Avanti Off-Peak Times?

TonyR

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Avanti have changed their off-peak fare times to EUS but they are different at different stations. So for example for Lancaster it starts at 07:38 but at Preston it’s 09:58. I used to know all this stuff but have forgotten it over the last 18 months of non-travel but is there anything to stop me buying an off-peak ticket from Lancaster and getting on at Preston before 09:58? https://www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/-...-peak-and-super-off-peak-2020-25-november.pdf
 
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Watershed

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Avanti have changed their off-peak fare times to EUS but they are different at different stations. So for example for Lancaster it starts at 07:38 but at Preston it’s 09:58. I used to know all this stuff but have forgotten it over the last 18 months of non-travel but is there anything to stop me buying an off-peak ticket from Lancaster and getting on at Preston before 09:58? https://www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/-...-peak-and-super-off-peak-2020-25-november.pdf
The only changes Avanti have made, as far as I am aware, is scrapping the restrictions for travel to/from London Euston (EUS) on Fridays (the Friday evening restrictions were already abolished by Virgin Trains in their last days).

From Monday to Thursday the restrictions are the same as they've been for at least the last 10 or 15 years.

Restrictions from Lancaster (LAN) and north thereof are indeed significantly more lenient, but the restriction code for those journeys (3A) forbids you from breaking your journey on the outward portion:
Notes
Break of journey is not permitted on the Outward journey, except to change trains.

Train Managers are well aware of this 'loophole' and hence they are, for once, quite likely to charge you the excess if you've begun your journey at Preston (PRE).

That excess would be the difference to the cheapest fare that permits break of journey, i.e. the Anytime fare - ouch.

Now in practice this is difficult to detect, because you're perfectly entitled to get a Northern or TPE service from LAN to PRE, and then to change onto your Avanti service.

But just occasionally, Virgin used to hand out slips to passengers boarding at LAN, to "prove" they started their journey there, and TMs would ask for this slip if you produced a LAN ticket. You'd have a bit of explaining to do if you had a LAN ticket but couldn't produce a slip! I imagine Avanti probably still do this occasionally.

There are still legitimate ways to make use of this 'loophole'. You could, of course, buy a return from PRE to LAN and actually travel up to LAN to legitimately begin your use of the LAN ticket (and collect a slip if they're being handed out) and vice versa on your way back. The inconvenience is sufficient to put most people off!

Or, seeing as the restrictions only apply on the outward portion, you could buy two Off-Peak Returns, the first from EUS-LAN and the second from LAN-EUS.

You'd then 'throw away' the outward portion of each ticket and only use the return - so using the EUS-LAN return portion on your way to London, and the LAN-EUS return portion on your way back north (assuming you want to travel during the time that PRE tickets have evening restrictions).

It feels a bit wasteful but at £210 it's still a lot cheaper than buying an Anytime Return at £378.60! Note that you're probably better off buying the first ticket (EUS-LAN return) to begin on the day before your journey to London - otherwise it's pretty obvious what you're doing! Whilst it's perfectly permitted, it's just liable to cause less hassle if you do it that way.
 
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Haywain

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Train Managers are well aware of this 'loophole' and hence they are, for once, quite likely to charge you the excess if you've begun your journey at Preston.

That excess would be the difference to the cheapest fare that permits break of journey, i.e. the Anytime fare - ouch.
They would, I’d hope, sell a new single ticket because that would be significantly cheaper than an excess for a return ticket.
 

Watershed

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They would, I’d hope, sell a new single ticket because that would be significantly cheaper than an excess for a return ticket.
Ah yes, quite correct. Still not a cheap 'mistake'.

Just another point - break of journey restrictions are frequently not communicated clearly (or at all) during the purchase process. Sometimes you will even be told that you can break your journey on a restricted ticket!

In such cases the restriction would of course be unenforceable, but it's not a road you really want to go down, given you now know of the intended restrictions.
 

TonyR

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The only changes Avanti have made, as far as I am aware, is scrapping the restrictions for travel to/from London Euston (EUS) on Fridays (the Friday evening restrictions were already abolished by Virgin Trains in their last days).

From Monday to Thursday the restrictions are the same as they've been for at least the last 10 or 15 years.

Restrictions from Lancaster (LAN) and north thereof are indeed significantly more lenient, but the restriction code for those journeys (3A) forbids you from breaking your journey on the outward portion:


Train Managers are well aware of this 'loophole' and hence they are, for once, quite likely to charge you the excess if you've begun your journey at Preston (PRE).

That excess would be the difference to the cheapest fare that permits break of journey, i.e. the Anytime fare - ouch.

Now in practice this is difficult to detect, because you're perfectly entitled to get a Northern or TPE service from LAN to PRE, and then to change onto your Avanti service.

But just occasionally, Virgin used to hand out slips to passengers boarding at LAN, to "prove" they started their journey there, and TMs would ask for this slip if you produced a LAN ticket. You'd have a bit of explaining to do if you had a LAN ticket but couldn't produce a slip! I imagine Avanti probably still do this occasionally.

There are still legitimate ways to make use of this 'loophole'. You could, of course, buy a return from PRE to LAN and actually travel up to LAN to legitimately begin your use of the LAN ticket (and collect a slip if they're being handed out) and vice versa on your way back. The inconvenience is sufficient to put most people off!

Or, seeing as the restrictions only apply on the outward portion, you could buy two Off-Peak Returns, the first from EUS-LAN and the second from LAN-EUS.

You'd then 'throw away' the outward portion of each ticket and only use the return - so using the EUS-LAN return portion on your way to London, and the LAN-EUS return portion on your way back north (assuming you want to travel during the time that PRE tickets have evening restrictions).

It feels a bit wasteful but at £210 it's still a lot cheaper than buying an Anytime Return at £378.60! Note that you're probably better off buying the first ticket (EUS-LAN return) to begin on the day before your journey to London - otherwise it's pretty obvious what you're doing! Whilst it's perfectly permitted, it's just liable to cause less hassle if you do it that way.
Thanks. If I understand you correctly then, as I am travelling up and down a lot at the moment I could legally buy a return EUS-LAN, ”breaking” my outward journey at PRE and then start at PRE on the return jouney on any trains leaving LAN after 07:58 without having to worry about illegal breaks or slips?
 

Watershed

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Thanks. If I understand you correctly then, as I am travelling up and down a lot at the moment I could legally buy a return EUS-LAN, ”breaking” my outward journey at PRE and then start at PRE on the return jouney on any trains leaving LAN after 07:58 without having to worry about illegal breaks or slips?
You're not allowed to break the outward portion of a EUS-LAN return at PRE - though quite how they would detect if you decided to change trains or use station facilities at PRE (which is allowed) and then walked off the station (which isn't) is another matter...

But you could quite legitimately discard the outward portion and just start your use of the return portion at PRE.
 

TonyR

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I can see in the NRCOC 16.1 that it may not be allowed but the ticket information on the Avanti site does not say there is such a restriction which it should surely to comply with 16.1:

Other national Ticket types normally allow break of journey with the exception of the outward portion of some longer distance off-peak returns. Where this is the case it is made clear in the restrictions applying to those Tickets.
 

Fawkes Cat

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I can see in the NRCOC 16.1 that it may not be allowed but the ticket information on the Avanti site does not say there is such a restriction which it should surely to comply with 16.1:

Other national Ticket types normally allow break of journey with the exception of the outward portion of some longer distance off-peak returns. Where this is the case it is made clear in the restrictions applying to those Tickets.
A couple of points:

- how confident would you feel having an argument like this with railway staff, either on train or at the station?

- even if you do feel confident, it's worth knowing that the Conditions of Carriage were replaced in 2016 with Conditions of Travel, which have been rather reworded: what I think is the current version is at https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/National Rail Conditions of Travel.pdf. Glancing at condition 16, that still may be the one you want, but not necessarily 16.1.
 

Haywain

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I can see in the NRCOC 16.1 that it may not be allowed but the ticket information on the Avanti site does not say there is such a restriction which it should surely to comply with 16.1:

Other national Ticket types normally allow break of journey with the exception of the outward portion of some longer distance off-peak returns. Where this is the case it is made clear in the restrictions applying to those Tickets.
I think it is extremely dubious to claim something that you are fully aware of was not made clear to you.
 

221129

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I can see in the NRCOC 16.1 that it may not be allowed but the ticket information on the Avanti site does not say there is such a restriction which it should surely to comply with 16.1:

Other national Ticket types normally allow break of journey with the exception of the outward portion of some longer distance off-peak returns. Where this is the case it is made clear in the restrictions applying to those Tickets.
This hasn't been the case since 2016.
 

Fawkes Cat

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How so? The exact same 16.1 and those words are there in the 2019 NRCOT that Fawkes Cat linked to above as the current ones
Are you sure about this? What I see is
16.1. Most Tickets allow you to break your journey. This means that you do not
have to make the whole of your journey at the same time or, where allowed, on
the same day.

There's no reference here to 'restrictions' which was one of the words emphasised from the old NRCoC in one of your earlier posts
 

Darandio

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Are you sure about this? What I see is

There's no reference here to 'restrictions' which was one of the words emphasised from the old NRCoC in one of your earlier posts

In addition to the 16.1 main text there should be a red box displaying what @TonyR is referring to. It's certainly in this one.
 

TonyR

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A couple of points:

- how confident would you feel having an argument like this with railway staff, either on train or at the station?

- even if you do feel confident, it's worth knowing that the Conditions of Carriage were replaced in 2016 with Conditions of Travel, which have been rather reworded: what I think is the current version is at https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/National Rail Conditions of Travel.pdf. Glancing at condition 16, that still may be the one you want, but not necessarily 16.1.
I haven’t had to use trains much for a few years now so am a bit rusty but was very confident once I had done my research.

I used to carry the NRCOC and other documents on my iPad to deal with the many rail staff I came across who didn’t know the NRCOC or their own company’s rules. And these weren’t the arcane rules many here are expert on but standard stuff like evening validity of off-peak fares travelling into London.

The alternative to standing my ground would have been accepting multiple penalty fares wrongly issued. The most common response to showing them what I was doing was allowed was to tell me it shouldn’t be allowed. I’ve also rescued a few other seated near to me who were wrongly being given grief. Shouldn’t happen but unfortunately it does.

Now I’m going to be using trains a lot more I am having to get back up to speed.

In addition to the 16.1 main text there should be a red box displaying what @TonyR is referring to. It's certainly in this one.
 

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Fawkes Cat

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In addition to the 16.1 main text there should be a red box displaying what @TonyR is referring to. It's certainly in this one.
Now, I'll put my hands up to this (and a number of other contributors who pointed it out). I'll try to hide behind saying that I did say that I had only glanced at the NRCoT. But I would also point out that part A of the NRCoT includes
We have included a number of ‘information’ panels and/or footnotes to help you understand
the meaning of certain Conditions. Please note that these panels and footnotes are for
explanations only and do not form part of a Train Company’s contract with you.

My recollection of when we have previously discussed the status of the 'information' boxes is that we've agreed with the railway interpretation that they can't be made to carry the full weight of the rest of the Conditions.

But let's take the words
Other national Ticket types normally allow break of journey with the
exception of the outward portion of some longer distance off-peak returns. Where this is
the case it is made clear in the restrictions applying to those Tickets.

as contractual. Where would we find the restrictions? I think condition 2.3 is relevant:

2.3. When purchasing your Ticket, we will make available information on specific
restrictions that apply to your Ticket (for instance the train services on which you
can use your Ticket or the route(s) you are entitled to use) and, where possible,
any known changes to planned services.

The obvious way that this would be done would be through the ticket clerk explaining that the ticket you have just bought is only valid on the 1000 train (or whatever). But my understanding (without anything to hand to prove it) is that
- tickets now specifically state the restriction code which can be checked at
https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/ticket_types/TicketAndValidityFinder.aspx, and
- this is taken to be enough to satisfy condition 2.3 (and logically 16.1).

What's the practical upshot of this? I think it means that a traveller is bound by the restriction code. The restriction code might well be ambiguous - but it seems to me that any discussion with railway staff will be limited to what the restriction code means, not what restriction code (if any) applies. To go back to the query at post #7 which started this discussion, if I have understood things properly what it says or doesn't say on Avanti's website doesn't really matter: if I have understood things properly the ticket contains a link to all the information a customer will need.
 

TonyR

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Now, I'll put my hands up to this (and a number of other contributors who pointed it out). I'll try to hide behind saying that I did say that I had only glanced at the NRCoT. But I would also point out that part A of the NRCoT includes


My recollection of when we have previously discussed the status of the 'information' boxes is that we've agreed with the railway interpretation that they can't be made to carry the full weight of the rest of the Conditions.

But let's take the words

as contractual. Where would we find the restrictions? I think condition 2.3 is relevant:



The obvious way that this would be done would be through the ticket clerk explaining that the ticket you have just bought is only valid on the 1000 train (or whatever). But my understanding (without anything to hand to prove it) is that
- tickets now specifically state the restriction code which can be checked at
https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/ticket_types/TicketAndValidityFinder.aspx, and
- this is taken to be enough to satisfy condition 2.3 (and logically 16.1).

What's the practical upshot of this? I think it means that a traveller is bound by the restriction code. The restriction code might well be ambiguous - but it seems to me that any discussion with railway staff will be limited to what the restriction code means, not what restriction code (if any) applies. To go back to the query at post #7 which started this discussion, if I have understood things properly what it says or doesn't say on Avanti's website doesn't really matter: if I have understood things properly the ticket contains a link to all the information a customer will need.
Just looked and my last eticket on the app has no restriction code on it that I can see and there is nothing about any such restrictions in the in-app purchasing process. If I look at the ticket attached to the confirmation email it does have a comment about time of use restrictions and a link that goes through to a web page with restriction code 2C on it. But nothing about joining short or breaks of journey. Even if it did, I don’t think that would count as making it clear I think also if it came to a Court case the words in the NRCOT boxes would have a strong influence on any decision as indicating intention of the Condition and the “Beware of the Leopard” defence would not work.
 

Hadders

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Where would we find the restrictions?
The ticket itself says 'valid only at certain times. See nre.co.uk/3A for more details' which tells us:

Restriction Code3AApplicable daysMondays to Fridays
Outward TravelReturn Travel
Not valid on trains timed to arrive:
  • London Euston after 04:29 and before 10:05;(Restrictions do not apply on Fridays)
  • Watford Junction after 04:29 and before 10:20;(Restrictions do not apply on Fridays)
  • Milton Keynes Central after 04:29 and before 10:20.(Restrictions do not apply on Fridays)
Valid on all Caledonian Sleeper services (with supplement).
Not valid on trains timed to depart:
  • London Euston after 04:29 and before 09:05;(Restrictions do not apply on Fridays)
  • Watford Junction after 04:29 and before 09:00;(Restrictions do not apply on Fridays)
  • Milton Keynes Central after 04:29 and before 09:00.(Restrictions do not apply on Fridays)
Valid on all Caledonian Sleeper services (with supplement).
Notes
Break of journey is not permitted on the Outward journey, except to change trains.

For Off-Peak journeys via Hereford, Oxford & Newport see restriction code GK.
For Super Off-Peak journeys via Hereford, Oxford & Newport see restriction code 2Q.

For journeys via Nottingham, see restriction code CG.

For journeys to/via London Kings Cross and Stevenage, see restriction code 1K.

For journeys to/via London St Pancras International, see restriction code 7E.

Seasonal variations

  • Peak Restrictions will be lifted from Friday 18th December through to Friday 1st January inclusive.
 

TonyR

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The ticket itself says 'valid only at certain times. See nre.co.uk/3A for more details' which tells us:
Except the link in the ticket attachment to my email confirmation - not the eticket on the app which has no restriction code - gives a restriction code 2C
 

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Hadders

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Except the link in the ticket attachment to my email confirmation - not the eticket on the app which has no restriction code - gives a restriction code 2C
Then you may travel in accordance with the details in your email confirmation. I wouldn't expect a hassle free journey but there's no way Avanti could take any action against you if that is what it says in your email confirmation. I would take a copy of the email with you when making the journey and archive a copy for your own records should a dispute arise.
 

TonyR

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Then you may travel in accordance with the details in your email confirmation. I wouldn't expect a hassle free journey but there's no way Avanti could take any action against you if that is what it says in your email confirmation. I would take a copy of the email with you when making the journey and archive a copy for your own records should a dispute arise.
That’s why I’ve learnt to carry it all on my iPad
 

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