Chester to Llanfairfechan

Discussion in 'Allocations, Diagrams & Timetables' started by Rob C, 20 Mar 2017.

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  1. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    Hello, I hope this is correct place to post, it is the result of an entire day's worth of frustration, perhaps someone can explain here.

    I work 3 days a week in Manchester and live the rest of the time in Llanfairfechan in north Wales, and do a long commute, so needless to say I am quite reliant on regular train transport and have to manage my entire life around the timetables.

    So I pretty much always get the 18.50 from Manchester Piccadilly to Chester, then the 20.34 (Holyhead service) to request stop Llanfairfechan.

    I was trying to get my advance ticket for March 29th today for my commute back, but it wasn't coming up as usual, and then found the 20.34 to Chester was running, but it didn't have any of the usual stops between Landudno Junction and Bangor listed. I thought this must be an anomaly so I tried Arriva Twitter support, who had no clue, I got through to the overseas call centre - trying to get them to understand Llanfairfechan was fun and of course they had no idea what was going on, I eventually spoke to a manager at Arriva who didn't know anything either, eventually I had to leave my number and eventually got a voicemail.

    So far I don't really get it. He said due to the engineering works around Wrexham line they've had to change some timetables to make sure trains are in right places etc, so the 20.34 Chester to Llanfairfechan service isn't running.

    But it is. It's just not apparently not stopping at most of the places between Chester and Holyhead. So they shave 20 minutes off the journey time?

    They are causing massive disruption to people, unannounced, for the sake of 20 minutes? When the trains regularly run 25 minutes late (like today) anyway?

    Can anyone please explain why they would decide to run a service, but not stop at the usual stops in between, when there is no physical barrier to them doing so?

    I really don't get it. Now my options are to cancel a business appointment I had arranged and squeeze onto the 17.50 to Llanfairfechan (and lose money), hang around in Manchester or Chester for hours and get home past 11pm (not great really) or stay in Manchester (lose sanity).

    All so they can cut a journey time by not stopping at some stops?

    I don't understand how these things work - perhaps there is a simple explanation as to why this is necessary, I would understand how 20 minutes on a half hourly service could be crucial but not a very infrequent one!

    There is nothing on Arriva website about any timetable alterations that day. I wonder if I've really been given the correct information or not?!
     
  2. Wilts Wanderer

    Wilts Wanderer Member

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    From the look of it next week there is engineering work between Wrexham and Chester and services from Birmingham-Shrewsbury to N Wales are being diverted via Crewe or bussed. The 2034 Chester-Holyhead on the date in question is actually the diverted 1716 Cardiff-Holyhead, which is formed of locomotive+coaches which are not generally able to stop at the smallest stations or request stops. It might be worth looking in an adjacent hour for an alternative service to Llanfairfechan which might be replacing the normal service?
     
    Last edited: 20 Mar 2017
  3. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    Now I'm intrigued!
     
  4. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    The 1716 Cardiff - Holyhead 'Premier Service' train is diverted via Crewe and forms the 2034 to Chester on this date (it normally departs Chester 2006).

    This probably can't call at those small stations, as it's a longer locomotive-hauled (proper!) train. Even if it could, it's delayed enough as it is, so needs to run express really.

    However I would argue they really should put on another train (or, if necessary, replacement bus) to serve the smaller stations, but they don't appear to be. I would challenge Arriva on this.

    I am not surprised that no-one you spoke to was able to give an explanation, nor am I surprised you had difficulty getting them to understood where your destination is. However this forum has rather more knowledgeable people on it (including knowledgeable people who work for Arriva, and other rail companies/organisations/suppliers), so you're in good hands here :)
     
  5. rg177

    rg177 Established Member

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    It seems that the 20:34 service is instead formed of the Diesel Locomotive hauled 'WAG' Express service from Cardiff Central to Holyhead, having been diverted via Crewe with the line via Wrexham being shut. This service is usually the 20:06.

    The issue however is that the locomotive hauled service retains its usual calling pattern, meaning that the likes of yourself sadly lose out on a service.

    Edit- beaten to it as I was having a sift through RTT to construct the above response :lol:
     
    Last edited: 20 Mar 2017
  6. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    Thank you for the information! If only someone at Arriva could have explained it!

    Shouldn't they really have the information about such a significant disruption on their website/other though? Llanfairfechan isn't exactly a crime hotspot, but if I was a woman and had an open return, and happened to try to get the 20.34 to Llanfairfechan, and then had to wait to get the 22.04 and get in after 11pm and then walk the very badly lit exit to Llanfairfechan station, I think I'd have a right to feel a bit like I'd been put in unnecessary danger - and I have had to escort women through the darkness on occasion who said they were scared and that was on the usual 20.34.

    It's really not very considerate especially when their staff (at least 5 I interacted with today) have no idea what's going on!

    Is it worth a formal complaint?
     
  7. Wilts Wanderer

    Wilts Wanderer Member

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    Looking at RTT it looks like your best option might be to catch the 1750 from Manchester Picc which is a through train to Llanfairfechan arr 2003. Better than waiting for 3 hours for a connection. If you're especially unhappy I would tweet ATW and suggest they've overlooked covering the stops?
     
  8. Wilts Wanderer

    Wilts Wanderer Member

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    I misread your original query and posted the wrong info in reply, since corrected ;)
     
  9. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    I'll tweet alright, like I said I can get the 17.50 but it might lose me work.

    I tweeted today and was told to ring the customer service number, 3 calls to India later I finally got put through to Wales and they didn't know either! I'll be calling again tomorrow as well!

    For me it's an inconvenience, but for someone expecting to travel on that service on the day and not being informed in advance in any way, it could be a significant problem!

    You'd have thought they'd at least put on replacement buses between LLJ and Conwy/Penmaenmawr and Llanfairfechan or can they get away with not doing so because they are request stops? Mind you there were replacement buses out to Deganwy today and that's a request stop. People can't just get taxis etc in a rural area...
     
  10. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    He he, cool, I've been roasted on a spit by customer services today and getting paranoid :lol:
     
  11. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    While I'm here, do you know of any other potential disruptions that week? I found it very odd that for many journeys on the Arriva app, I was unable to buy advance tickets when I tried, and several journeys wouldn't even offer full price Anytime tickets - simply saying "tickets are currently unavailable for this journey".

    For example, I tried to buy my Llanfairfechan to Manchester ticket for Monday 27th at 12.07pm, it said tickets were unavailable. But I was able to buy an advance single from LLJ to Manchester and an Anytime Single from LLanfairfechan to LLJ, but Twitter support couldn't explain that and advised me to call customer relations, who I don't think could explain what the weather was like never mind this complicated issue.

    In fact Arriva twitter support actually said I couldn't buy an advance because part of the journey would be by Virgin (which would only be the case if I went to Bangor first which would be silly), I did ask if that's what they were saying, was the 12.07pm Llanfairfechan train running and they said yes - but I can't say I have much faith in a single thing Arriva have told me today!
     
  12. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    Not affecting the dates you mention, but rail replacement buses Chester to Rhyl or Llandudno Jn on 25/26 March, until early morning on 27 March. Possibly there are consequential effects on the timetable later on 27 March.

    [and for info., also buses Chester to Wrexham 24 March (after 21:00) until early morning on 1 April ].

    Leaflet available at stations.
     
  13. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Many TOCs' Twitter staff only have very basic knowledge.

    Those who are really knowledgeable (I know of several forum members who have worked on Twitter feeds for various train companies, including GWR, LM & XC) move on to better jobs and the cycle starts again.

    It's often the same, or even worse, with telephone support (and there's even more chance of the staff being outsourced).

    You're right, you can't rely on what they say for anything other than simple queries.
     
  14. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    Thanks, unfortunately I am all too aware of those issues as there have been no trains on weekends for several months due to these works, I turned my life upside down because of that, I thought I was fairly safe travelling daytime and early evenings during the week but now that's going wrong as well! I could cope with Storm Doris, and then the day after a lorry hit the bridge at Llanfairfechan and I got stuck on train for an hour - nobody's fault. But pulling services without informing anyone, especially rural services which have no really viable alternative, is a bit rubbish. :roll:
     
  15. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    Noted. I will call tomorrow and press option 5, it at least seemed to get me through to the Arriva office. I should do a quick crash course in Welsh, then I would be able to speak to a Welsh person and wouldn't have to spell out the station name every time!

    At least I wasn't trying to get to Llanfair*pwllgwyngyll*gogery*chwyrn*drobwll*llan*tysilio*gogo*goch, although that is of course one of the stations that will also be missed by the large locomotive (not just Conwy, Pen and Llan but all the stations on Anglesey that will not be stopped at by the 20.34 service).

    Actually I think I might phone up and pretend it's Llanfair*pwllgwyngyll*gogery*chwyrn*drobwll*llan*tysilio*gogo*goch, for a bit of fun :lol: I wonder how many of my Twitter characters that would use up :roll:

    Not sure why it asterisked it all - thank you for the very helpful replies, I will report back!
     
    Last edited: 20 Mar 2017
  16. 47271

    47271 Established Member

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    Sorry to wade in here when I have zero knowledge of Welsh train services or geography, or anything else for that matter, but if I was being put out to this extent by Scotrail failing to carry me then I'd be expecting them to make a special stop or provide me with a taxi from the nearest calling point to my home station, or even to my door. And I would stand over someone in an office until it happened, I've done it at Perth station quite a few times.

    If Welsh language is the only way to get the attention of anyone who has the first clue then could you get a native speaker to give them a talking to on your behalf?
     
  17. kieron

    kieron Established Member

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    According to traveline.info, there's a bus scheduled to leave Llandudno Junction for Bangor at 21:03, which should reach Llanfairfechan at 21:27. That should be an option if ATW don't sort something out for you.

    It's not as useful for anyone hoping to travel from Llanfairfechan to Anglesey.
     
  18. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    Thanks, I was considering getting bus from LLJ, but it would need to be the 10.03 bus and I'd probably fall asleep and end up in Bangor... That's the problem with getting the 22.04 from Chester, I might fall asleep and end up in Holyhead!

    I've just had to take a decision to cancel work at a cost to myself (I'm self employed so lose both money and client goodwill potentially) get the 17.50 and hope this ludicrous situation doesn't arise again for a long time.

    I can cope with essential works, reroutes, disasters, but the lack of information from Arriva was the most frustrating element - I have sent in a formal complaint via their website and asked that they make it clear on their journey disruption page that these stops will not be called at as usual on that service, hopefully this will help prevent people rocking up to Chester with open tickets or season passes, and either finding they have to wait for 1.5 hours, or worse sleepwalking onto their usual train and ending up stranded in Holyhead when they live in the middle of Anglesey! It might even save Arriva a load of hassle if they sort this out and staff actually know what their own service disruptions are, I believe someone has pointed this thread out to them on Twitter... It's probably too much to ask that they put on buses for those people but I hope they would.

    The biggest question is why someone on a forum can answer the question in 5 minutes but the TOC themselves had no idea!
     
  19. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    I have no idea if this is related to the other goings on, but I seem to have woken up in some kind of train travel Twilight Zone this week.

    First I couldn't book my usual train on Monday 27th except by split ticketing manually as no tickets were available, and then this whole issue with the missing 20.34 on 29th.

    However doing a little more digging just now, I realise I may have made a mistake doing the manual split ticketing thing.

    I went on Arriva App to check and still no tickets available so went on nationalrail and looked at my 12.07 Llanfairfechan to Manchester Piccadilly journey. For some reason it was forcing me to go via Crewe and and pay full anytime fare £33. If I selected avoid Crewe, it offered me journey via LLJ at £15.50 advance fare.

    So I went on Trainline and selected same journey, all it offered was £33 full fare via Crewe. Selected avoid Crewe and there was my £15.50 advance fare back via LLJ. I thought these sites were designed to offer the cheapest ticket first?

    Clearly if the train can pick me up at Llanfairfechan to go to Crewe it isn't an issue with the train being unable to stop at a smaller station, and according to the Arriva site there is disruption to late night trains between Llandudno nd Chester but not in middle of day, but I can't seem to see any reason why I am being forced to go via Crewe and pay full fare that day? (Well not that I am, but I am concerned there is something sinister going on and I will end up at LLJ to find a 3 hour journey on a bus awaiting me...)

    If only hadn't been panicked about the 29th train issue, I might have thought to select avoid Crewe when buying my Monday 27th ticket and not end up buying a £15.50 advance from LLJ PLUS a £5.70 single from LLanfairfechan to LLJ :(

    The whole issue is becoming extremely confusing, I've got through an entire winter without any such issues, not sure why all this is happening now?! :roll:
     
    Last edited: 21 Mar 2017
  20. greatkingrat

    greatkingrat Established Member

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    The Journey Planner is offering the quickest route, this is not necessarily the cheapest route.

    By going via Crewe you arrive in Manchester at 1449, compared to 1452 if you change at Llandudno Jn, which is why the system doesn't show that option.
     
  21. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    I get that - but in my experience the ticket outlets such as trainline usually offer a selection of options. I've always been able to go on the Arriva App and get an advance from Llanfairfechan to Manchester, but that option seems to have disappeared for the day in question. And it doesn't have a avoid/via option.

    I've been doing this journey at the same time on the same day for several months and it's always given me the LLJ option. Is there a Virgin timetable change from Crewe perhaps which results in that now being quicker and hence being the journey that comes up first now?

    ETA - if I select Monday April 3rd or after, it goes back to LLJ with an available advance fare. This is why I am confused. Why is it this one week, Monday 27th, where it is doing something completely different to any other week?

    My concern is I am going to walk down to Llanfairfechan station and find that there is some other mysterious unannounced Arriva change like the one with the timetable on the 29th and I will end up stranded and ineligible for any compensation because I was only able to buy an Anytime single for that journey! What does the app know with its "unavailable tickets" that nobody else is letting on?!
     
    Last edited: 21 Mar 2017
  22. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    Is it possibly because of daylight saving time change that Monday?! :idea:
     
  23. Great_Western

    Great_Western Member

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    Were you given a Case Reference number? I work on the C/R department so I can chase it up when I get to the office if you wish?
     
  24. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    I'll PM it tomorrow.

    My Monday 27th timetable woes may be explained by more trains moving around/reroutes as on Monday 27th the Llanfairfechan train is going direct to Crewe wheareas normally it would be change at Chester then Crewe, hence I think why the journey planner then reverts back to the normal LLJ as the option, as going ia Chester then Crewe still gets there earlier by 3 minutes, but has more changes?
     
  25. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    At the very least Arriva Trains Wales could offer ticket availability on the scheduled buses between the Junction and Llanfairfechan, operated by ... er Arriva!
     
  26. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    Are you sure that the cost of lost work to you will not be greater than the cost of a taxi from LLandudno Junction to your home? Can you get some quotes for a pre-booking? You can mitigate the risk of falling asleep by setting an alarm on your phone for 15 minutes before your stop's time surely?
     
  27. kieron

    kieron Established Member

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    If you need to use the app to book tickets, a ticket to Manchester Oxford Road would continue to give the Warrington route. I think the ticket would be to "Manchester Stations", meaning that it would still be valid as far as Manchester Piccadilly.
     
    Last edited: 21 Mar 2017
  28. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    I use the Trainline app when the Arriva app fails. Some of the other apps are quite daft as they don't seem to offer mobile tickets, if I am in Llanfairfechan and book a ticket from Llanfairfechan on some apps they offer a paper ticket and advise me to travel to a station with a ticket machine to collect my tickets before travel :roll: I use the apps etc because I can usually get Advance Singles for £13.50 with mobilel tickets - a massive saving on the off peak return fares.

    I have sorted this particular issue in terms of practicalities, my gripe is that no notice was given of a planned service reduction/removal, there was no mention of this on the ATW website, and if this can happen once without warning it can happen again, even now there are people who will be caught totally unawares by this I expect and I was lucky I didnt have a bunch of open returns I was thinking of using for that journey as I wouldn't have thought to check ahead (since they put the prices up yet again, I have never bought an open return again, so that's one good thing!)

    I've also emailed nationalrail as the nationalrail website shows the 20.34 Chester to Holyhead as a big green tick with no disruptions, when the service is actually running a reduced/different timetable from the published one. If it had just said the service was running a reduced timetable due to engineering works or some such, this entire saga might have been avoided lol! :D I don't know if it's supposed to indicate that sort of scenario but it would be helpful!
     
  29. Rob C

    Rob C Member

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    Quite by ironic coincidence, Arriva's Passenger Information During Disruption Local Plan seems to be extensively delayed and the link from the Arriva website times out! :D
     
  30. mmh

    mmh Member

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    That's not entirely true, there's a taxi office at the entrance to Llandudno Junction station (Roger's Taxis, 01492 572224 if you wanted to book in advance or call to see how much they'd charge. I've used them a lot in the past as I used to live in Deganwy)

    It's an additional expense though I appreciate.

    The 20:34 from Chester is due to arrive Llandudno Junction at 21:22, there's a bus (the number 5) from Llandudno Junction station to Bangor via Llanfairfechan but unfortunately it's only hourly and there's a long wait til 22:03 for it.

    I wondered if going to Bangor would be more convenient. Unfortunately there too the bus is awkward - you'd arrive at 21:40 but the bus is at 22:15 from the town centre bus station, which is a bit of trek from the station. Bangor's also slightly longer away from Llanfairfechan than Llandudno Junction (11 vs 9 miles, which surprised me, I expected it to be closer)

    Good luck and hope perhaps some of that is of some use!
     
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