Best solution: travel Bootle - Manchester, 3 times a week

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by Fawkes Cat, 8 Dec 2018.

  1. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    From the start of January, my job is moving:

    - I will be working three days a week in Bridge Street, Manchester (the other two days will be working from home). *Edited to add*. Nearest station is Salford Central, but Manchester Victoria/Oxford Road/Deansgate are all easily walkable.
    - home is Bootle, Merseyside. Nearest stations are Bootle Oriel Road and New Strand. Kirkdale is also easily walkable.
    - working day is 7 hrs 24 minutes, plus lunch, so I need to be at work for around eight hours a day
    - flexible working hours, but the office closes at 7.00 pm (and for choice I'd prefer to be home by then anyhow).
    - definitely six months of work, but not impossible that my work will return to Liverpool after that.
    - through the magic of an interest free credit card, no problem about initially funding a season ticket.

    It seems to me that my best option is to buy an annual Formby - Manchester stations (any permitted route) season ticket on 1 January, and seek a refund if the Manchester job wraps up before the end of the year. But

    (a) is there anything in the way of cheaper tickets that I have overlooked?
    (b) if the Formby - Manchester ticket is the best bet, is it valid via Kirkby as well as Southport/Wigan and Liverpool?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: 8 Dec 2018
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  3. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    The only 'better' ticket(s) I can think of might be a combination of a Merseytravel Railpass, plus a GMPTE Traincard. This would cost a total of £1133.00 + £990.00 = £2123.00 per year, vs £2612.00 per year for the Formby to Manchester ticket (all prices subject to the usual January increases, I'm using 2018's prices here).

    I'm not quite not sure whether or not it would actually be valid to use a combination of those two season tickets to travel from, say, Liverpool to Manchester. This is because there are no stations defined as being both in the Greater Manchester and the Merseyside area. All are in one, or the other. If anyone could shed light on what the local arrangements for that are, please chip in!

    Using that combination would also require you to travel either via St Helens and Wigan, or via Newton-le-Willows. It would not be permissible to travel via Warrington, as Warrington is in Cheshire and the validity of both of the season tickets definitely fails to cover a substantial part of the route via Warrington. Obviously that gives you quite a bit less flexibility compared to just having one through season ticket, as you have to make sure you travel on a train that doesn't go via Warrington (even if, for some early morning or late evening or other services, it might not call anywhere between Liverpool and Manchester). You'll have to weigh up whether the saving is worth the loss of flexibility (obviously this is all assuming it's a valid combination - see the above disclaimer).

    As for the valid routes for Formby to Manchester, it's valid via Ormskirk and Preston, via Kirkby/St Helens and Wigan, via Newton-le-Willows, or via Warrington Central - but, as far as I can tell, not via Southport. Obviously that's a lot of different routes. If you get a ticket from somewhere like Freshfield it will then be valid to Manchester via Southport, Burscough Bridge and Wigan, but it will lose the validity via Kirkby and St Helens. Season tickets to Manchester from all stations between Formby and New Lane (inclusive) are the same price, so it's a trade-off in terms of which route you'd prefer to have the validity on - Formby being the only station in that cluster which is valid via Kirkby/St Helens rather than Southport.

    All that being said I would be highly surprised if any member of staff conducting ticket inspections would know the methods of calculating the correct permitted routes, let alone memorising (or working out in the air!) which station is the 'cutoff' point at which the ticket is valid via Kirkby/St Helens, or via Southport.

    So ultimately I don't think there's one single ticket that covers every single possible route you'd like. Maybe I've missed something out, or maybe I've worked things out in the wrong way (in particular, whilst I've searched through the list of easements, there might still be one I've missed), but that's the way I've understood things.
     
  4. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    Can you work last three days of one week and first three of the next ? May be easier with a 7 day season and a day ticket.
     
  5. alistairlees

    alistairlees Established Member

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  6. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I personally wouldn’t even dream of going via Southport. N*rthern are far too unreliable to risk commuting on.

    Into Central and then a short walk over to Lime Street for a fast TPE is the way I’d go.
     
  7. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    Thanks for the responses so far.

    Please could I ask for some clarification regarding availability via Southport? I can bring up a recommended Manchester Victoria to Formby journey without too much difficulty as follows:
    Screenshot_20181208-232033.png

    (Screenshot from Android National Rail app, showing MCV - FBY via SOP)

    My understanding was that if you could get the National Rail Enquiries website to show you an itinerary, then you could use a season ticket between the two end points on that route. I can think of at least a couple of ways that I might have got that wrong:

    - the proof from the website doesn't extend to the app
    - the itinerary only means that I can make the journey that I have found (i.e. departing MCV at 2155) and doesn't extend to other journeys (maybe leaving Manchester at 1700, or even not going anywhere near Manchester and just popping up to Southport from Bootle to stand on the pier and admire the distant view of the sea).

    The primary use of the ticket will, of course, be to get to and from work. But if I can maximize the benefits of the ticket as well, then that is worth doing, and knowing in advance of the differences between tickets originating at Formby and those at Freshfield is well worth having!
     
  8. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Tickets from Formby to Manchester routed Any Permitted as certainly valid via Southport, as well as the other permitted routes.
     
  9. kieron

    kieron Established Member

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    That depends on how flexible you'd like things. An annual A+C1 Railpass and a Newton-le-Willows-Manchester TPE only season ticket would cost £874 + £1196=£2070 p.a. in total, This would allow you to travel to Liverpool, and from there to Manchester Victoria via Newton-le-Willows.

    I don't know how refunds work for Railpasses, though, and buying month ones would probably work out dearer than buying a ticket every day.

    A daysaver would probably be the cheapest option in Merseyside, so long as you don't mind starting your journey before 6.30 or after 9.30.
    Via Southport is absolutely fine. Wigan is a valid routeing point for Formby, and the shortest route from Formby to Wigan Wallgate is via Southport.

    NRE also shows it as valid via Kirkby, which I assume is based on it not being much further than the shortest route. Liverpool is also a valid routeing point for Formby in a Formby-Manchester journey.

    The NFM64 prices are:
    Formby-Manchester SDS 630

    Wigan-Manchester SDS 285
    Preston-Manchester SDS 520
    Liverpool-Manchester SDS 570

    So they all pass.
     
  10. AntoniC

    AntoniC Member

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    You dont want to be going via Kirkby (one train an hour) or Southport (far to unreliable), instead go via Lime St (as others have suggested) because if you go via Lime St and Northern Fail are cancelling trains you can still get a TPE train to Manchester.
     
  11. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    Thanks everyone for the advice so far. So if I have understood things correctly, a Formby to Manchester stations (all permitted routes) season ticket is usable on the following:

    • Formby to Moorfields/Liverpool Central (also Wirral Line Moorfields - Lime Street - Central), then
      • Lime Street to Oxford Road/ Piccadilly via Warrington Central
      • Lime Street to Oxford Road / Piccadilly via Newton
      • Lime Street to Victoria via Newton
      • Lime Street to Victoria via St Helens Central and Wigan NW, then Wallgate and via Atherton
      • Lime Street to Victoria via St Helens Central and Wigan NW, then Wallgate and via Bolton
    • Formby to South Parkway/Hunts Cross then via Warrington Central to Oxford Road / Piccadilly
    • Formby to Sandhills then
      • Sandhills to Kirkby, then Victoria via Atherton or Bolton (do Kirkby trains route both ways?)
      • Sandhills to Ormskirk, then Ormskirk to Preston, then EITHER Preston to Piccadilly via Bolton OR Preston to Wigan NW and from Wallgate to Victoria via Atherton or Bolton. Can I also go from Preston via Chorley and then Bolton?
    • Formby to Southport then Piccadilly via Burscough Bridge and Wigan
    • Anything else?
    I suspect that the first map I found on Google is a little out of date regarding which services go where in Manchester, but I am not too fussed by that.

    Yes, the main use of the ticket will be commuting (and yes, since I will be starting from Bootle my main route is likely to be TPE from Lime Street to Victoria) but I want to understand where else I can go - both for leisure use, and for alternatives on nice days/in the event of disruption.
     
  12. AntoniC

    AntoniC Member

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    Virtually all Southport to Manchester trains now go via Victoria (you can change at Salford Central to get to Piccadilly)

    Leisure wise you can get to Southport (Or Liverpool if you get an All Zones Rail Pass - for use on trains only).
     
  13. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I am not sure a Formby to Manchester any permitted ticket can be used Formby - Sandhills - Ormskirk - Preston - Manchester, but all the others are allowed. I also think Formby - Liverpool - Wigan - Manchester is fine. I am sure someone with access to the routing guide will be able to confirm though.
     
  14. jawr256

    jawr256 Member

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    National Rail says Formby - Sandhills - Ormskirk - Preston - Manchester can't be done on one ticket, but Formby - Southport - Burscough Bridge - (walk) - Burscough Junction - Preston - Manchester can.

    I suspect that's because the first route passes through Sandhills (another routeing point) on the way to Preston.
     
  15. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    That is utterly bizarre for a station that's near enough in the middle! On the Ormskirk line most journeys to the east are valid via Preston, Burscoughs, Kirkby and Liverpool for most of the centre chunk of the line.

    Edit: ah, it's actually wrong.
     
  16. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Is Formby - Liverpool - Wigan - Manchester permitted?
     
  17. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    What is wrong sorry?
     
  18. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    Just bumping last year's thread in the hope of help for the new year.

    Last year I bought a Formby to Manchester season, but that doesn't seem to be such good value this year - did the railway pick up on it from this thread, or have changes like Maghull North and the Ordsall chord been enough for some consequences to emerge? Just in case, I think I would welcome any 'sensitive' advice by private message.

    So on the basis of 11 months experience, what I need is to cover Bootle to Manchester and back. Experience has shown I need to be able to take either the Chat Moss or CLC route. Any additional validity would be nice but isn't essential (I've popped up to Southport no more than a couple of times).

    And are any vendors better than others for season tickets? I know that TPE will give 2,500 nectar points (=£12.50) but can this be bettered, in points or cash? I think I am happy with either a paper or plastic ticket (I've got through 11 months so far with my paper ticket still being human- and machine-readable: I haven't yet tried smart cards so I don't know if Merseyrail, Northern, TPE and EMR will all recognise each other's cards).
     

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