Chiltern Advance Fares - May 2012

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ambari

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Hi all, (this is my first post :))

I'm trying to book advance tickets for super off peak journeys from London Marylebone to Solihull for various dates in May 2012, but the advance fares are not showing as available.

Is this a temporary glitch or has a change been made to the fare structures?

Thanks
 
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yorkie

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Note that non-reundable, booked train only, Advance single fares are not to be confused with (Super) Off Peak fares, which can be bought any time up to departure and offer a lot more flexbility.

Advance fares routed via Chiltern Only are subject to availability, and may have already sold out on some services.

Super Off Peak fares routed via High Wycombe are priced at £25.00 return, and are valid "by any train except those timed to depart London between 1600 and 1900" on the outward portion, and "by any train except those timed to arrive at London before 1130" on the return portion. Restrictions do not apply on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.
 

dzug2

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The advance fares haven't been released beyond 12 May yet - way behind any other TOC.

Why I don't know
 

ambari

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Thanks Yorkie, quite right. I made a mistake in my post.

I am trying to book the cheap advance fares - those that are valid on 1 journey. I make regular trips for work and these work best for me. I usually book my journeys 4 weeks in advance and I am able to buy the tickets for £5 or £7.50. If I leave it a little late, then I pay the higher price of £15.

However, I am trying to book journeys for May, and there are no advance fares available, only the super off peak returns.
 

bignosemac

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Chiltern has a very short booking horizon at the moment. 12th May is currently the latest date you can book Advance Purchase fares on some flows.
 

ambari

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Thanks again Yorkie, that's a great link.

I have been purchasing the Chiltern advance tickets for nearly 2 years, and this is the first time that I have experienced unavailability. Usually they are available up to 12 weeks before the journey.

My only worry now is that the journey's that I require will be sold at a higher ticket price - my general experience has been, the more earlier you book the lower the advance price.
 

MarkyMarkD

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Whilst obviously nobody would sensibly actually use The Trainline to book tickets (because they charge higher fees than anyone else), they have a useful page here: http://www.thetrainline.com/ticketalert/ which lets you register a route that you wish to travel and it will e-mail you as soon as the advances become available.

It also shows the booking windows for most companies - but strangely omits Chiltern.
 

calc7

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Chiltern seems to be bustituted in parts every other weekend at the moment to allow for upgrades in and around the Aynho Jct area.

This obviously yields the bizarre set of circumstances that a London <-> Birmingham passenger could be presented with much higher priced options one day a couple of weeks ahead of travel, and the next day have the £4.95 Chiltern Advances come available.
 

LondonJohn

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OT slightly will the advance fares still be available on routes to/from London during the Olympics. I read somewhere that that Advanced tickets are to try and encourage travel at off peak times and fill demand and with everybody wanting to get to London for the Olympics will the TOC just not make them available.
 

MarkyMarkD

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Whilst that might be what cheap Advance fares are for, many TOCs simply use Advance fares to ensure they get all the fare income rather than having to share! And some of the more expensive Advance fares are barely cheaper than a walk-up flexible ticket.

So I'd simply expect very small quotas to be set for the cheapest advance fares, whilst the expensive Advances may remain available.
 

Deerfold

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OT slightly will the advance fares still be available on routes to/from London during the Olympics. I read somewhere that that Advanced tickets are to try and encourage travel at off peak times and fill demand and with everybody wanting to get to London for the Olympics will the TOC just not make them available.

Well, they were offering cheap tickets to Olympic ticket holders (on EC there were some better-priced tickets on peak trains than normal).

I suspect there may be fewer available on some services.

Of course isn't yet clear if there will be more trips into London than normal. There seem to be plenty of people clearing off for the duration and anyone interested in visiting London for any other reason than the Olympics will probably try and avoid London for the duration.

I usually spend 4 days a week in London but if I can work it out with my company I'll be spending about 1 day a week in London for the duration of the games. We're expecting to have about 10-20% occupancy in the office.
 

barrykas

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Looking at Manchester - London for 31st July, the cheapest Games Advance Single of £11.70 in Standard is only available on the 19:15, 19:55, 20:15 and 21:15 from Piccadilly, and on departures from Euston between 10:40 and 13:20 (inclusive), with no availability at all for the cheapest 1st Advance (£22).

Cheers,

Barry
 

Deerfold

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Looking at Manchester - London for 31st July, the cheapest Games Advance Single of £11.70 in Standard is only available on the 19:15, 19:55, 20:15 and 21:15 from Piccadilly, and on departures from Euston between 10:40 and 13:20 (inclusive), with no availability at all for the cheapest 1st Advance (£22).

Cheers,

Barry

Well, there's probably not many left now - they've been available for months. And don't forget these tickets are valid for 3 hours after the booked train.
 

ambari

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I sent an email to Chiltern customer services yesterday and received the following reply:

"While the cheaper 'Advance' type tickets are generally released roughly 8-10 weeks before travel this is not always the case and can be effected by things such as engineering works or, as in this instance, the upcoming timetable changes. As such it is not possible for us to offer a definite release date for advance tickets on any service.

As soon as the tickets are released they will be available via the website and with our telesales team on 08456 005 165. All I can suggest is looking nearer to your date of travel.

Should you have any further enquiries please don't hesitate to get back in touch."
 

barrykas

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Looking on the Chiltern site just now, Advance tickets for the first week of the Summer timetable seem to have been released, so I'd expect further weeks to be released shortly.

Cheers,

Barry
 

LexyBoy

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My only worry now is that the journey's that I require will be sold at a higher ticket price - my general experience has been, the more earlier you book the lower the advance price.

Just to be clear, the reason it's usually cheaper the further ahead you book is because there is a fixed quota of Advance tickets at each price level, which sell out cheapest first. So even if the tickets are not released until 6 weeks ahead instead of 12 weeks ahead, there will still be as many of the cheapest tickets available (unless Chiltern decides not to release as many or to increase the prices, of course).

The price isn't somehow calculated based on how far ahead the booking is made.

Sorry if this is obvious, but a lot of people have had "it's always cheaper the further ahead you book" drummed into them by Trainline and the TOCs, without actually knowing why (and that it's not always true).
 

calc7

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The price isn't somehow calculated based on how far ahead the booking is made.

Some TOCs do seem to offer "time controlled" Advance tickets - and I have seen it mentioned on this forum before. From my experience, I think Chiltern may do this - ie. the £4.95 tickets become available on no trains (not even the empty, stupidly early ones from London) within a certain number of days from the departure.

Any further information to support/contradict this would be interesting.
 

LondonJohn

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Some TOCs do seem to offer "time controlled" Advance tickets - and I have seen it mentioned on this forum before. From my experience, I think Chiltern may do this - ie. the £4.95 tickets become available on no trains (not even the empty, stupidly early ones from London) within a certain number of days from the departure.

Any further information to support/contradict this would be interesting.

Not sure this has been posted in the special offer but thought it was relevant. Chiltern have got loads of tickets on the London-Birmingham route for Evening Standard readers for 50p return.

http://www.chilternrailways.co.uk/content/evening-standard-50p-offer-book-your-ticket
 

ambari

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Thanks LondonJohn, I just bagged a few of these 50p Evening Standard/Chiltern tickets for May - so this helped me with my problem of not finding advance tickets for May. I purchased Virgin tickets for the reminaing journeys, so I am all booked up and happy for the month of May.

:)
 
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