ALR loophole for KGX

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Metal_gee_man

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This just illustrates what a mess the whole fares system is. An all-line rover should - and indeed was - a go-anywhere, any time ticket and was priced as such. That it was felt necessary to add arcane restrictions to it is frankly disgracefully.

It is already poor value (£540 for 7 days, 2nd class compared with interrail: £525 for 33 countries, 15 days continuous, 1st class, no stupid peak restrictions) without adding restrictions.
I'd guess because in some longer distance commutes £356.40 for a discounted ALR is cheaper than a normal season ticket. Infact some weekly season tickets probably come close to the £540 at full price, discouraging peak usage is quite smart!
 

Bletchleyite

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I'd guess because in some longer distance commutes £356.40 for a discounted ALR is cheaper than a normal season ticket. Infact some weekly season tickets probably come close to the £540 at full price, discouraging peak usage is quite smart!
That is precisely why it was done - not just commuting, but also for someone wanting to make two peak-time Manchester-London return journeys in a week, say. It used to be nicely obscure, with only enthusiasts really knowing about it, and then Portillo made it famous, and along duly came the restrictions.
 

43096

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That is precisely why it was done - not just commuting, but also for someone wanting to make two peak-time Manchester-London return journeys in a week, say. It used to be nicely obscure, with only enthusiasts really knowing about it, and then Portillo made it famous, and along duly came the restrictions.
Which goes back to my point that the whole ticketing system is unfit for purpose.

No such nonsense with an Interrail - I can (and did!) happily do a peak morning Stuttgart to Munich ICE without such stupidities.
 

Iskra

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Which goes back to my point that the whole ticketing system is unfit for purpose.

No such nonsense with an Interrail - I can (and did!) happily do a peak morning Stuttgart to Munich ICE without such stupidities.
You are conveniently ignoring many of the restrictions of using interrail; Reservation only, some of which carry an additional charge in some countries. It’s not quite the golden ticket you claim.
 

RT4038

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Which goes back to my point that the whole ticketing system is unfit for purpose.

No such nonsense with an Interrail - I can (and did!) happily do a peak morning Stuttgart to Munich ICE without such stupidities.
But you didn't do that as a resident of Germany. The only way round this is to make the ALR more expensive than the most expensive season ticket. Be careful what you wish for!
 

Iskra

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But you didn't do that as a resident of Germany. The only way round this is to make the ALR more expensive than the most expensive season ticket. Be careful what you wish for!
Exactly, reform in this area is unlikely to be to the customer’s advantage!
 

Metal_gee_man

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The crazy thing is, there are some absolutely shockingly expensive fares in the UK, some proportionate most very disproportionate.
And there are some fares which might be slow but travel a long way for not large sums (Dover to Weymouth a long the south coast for example) In all of this, you can get round the UK much cheaper than using a ALR by buying singles and returns
 

CyrusWuff

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The restrictions on the All-Line Rover, along with a 15% price increase, were brought in shortly after Baron Adonis (then Minister of State for Transport) spent a week travelling the network on one and pointing out how good it was compared to the price of buying individual tickets, especially given the lack of time restrictions. 'nuff said.
 

Metal_gee_man

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Or make the Seasons cheaper? As a matter of interest, which season tickets are more expensive than the ALR?
Penzance to Paddington £567.70 for 7 days

After checking Plymouth is also the same cost as Penzance
 

Bletchleyite

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I'd guess because in some longer distance commutes £356.40 for a discounted ALR is cheaper than a normal season ticket. Infact some weekly season tickets probably come close to the £540 at full price, discouraging peak usage is quite smart!
Indeed, it's a leisure product which offers a lot for the money for specific types of enthusiast. I'd say "stop moaning or you'll lose it" - there are plenty of legitimate workarounds without having to invent ones that aren't legitimate.

This is similar to the Railcard moan in a different thread - those are leisure products too, so stop moaning that you can't use one to commute - it's totally deliberate that you can't!

I would support the existence of a "BahnCard 365" or whatever you might call it, i.e. an all lines anytime season - but you aren't realistically going to be able to price it much below ten grand a year.
 

Ianno87

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That is precisely why it was done - not just commuting, but also for someone wanting to make two peak-time Manchester-London return journeys in a week, say. It used to be nicely obscure, with only enthusiasts really knowing about it, and then Portillo made it famous, and along duly came the restrictions.
It was Adonis, who did an ALR about the time he became Secretary of State.
 

gaillark

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Just a general comment on ALR.
The restrictions away from London are rather punative and should be relaxed.
For example you can leave Ediburgh at 0548 in the morning and arrive in London 1040 whereas going away from London (which is not the peak traffic flow) you can't arrive in Edinburgh until 1421 on a direct train or as another example you can leave Manchester at 0755 but away from London the earliest you can arrive is 1205.
That doesn't seem reasonable for a premium priced product.
 

Bletchleyite

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Just a general comment on ALR.
The restrictions away from London are rather punative and should be relaxed.
For example you can leave Ediburgh at 0548 in the morning and arrive in London 1040 whereas going away from London (which is not the peak traffic flow) you can't arrive in Edinburgh until 1421 on a direct train or as another example you can leave Manchester at 0755 but away from London the earliest you can arrive is 1205.
You know full well what the fix for that is, and you won't like it.

That doesn't seem reasonable for a premium priced product.
It's not a premium priced product.
 

A Challenge

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If you assume that most long distance commuting is into London (which I'd have thought was accurate, being allowed to do Edinburgh to London on 0548 when you can't do the opposite journey is annoying, at least. It also means that those who live in London (therefore, by my assumption) the least likely to be long distance commuting) can make the least use of it.
 

Bletchleyite

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If you assume that most long distance commuting is into London (which I'd have thought was accurate, being allowed to do Edinburgh to London on 0548 when you can't do the opposite journey is annoying, at least. It also means that those who live in London (therefore, by my assumption) the least likely to be long distance commuting) can make the least use of it.
As I said, you know as well as I do the fix for that, namely adding the same restrictions from all major IC origins (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool etc). Don't tempt them.

The London restriction will not be removed.
 

43096

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You are conveniently ignoring many of the restrictions of using interrail; Reservation only, some of which carry an additional charge in some countries. It’s not quite the golden ticket you claim.
But there are plenty of countries (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Czechia, Slovakia to name a few) where there aren't compulsory reservations - that's a heck of a lot more validity, at a much lower cost than the ALR. Those countries that do have reservation only restrictions tend to be those where the trains are compulsory reservation regardless of ticket type.
But you didn't do that as a resident of Germany. The only way round this is to make the ALR more expensive than the most expensive season ticket. Be careful what you wish for!
I'm supremely unbothered by the ALR pricing as I'm unlikely to ever buy one again, given the last time I bought one was probably 12 or 13 years ago.

I think people have rather lost sight of the issue if they are defending the ALR restrictions - it's a symptom of a much wider problem. The ticketing system is utterly broken, confusing and customer unfriendly with all sorts of arcane rules and restrictions.
 

Bletchleyite

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But there are plenty of countries (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Czechia, Slovakia to name a few) where there aren't compulsory reservations - that's a heck of a lot more validity, at a much lower cost than the ALR.
Yes, and it isn't available to those who live there. There's a UK InterRail too, but that isn't available to people who live here. It's a different scenario.
 

bb21

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One of the limitations of an All Line Rover is that you can't board trains before 10am at certain stations, 2 of these being Kings Cross and Stevenage. 14.2 from the conditions of travel states that providing both your single/return ticket is valid and your rover is valid in terms of date etc then you can use them together and the train doesn't have to stop. I was wondering whether you could buy a ticket from Kings Cross to Finsbury Park and board a train from KGX before 10, as your ticket leaving KGX is valid till Finsbury and then your ALR is valid. You would also not be boarding at KGX or Stevenage before 10am. Is this correct or am I missing something?
I have only skim-read some of the replies but to clarify, when this issue was previously discussed on the forum, it was confirmed by a trusted industry insider this is valid, however it is clearly a loophole. You also need to consider whether the potential for an argument may spoil what should be a relaxing time for yourself. The wording of the restriction text is also not particularly favourable as some of the other members pointed out. I would suggest the best course of action is to ask the guard before boarding as suggested upthread, and act accordingly. Most guards would be fine with it as long as you ask.

As with all loopholes, abuse it, draw too much attention to it and you risk it being closed, sharpish in some cases. ALR is not a regulated product.
 

43096

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Yes, and it isn't available to those who live there. There's a UK InterRail too, but that isn't available to people who live here. It's a different scenario.
You've missed the point about the ticketing system.

Let's do a direct comparison of tickets open to residents. A BahnCard 100 in Germany is essentially a 12-month ALR and is available for €3,878. That's somewhat better than, say, a Reading-London Terminals season ticket at £4,736.
 
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Mike99

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Just a general comment on ALR.
The restrictions away from London are rather punative and should be relaxed.
For example you can leave Ediburgh at 0548 in the morning and arrive in London 1040 whereas going away from London (which is not the peak traffic flow) you can't arrive in Edinburgh until 1421 on a direct train or as another example you can leave Manchester at 0755 but away from London the earliest you can arrive is 1205.
That doesn't seem reasonable for a premium priced product.
On a previous ALR I managed to plan to get from London to Manchester Piccadilly by using the 06:05 Marylebone to Moor Street (08:12) , 08:34 Birmingham New Street (London Midland) to Wolverhampton and followed on with the 09:14 Wolverhampton to Piccadilly (Cross Country) arrives 10:23, thus avoiding London and Birmingham New Street restrictions
 

Bletchleyite

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On a previous ALR I managed to plan to get from London to Manchester Piccadilly by using the 06:05 Marylebone to Moor Street (08:12) , 08:34 Birmingham New Street (London Midland) to Wolverhampton and followed on with the 09:14 Wolverhampton to Piccadilly (Cross Country) arrives 10:23, thus avoiding London and Birmingham New Street restrictions
This sort of thing is why the restrictions weren't really a major problem - the sort of enthusiast who would do an ALR is generally fairly happy to do that sort of thing (and some take great pleasure in it), but a business traveller absolutely is not. I suspect they've achieved precisely what was intended - to stop them being used as all-lines business season tickets while not affecting enthusiast revenue to any great extent.

The ALR is an enthusiast ticket. It's not even really a tourist ticket, as foreign travellers will tend to buy InterRail instead as it is cheaper, and a domestic non-enthusiast tourist would find it cheaper to book Advances.
 

Hadders

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I agree with @bb21 There was much discussion about this on the forum at the time and a 14.2 split at Finsbury Park is valid. However if this is widely used then there was the there was the threat of more punitive restrictions.

I seem to recall correspondence was obtained from East Coast under FOI. There was an amusing email exchange about Southeastern's shiney new trains (the Javelins) possibly being included int e restrictions.
 

Polarbear

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Not that I've had an ALR for a while, but for me, the most awkward restrictions to work around are those along the MML, as the 10:00 bar applies to key stations where you could interchange to Thameslink. Aside from that, most are relatively easy to work around in a legitimate way without the need to resort to ticketing arrangements that may be challenged by on board staff.

I agree with @bb21 There was much discussion about this on the forum at the time and a 14.2 split at Finsbury Park is valid. However if this is widely used then there was the there was the threat of more punitive restrictions.
This applies for many splits & if data suggests that anything is being abused, I would imagine TOC's would look to close said loophole, as long as it's cost effective to do so.
 

Flying Snail

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This sort of thing is why the restrictions weren't really a major problem - the sort of enthusiast who would do an ALR is generally fairly happy to do that sort of thing (and some take great pleasure in it), but a business traveller absolutely is not. I suspect they've achieved precisely what was intended - to stop them being used as all-lines business season tickets while not affecting enthusiast revenue to any great extent.

The ALR is an enthusiast ticket. It's not even really a tourist ticket, as foreign travellers will tend to buy InterRail instead as it is cheaper, and a domestic non-enthusiast tourist would find it cheaper to book Advances.

It is now an enthusiast ticket due to the cost, TBH I am surprised it still exists at all due to the niche (committed bashers only) appeal of the ticket.

I am sure it was originally conceived as a leisure ticket for tourists when there was no such thing as advance/APEX fares. I'd love to know the cost of ALR vs IC returns vs Interrail from the 80s/90s.

If the current ALR was offered as a flexi-ticket there would be some possibility of it being of use to more than enthusiasts but there is obviously no appetite in RDG to widen the appeal of the ticket. Indeed, with a few odd exceptions the attitude of TOCs to rovers in general seems to be offer them through gritted teeth but make no effort to publicise or promote them, exclude them from on-line journey planners and make them much more difficult to buy than any other ticket type.

The odd thing with ALRs is that considering the only people likely to use them would generally be of the more informed type I would have thought most would have figured out a way to acquire interrail or britrail products that are less than half the price, have no restrictions and are available as much more useful flexi tickets.
 

TrainTube

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I have only skim-read some of the replies but to clarify, when this issue was previously discussed on the forum, it was confirmed by a trusted industry insider this is valid, however it is clearly a loophole. You also need to consider whether the potential for an argument may spoil what should be a relaxing time for yourself. The wording of the restriction text is also not particularly favourable as some of the other members pointed out. I would suggest the best course of action is to ask the guard before boarding as suggested upthread, and act accordingly. Most guards would be fine with it as long as you ask.

As with all loopholes, abuse it, draw too much attention to it and you risk it being closed, sharpish in some cases. ALR is not a regulated product.
Thank you for your detailed reply. I did believe this to be allowed, I just wanted people's confirmation. Will ask the guard before I board!
 

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