Ambiguous annotations in timetables

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GuyBarry

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I've just picked up a pocket timetable. It happens to be for the First Great Western lines from Paddington to Bristol and South Wales, but that's not specially important. It's the way the notes are indicated that bothers me. Here's an example:

0828 (weekdays) from Swansea to Paddington, annotated "AE". Let's see... "A" means "Also calls at Keynsham 0808". Twenty minutes before it leaves Swansea? And "E" means "Until 8 September train continues to Pembroke Dock calling at Llanelli 1206..." (etc.) Well that's impressive, given that it arrives at Paddington at 1132. Some mistake here? But no. There's a separate note "AE", meaning "The Red Dragon. Also calls at Carmarthen 0730..." (etc.) How is one supposed to know whether the letters are meant to be taken together or separately?

You can work that one out by common sense, but not all of them. 1430 (Saturdays) from Paddington to Weston-Super-Mare has its arrival time indicated as "1635ab". Let's see: "a" means "arrival time", so that's OK, and "b" means "by bus", so presumably you have to change at Bristol Temple Meads for a bus. No, hang on: "ab" means "train calls until 8 September", so maybe it's a through train until then. The only clue is that the time is marked in pink, meaning "operates on certain days only", so I suspect the second is meant. But would someone who hadn't studied the timetable carefully?

Or what about the CrossCountry service departing Bristol Temple Meads at 0519 and arriving Cardiff Central at 0618? This one is entirely marked in pink, and it's annotated "MX". "M" means "Runs until 8 September and from 27 October", so that makes sense. And "X" means "Runs from 24 June", so the dates are 24 June-8 September and 27 October onwards. Except that "X" also has the notes "Also calls at Slough 0002", and, as we all know, "MX" actually means "Service operates Tuesdays to Fridays only" - although this doesn't appear until right at the end of the list of notes. Unless you've been studying railway timetables for years, how are you supposed to realize this?

Or how about this one: 1751 from Swansea to Paddington, arrives in Reading at "2042aq". "a" means "arrival time", and "q" means "departs 3 minutes later from 1 July"... but "aq" means "arrives 7 minutes earlier from 1 July". I truly do not know which is meant here, though I strongly suspect it's the second, mainly because there are several trains arriving at Paddington also marked "aq", which obviously don't have a departure time. But it took a fair bit of detective work to establish this.

Timetables should be straightforward documents that are easy for passengers to understand, not a form of Chinese puzzle. Are they all as bad as this one?
 
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eastwestdivide

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Maybe they need an extra note on each page saying that only one note applies, i.e double letters = one note.
Unless there are also instances where two notes apply, in which case they might be better off using AA, BB, CC etc instead of AA, AB, AC etc.
Tricky thing, information design
 

red_star

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Does anyone use these kind of timetables anymore?

I had to ask at East Croydon where the printed timetables were, as they are no longer on a easy access display to pick up at will. Suggesting, TOCs don't really like spending money on such items...

Download an app on to your smart phone, and type in start and finish stations for your journey, and hey presto, the result.

I heard two guards at East Croydon the other week, suggesting that their customers have more information on their phones than they had to give customers (RE: times).

I have never had any problems with the apps I use on my phone for navigating about on the network.
 

LE Greys

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Does anyone use these kind of timetables anymore?

I had to ask at East Croydon where the printed timetables were, as they are no longer on a easy access display to pick up at will. Suggesting, TOCs don't really like spending money on such items...

Download an app on to your smart phone, and type in start and finish stations for your journey, and hey presto, the result.

I heard two guards at East Croydon the other week, suggesting that their customers have more information on their phones than they had to give customers (RE: times).

I have never had any problems with the apps I use on my phone for navigating about on the network.
I do. I also collect them, and go through stations taking one copy of every one available twice a year, they end up in boxes under my bed when they go out of date. I reckon they are much more useful, because the information is much easier to find and formatted better (i.e. you can check if there is a train running behind the one the website suggests that actually gets you there quicker, or one minute before the time you put in). It gives you a good idea of the stopping patterns at a glance. It's much quicker than having to input an address, even with a smartphone. It doesn't spy on you by remembering your journey preferences. It never breaks. Nobody ever nicks it. If you lose it, you can just get another one.
 

GuyBarry

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Does anyone use these kind of timetables anymore?
Well I certainly do, though I'm an infrequent rail traveller these days (though still an enthusiast!).

I had to ask at East Croydon where the printed timetables were, as they are no longer on a easy access display to pick up at will. Suggesting, TOCs don't really like spending money on such items...
Can't speak for anyone else, but FGW certainly prints plenty of them. I passed a large display unit full of the things on my way out of Chippenham station today.

Download an app on to your smart phone, and type in start and finish stations for your journey, and hey presto, the result.
I don't have a smart phone. I usually look up the timetables online when I'm at home. I like to plan my journey myself rather than letting a piece of software do it for me.

I heard two guards at East Croydon the other week, suggesting that their customers have more information on their phones than they had to give customers (RE: times).

I have never had any problems with the apps I use on my phone for navigating about on the network.
Maybe I'm just showing my age. When I was young I loved getting the national British Rail passenger timetable every year and using it to work out my journeys round the country. There was no Web then, no National Rail information line, so you either had to phone your local station or work it out for yourself. It's a bit like drivers who use satnav - OK, it'll get you there some way, but how do you know it'll be the best way?
 

MidnightFlyer

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Most are easier to read than FGW's - Hull Trains, Grand Central, Northern, Merseyrail, Southeastern, East Midlands Trains, South West Trains and East Coast for example.

I do. I also collect them, and go through stations taking one copy of every one available twice a year, they end up in boxes under my bed when they go out of date. I reckon they are much more useful, because the information is much easier to find and formatted better (i.e. you can check if there is a train running behind the one the website suggests that actually gets you there quicker, or one minute before the time you put in). It gives you a good idea of the stopping patterns at a glance. It's much quicker than having to input an address, even with a smartphone. It doesn't spy on you by remembering your journey preferences. It never breaks. Nobody ever nicks it. If you lose it, you can just get another one.
I do exactly the same. I'd rather use a paper timetable over my BlackBerry and any Apps thereof any day of the week. I do like to preserve my BlackBerry's battery for any emergency situations, not waste it trying to play about with some App.
 

dave_wm

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Generally the notes at column headers are formatted with a space in between if two notes apply (e.g. A E) or with no space if it is a single, double-lettered note (e.g. AE). In terms of the ones with the times themselves, normally only one note applies, so assume double lettered if there are two (2042aq). However, I can see your confusion - this should probably be made more obvious - maybe put 20a42? Or would that be equally confusing?
 

Schnellzug

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CrossCountry timetables are notorious for complicated Notes. opening a page at random we have, for example, 'J, EG, HJ, F, E, EF', and of course, 'FGHJ'. FGHJ meaning From 26 June. Wouldn't it be a whole lot simpler just to use a few more letters?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Does anyone use these kind of timetables anymore?
Very much so. Finding out information on electronical devices is so fiddly, messing about with touch screens and what have you. And the information it comes up with is specific to that time and the next few trains from a particular place. It's so much moe convenient to be able to see the complete services at a glance, and I don't think that's just from a geek point of view. What Electronic devices are useful for is real time information, but they're not nearly so useful for journey planning.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Maybe I'm just showing my age. When I was young I loved getting the national British Rail passenger timetable every year and using it to work out my journeys round the country. There was no Web then, no National Rail information line, so you either had to phone your local station or work it out for yourself. It's a bit like drivers who use satnav - OK, it'll get you there some way, but how do you know it'll be the best way?
Sat navs, that's another example; again, they're ok (though certainly not imfallible) for planning a specific journey from one specific place to another, but they're no good for showing alternative ways or any other information about what may be in the vicinity. With old fashioned maps, you get a much bigger picture. I'm sure that electronic devices are breeding a race of people that just obey what the machine tells them rather than haviong any idea about thinking things out for themselves.
 
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Eagle

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CrossCountry timetables are notorious for complicated Notes. opening a page at random we have, for example, 'J, EG, HJ, F, E, EF', and of course, 'FGHJ'. FGHJ meaning From 26 June. Wouldn't it be a whole lot simpler just to use a few more letters?
What they're doing there is using the letters that are used internally to determine engineering periods (in which the year is divided into nine periods of a few weeks each, lettered A to J). At least with these, as opposed to the ones in the OP, a note like EF is the same as a combination of notes E and F, and similarly FGHJ is equivalent to F, G, H and J separately.

I agree there are better ways to do it in a public timetable (best solution is simply to have a separate section in the timetable for each period).
 

GuyBarry

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Generally the notes at column headers are formatted with a space in between if two notes apply (e.g. A E) or with no space if it is a single, double-lettered note (e.g. AE)
Yes, I've worked that out now. But the timetable doesn't explain it anywhere, and some passengers could be seriously misled. It doesn't help matters that some columns are headed with abbreviations that look identical to those used for notes, but actually stand for train names - e.g. "MV" means "The Merchant Venturer". What's the point of these names and why do passengers need to know them?

To confuse things still further, the operator code is given above the notes for each column, and that's two capital letters as well, although since it's "GW" for every single train bar two there's almost no point in giving it (unless it's some legal thing).

Here's one suggestion: keep the traditional two-letter codes "MX", "FO" etc. to indicate trains that only run on certain days of the week. If they're really necessary, use the alphabetical codes for the named trains and operating companies as well. Then use an alphanumeric system for the remaining notes (there are about thirty), so that they run A1-A9, B1-B9 etc. That would remove any risk of confusion and make it clearer what was a genuine note and what wasn't.

In terms of the ones with the times themselves, normally only one note applies, so assume double lettered if there are two (2042aq). However, I can see your confusion - this should probably be made more obvious - maybe put 20a42? Or would that be equally confusing?
Again, that's not made obvious on the timetable, and I don't even see the need for double-letter annotations in this case. Only 13 single-letter and 7 double-letter codes are used, so there are more than enough letters in the alphabet to make them all single letters. Any idea why they've done this?
 

dave_wm

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Yes, I've worked that out now. But the timetable doesn't explain it anywhere, and some passengers could be seriously misled. It doesn't help matters that some columns are headed with abbreviations that look identical to those used for notes, but actually stand for train names - e.g. "MV" means "The Merchant Venturer". What's the point of these names and why do passengers need to know them?
Tradition, more than anything really. The Merchant Venturer is perhaps not the greatest example, but for example the 1006 Paddington to Penzance is known as 'The Cornish Riviera Express' - there has been a 1000-ish departure from Paddington known as this since 1904. Though I see your point, these aren't exactly well publicised to passengers - maybe they could be more so?

To confuse things still further, the operator code is given above the notes for each column, and that's two capital letters as well, although since it's "GW" for every single train bar two there's almost no point in giving it (unless it's some legal thing).
I think thats probably a common format across FGW timetables, so that where it is neccessary (e.g. between Reading and Oxford, where it can be GW or XC), so its a question of whether to keep all the timetables the same format or alter it depending on the circumstances. I think I'd plump for keeping them the same, as long as the row is marked 'Operator' or something similar.

Here's one suggestion: keep the traditional two-letter codes "MX", "FO" etc. to indicate trains that only run on certain days of the week. If they're really necessary, use the alphabetical codes for the named trains and operating companies as well. Then use an alphanumeric system for the remaining notes (there are about thirty), so that they run A1-A9, B1-B9 etc. That would remove any risk of confusion and make it clearer what was a genuine note and what wasn't.
That sounds like a good plan - and it gives you 260 different notes to play with - you could even classify them, so that, say A1-9 are to do with catering (A1 ~ Travelling Chef not available on Saturdays), B1-9 are to do with continuing onwards (B3 ~ Starts from Carmarthen (0730)) etc?

Again, that's not made obvious on the timetable, and I don't even see the need for double-letter annotations in this case. Only 13 single-letter and 7 double-letter codes are used, so there are more than enough letters in the alphabet to make them all single letters. Any idea why they've done this?
In which case the double-letter combinations don't make any sense at all! There are a few generic ones here (a ~ arrival time, d ~ departure time, x ~ request stop) but you could use the rest to mean things like 'arrives 3 minutes later from 2 July' and whatever.
 

All Line Rover

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I no longer use printed timetables, as I find them too much of a faff. The Virgin ones in particular, although considering the frequent engineering works on their route I suppose it can't be helped.

Mobile phone apps aren't great for journey planning (they are more useful for live departures), but I find the National Rail Enquiries website to be ideal for journey planning. It takes into account all engineering works and gives you the exact train times for the date you want to travel. Simple. :)

Considering the way things are going I reckon printed timetables will disappear within the next few years, which perhaps explains why TOCs aren't bothered about improving them.
 

flymo

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......... I reckon printed timetables will disappear within the next few years, which perhaps explains why TOCs aren't bothered about improving them.
Just curious but is there anything in any franchise agreement which states that a TOC must provide printed timetables?

I still like keeping a pocket timetable with me when I'm travelling, always have done really.
 

142094

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Must remember that there are still a lot of passengers who don't have smart phones or access to the internet, and a printed timetable is sufficient for their needs. TBH it can be more of a hassle looking at a timetable on a smartphone or trying to find one on the web, compared to carrying one around in your pocket for reference.
 

Michael.Y

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Printed timetables will never disappear in the same way greetings cards, newspapers and even tickets are still around today in an era of text messages, websites and mobile apps. I find them much easier to use than online apps etc.; also they have a massive advantage in not needing a mobile signal to just work.

The only time I use NRE while at work is to find out platforms in advance for customers who are changing trains at say MAN or SHR. Everything else I need to know is on a piece of shiny paper in my bag.
 

142094

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The other thing as well is that internet sites have the habit of going down due to either a techincal problem, maintenance or the volume of people trying to access it. So at least having a paper timetable means you are not at the mercy of the internet.
 

causton

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Printed timetables will never disappear in the same way greetings cards, newspapers and even tickets are still around today in an era of text messages, websites and mobile apps. I find them much easier to use than online apps etc.; also they have a massive advantage in not needing a mobile signal to just work.

The only time I use NRE while at work is to find out platforms in advance for customers who are changing trains at say MAN or SHR. Everything else I need to know is on a piece of shiny paper in my bag.
Spending a little bit of time with a certain gateline assistant at Clapham Junction, would lead me to believe that this route is not for everyone! Unless you would prefer they carried just about every Southern and South West Trains timetable in their non-existant bag, the phone is a useful tool (especially as there are only 'Next fastest train to' boards next to the gateline in question, which usually say 'Please enquire' or give no indication as to which train is fastest!)
 

Schnellzug

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I no longer use printed timetables, as I find them too much of a faff. The Virgin ones in particular, although considering the frequent engineering works on their route I suppose it can't be helped.

Mobile phone apps aren't great for journey planning (they are more useful for live departures), but I find the National Rail Enquiries website to be ideal for journey planning. It takes into account all engineering works and gives you the exact train times for the date you want to travel. Simple. :)
.
But the thing with them is that you have to have an exact time and an exact date in mind; they're very inconvenient for getting an overall view. Going through all the boxes you have to click and going through 'Later services' and 'Earlier services' and 'show all stops' and all the rest of it - particularly on a mobile Phone screen - is surely hugely more faff than leafing through a Timetable.

The other thing as well is that internet sites have the habit of going down due to either a techincal problem, maintenance or the volume of people trying to access it. So at least having a paper timetable means you are not at the mercy of the internet.
Oh, i know. And also bear in mind that you can't guarantee to have a reliable mobile signal everywhere, on trains particularly so, when you might want to find out something in a hurry.
 

Eagle

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But the thing with them is that you have to have an exact time and an exact date in mind; they're very inconvenient for getting an overall view. Going through all the boxes you have to click and going through 'Later services' and 'Earlier services' and 'show all stops' and all the rest of it - particularly on a mobile Phone screen - is surely hugely more faff than leafing through a Timetable.
Normally when I'm looking up times on my phone I just navigate to the PDF timetables... ;)
 

Schnellzug

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Normally when I'm looking up times on my phone I just navigate to the PDF timetables... ;)
That's dependent on (a) having a Sophisticated phone, and (b) knowing how to operate it..
Which is actually a point; I know that people do sometimes say that the Public can't make head or tale of traditional Timetables, but if it was ever to be completely dependent on access by electronic devices would that mean that rail travel was only available to the techno-literate and/or those with sufficiently new & sophisticated devices? Wouldn't this be rather discriminating? (I know that some might say that the cost of fares does thata lready, mind, but that's another question.)
 

tbtc

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To put things in context, these are the codes on XC's Aberdeen - Penzance leaflet:

  • a Arrival time
  • ae Change at Winchester
  • ah Change at Southampton Central
  • aj Change at Cheltenham Spa
  • ak Change at Gloucester out of rail replacement road transport
  • an Change at Reading
  • ax Change at Newton Abbot
  • b Change at Haymarket
  • bc 2 July to 31 August. Change at Plymouth
  • bf Change at Plymouth
  • bn Change at Bournemouth
  • bq Change at Derby
  • bv Change at York
  • bx Change at Durham
  • bz Arrival time. Change at Derby
  • ca Change at Leamington Spa out of rail replacement road transport
  • cb Change at Darlington
  • ct Until 8 September. Change at Plymouth
  • d Departure time
  • dx Change at Dundee
  • e Change at Newcastle
  • ea Until 9 September and from 28 October. Change at Newcastle
  • eb Change at Newcastle out of rail replacement road transport
  • ec Change at Newcastle into rail replacement road transport
  • f Change at Leeds
  • g Change at Edinburgh Waverley
  • h Change at Birmingham New Street
  • hb Arrival time. Change at Birmingham New Street
  • hc Until 9 September. Change at Birmingham New Street
  • j Change at Tamworth
  • k Change at Leamington Spa
  • l Change at Lichfield City out of rail replacement road transport
  • m Change at Sheffield
  • n Arrival time. Change at Sheffield
  • p Change at Bristol Temple Meads
  • pr Change at Par
  • r Change at Doncaster
  • s Stops to set down only
  • u Stops to pick up only
  • v Change at Exeter St Davids
  • y Change at Derby into rail replacement road transport
  • A Also calls at Lostwithiel 0628, Par 0636, Redruth 0718, Camborne 0725, Hayle 0735 and St Erth 0740
  • AA Also calls at Cupar 0654 and Ladybank 0703
  • AB Also calls at Par 1946, Redruth 2025, Camborne 2031 and St Erth 2042
  • AC Also calls at Stonehaven 0838, Cupar 0954, Ladybank 1001, Par 2035, Redruth 2115, Camborne 2122 and St Erth 2133
  • AD Also calls at Lostwithiel 2131, Par 2139, Redruth 2214, Camborne 2221, Hayle 2229 and St Erth 2234
  • AE Also calls at Chester-le-Street 1741
  • AF Also calls at Stonehaven 2149, Cupar 2303 and Ladybank 2310
  • AG Also calls at Stonehaven 0732
  • AH Starts from Bath Spa 0609
  • AI Also calls at St Erth 0636, Camborne 0646, Redruth 0652 and Par 0728
  • AJ Also calls at Ladybank 1903, Cupar 1915 and Stonehaven 2026
  • AK Also calls at St Erth 0836, Camborne 0846, Redruth 0852 and Par 0928
  • AL Also calls at Ladybank 2109 and Cupar 2117
  • AM Until 22 June and from 17 September
  • AN 25 June to 14 September
  • AO Until 27 July, from 13 to 31 August and from 7 September. Service continues to Manchester Piccadilly 2337
  • AP Also calls at St Erth 2216, Hayle 2220, Camborne 2230, Redruth 2236, Par 2312 and Lostwithiel 2319
  • AQ Also calls at Lostwithiel 0717 and Par 0727
  • AR Also calls at Lostwithiel 0708, Par 0714, Redruth 0749, Camborne 0755, Hayle 0803 and St Erth 0809
  • AS Also calls at Par 1827, Redruth 1908, Camborne 1914 and St Erth 1926
  • AT Also calls at Stonehaven 0838, Cupar 0954, Ladybank 1001, Lostwithiel 2028, Par 2035, Redruth 2112, Camborne 2118, Hayle 2126 and St Erth 2131
  • AU Also calls at Par 2148, Redruth 2227, Camborne 2234 and St Erth 2245
  • AV Also calls at Stonehaven 2135, Cupar 2248 and Ladybank 2255
  • AW Also calls at Stonehaven 0732
  • AX Also calls at St Erth 0638, Hayle 0641, Camborne 0651, Redruth 0657, Par 0732 and Lostwithiel 0739
  • AY Also calls at Par 1026, Ladybank 2110 and Cupar 2118
  • AZ Also calls at Ladybank 1903, Cupar 1910 and Stonehaven 2023
  • B Also calls at Lostwithiel 0708, Par 0714, Redruth 0749, Camborne 0756, Hayle 0804 and St Erth 0810
  • BB Also calls at Stonehaven 2145, Cupar 2259 and Ladybank 2306
  • BC Also calls at Cupar 0856 and Stonehaven 1009
  • BD Until 27 July, from 13 to 31 August and from 7 September
  • BE From 30 July to 10 August and from 3 to 6 September
  • BF From 30 July to 10 August and from 3 to 6 September, also calling at Poole 1248 and Wareham 1259
  • BG From 30 July to 10 August and from 3 to 6 September, also calling at Wareham 1205 and Poole 1216
  • BH From 30 July to 10 August and from 3 to 6 September. Service continues to Manchester Piccadilly 2337
  • BI From 25 June to 27 July, from 13 to 31 August and from 7 to 13 September
  • BJ Until 28 July, from 18 to 25 August and from 8 September
  • BK From 4 to 11 August and 1 September
  • BL From 4 to 11 August and 1 September, also calls at Poole 1248 and Wareham 1259
  • BM From 4 to 11 August and 1 September, also calls at Wareham 1205 and Poole 1216
  • BN From 4 to 11 August and 1 September. Service terminates at Manchester Piccadilly 2332
  • BP From 29 July to 2 August and 2 September
  • BQ From 29 July to 2 August and 2 September. Also calls at Poole 1144 and Wareham 1155
  • BR From 29 July to 2 August and 2 September. Also calls at Wareham 1104 and Poole 1115
  • BT Until 22 July, from 12 to 26 August and from 9 September
  • BV Until 28 July, 18 to 25 August and from 8 September continues to Manchester Piccadilly 2332
  • C Starts from Nottingham 0637 also calling at Beeston 0643
  • CA Also calls at Chester-le-Street 1741
  • CB Also calls at St Erth 2142, Camborne 2153, Redruth 2200 and Par 2238
  • E Until 24 June
  • EF Until 8/9 September
  • EFG Until 21 October
  • EFH Until 9 September and from 28 October
  • EG Until 24 June and from 16 September
  • EGH Until 24 June and from 16 September
  • F From 1 July until 9 September FGH From 1 July
  • FH From 1 July to 9 September and from 28 October
  • G From 16 September
  • GH From 15/16 September H From 28 October
  • J Until 22 June
  • JA From 25 June
  • K Also calls at Par 0951
  • L Also calls at Par 1340, Redruth 1418, Camborne 1424 and St Erth 1435
  • LA Also calls at Lichfield City 1001
  • LB Also calls at Lichfield City 1101
  • LC Also calls at Lichfield City 1201
  • LD Also calls at Lichfield City 1301
  • LE Also calls at Lichfield City 1100
  • LF Also calls at Lichfield City 1158
  • LG Also calls at Lichfield City 1258
  • LH Also calls at Lichfield City 1402
  • M Also calls at Par 1940, Redruth 2019, Camborne 2026 and St Erth 2038
  • MO Mondays only
  • MX Mondays excepted
  • N Also calls at Par 2135, Redruth 2211, Camborne 2217 and St Erth 2229
  • P Also calls at Stonehaven 1129 and Cupar 1245
  • Q Continues to Eastleigh
  • S Also calls at Ladybank 1902, Cupar 1909 and Stonehaven 2023
  • T Also calls at St Erth 0938, Camborne 0948, Redruth 0954 and Par 1030
  • U Also calls at St Erth 1538, Camborne 1551, Redruth 1557 and Par 1633
  • * A seat reservation is strongly advised as these services are usually very busy
  • * Refreshments are not available on these services.
  • * Service operated by rail replacement road transport.
...which is quite a lot to get your head round (for example "bc" means "2 July to 31 August. Change at Plymouth" whilst "BC" means "Also calls at Cupar 0856 and Stonehaven 1009" - I'm sure having the same letters used for totally different things (at different ends of the country) isn't ideal!

Plus then when you add in the Manchester - Penzance timetable:

  • a Arrival time
  • ab Change at Leamington Spa out of rail replacement road transport
  • ac Arrival time. Change at Leamington Spa into rail replacement road transport
  • ae Change at Gloucester out of rail replacement road transport
  • af Change at Exeter St Davids
  • ah Change at Bristol Parkway
  • aq Change at Newton Abbot
  • av Change at Plymouth
  • b Change at Stoke-on-Trent
  • ba Change at Oxford
  • bf Change at Bournemouth
  • c Change at Crewe
  • ce Until 8/9 September. Change at Plymouth
  • ci Change at Par
  • cp Until 8 September. Change at Exeter St Davids
  • cr From 15 September. Change at Bristol Temple Meads
  • cs Until 8 September. Change at Bristol Temple Meads
  • d Departure time
  • ec Until 21 October. Change at Birmingham New Street
  • g Change at Birmingham New Street
  • ga Arrival time. Change at Birmingham New Street
  • gb Until 8 September. Change at Birmingham New Street
  • gc From 15 September. Change at Birmingham New Street
  • gd Until 9 September and from 28 October. Change at Birmingham New Street
  • h Change at Southampton Airport Parkway j Change at Southampton Central
  • m Change at Macclesfield p Change at Reading
  • s Stops to set down only
  • t Change at Stafford
  • v Change at Wolverhampton
  • y Change at Bristol Temple Meads
  • z Change at Cheltenham Spa
  • za Arrival time. Change at Cheltenham Spa
  • A Until 27 July , from 13 to 31 August and from 7 September
  • AB From 30 July to 10 August and from 3 to 6 September
  • AC From 30 July to 10 August and from 3 to 6 September, also calling at Poole 1248 and Wareham 1259
  • AD From 30 July to 10 August and from 3 to 6 September, also calling at Wareham 1205 and Poole 1216
  • AE Until 28 July , from 18 to 25 August and from 8 September
  • AF From 4 to 11 August and 1 September
  • AG From 4 to 11 August and 1 September, also calling at Poole 1248 and Wareham 1259
  • AH From 4 to 11 August and 1 September, also calling at Wareham 1205 and Poole 1216
  • AI Until 22 July, from 12 to 26 August and from 9 September
  • AJ From 29 July to 2 August and 2 September
  • AK From 29 July to 2 August and 2 September also calling at Poole 1144 and Wareham 1155
  • AL From 29 July to 2 August and 2 September also calling at Wareham 1104 and Poole 1115
  • AM Until 22 June and from 17 September
  • AN 25 June to 14 September
  • AO 25 June to 27 July, 13 to 31 August and from 7 to 14 September
  • B Also calls at Filton Abbey Wood 2021, Patchway 2025 and Severn Tunnel Junction 2036
  • BA Also calls at Severn Tunnel Junction 0725, Patchway 0737 and Filton Abbey Wood 0741
  • BB Also calls at Filton Abbey Wood 2027, Patchway 2031 and Severn Tunnel Junction 2042
  • BC Also calls at Lostwithiel 0628 and Hayle 0735
  • BD Also calls at Lostwithiel 0708 and Hayle 0804
  • BE Also calls at Hayle 0952 and Lostwithiel 1050
  • BF Also calls at Hayle 2220 and Lostwithiel 2319
  • BG Also calls at Hayle 1237 and Lostwithiel 1335
  • BH Also calls at Hayle 1244 and Lostwithiel 1345
  • BI Also calls at Lostwithiel 0718
  • BK Also calls at Lostwithiel 0708 and Hayle 0804
  • BL Also calls at Lostwithiel 1049
  • E Until 24 June
  • EF Until 8/9 September
  • EFH Until 9 September and from 28 October
  • EGH Until 24 June and from 16 September
  • F From 1 July to 9 September
  • FG From 1 July to 9 September
  • FGH From 1 July
  • FH From 1 July to 9 September and from 28 October
  • G From 16 September to 21 October
  • GH From 15/16 September
  • H From 28 October
  • MO Mondays only
  • MX Mondays excepted
  • * A seat reservation is strongly advised as these services are usually very busy.
  • * Refreshments are not available on these services.
  • * Service operated by rail replacement road transport.
...BC means something else again ("Also calls at Lostwithiel 0628 and Hayle 0735")!

Here's one suggestion: keep the traditional two-letter codes "MX", "FO" etc. to indicate trains that only run on certain days of the week. If they're really necessary, use the alphabetical codes for the named trains and operating companies as well. Then use an alphanumeric system for the remaining notes (there are about thirty), so that they run A1-A9, B1-B9 etc. That would remove any risk of confusion and make it clearer what was a genuine note and what wasn't
That sounds like a good plan - and it gives you 260 different notes to play with - you could even classify them, so that, say A1-9 are to do with catering (A1 ~ Travelling Chef not available on Saturdays), B1-9 are to do with continuing onwards (B3 ~ Starts from Carmarthen (0730)) etc?
Good idea - would be good if the same code could be used throughout a leaflet (or even all of a TOC's leaflets) that meant the same thing (i.e. if all "this service has no catering trolley" notifications used the same code).

Incidentally, do any other public transport timetables use "excepted" to indicate when a service isn't running? Bus timetables in the UK generally use "NS" to mean "Not Saturday" rather than "SX" for "Saturdays Excepted".

CrossCountry timetables are notorious for complicated Notes. opening a page at random we have, for example, 'J, EG, HJ, F, E, EF', and of course, 'FGHJ'. FGHJ meaning From 26 June. Wouldn't it be a whole lot simpler just to use a few more letters?
Most are easier to read than FGW's - Hull Trains, Grand Central, Northern, Merseyrail, Southeastern, East Midlands Trains, South West Trains and East Coast for example
XC are in a tricky position given the length of their services - the service from Edinburgh to Penzance might run a different route every weekend due to engineering works plus there are various stops at "local" stations to put in (Markinch etc) - whilst there really oughtn't to be the same number of diversions on Merseyrail/ Grand Central/ Hull Trains etc (due to them either running fewer services, not making any additional stops at "local" stations or running shorter routes)

But the thing with them is that you have to have an exact time and an exact date in mind; they're very inconvenient for getting an overall view. Going through all the boxes you have to click and going through 'Later services' and 'Earlier services' and 'show all stops' and all the rest of it - particularly on a mobile Phone screen - is surely hugely more faff than leafing through a Timetable
I like a printed timetable as a "plan B" in case things go wrong- fine if the service on your printout goes wrong then I'd want to know the next few trains too.
 

142094

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More or less all phones with internet capability nowadays (even non-smartphones) will have an inbuilt PDF reader; so if you are able to use the internet on your phone you can look at PDFs.
I have about 20 pdf timetables on my phone, but it can be a hassle downloading the new version when the summer/winter timetable changes happen, and also when downloaded the file names invariably need to be changed. Much easier to pick up a timetable when I'm at the station and shove it in the bag.
 
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