Forthcoming All Line Rover - Any benefit which company to book with?

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by tobytronic, 1 Jun 2015.

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  1. tobytronic

    tobytronic Member

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    Planning to do a First Class 7 day ALR from Sun 13/6 but was wandering anyone had any suggestions of the benefits of booking with any particular train operating company or website?
     
  2. Iskra

    Iskra Established Member

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    I'd go to a staffed station, at a quiet time. Then you'll be able to reserve yourself seats on the trains you want to travel on.
     
  3. tobytronic

    tobytronic Member

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    Thanks for the tip. I was wondering if I would be at all popular turning up with a list as long as my arm of potential reservations.


    Do you have to pay for reservations on non sleepers?
     
  4. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    No-one, apart from FGW who might charge you in certain circumstances, charges for non-sleeper reservations.
     
  5. 185143

    185143 Established Member

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    what are those certain circumstances? Never heard of that before!
     
  6. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Off the top of my head unless you're buying a ticket for travel at the same time a fee is chargeable (there's a few others where it's waived but I can't recall them now). It's been a few years since I last had confirmation that it is still the case so may have changed but certainly within the last two or three FGW would charge you in some circumstances.
     
  7. rwebster

    rwebster Member

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    FGW at Oxford happily (albeit with some confusion as to why I'd want it) issued me a reservation for the Sleeper from Arrochar & Tarbert to Bridge of Orchy last weekend with no charge. Hadn't realised it was policy to!
     
  8. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My impression it's one of those policies that isn't really enforced (hence the way I phrased my post) ;)
     
  9. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    That's not an FGW service ;)

    However I agree their daft policy is often not followed.
     
  10. tobytronic

    tobytronic Member

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    So consensus is to make ALL (or as many as possible reservations) at the time of purchase.

    If I want to add one later, by phone perhaps, I take it that they trust you have a valid ticket for that service?

    Also, is their any 'reward' type schemes in operation by the companies which are considered worthwhile, as the purchase will be for 2 tickets and represent a major spend?
     
  11. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    Use a credit card that gives points? I seem to remember something about nectar points and train tickets as well, but I might be wrong.

    Doubtless somebody will be along to tell you how to claim delay repay for every train in the country that gets delayed in that seven days, to cover the cost of the ticket. :)
     
    Last edited: 2 Jun 2015
  12. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    Sorry to crash in, but is this a policy purely opperated by FGW Booking Offices and Customer Contact Centres? Or would, for example ATW, EMT or Scotrail charge me for a reservation on an FGW service? Curious as planning a number of mid to long distance trips on FGW at the end of this month and will deliberately avoid there own staffed stations etc if I can get it free elsewhere.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    To answer the OPs orrigional question, some or all of the First Groupp TOCs as well as VTEC and I think VWC allow you to link your account with there website with your Nectar online account and earn points and whilst its a very low number of points, it all helps I guess.
     
  13. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    In terms of booking in person at a ticket office... well we can all clump together and give you advice on the best ticket office to buy from, but it might be helpful to know at least roughly which part of the country you're from?

    Although I've not purchased in ALR before, I would recommend the staff in Glasgow Central as a knowledgable and friendly team who would undoubtedly have the time to address all your needs. However, if you're based in Kent or somewhere far away, that's probably not going to be of much use!
     
  14. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    I dont want this to turn into a best/worst Ticket Office thread but should your home station be, or you plans take you through iether Dumfries, Carlisle or Leicester I have found these 3 of the best on the network with Dumfries standing out as being good and up for a challenge and something a wee bit different from there usual diet of CDRs to Carlisle or Glasgow!
    carlisle are excillent with unusual eccess and/or complex via London travelcard or Boundry Zone requests and Leicester although busy had, last time I was there some of the best all round ticketing knoledge Iv experienced without looking it up!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    On the flipside I'd avoid BHM andEUSTON AS i personally have had consistantly crap service from both!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Was there not some kind of forum link to TPEs site where the forum benifits in some way? I cant remember for certain though as I like to use Tellesales or a staffed booking Office
     
  15. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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  16. Seacook

    Seacook Member

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    For my next ALR (7 days starting 18/6) I will just turn up at Sandwell & Dudley station, hand over the cash and catch the next train. I have only used a reservation once in four previous ALR trips and that was for a sleeper. I buy a first class ticket and have always found a seat (though one time it was was the last one available).
     
  17. tobytronic

    tobytronic Member

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    Yes, Wakefield Westgate (managed by VTEC) is my local station and has been rebuilt in last 3 years. It has plenty of windows at the new travel centre but rarely are more than 2 staffed - hence me considering telephone or online.

    Really pleased with the response and the number of people who seen to have done an ALR.

    Myself and other half will be travelling together so it will not be a sleeper frenzy - even planning to use my own bed for 2 nights! We're likely to be doing a few long runs with less train hopping than I see some attempting. Although there a few days where that idea seems o have been forgotten.

    We're hoping to try the usual suspects for a few treats - WAG Express, etc and we're giving the GWR Pullman a go for lunch from Penzance to Reading. Anybody given it a try on here?

    Things I cannot seem to cram in are Settle to Carlisle Welsh North Coast and Cumbrian Circle bur all may be better served on 'normal' tickets anyway.

    Also, what's the experience of the showers in stations for a quick visit after the sleeper, etc?? Are they too busy, unclean :( or well served:D?

    Once again - thanks all in advance.
     
  18. richw

    richw Established Member

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    Get a quidco account. 3.5% cashback on The trainline, 2.5% EMT and 1% FTPE.

    For the trainline you'd have to calculate whether the extra cashback would more than cover the admin fees.
     
  19. Kite159

    Kite159 Established Member

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    Never use the trainline, even if in the unlikely place you can earn more back with cashback than paying in fees, as I've heard they are not the fastest payers and have a habit of declining cashback.

    That is even if you can buy an All Line Rover from their website, only TOC site I can think of which sells is FGW [where you can earn some nectar points]
     
  20. Iskra

    Iskra Established Member

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    I've reviewed pullman dining/showers in the following post.

    http://www.railforums.co.uk/showpost.php?p=2105581&postcount=27

    Only thing I hear about showers is get in there early before the queue and while they are clean.

    Have you looked at Virgin services for the North Wales coast? They would be faster and you would benefit from 1st class.

    S&C and Cumbrian coast are easily accessible from West Yorks on rangers/rover tickets at good value so, by all means don't prioritise those.
     
  21. tobytronic

    tobytronic Member

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    Thanks for info on showers.

    Really struggling to get North Wales coast with Holyhead an aim but it's a long way back down the same line!

    If anything, we're not doing much of Scotland.

    Maybe a 4 in 8 is a better pace for Scotland?
     
  22. Iskra

    Iskra Established Member

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    Have you got a rough intinery for us so we can advise further?

    At the end of the day, it is your ALR, so providing you're prioritising what you enjoy, then that's the main thing.
     
  23. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    It's up to you, but if you've got time to come up and do a "Freedom of Scotland 4:8", separately then that's probably better. There's quite a lot of land up here to cover, and lots of lines that I'd highly recommend travelling. Furthermore, if you want to visit some of Scotland you can do so with the FoS at a slower pace, taking a day off here and there to explore a town or city. That option isn't available with an ALR.

    Furthermore, Scotland is reasonably out of the way, and lots of the most scenic lines are particularly remote, so you can probably get more out of your ALR by staying in England and Wales.
     
  24. Kite159

    Kite159 Established Member

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    I did Scotland last year on a 8 in 15 Freedom ticket, which gave me time to explore pretty much the entire country by rail.

    All the way on the West Highland line can take up your entire day
     
  25. tobytronic

    tobytronic Member

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    Yes, we came to the conclusion that a 4 in 8 at a slower pace would be a good trip on its own merit - so that's for another year.

    The outline at present is

    Sun 13/6 start

    1. Wakefield-Edin-Crewe-Chester. - Leisure Travel
    2. Chester (wag express)-Cardiff-Padd-StPancras-Sheffield-Doncaster-KX-Padd-Penzance(sleeper). - Wag & Sleeper
    3. Penzance-Plymouth (Pullman)-Padd-KX-Wakefield. - Nice lunch then home to bed
    4. Wakefield-KX-Euston-Euston-Birm-Cardiff (wag express)-Chester-Crewe (sleeper)- Inverness.-Wag & Sleeper
    5. Inverness (highland chieftain)- NOT SURE ON THIS NEXT BIT BUT END IN WAKEFIELD BY 9ish
    6. Wakefield to Bristol by either Edinburgh+WCML or via London Marylebone(class 68) to Birm then somehow to Bristol. - Leisure Travel (maybe a 68!) and Fri Eve in Bristol
    7. Last day (Sat) so my take a simple option (Bristol-Padd-KX-Wake) or possibly Bristol-Weymouth-Southampton-Reading-Wakefield - Any ideas??

    Tires me out just typing this out! May lighten the plan a little but want to sort by Fri.

    I'm sure many will have suggestions re the above.
     
    Last edited: 3 Jun 2015
  26. James Wake

    James Wake Member

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    For the Saturday, I can recommend Bristol-Weymouth then a 444 to Southampton as a good run, then perhaps change there onto the once hourly Southampton to London Victoria train for scenic views along the Arun Valley line. You could change at East Croydon (or Three Bridges or Gatwick Airport) onto a Thameslink service to St Pancras International, then home from Kings Cross to Wakefield or perhaps go on EMT up to Sheffield and across from there. Others will also recommend the Arun Valley, sit on left hand side of the train in direction of travel for a fantastic view of Arundel Castle.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    How about this:
    0906 Bristol Temple Meads to Weymouth arr 1145 (HST Weymouth Wizard)
    1203 Weymouth to Southampton Central arr 1328 (SW Trains class 444)
    1413 Southampton Central to Three Bridges arr 1602 (Southern Class 377) or stay onto Victoria but then you would have to cross London on Tube/bus
    1613 Three Bridges to St Pancras International arr 1719 (earlier train at 1603 if you can)
    1735 or 1803 Kings Cross to Wakefield (first one is a HST as it goes to Harrogate, not sure about the second)
     
    Last edited: 3 Jun 2015
  27. tobytronic

    tobytronic Member

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    Thanks for replying all of this is great stuff to a first timer.

    Didn't know Bristol to Weymouth might be HST!

    Yes, 444 sounds right and the northbound option you suggest is worth a look. Homework for tonight.

    Also, thameslink idea looks a good route stopping short of the city is wise.

    I'll check if the Harrogate train operates on a Sat though.
     
    Last edited: 3 Jun 2015
  28. me123

    me123 Established Member

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    I think you may need to re-think this. The Sleeper arrives into Inverness at 08:38, by which time the Chieftain's already on her away back to London, having left at 07:55.

    If you've got your heart set on catching the Chieftain, then you could bail at Aviemore and come back South from there. You'll miss the bit to Inverness, but if you're coming back to Scotland for your 4/8, then I'm sure you'll manage to squeeze it in somehow.

    However, if you want to go to Inverness, how about...
    09:00 INV-ABD (a11:25)
    12:06 ABD-EDB (a14:29) (be sure to sit on the East side of the train for some really beautiful views over the North Sea).
    14:38 EDB-GLQ via Airdrie & Bathgate (a15:43) (can change at Haymarket if connection tight)
    Break for a bit in Glasgow, get a bite to eat or stretch your legs en route to Central (if you wanted, you'd have time to go for a whirl around the Subway, although it's not included).
    16:40 GLC-CAR (a17:51)
    18:14 CAR-LDS (a20:50)
    21:21 LDS-WKF (a21:33)

    Going back South en-route to Wakefield, you wanted to squeeze in the Settle and Carlisle, and I think this would be a good opportunity to do it.

    Alternatively, you could go a different, but slower way back home from GLC (I tried to get this to connect to the S&C, but it's not possible) - it will get you in quite a bit later than you wanted, though.

    16:12 GLC-NCL via Kilmarnock & Carlisle (a20:11)
    20:27 NCL-LDS (a22:05)
    22:40 LDS-WKF (a22:53)

    EDIT: Just realised you were doing a FC rover. In that case, the route via Newcastle is even less desirable, offering negligible FC benefits. I'd also suggest going from Edinburgh to Glasgow via Falkirk to get the token FC service, but the service isn't available when you're traveling I'm afraid (due to the Winchburgh engineering works).
     
    Last edited: 3 Jun 2015
  29. tobytronic

    tobytronic Member

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    Sorry, we realised we had to bail at Aviemore but I really didn't expect anyone to notice and even more so, everyone to be so keen to help. PS - Also though no-one would notice!!!! Classic FAIL!

    Yes, a good opportunity to do the Settle to Carlisle, did it last on a Deltic special to Edinburgh about 4 years ago but i am considering a day on the Cumbrian circle on Friday - work permitting, so this may mean it's not necessary. Can amend the plan post Friday based on what work brings on. Although, it does look the best route south to Wakefield so likely it will go in the plan either way as just a nice thing to do.

    Many thanks for taking to effort to share that info.

    Can I say again - I'm really pleasantly surprised with the help offered here by all so I guess i doing to have repay you all with a report...........
     
  30. James Wake

    James Wake Member

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    Have you decided on your final iteniary yet tobytronic? Enjoy the ALR, especially being a first class one.
     
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