Did I do the right thing during a delay?

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gray1404

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So I am travelling from London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street with a London Midland Advance ticket.

The train from Euston arrived into Stafford a couple of minutes early at about xx:33 rather then xx:35. My booked connection from Stafford to Liverpool was then at xx:10. However, this had been cancelled. There was a service however due to depart at xx:35 which was running a minute late so I ran to platform 5 and it was just pulling in. This would have been the service before my booked train and would not be a valid connection was there is not a 5 minute minute connection. Under normal circumstances (i.e. if the xx:10 had been running I know I would have to wait for this if on an Advance ticket).

As my service as xx:10 had been cancelled I boarded this train that was just pulling on also operated by LM. My logic was simple: My booked connection has been cancelled so, having got off my prior connecting service having already begun my journey, I am merely travelling on the next available service whilst still keeping to the LM Only route/TOC restriction on my ticket.

When my ticket was checked before arrival at Crewe I explained that that xx:10 had been cancelled. The guard took issue with this saying that I needed to travel on the next service AFTER my booked service and I was not allowed to travel early. I explained that as the xx:10 had been cancelled and I had ALREADY BEGUN my journey I was merely travelling on the next available LM service. The guard stood their ground however. I repeated my circumstances and they would not have it.

I was then asked to pay the fare from Stafford to Liverpool. I said that I was not liable to pay this as I had a valid ticket. When I said that if I was forced to leave the train at Crewe and wait for the next LM service I would also have to submit a delay repay claim and I would have to detail the full circumstances about why I was delayed and how it could have been avoided; that I was then "let off." I have to say the "stand your ground and
not actually listen to the relevant information the customer is providing approach" was most unhelpful.

There was a crew change at Crewe anyway. The next guard who got on I had come across before and he is really approachable and friendly. I asked for his take on the situation and he said: "Your train was cancelled. That's not your fault mate so you just get on the next train and that's that. They have to accept your ticket."

Was I in the right doing what I did? I do not see why I needed to delay myself given I had already begun my journey.
 
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455driver

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Was I in the right doing what I did? I do not see why I needed to delay myself given I had already begun my journey.
Technically no, you should have caught the next available train after your cancelled one.

Morally yes you were 100% correct to use your initiative and the first guard was being rather harsh.
 
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MikeWh

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Was I in the right doing what I did? I do not see why I needed to delay myself given I had already begun my journey.

I'm sure you were right. When a booked train is cancelled there is nothing that I can see that says you can't take an earlier train if it's part way through the journey. You just take the next available train run by the same TOC. It won't often be an earlier train (unless there is serious disruption) but it has saved the company delay repay.

If you do decide to write to LM, as I'm sure you want to, do let us know what they say. You certainly won't get into any trouble after the event.
 

gray1404

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Technically no, you should have caught the next available train after your cancelled one.

Morally yes you were 100% correct to use your initiative and the first guard was being rather harsh.

Are you sure? I know it is a different issue regarding STARTING a journey early (i.e. in this case my first train out of Euston) but in this case it was merely taking the next available connection after it became knows about a cancelled service on a journey which had already begun.
 
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MikeWh

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From the Advance Fare FAQ:
Q22 - Can a passenger travel on any trains other than the one on which they are reserved, without changing the booking? A: The following principles apply. 1). Start of the Journey. It is the passenger’s responsibility to turn up at the start of the journey in time for the first train. If they miss it due to problems parking, taxi not turning up etc, they must buy a new ticket; 2). Once the journey has begun. If the passenger is delayed and the rail industry or its partners (as shown below) is at fault, which should be checked with your Control Office, change to another train of the same company is allowed to get them to their destination with the least delay. This is irrespective of combinations of rail tickets held.

In your case you were due to be delayed, but the action to minimise that delay actually meant there was no delay. The best possible outcome for everyone.
 

najaB

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Was I in the right doing what I did? I do not see why I needed to delay myself given I had already begun my journey.
If you split hairs (and I mean being really pendantic) the T&C's say "If delays occur while travelling, you will be allowed to take the next available train(s) to complete your journey." which does make it sound like you aren't allowed to take an earlier train than your booked one. Especially as you weren't delayed yet - you said you actually arrived at Crewe early.

That said, anyone who was that picky and insisted that you had to wait and delay your journey is someone who really needs to take a proverbial 'chill pill'.
 

gray1404

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From the Advance Fare FAQ:

Quote:
Q22 - Can a passenger travel on any trains other than the one on which they are reserved, without changing the booking? A: The following principles apply. 1). Start of the Journey. It is the passenger’s responsibility to turn up at the start of the journey in time for the first train. If they miss it due to problems parking, taxi not turning up etc, they must buy a new ticket; 2). Once the journey has begun. If the passenger is delayed and the rail industry or its partners (as shown below) is at fault, which should be checked with your Control Office, change to another train of the same company is allowed to get them to their destination with the least delay. This is irrespective of combinations of rail tickets held.

In your case you were due to be delayed, but the action to minimise that delay actually meant there was no delay. The best possible outcome for everyone.

How do we define "once the journey has begun". Could it be once you have discovered your first booked train been delayed/cancelled and has turned up at the station OR is it only once the booked departure time has past. As if you knew that your first train is delayed/cancelled before the actual departure time then, in light of the above wording, I see nothing therefore preventing you from boarding an earlier service i.e. the one before.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
If you split hairs (and I mean being really pendantic) the T&C's say "If delays occur while travelling, you will be allowed to take the next available train(s) to complete your journey." which does make it sound like you aren't allowed to take an earlier train than your booked one. Especially as you weren't delayed yet - you said you actually arrived at Stafford early.

I would argue that 1. I had already begun my journey (as evidenced by the fact I had 1. just got off a connecting train) and 2. my journey was delayed already because it was on the departure board the service had been canceled so therefore, given I was at the station due to point 1 above I was actually taking the next available service.
 
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najaB

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I would argue that 1. I had already begun my journey (as evidenced by the fact I had 1. just got off a connecting train) and 2. my journey was delayed already because it was on the departure board the service had been canceled so therefore, given I was at the station due to point 1 above I was actually taking the next available service.
Sorry, yes, Safford (must read better). The really pedantic person (the kind who doesn't get invited out for a pint very often) would say that you aren't 'delayed' until your booked departure time has passed.

I don't agree with it, but it is obviously the way the first guard looked at it - and I can follow the logic.
 

MikeWh

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The really pedantic person (the kind who doesn't get invited out for a pint very often) would say that you aren't 'delayed' until your booked departure time has passed.

But once a train is cancelled and you are going to be delayed then the requirement to allow you to take the next train to minimise that delay kicks in.
 

455driver

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Are you sure? I know it is a different issue regarding STARTING a journey early (i.e. in this case my first train out of Euston) but in this case it was merely taking the next available connection after a cancelled service on a journey which had already begun.

You have answered your own question with the highlighted word!

Edit-
Were you 100% certain that the train was cancelled when you boarded the earlier train?
I only ask because a couple of weeks ago I was due to work a train which was showing as cancelled on the screens but it turned up about half an hour late, the displays were still showing it as cancelled and it was only when the guard rang through that the train was reinstated on the screens, it should never have been cancelled in the first place.
 
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gray1404

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I would say that the staff member of incorrect on the basis of the information provided above from the Advance Fare FAQs.

I knew that the train was cancelled on the basis of what was being displayed on the departure board at Stafford station. This information should be correct. I would argue that if it is incorrect and a passenger travels on another service as a result, that is the fault of the railway.
 

najaB

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But once a train is cancelled and you are going to be delayed then the requirement to allow you to take the next train to minimise that delay kicks in.
I agree, but I can see why others might not.
 

bb21

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I think both interpretations could be argued to be correct, and I doubt when the rules were drawn up, they were considered to this level of detail as the level of splitting hairs we get on this forum.

Common sense and realistic objectives for these rules would say that when a service is advertised as cancelled, passengers be allowed to take the next service, even if earlier, and by whatever TOC if the delay is severe. This way the passenger load from the cancelled service gets spread over more trains. If the cancellations were false, station staff (assuming available) should try their best to ensure that all passengers are aware.

However it is important to note that the FAQ does not form part of the contract AIUI, and are mere industry guidance, so whether it can be relied on to be the holy grail remains to be seen, especially when itself is not clear.

The best advice I can give is to consult station staff in these situations rather than making assumptions. If not, at least have a word with the guard before boarding, or immediately approach him upon boarding.
 

Clip

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at least have a word with the guard before boarding, or immediately approach him upon boarding.

In situations like this then bb21's advice should always be heeded, as has been said many times on this forum.

Its the guards train, so ask them.
 

gray1404

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The problem is if it is down to the guard then you can get differing responses depending on who the guard is and their (sometimes incorrect/sometimes very well informed) understanding of the ticketing rules or assessment of the situation.

If something is written as a matter of policy however then this can be enforced regardless of who is involved and also gives the passenger some redress if their rights are not honored.
 

Clip

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The problem is if it is down to the guard then you can get differing responses depending on who the guard is and their (sometimes incorrect/sometimes very well informed) understanding of the ticketing rules or assessment of the situation.

.

Ill reiterate that speaking to the guard before you board will always get a better result than just hopping on and sorting later on in journey - theyre not all arseholes you know and would prefer you to do so

If something is written as a matter of policy however then this can be enforced regardless of who is involved and also gives the passenger some redress if their rights are not honored

Very true but I dont think this matters in this case as the letter of the law specifically states ' the next train' not the one before and Ill refer you to my post above this. Ask first, youd be surprised at what you can get
 

Camden

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If you split hairs (and I mean being really pendantic) the T&C's say "If delays occur while travelling, you will be allowed to take the next available train(s) to complete your journey." which does make it sound like you aren't allowed to take an earlier train than your booked one. Especially as you weren't delayed yet - you said you actually arrived at Crewe early.

That said, anyone who was that picky and insisted that you had to wait and delay your journey is someone who really needs to take a proverbial 'chill pill'.
That doesn't actually read as "the train after the one you were due to catch". The "next available train" is simply the next train which is available, regardless of timetabling. Otherwise it would have to say "the next available train after the timetabled departure time". No exclusion clause, which is what that would be, equals no exclusion.

In this case the "next available train" was the train the passenger got on. You could even argue (if you wanted to be pedantic) had they not got that train and got a later one, they would then have not then boarded the "next available train" and on that occasion their ticket might have been considered invalid!

I think any reasonable person though would see the guard as being really unreasonable, regardless. I would definitely complain.
 
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yorkie

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That doesn't actually read as "the train after the one you were due to catch". The "next available train" is simply the next train which is available, regardless of timetabling. Otherwise it would have to say "the next available train after the timetabled departure time". No exclusion clause, which is what that would be, equals no exclusion.

In this case the "next available train" was the train the passenger got on. You could even argue (if you wanted to be pedantic) had they not got that train and got a later one, they would then have not then boarded the "next available train" and on that occasion their ticket might have been considered invalid!

I think any reasonable person though would see the guard as being really unreasonable, regardless. I would definitely complain.
Absolutely. There is no other sensible interpretation.
 

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However it is important to note that the FAQ does not form part of the contract AIUI, and are mere industry guidance, so whether it can be relied on to be the holy grail remains to be seen, especially when itself is not clear.

I'd agree that the internal FAQs do not form part of the contact one enters into when purchasing an advance ticket. However, the publicized terms and conditions for advance tickets do. These state:

If delays occur while travelling, you will be allowed to take the next available train(s) to complete your journey.

Save couple of exceptions, common sense has always been applied and I have been able to take the next available train, be that before or after the scheduled departure time on my itinerary and regardless of operator.

I do not see any requirement in the terms and conditions to seek permission before choosing to exercise the rights contained within those said publicized terms and conditions, but as a rule I tend to ask where possible, if only to add further legitimacy to my already legitimate actions. Again, save for a couple of exceptions, on board staff have been most helpful when approached.
 

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I dont think this particular situation is anticipated, but given that you've saved the railway cash (in that you're now running ahead of time and won't qualify for delay repay) it would be a very silly company indeed that insisted on delaying you.
 

najaB

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That doesn't actually read as "the train after the one you were due to catch". The "next available train" is simply the next train which is available, regardless of timetabling.
As I said, I agree that gray1404 did the sensible thing, but I can't see a flaw in the logic that (a) you aren't delayed if the departure time of your train hasn't passed - there's a potential delay yet to be realised; and so (b) a train that leaves the station before your booked time can't be said to be the 'next' train.

We've thrashed out the latter argument on the forum a number of times - and I think we agreed that there's no right to get an earlier train if your booked train is running late. This is just an extreme version of that situation.
 

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Absolutely. There is no other sensible interpretation.

It is worth noting that in the event of a cancellation out of Euston VT explicitly invite passengers to take the train before the cancelled train if they are there in time. This is sensible for both parties - the passenger gets there earlier, VT avoid possible Delay Repay claims.
 

MikeWh

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As I said, I agree that gray1404 did the sensible thing, but I can't see a flaw in the logic that (a) you aren't delayed if the departure time of your train hasn't passed - there's a potential delay yet to be realised; and so (b) a train that leaves the station before your booked time can't be said to be the 'next' train.

We've thrashed out the latter argument on the forum a number of times - and I think we agreed that there's no right to get an earlier train if your booked train is running late. This is just an extreme version of that situation.

I disagree. There is a very big difference between a late running train and a cancelled train. With a cancelled train you know in advance that you are going to be delayed. It is perverse in the extreme to suggest that you must let a late running earlier train go when you know that you are going to be delayed.

It is often quoted on here that rail companies are no longer public services but private companies whose sole aim is to make money. How do you equate that aim with deliberately forcing a customer to be in a position to claim delay repay compensation when it wasn't necessary? It is telling that the guard backed down when the OP suggested that being turfed off the train would result in a delay claim and that his/her name would be in the frame as the reason for the delay.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
It is worth noting that in the event of a cancellation out of Euston VT explicitly invite passengers to take the train before the cancelled train if they are there in time. This is sensible for both parties - the passenger gets there earlier, VT avoid possible Delay Repay claims.

... and spread the load of the cancelled train over more alternative trains.
 

najaB

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It is perverse in the extreme to suggest that you must let a late running earlier train go when you know that you are going to be delayed.
I think it is as well, but when has that ever stopped some people? There's nothing I've ever seen that gives a passenger carte blanche to board an earlier service than the one they are booked to travel on due to the cancellation of that service.
 

yorkie

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I think it is as well, but when has that ever stopped some people?
Then they're wrong.
There's nothing I've ever seen that gives a passenger carte blanche to board an earlier service than the one they are booked to travel on due to the cancellation of that service.
"next available" doesn't exclude the preceding train.
 

najaB

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Then they're wrong.
While we both think that they are wrong, can you show me anything that can reasonably be said to *guarantee* that a passenger in gray1404's situation can board an earlier train than the one they are booked to travel on, secure in the knowledge that they won't face a prosecution, or if they do which they can rely on to successfully defeat the prosecution's case?

This has shades of the previous thread - I *want* passengers to be able to take the earlier train, but *fear* that they may face negative consequences if they do so without first seeking permission from an authorised person.
 

MikeWh

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While we both think that they are wrong, can you show me anything that can reasonably be said to *guarantee* that a passenger in gray1404's situation can board an earlier train than the one they are booked to travel on, secure in the knowledge that they won't face a prosecution, or if they do which they can rely on to successfully defeat the prosecution's case?

I really do think you are trying your hardest to invent problems where none exist. I may not be a lawyer but I can be reasonably certain that any attempt at a prosecution in gray1404's situation would be laughed out of court. He took the next available train operated by the correct TOC when he learnt that his booked train would not run. In so doing he saved them from paying him compensation and possibly relieved congestion on the later train. The guard who questioned him was undoubtedly wrong, and realised how silly they were being when the possibility of compensation was raised.
 

455driver

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The guard who questioned him was undoubtedly wrong, and realised how silly they were being when the possibility of compensation was raised.

Link to the legislation that proves your point then!
 
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najaB

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I really do think you are trying your hardest to invent problems where none exist.
I remember at least one thread recently where someone with an Advance ticket ended up with some bother from the TOC for boarding an earlier train when theirs was delayed. So it's not that far fetched.

The fact that this thread exists proves that it is possible!

I may not be a lawyer but I can be reasonably certain that any attempt at a prosecution in gray1404's situation would be laughed out of court.
Even if it did, there's a whole lot of stress and hassle before it gets to that stage.
 
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MikeWh

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I remember at least one thread recently where someone with an Advance ticket ended up with some bother from the TOC for boarding an earlier train when theirs was delayed. So it's not that far fetched.

The fact that this thread exists proves that it is possible!

As I have said before, delayed is not the same as cancelled.
 
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