Cairnryan-Belfast Rail-Sail - change of return date

colinz

Member
Joined
21 Mar 2015
Messages
42
Hello, I've booked a Rail-Sail "Anytime Return ✠CAIRNRYAN STENA" ticket from SE England to Belfast through Trainsplit. I have yet to collect the ticket.
Now that I want to postpone the return journey by one day, which is still within the 30-day validity of the ticket. However, I understand from previous posts in this forum that Rail-Sail ticket may have more restrictive conditions and the return date is not as flexible as other SOR tickets, especially for the ferry part. Could anyone help clarify this?
I tried to phone Stena line to check this but their Rail-Sail team uses an 0844 number and no one picked up after 5 minutes.
 
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CyrusWuff

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20 May 2013
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2,729
It should be possible to obtain reservations for the new date from a Ticket Office prior to travel, assuming there's space available. This does, however, rely on you being able to get to a Ticket Office.
 

danm14

Member
Joined
24 Jun 2017
Messages
146
Stena in Cairnryan had no interest whatsoever in seeing my ferry reservation, only my ticket, last week. I believe the ferry is now running at full or very close to full capacity again, so it should be a case of being allowed to board without one, except in the highly unlikely event of the ferry being full, as was the case pre-Covid.

Holding (or not holding, as the case may be) a ferry reservation makes no difference to the validity of the ticket on the railway. It remains a fully open ticket, albeit with break of journey prohibited on both the outward and return journey. (Although staff at Ayr will have no issue whatsoever with you going into the town if you have any length of a wait for the bus. Worth noting that the bus leaves at 8:40am, 12:45pm and 5:05pm from the car park on the Platform 4 (East) side of the station, while the town is on the Platform 1 (West) side, so leave sufficient time)

Depending on the date you intend to travel, be aware that the connecting bus between Ayr and Cairnryan will only serve the 11:30am sailing ex Belfast and the 3:30pm sailing ex Cairnryan from September 1st.

Buses for the 7:30am and 3:30pm sailings ex Belfast, and 11:30am and 7:30pm sailings ex Cairnryan will return for Glasgow September Weekend from September 24th-27th, then cease again until July 1st 2022.
 
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colinz

Member
Joined
21 Mar 2015
Messages
42
It should be possible to obtain reservations for the new date from a Ticket Office prior to travel, assuming there's space available. This does, however, rely on you being able to get to a Ticket Office.
I just visited my local SWR ticket office, the staff was willing to help but told me the computer did not allow him to make the reservation for that particular journey. They asked me to contact Scotrail, who also told me they could not make the reservation because "we are a train company not a ferry company" and asked me to contact Stena directly.
Stena in Cairnryan had no interest whatsoever in seeing my ferry reservation,
I called Stena's Rail-Sail customer service and the person told me they do not care about seat reservation at all, as long as I got a valid ticket.

However I still worry that I might get into trouble travelling, even on the rail legs, without a ferry reservation.
 

danm14

Member
Joined
24 Jun 2017
Messages
146
However I still worry that I might get into trouble travelling, even on the rail legs, without a ferry reservation.
The only time this would happen is if you had a "SailRail Advance" ticket, where the ticket is only valid on specific trains/ferries like any other Advance ticket. These are only sold for journeys via Dublin-Holyhead and Rosslare-Fishguard.

Tickets sold for travel via Belfast-Cairnryan have no restrictions other than a prohibition on break of journey.

Your ticket's restrictions: https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/1X

SailRail Advance restrictions for comparison: https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/6L
 

Flying Snail

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Joined
12 Dec 2006
Messages
1,048
The railway reservation system is not connected to Stena Line's booking system, the railway reservations for the ferry crossings are issued to a pre-determined quota but in practice Stena will not know in advance (or care) how many sailrail tickets will be presented for each crossing.

As others have said the Stena check-in agents only look for the valid ticket not the railway issued reservation. Full sailings are very unlikely and the Stena staff can alter the mix of vehicle/foot passenger allocations closer to departure if necessary to allow more foot passengers on.
 

paul1609

Established Member
Joined
28 Jan 2006
Messages
4,868
Location
Wittersham Kent
I've never been on the actual ferry but have picked up/ dropped off crew from Cainryan several times. The number of foot passengers in total normally isn't more than around 25, I wouldn't worry the staff there are very helpful in my experience.
 

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