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Cross country sold out Jun 14th Birmingham Exeter am Off Peak

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DaveB10780

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How on earth can we have a train system where cross country say they are sold out nearly 2 weeks before travel on an off peak journey. Not sure how this is supposed to be managed but it is bonkers.
 
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island

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It is possible that reservations have not opened yet; last September I had a similar issue and was only latterly able to book 3 days prior to travel.
 

superjohn

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Try TrainSplit. The problem is Cross Country only booking up to their maximum socially distanced capacity and there are no seats left available for the full journey. TrainSplit will find a combination of seats that are available for different sections of the journey on the same train. I have just tried and found availability on the 1112 and 1212 from New Street.

The only catch is that you will have to move between several different reserved seats during the journey.
 

Watershed

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The only catch is that you will have to move between several different reserved seats during the journey.
Or you could sit in an unreserved seat/coach.
 

30907

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It is possible that reservations have not opened yet; last September I had a similar issue and was only latterly able to book 3 days prior to travel.
According to NRE, tickets are available, though only in First on some services.
 

DaveB10780

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Or you could sit in an unreserved seat/coach.
Do they ever stop you travelling completely?

Try TrainSplit. The problem is Cross Country only booking up to their maximum socially distanced capacity and there are no seats left available for the full journey. TrainSplit will find a combination of seats that are available for different sections of the journey on the same train. I have just tried and found availability on the 1112 and 1212 from New Street.

The only catch is that you will have to move between several different reserved seats during the journey.
Thanks very much for that idea. Do you know whether you can do this via Cross Country by speaking to them directly?
 

robbeech

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If a family of 4 wish to travel together, the system with many operators appears to just book 4 bays of 4 (or 4 pairs or a combination) as this is all it can do. It means that on the day the family sit together at one bay of 4 and there are 3 bays of 4 (or 3 pairs) left unoccupied but no tickets available for purchase for that train. This can result in a train with lots of free seats and passengers turned away. Some operators are dealing with this better than others by allowing extra people on to fill these seats etc but others are just letting people crush load the unreserved carriage or be turned away. There isn't really an incentive to fix this.

On social media earlier today, a passenger booked 6 or 8 seats for a journey in 3 weeks time with another operator who have compulsory seat reservations (or at least the trains are in the system that way). The were promptly offered 6 bays of 4 and 2 pairs (or 4 and 2) taking up half a carriage. These people could have occupied 2 parallel bays but the system doesn't seem to allow for that. No more seats on that train now in standard class. If you want a ticket you'll have to buy first class(i checked out of curiosity).
 

Wallsendmag

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If a family of 4 wish to travel together, the system with many operators appears to just book 4 bays of 4 (or 4 pairs or a combination) as this is all it can do. It means that on the day the family sit together at one bay of 4 and there are 3 bays of 4 (or 3 pairs) left unoccupied but no tickets available for purchase for that train. This can result in a train with lots of free seats and passengers turned away. Some operators are dealing with this better than others by allowing extra people on to fill these seats etc but others are just letting people crush load the unreserved carriage or be turned away. There isn't really an incentive to fix this.

On social media earlier today, a passenger booked 6 or 8 seats for a journey in 3 weeks time with another operator who have compulsory seat reservations (or at least the trains are in the system that way). The were promptly offered 6 bays of 4 and 2 pairs (or 4 and 2) taking up half a carriage. These people could have occupied 2 parallel bays but the system doesn't seem to allow for that. No more seats on that train now in standard class. If you want a ticket you'll have to buy first class(i checked out of curiosity).
Some mandatory reservation TOCs don’t reserve this way any more and don’t have specific seats barred .
 

DaveB10780

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The system seems very flawed to me especially for longer journeys. My daughter is actually travelling Macclesfield (or Sheffield) to Exeter and we can get reservations from Macc to Bristol no problem - the block is Bristol to Taunton. She could then take her chance for unreserved Bristol Exeter or next train. The system should allow this, even if via email or phone. It is very unfair how it works at the moment.
 

Tryfan

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My recent experiences on XC Trains was much better than expected. We had our reservations but onboard, in all four cases, the reservation system wasn’t working. So it was more or less sit anywhere. None of the trains were busy so getting socially distanced seats was very easy
 

cav1975

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I wonder when the various railway management teams will realise that measures like these encourage permanent loss of business to the motor car.
 

Wallsendmag

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I wonder when the various railway management teams will realise that measures like these encourage permanent loss of business to the motor car.
It won’t , numbers are growing faster than projected. It’s only a small minority who wouldn’t rather know in advance that they have a seat.
 

james60059

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I tried a 10 minute reservation last Saturday for CrossCountry and got told there was no reservations (19:22 Birmingham - Stansted Airport) as far as Nuneaton. There have been a couple of isolated cases in the past where people were refused boarding because they had no reservation (although a valid ticket). I didn't fancy a potential confrontation so I just went via Coventry instead.
 

Watershed

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It won’t , numbers are growing faster than projected. It’s only a small minority who wouldn’t rather know in advance that they have a seat.
Ah yes, it's only a small minority who like being able to travel vaguely around the time they want. Most people are happy to travel 5 hours later, or tomorrow, or next week, if that's the next train that has availability.

With the 'reservations available' policy that the railway has operated for decades, you can guarantee you'll have a seat by making a reservation. But of course that's too old fashioned and flexible for some TOCs.

There have been a couple of isolated cases in the past where people were refused boarding because they had no reservation (although a valid ticket). I didn't fancy a potential confrontation so I just went via Coventry instead.
This has only happened a handful of times, mostly at tourist hotspots like Bournemouth and Bristol on sunny days. It's exceptionally unlikely to happen on any of the Turbostar routes. It just goes to show how barmy it is to have a 'reservations compulsory' policy (either in the data, or in practice), given that it simply pushes people over to other routes and services where you can't make reservations (but which could be just as busy, if not more).
 
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ChrisC

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It won’t , numbers are growing faster than projected. It’s only a small minority who wouldn’t rather know in advance that they have a seat.
I don’t like travelling using Advance tickets because I don’t like the inflexibility of being tied to a booked train. Having to book flexible tickets such as Off Peak Returns well in advance to make sure that you have a reservation to travel on a booked train appears to be no better.

I have to care for elderly relatives which means that these days I book cancellable hotel rates for my holidays and accept that I have to pay a higher price. It’s the same with my rail tickets. I buy them on the day of travel or the day before if I want to reserve a seat. I have a week in a hotel in Penzance booked at a flexible rate for later this year. I do not want to have to book my rail tickets weeks in advance to be sure of being able to travel on the day and time required.
 

james60059

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This has only happened a handful of times, mostly at tourist hotspots like Bournemouth and Bristol on sunny days. It's exceptionally unlikely to happen on any of the Turbostar routes. It just goes to show how barmy it is to have a 'reservations compulsory' policy (either in the data, or in practice), given that it simply pushes people over to other routes and services where you can't make reservations (but which could be just as busy, if not more).

Indeed, for instance, the LNWR Class 350 I did to Coventry was cozy to say the least and I was stood by one of the doors, although by Marston Green, a number of people had got off and I grabbed a seat. Stark contrast to the Class 172 from Coventry to Nuneaton, about a dozen on the whole train. As I was on a day ranger, it was no hard ship though, but someone might be put off if they had to make an emergency trip on a train for whatever reason.
 

WesternLancer

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How on earth can we have a train system where cross country say they are sold out nearly 2 weeks before travel on an off peak journey. Not sure how this is supposed to be managed but it is bonkers.
I'd just buy a ticket on the day and get on the train, doubt anyone will prevent this, just as you would on a shorter (or longer) distance trip with an operator that did not offer reservations. Of course no prospect of advance purchase discounted tickets (but then with reduced capacity designed in for social distancing maybe there would not have been any anyway).
 

alistairlees

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I don’t like travelling using Advance tickets because I don’t like the inflexibility of being tied to a booked train. Having to book flexible tickets such as Off Peak Returns well in advance to make sure that you have a reservation to travel on a booked train appears to be no better.

I have to care for elderly relatives which means that these days I book cancellable hotel rates for my holidays and accept that I have to pay a higher price. It’s the same with my rail tickets. I buy them on the day of travel or the day before if I want to reserve a seat. I have a week in a hotel in Penzance booked at a flexible rate for later this year. I do not want to have to book my rail tickets weeks in advance to be sure of being able to travel on the day and time required.
But you booked your hotel weeks in advance?
 

Bletchleyite

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Hotels will give you a full refund however if buy flexible train tickets in advance, you will (probably) have to pay a £10 fee to refund them.

It's about time the admin fee was dropped. It doesn't represent any real-world human admin, just electronic transactions, and removing it would solve a load of issues. While things that do require real-world human admin like excesses don't attract the fee.
 

ChrisC

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He would like to book flexible (cancellable) train tickets though...
I’m sure that it wasn’t that confusing what I posted!

My hotel is already booked at a cancellable rate which if necessary can be cancelled up to 2pm on the day of arrival.

I don’t want to book any train tickets in advance but just buy them from the ticket office or ticket machine on the day of travel as I have always done. The furthest in advance I may want to buy my train tickets could be the day before to be sure that I have a reserved seat. I will be travelling with split tickets which will all be Off Peak Returns. These should not need to be booked in advance but with XC insisting on reservations and saying their trains are fully booked it causes complications.
 

Haywain

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I don’t want to book any train tickets in advance but just buy them from the ticket office or ticket machine on the day of travel as I have always done. The furthest in advance I may want to buy my train tickets could be the day before to be sure that I have a reserved seat.
On LNER you can reserve a seat up to 5 minutes before the train departs.
 

Watershed

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On LNER you can reserve a seat up to 5 minutes before the train departs.
It's no use being able to reserve seats 5 minutes beforehand if there aren't any left for the rest of the day. Which has happened on multiple occasions in the last couple of weeks and months.
 

ChrisC

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On LNER you can reserve a seat up to 5 minutes before the train departs.
Probably correct but LNER are not going to be of much use travelling from Nottingham to Penzance. I know that it is possible to travel via London but I’m wanting to travel on XC and the trains I intend to use are from Derby to Penzance are usually HSTs.
 

221129

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Probably correct but LNER are not going to be of much use travelling from Nottingham to Penzance. I know that it is possible to travel via London but I’m wanting to travel on XC and the trains I intend to use are from Derby to Penzance are usually HSTs.
So you can reserve 10mins before travel on XC...
 

island

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It's about time the admin fee was dropped. It doesn't represent any real-world human admin, just electronic transactions, and removing it would solve a load of issues. While things that do require real-world human admin like excesses don't attract the fee.
But that would then result in revenue abstraction.

Take a passenger who knows they will get one of three services on their line of route, say 18:00, 19:00 or 20:00, but won’t know which one until shortly before travel. Advance fares are available for all three. At the moment, the passenger might buy a flexible ticket. Or they might buy an advance for the last one and change it to the flexible ticket if they end up travelling earlier, paying the £10 fee.

Under your proposed system, the passenger will always buy the advance for the cheapest/last journey and change it if needed, as the most they’ll spend is the cost of the flexible fare in any event, so the railway will lose out on the possible sale of a flexible ticket at the outset.

The fee should be called a change fee.
 

miklcct

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Can you just buy a shorter ticket and excess it at the moment you get on the train, to work around the capacity limit? This is what passengers do in China.
 
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