'Book in advance' or 'Walk-on'?

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theblackwatch

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The comments about advance purchase in the 'Forum Meets' section by Tubechallenger and Jim, in response to The 37 Fan telling people not to book tickets to Crewe for the 8th until the 6th, did make me wonder:
Do most people here prefer to book train tickets in advance (ie Apex, Megatrain, Virgin Value etc) to obtain cheaper fares, or are you happy to buy tickets on the day or just before and pay what may be 2 or 3 times more (or even more than that in some cases) in order to have that extra flexibility?

Personally, I don't use walk-on fares for any long distance journeys unless I absolutely have to and will book as far in advance as possible. For most trips, I just wouldn't go if I had to pay full fare as I don't find them VFM - a Saver from Leeds to London would cost me £71.60, whereas advance tickets with GNER/MML cost from £9.59/£6 in each direction. I dread to think what my circular trip in May from home to Fort William, then Sleeper with berth to Euston, and GNER back from King's Cross would cost me on walk-on tickets! (I have got the whole trip for £68.)

Any views?
 
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matt

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I usually buy a combinations of CDRs or Savers to get the best price. I usually buy them the night before and collect at the station on the day of travel. If there is a cheaper advance purchase ticket I will get that if I know I am definetely travelling that day
 

Max

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With some of the fares flying about these days, it is hard to resist cheap advance tickets. Tickets like savers are just unaffordable for me over a long distance, and most of the time I don't need the flexibility. Surely tickets like savers and open tickets are aimed more at business people who need this flexibility?

The average person would always buy an advance ticket rather than an open ticket, simply because of the huge price difference. It's a shame there isn't more knowledge about combination cdrs and the like, as they can often save you loads of money if you do need the flexibility.
 

Guinness

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I recently used Virgin Value tickets to Brighton. Railcards make the fare much, much cheaper! £17.50 for 1 Adult, 2 Kids via London. Nice. :)

I wish there was a semi-flexable ticket where you could travel on a train an hour later or something...
 

theblackwatch

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A semi-flexible ticket would be very handy, as a complete lack of flexibility can sometime cause big problems. On one occasion, thanks to the Mid-Hants Railway decided to hold my train outside the station at Alton while they shunted some Class 73s, I missed my train back to London so had to catch the next one an hour later. Booked on the 19.00 ex King's Cross, I arrived there at 19.06 - and was very lucky as the train was just boarding!

Incidentally, I've now looked up the fares for my trip to Fort William & London using 'walk on tickets', and by purchasing 'saver singles', I could do it for the sum of £280.90, plus the cost of a berth!
 

Tom B

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Lots of people don't know about AP tickets and base their assumptions on opens... which puts their price perceptions up. Imagine if they thought of airline prices by what they would charge you if you turn up 2 minutes before departure and ask to buy a ticket to New York!

£19.00 return (2x £9.50 singles) Donny > the cross isn't bad at all :).

Edit: lack of flexibility - if it's the TOCs fault then they do put you on another train dont they? e.g. if a train is cancelled they allow its tickets to be used on another one.

Last time I used an AP ticket some fool forgot to print the reservation tickets, so the train was sans reservations. However people occupying the reserved seats generally shifted when shown people's tickets (with printed reservations on them).
 

yorkie

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Cockfosters said:
Edit: lack of flexibility - if it's the TOCs fault then they do put you on another train dont they? e.g. if a train is cancelled they allow its tickets to be used on another one.
Of course, the TOCs have a contract to fulfil, and they cannot get out of that contract just because of a cancelled train or a delay. If you have a ticket covering your whole journey, then they have to get you to the final destination shown on the ticket (by any means), no question about it.

If you are using a combination of tickets then it is less clear-cut, but my interpretation of the rules is that you should be OK for the entire journey providing all the tickets cover you for that journey, and providing you have left enough connection time (the connection times can be found in the NRTT).

Cockfosters said:
Last time I used an AP ticket some fool forgot to print the reservation tickets, so the train was sans reservations. However people occupying the reserved seats generally shifted when shown people's tickets (with printed reservations on them).
People should not be doing that, if there are no reservations then there are no reservations. It's not on to ask someone to move by showing them the ticket. And there is certainly no obligation to move.

If you have made a reservation and there are genuinely no seats available (not that anyone ever checks - they usually just give up rather than walk to that empty carriage at the front/rear ;)) then the TM will almost certainly allow you first class, in my experience.
 

ChrisM

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I normally get CDRs for most trips unless it's a trip to Cardiff where i buy a Apex or Brighton area where i get a Southern daysave which has to be booked 7 days in advance.
 

metrocammel

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I have only recently started using AP's. In the last couple of weeks I have travelled FC on about 5 trains, which was unheard of last year. MML is my personal favourite, as so far all my FC AP's have been on MML's superior traction, and none of the staff have bothered about me sitting in the front seat (nearest to the Power Car - Ive also been rather lucky that I got front FC both ways to and from London, as on the return it was in Reverse Formation). Recently, Ive also used Virgin FC. My impetus for doing this was the Daily Mail £10 offer. I booked twice from Brum to Manchester (on the 90 diagram), though the first time it had been swapped for a shop. I wasnt impressed with the lack of reclining seats and constant beeping sounds (as per usual on a shop). The 90 + mk2 however, met my expectations, and was thoroughly comfortable (and I recieved more than one snackbox!! ;) )
On Sunday I booked very cheap STD AP's for "one". At Liverpool Street I noticed the "Solari Board" flickering past buffet ect, to show "Restaurant Car". I thought...mmmm... "Why Not?" , so I got into the nicely refurbished ex- VT MK3 Restaurant Car, and had a very nice meal, which came to a sum of just over £12. Considering a FC weekend upgrade on most TOC's costs about £10 (and this was lunchtime on Monday) I though around £12 for a FC seat and a very nice meal was not bad at all. But anyway... AP's are good if you can be rigid with your times, however I still like Savers, as they give you that added flexibility - and if your travelling a lot in a given area for a few days... then nothing beats a Rover.
 

ChrisCooper

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It tends to depend on what I am travelling for, and how well I can guarantee to be back at the station on time. If I'm on a railtour or preserve railway gala, I don't tend to book, since I have plenty of experiance of missing planned trains on those occasions, and after a long day out, I don't fancy waiting ages for my booked train if I'm on time but have booked a later one incase of delays. Also, when I'm going out "for fun", e.g going down to London for slammers last year, I prefer the flexability to be able to come home when I want. In both cases, I'm happy to book out, but sadly few tickets allow you to book one way an come back anytime the other way. Other times, when I'm travelling with more fixed and reliable plans, I'll book. Oviously though, the saving from booking in advance is a factor in all desisions, an I wouldn't bother on some routes where it's only a small difference, in particular with many regional services.
 

87015

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metrocammel said:
however I still like Savers, as they give you that added flexibility - and if your travelling a lot in a given area for a few days... then nothing beats a Rover.
Savers also have a useful ability to transform into a months rover!!!
Plus, i will always like the freedom to pick and choose my train based on traction/unplanned leaps etc...
Biggest factor was, and still is the complete bowl out risk on APEXs- i didnt want to do Glasgow-Euston on a skoda and i don't want to do Sheffield-Pancras on a glorified DMU!
 

Tom B

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yorkie said:
People should not be doing that, if there are no reservations then there are no reservations. It's not on to ask someone to move by showing them the ticket. And there is certainly no obligation to move.
Then what is the point in TOCs pushing reservations - which are meant to guaruntee you a seat - if they don't provide it just because some fool forgot to print them?!
 

Techniquest

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Tis very true. Happens a lot. I actually had my reservation labels taken off my reserved seat on the ATF 158 to Crewe last time, which had been put on the table. Why I don't know. As it was, we soon moved to a vacated table that had no-one at it.

As for which tickets I go for, depends on the trip(s) I'm making. If I'm doing a week's worth of travel to/from Hereford, I'll get a Freedom of South Wales 3 in 7. AWESOME value at £19.80 with a Y-P. If I'm simply doing one return to Worcester after 1000, I'll get a Y-P CDR (I HATE that not-before-1000 rule), £4.15. If I'm going on a huge bash, I might include Megabus and other cheaper alternatives. In the case of the Oban trip, it was a combination of:

Freedom of South Wales 3 in 7 Rover
Megabus
Full fare Apex London to Stirling
Full fare SDS Edinburgh to Westerton
Full fare SDS Westerton to Oban
GNER Standard Advance 2 Single Oban to London Kings Cross
Multiple Oyster fares

So the quick answer is it varies.
 

theblackwatch

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metrocammel said:
On Sunday I booked very cheap STD AP's for "one". At Liverpool Street I noticed the "Solari Board" flickering past buffet ect, to show "Restaurant Car". I thought...mmmm... "Why Not?" , so I got into the nicely refurbished ex- VT MK3 Restaurant Car, and had a very nice meal, which came to a sum of just over £12. Considering a FC weekend upgrade on most TOC's costs about £10 (and this was lunchtime on Monday) I though around £12 for a FC seat and a very nice meal was not bad at all. But anyway... AP's are good if you can be rigid with your times, however I still like Savers, as they give you that added flexibility - and if your travelling a lot in a given area for a few days... then nothing beats a Rover.
I had the on train breakfast on GNER a couple of years ago - not cheap at £12.50 (I think), but I'd got a low price ticket down to London. Going for Breakfast before Doncaster and returning to my seat somewhere around Stevenage meant I got most of the journey in FC. The breakfast was pretty good too!

Agree about Rover tickets, shame there's not as much to do on them nowadays! My last rover was a North East when the ATN 37s were working on my doorstep, a Freedom of Wales Rover might be appealing if the rumoured working some off this summer....

ChrisCooper said:
It tends to depend on what I am travelling for, and how well I can guarantee to be back at the station on time. If I'm on a railtour or preserve railway gala, I don't tend to book, since I have plenty of experiance of missing planned trains on those occasions, and after a long day out, I don't fancy waiting ages for my booked train if I'm on time but have booked a later one incase of delays.
For railtours I don't even normally dare risk going on the train for them, in case I don't get back! Unless a tour is quite local or there is a heavy margin for delays, I will go by car to it, or (if - for example - from London) make a weekend of it and stay down there. Been involved in too many farces in the past, think my record was 200 minutes late back at Bristol.
 

yorkie

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Cockfosters said:
Then what is the point in TOCs pushing reservations - which are meant to guaruntee you a seat - if they don't provide it just because some fool forgot to print them?!
I've never heard that excuse, it normally only happens due to a quick turnaround from an incoming delayed service.

I do think you'd get into FC if you couldn't get a seat and had a reservation though. Maybe not on GNER as they are "desperate" especially as FC is concerned, but on most TOCs you would I'd have thought.
 

theblackwatch

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yorkie said:
I've never heard that excuse, it normally only happens due to a quick turnaround from an incoming delayed service.
I've also heard the failure of the machine which prints the labels given as a reason on several occasions.
 

metrocammel

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theblackwatch said:
I've also heard the failure of the machine which prints the labels given as a reason on several occasions.
By far the most common reason on the Voyagers/Pendo's is the failure of the on board computer system, which shows the information on the little screens.

Regarding GNER's policy of "moving" people back to standard after their meals, I knew about this, and I expected "one" to be the same... but no, there was no problem about me staying in the FC coach until Norwich.. or the little swing bridge near Crown Point, as I took the opportunity to phot some of the newly arrived DVT's.
 

ChrisCooper

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I've rarely know short turn around to bean excuse actually, since most of the time they seem to swap the reservations over between the last calling point and the terminus, especially if late. Maybe not all TOCs do this though, but in that case it really is an excuse since there is little reason why it can't be done. Usually it's either the guard, or the onboard cleaners who do it. Printer failure though does seem an increasingly common reason, along with failures of the electronic system. The most common reason I've found though has been a last minute set swap, or substitution for a different type of train, in particularly a longer or shorter train.
 

theblackwatch

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metrocammel said:
Regarding GNER's policy of "moving" people back to standard after their meals, I knew about this, and I expected "one" to be the same... but no, there was no problem about me staying in the FC coach until Norwich.. or the little swing bridge near Crown Point, as I took the opportunity to phot some of the newly arrived DVT's.
Yes GNER does have that policy, I think it depends how busy they are as to how soon they ask you to go back. On the occasion I had breakfast, it was rather quiet and I was the last person to have breakfast - I went back of my own accord when I thought they'd be wanting to start clearing up. The secret is to take your time eating! Also, a mate of mine recommends having the porridge rather than cereal, as it takes 10 minutes for it to cool down before you can eat it. ;)
 

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I've had experiences of HSTs arriving late into Swansea hence no reservations put out. Going to Fort William last year saw me panicking like no tomorrow when the HST was delayed and delayed on its inbound service (my heart beat increased dramatically, as it just did whilst remembering it for some reason). It arrived roughly at its booked departure time (1430 it might have been, I forget what service I got), having been due about 40 minutes earlier. It had been due to a bridge strike between Cardiff and Bridgend or something. As it was, departure and turn-around was amazingly quick, everyone jumped on and we left just 8 minutes late. Unfortunately, due to the late running of the service, it had been decided not to delay the train for the putting on of labels. Has something to do with the fact the labels were printed in Swansea, but no time to put them on before departure, can't remember. Whatever the precise reason was, it was hardly going to be a problem. Wasn't that busy anyway. The weather certainly reflected the mood of everyone on that train still. I knew only thing, that I was extremely glad to be finally heading out of Swansea and onwards to Fort William!

EDIT: Forgot to say: Don't try rushing a main course and a apple pie slice in hot custard on Swansea to Newport on the Pullman. I think I JUST made it, sacrificing my coffee and any chance of relaxing. Bloody tasty, worth the money paid if only to escape Cattle Class once again, but it was almost a case of me having to pay to go to Bristol Parkway, so close.
 

Tom B

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They said "due to a printing failure at Edinborough" (or words to that effect)... how difficult can it be to get another station to print them?
 

voyagerdude220

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theblackwatch said:
The comments about advance purchase in the 'Forum Meets' section by Tubechallenger and Jim, in response to The 37 Fan telling people not to book tickets to Crewe for the 8th until the 6th, did make me wonder:
Do most people here prefer to book train tickets in advance (ie Apex, Megatrain, Virgin Value etc) to obtain cheaper fares, or are you happy to buy tickets on the day or just before and pay what may be 2 or 3 times more (or even more than that in some cases) in order to have that extra flexibility?

Personally, I don't use walk-on fares for any long distance journeys unless I absolutely have to and will book as far in advance as possible. For most trips, I just wouldn't go if I had to pay full fare as I don't find them VFM - a Saver from Leeds to London would cost me £71.60, whereas advance tickets with GNER/MML cost from £9.59/£6 in each direction. I dread to think what my circular trip in May from home to Fort William, then Sleeper with berth to Euston, and GNER back from King's Cross would cost me on walk-on tickets! (I have got the whole trip for £68.)

Any views?
*Cough* I've got a Pendolino Primo Euston to Preston £25.50 VT1st for next week(child) *cough*
 

87015

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voyagerdude220 said:
*Cough* I've got a Pendolino Primo Euston to Preston £25.50 VT1st for next week(child) *cough*
£25 single doesn't seem that cheap to me.... surely if you are searching for cheap fares first class defeats the object?

then again if i was doing Preston-London it wouldnt involve any silver tiliting rubbish
 

voyagerdude220

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87015 said:
£25 single doesn't seem that cheap to me.... surely if you are searching for cheap fares first class defeats the object?

then again if i was doing Preston-London it wouldnt involve any silver tiliting rubbish
Well you stick with your way, & I'll stick with mine.

The fact it's a Peak Time service, and a Pendolino Primo .. I know I'll enjoy it alot anyway, no matter what people say.

I normally enjoy riding on VT's modern traction personally in FC, but the Pendolino Primo bit makes it even better.
Edit:
I wouldn't be surprised if i won't be able to the return bit via Euston for Primo again though, once VT gets rid of VT 1st value fares on them.. *Note the fact that oddly enough, the cheapest VT value fare at the time was the VT1st fare, and has been whenever I've checked it.. NO Std VT value fares were (& probablly aren't now) available at the time.
 

Techniquest

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It's extremely good value IMO as you get a meal with that IIRC, peak times and the miles it is to Preston makes it extremely worth the £25. I'd jump at that chance, hardly likely to get it ever again.

Much better than forking out at LEAST double that on the Caledonian Insomniac...
 

andel

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I normally go on a FOS/FOR - the work I do means I need to travel on short notice... the company pays, too ;)
 

voyagerdude220

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WSXFan said:
It's extremely good value IMO as you get a meal with that IIRC, peak times and the miles it is to Preston makes it extremely worth the £25. I'd jump at that chance, hardly likely to get it ever again.

Much better than forking out at LEAST double that on the Caledonian Insomniac...
Exactly what I think. I don't have a clue how 87015 doesn't think its good..

And IMO, buying FC advance tickets doesn't defeat the purpose of Advance tickets at all, but just makes the deal even better.

The amount of money I've saved over the last 2/3 years, going VT 1st, must be quite high.
 

theblackwatch

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Cockfosters said:
They said "due to a printing failure at Edinborough" (or words to that effect)... how difficult can it be to get another station to print them?
Printing the reservation labels for an Edinburgh-King's Cross service at Newcastle or anywhere else wouldn't be much use, they couldn't be put on the train before departure!!
 

evil_hippo

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I love Virgin value 1sts, for the amount of service you get and the amount of food and drink even on a non-primo service, they just feel really good value at far cheaper being far cheaper than any walk up standard class ticket. I tend not to have a problem with comitting myself and I certainly would never buy a saver (or, worse, an open ticket) when a value ticket is available.

The fact I don't mind commiting myself is partly because I live in Appleby, which is quite hard to get to, and I'm therefore comitted to one train whatever I do because of the need to make the last train or bus; for instance I could be in London and decide to leave at 1707 instead of 1845 and I would just end up waiting ages in Penrith (which has rather less attractions than London, especually in the evening) and ending up on the same bus, or I could decide to leave an hour later and find myself with no way home from Penrith station.
 
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