems to me to be) the most obvious services home.
 
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island

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You ought not to use Virgin between Watford Junction and Euston as advances are only supposed to be used on reservable trains with a reservation. I suspect the system expects you'll be getting Southern from Watford Junction to Clapham Junction and picking up your Southampton train there.

What's the route on the ticket?
 

clagmonster

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I suspect that your itinerary has produced a journey using a Southern service Watford-Clapham for a South Western Division train onwards.

I would ask the guard on the Stafford-Watford train. He may give permission to stay on through to Euston, he may not. If he denies permission, if you so desire I see nothing wrong with hopping on a non-reservable LM service from Watford to Euston, though note that some LM services are reservable so you must be careful.
 

hairyhandedfool

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I think more details are needed before you questions can be answered fully, for a start, what is the origin, destination and route on the ticket?

I presume, given the reservation is to Watford Junction, that the next train was to be a service to Clapham Junction?

Generally speaking, if you have an unreserved portion of a ticket you can use another unreserveable service for that part of the journey provided you would still be able to connect with any later reserved trains that you have. This would rule out continuing on the Virgin Trains service to Euston.

Yes, a ticket marked with a + should open the Underground ticket barriers and does cover the cost of using the tube.
 

AndyLandy

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I think more details are needed before you questions can be answered fully, for a start, what is the origin, destination and route on the ticket?
That should be stated at the top, the ticket is Hartford to Southampton routed "+VWC and connections"

When I booked the ticket, it did suggest going from Watford to Clapham, but I didn't actually save the itinerary (foolishly assuming that the reservations would cover it) though it might have been emailed to me, I'll check later.

Is it the case that an Advance is explicitly not valid on a 'bookable' train unless you hold a reservation for that section? So it's not "any reasonable connection"
 

clagmonster

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The best answer to that question is here:
"Q25. Can passengers on an advance ticket travel on earlier connecting trains?

A. Yes if it is non-reservable, no if it is reservable.

An exception that benefits customers: Where East Coast is a connecting TOC from Stevenage via London and vice versa e.g "AP London Reading" or "VWC & connections", East Coast waives the need for travel on the exact East Coast train booked on this relatively short journey Stevenage-Kings Cross, even though retail systems will force a reservation to be made."
http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=48377

The Watford-Euston Virgin service is clearly reservable, as you have a reservation on it north of Watford. You can travel on an earlier connecting train than the one stated on your itinerary so long as it is not reservable.
 

hairyhandedfool

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That should be stated at the top, the ticket is Hartford to Southampton routed "+VWC and connections"....
Ah yes I missed the origin and destination (must get new glasses), but you hadn't mentioned the route (just that it had a '+').

....Is it the case that an Advance is explicitly not valid on a 'bookable' train unless you hold a reservation for that section? So it's not "any reasonable connection"
Strictly speaking Advance fares are 'booked train(s) only' (it will say this on the ticket), but it is recognised that not all trains are reservable and as such unreservable trains are generally interchangeable provided reserved connections are met.

However, in the terms of the ticket, it does say that tickets routed '& Connections' can use connecting services for the booked train of the TOC named on the ticket (in this case VWC), however I think it may be dubious for you to use the Virgin service as a connecting train as it will be 'set down only' at Watford Junction.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Is it though? If it's set down only at Watford (most are) then it's not possible to reserve between Watford and Euston.
It would also not be allowed to board the train at Watford, which is in effect what would be happening. If the passenger was booked to travel on that train all the way to London they would have a reservation for it, therefore it is reservable.
 

island

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I think the answer to this is to see the train manager on the Virgin service. It's quite unlikely he'll have an issue with you continuing to Euston, but if you don't ask, you might be in a spot of bother.
 

Indigo2

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I suspect that your itinerary has produced a journey using a Southern service Watford-Clapham for a South Western Division train onwards.
I wonder is that a consequence of ATOC telling the booking engines to allow much more time than is needed for cross-London transfers, with the result that the booking engine is finding it quicker to change at Watford Junction and go via Kensington Olympia. It's strange as the fare is clearly intended to be used via London.
 

AndyLandy

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I think the answer to this is to see the train manager on the Virgin service. It's quite unlikely he'll have an issue with you continuing to Euston, but if you don't ask, you might be in a spot of bother.
That's probably what I would do. I've found staff are usually very accommodating if you ask them. The question is what I should then do once I get to Waterloo? Services from Waterloo to Southampton are technically reservable too, but I have no reservation for that portion either...
 

island

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I don't think you can get a reservation as a connection on an SWT service. Someone else will give a better answer than that. But again, you can always ask the guard if you're worried.
 

AndyLandy

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I don't think you can get a reservation as a connection on an SWT service. Someone else will give a better answer than that. But again, you can always ask the guard if you're worried.
I have done in the past. In fact, I have a similar dilemma on my outbound ticket. It's the equivalent ticket (SOU-HTF, +VWC & connections) but it's given me a reservation from Southampton to Basingstoke, but nothing from BSK-WAT. Again, my plan there was to ask the guard on the SWT service if I should just remain on that train into Waterloo.
 

hairyhandedfool

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A Southampton-Basingstoke reservation could be on a Cross Country service, which are reservable but don't go to Waterloo.

Some Waterloo-Southampton services are reservable, some are not.
 

swt_passenger

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I don't think you can get a reservation as a connection on an SWT service. Someone else will give a better answer than that. But again, you can always ask the guard if you're worried.
You can do if the SWT service has an Advance quota, although it will be a 'booked train only' reservation, as SWT do not do seat reservations.

The explanation is apparently that although SWT do not offer Advance fares for Waterloo to Southampton, they do offer Advance fares between Waterloo and all stations beyond Brockenhurst. Your booking through to Southampton can come out of that quota.
 

Indigo2

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Your booking through to Southampton can come out of that quota.
I don't see how it can, if it's a VWC & CONNECTNS advance. Even if SWT had allocated specific quota on their services for holders of the VAS/VBS/VCS/VDS etc. Virgin advance ticket types (which I think is quite unlikely, although theoretically possible), this would be separate from the quota for SWT's own advances, which have separate ticket type codes (S1A/S2A/S3A/S4A etc.).
 

AndyLandy

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I don't see how it can, if it's a VWC & CONNECTNS advance. Even if SWT had allocated specific quota on their services for holders of the VAS/VBS/VCS/VDS etc. Virgin advance ticket types (which I think is quite unlikely, although theoretically possible), this would be separate from the quota for SWT's own advances, which have separate ticket type codes (S1A/S2A/S3A/S4A etc.).
No, this is actually what usually happens. If I book a SOU-HTF advance, I usually end up with three reservations, SOU-WAT with SWT, EUS-CRE with VT and CRE-HTF with LM. (Or vice-versa coming back the other way). It's just different in this case.
 

Indigo2

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The way I see it is that when issuing an advance fare, booking engines must attempt to make a reservation on any train in the itinerary that is shown as being reservable, since that is how advance quotas are enforced. They are not intelligent enough to know which is the "main" leg of the journey (and will be quota-controlled for the given type) and which is the "connection" (and will allow any reservation to be made, without any quota control).

So it's a side effect of SWT introducing pseudo-reservations on certain trains in order to quota-control their own advances, that a non quota-controlled, pointless reservation will automatically get issued in cases like these. But, because it has been issued, the advance fare conditions kick in and bind you to travelling on that specific connecting train.

Some connecting TOCs do seem to put a zero quota on other TOC's advance ticket types sometimes though, to stop & connections legs being booked with them. E.g. Virgin don't seem to allow any XC & Connections fares to ever have a connecting leg with them.
 

AndyLandy

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Well, having just returned from said journey, the answer is that both Virgin and SWT guards were more than happy for me to ride their services via London with my ticket.

The golden rule. If in doubt, ask the guard. My experience is that the vast majority of guards are friendly, helpful and understanding if you approach them and ask their advice before travelling.

:D
 
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