Advance Tickets with different interchange points

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extendedpaul

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11 Nov 2010
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Caerphilly and Kent
Yesterday I travelled from Porthmadog to Kent with a friend using advance tickets. We booked separately on the same day in January and both used the same TOC website, both on the 15.58 from Porthmadog to Machynlleth, then the 18.07 from there to Birmingham. However my ticket required me to change at Birmingham New Street on to the 20.50 to London Euston. His ticket specified changing at Wolverhampton on to the 20.47 to Euston, ie the next service from Birmingham 20 minutes after mine.

We didn't realise the different itineraries until the day so had to stick with them. The ATW conductor was baffled by the discrepancy but his advice was to split up and take our booked trains which we did. My train - fast from Rugby- got in to Euston on time at 22.12 and I managed to catch the 22.25 HS 1 from St Pancras Intl with seconds to spare. His train - more stops- arrived at Euston at 22.43 and he just missed the 22.55 so lost a whole hour. We had thought that maybe there had been a block booking on the 20.50 from Birmingham between my purchase and his which took all the advance tickets but it was three quarters empty.

I am curious why this happened - we've done quite a few other trips always booking separately but never before had to split up like this. Can anyone suggest an explanation ?
 
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calc7

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8 Aug 2011
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That's frustrating. I can't offer an insight into why it happened, but I for one would like to see the functionality of being able to compose an Advance ticket and choose the changing points.

There is nothing more annoying than the booking engine keeping you on a crappy service instead of allowing you to change to an InterCity operator at the first opportunity (eg. Shrewsbury to London changing at Wolverhampton instead of Birmingham Int, or Cumbria to Euston changing at Lancaster instead of Preston). This would help out in situations like yours. If the demands were unreasonable or quotas sold out, it would simply return "no tickets were found for this itinerary".
 
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