Birmingham to Leuchars via Kilmarnock

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by mtorpey, 14 Jun 2019.

  1. mtorpey

    mtorpey New Member

    14 Jun 2019
    Hi all!

    I recently purchased an Off-Peak Return from Leuchars [LEU] to University (Birmingham) [UNI], valid starting the 21st July. I bought it from the LNER website, and it came with seat reservations, but is a flexible ticket rather than an advance, in case my plans changed. So far, so good.

    Yesterday I found out that I'm going to a wedding as soon as I get back. The wedding is not on the East coast near Leuchars, but on the West coast near Kilmarnock [KMK], and I want to get as close to KMK as possible using the return portion of my ticket. So, for the first time in my life, I dipped my toes in the National Routeing Guide to see what my options were.

    Here are my findings, but it's a complicated document and I'd really appreciate feedback on
    1. whether I've interpreted the rules correctly; and
    2. whether my cunning plan is likely to work in practice.
    So, here's my objective: find a valid route from UNI to LEU via KMK (or something close). If I can do this, then I can "break my journey" in Kilmarnock and probably throw away my ticket (I'm not interested in reaching Leuchars later on).

    First stop: the online routing point calculator. This reveals only one valid routing point at each end: Birmingham Group and Ladybank. Next: the NRG yellow pages, which on page 148 give the permitted routes from Birmingham Group to Ladybank as BE+EG, BP+WS+EG and BY+YA. My ticket says "any permitted route", so I guess any of these are allowed.

    I focused in on that first option, BE+EG, and looked up the appropriate maps on the Routeing Maps page. Both maps show a load of stuff going on around Glasgow, so going to Glasgow Central seems legit. However, I also notice something interesting: Kilmarnock itself appears as a spur on both maps, but BE reaches it from the South, and EG reaches it from the North. So we can use BE to reach Kilmarnock, and EG to get from Kilmarnock to Leuchars, without ever doubling back. Right?

    BE map, showing a route from Birmingham to Kilmarnock

    EG map, showing a route from Kilmarnock to Ladybank

    There's even a journey that follows this route in practice:

    26 July 2019
    15:04 Depart Birmingham New Street (West Midlands Trains)
    15:56 Arrive Crewe

    16:13 Depart Crewe (Virgin Trains)
    18:46 Arrive Carlisle

    19:20 Depart Carlisle (Scotrail)
    21:03 Arrive Kilmarnock​

    I actually called National Rail Enquiries on the phone, and asked about routes - they told me travelling via Glasgow was permitted, but when I asked about Kilmarnock they put me on hold for about 3 minutes and then told me it wasn't. Perhaps they made a mistake?

    Is what I'm proposing allowed, or have I made a mistake somewhere? Furthermore, is there a good chance ticket inspectors would allow this route in practice?

    Extra info: I'm using a 26-30 railcard, the outward journey is 2019-06-21 and my planned return journey (both original and revised) is 2019-06-26.
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  3. 30907

    30907 Established Member

    30 Sep 2012
    Looks perfectly valid to me. Can you get a website to do you an itinerary that way, with the same ticket type, obviously starting earlier in the day? If so, saving it or printing it out would save any queries.
  4. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

    7 Oct 2017
    Yep, I agree. Via Kilmarnock is a much slower and less frequent route than via Carstairs for travel from the west coast to Glasgow but it's generally permitted from as far south as Carlisle.

    And generally long distance journeys to north of the Scottish central belt are permitted via either Glasgow or Edinburgh on the usual west and east coast routes, so this makes perfect sense in terms of the overall system (even if going via Kilmarnock is a rather circuitous route were you actually heading to Leuchars).

    Note that your ticket doesn't expire merely because you have gone via Kilmarnock, and if you wanted you could still continue on to Leuchars via Glasgow.

    Good on the OP for working this all out on their own, certainly not an easy task as it's a complicated system!

    I agree that an itinerary is best in case anyone should question the route. You could get an itinerary plus reservations at any ticket office.
  5. mtorpey

    mtorpey New Member

    14 Jun 2019
    Thanks for the comforting words! I'm glad to know I've made some sense of the routeing guide, and I intend to follow your suggestion of printing an itinerary.

    I've never got an itinerary from a ticket office before, but in case any of that goes wrong I managed to get screenshots of the LNER website offering this route on an off-peak return:

    price.png route1.png route2.png

    I'll print these and take them with me, just in case.
  6. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    6 Jun 2005
    Yes., thy did. In fact, I'd almost be surprised if they didn't make a mistake ;)
    It is allowed.

    I did a quick search and found an itinerary via Kilmarnock on map combination BP+WS+EG.

    Probably. If it's reasonable they won't bat an eyelid.

    It's pretty obvious that it's valid via Glasgow, and I am sure that the Guards on the Carlisle to Glasgow route will accept any inter-available fare that looks reasonable for use between Carlisle and Glasgow.

    If in doubt, they may check out a website, such as NRE, to see if an itinerary can be generated on one ticket.

    I don't think any TOC gives its staff access to Routeing Guide diagnostics but the theory is you don't need it: if an accredited website states it's valid that should be good enough.

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