Hove to Bristol day trip

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pat okeeffe

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My son has an offer to study at Bristol University this Autumn. He and his sister want to visit Bristol for the day this coming monday 12th April to have a look around. They were thinking of getting the 09:04 direct service from Hove via Barnham and Salisbury. Both have young persons railcards. Seems to me that the cheapest option would be to split the journey into two or three day return chunks. Certainly Hove to Southampton day return at £11.55 may be a good starting point. Any suggestions for further splits or alternatives from the sages on this board would be much appreciated.
 
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Watershed

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My son has an offer to study at Bristol University this Autumn. He and his sister want to visit Bristol for the day this coming monday 12th April to have a look around. They were thinking of getting the 09:04 direct service from Hove via Barnham and Salisbury. Both have young persons railcards. Seems to me that the cheapest option would be to split the journey into two or three day return chunks. Certainly Hove to Southampton day return at £11.55 may be a good starting point. Any suggestions for further splits or alternatives from the sages on this board would be much appreciated.
Unfortunately that Off-Peak Day Return isn't valid until 09:30, so couldn't be used until Worthing. You'd need to have an Anytime Day Single to get to Worthing.

If they want to travel on the direct train at 09:04, I can't see anything cheaper than the through Off-Peak Return costing £40.50.
 

Paul Kelly

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I'm not sure you'll do better than the through Off-Peak Return at £40.50, which interestingly seems to be valid at any time from Hove.
 

alistairlees

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Off Peak Return route via Salisbury presumably.
Yes. It's cheaper to get an Off-Peak Day Return from Hove to Salisbury (route via Barnham) (£19.00 with Railcard), plus an Off-Peak Day Return from Salisbury to Bristol TM (route Any Permitted) (£16.50 with Railcard), totalling £35.50, though.

The first one is valid from 08.59, so perfect timing.

Basically route "via Barnham" tickets are your friend and you should always try and get them. There might be a better split - I have only quickly looked.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Yes. It's cheaper to get an Off-Peak Day Return from Hove to Salisbury (route via Barnham) (£19.00 with Railcard), plus an Off-Peak Day Return from Salisbury to Bristol TM (route Any Permitted) (£16.50 with Railcard), totalling £35.50, though.

Basically route "via Barnham" tickets are your friend and you should always try and get them. There might be a better split - I have only quickly looked.
Useful info to know. Do the major train splitting ticketing sites offer this combination?
 

pat okeeffe

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Thanks everyone - looks like split at Salisbury then. Ive tried various combinations using BRfares.com but cant come up with anything cheaper. In reply to MCR Warrior I did have a go on one of the splitting sites but it didnt come up with this option.
 

Paul Kelly

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Good find by alistairlees. Between Salisbury and Bristol it's cheaper still to split again at Warminster - two more Off-Peak Day Returns.
Do the major train splitting ticketing sites offer this combination?
The problem is that the GWR trains have mandatory reservations, meaning seat availability needs to be checked for all fares, not just for advance fares. Therefore split ticketing engines can't check all the possible combinations of walk-up fares like they usually do, as it would put a heavy load on the reservations system. It's a tricky and annoying issue.
 

pat okeeffe

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Thanks Paul Kelly, I`ll look into the Warminster split. I'd tried a split at Westbury but there was no advantage there. Also Ive caught the 9:04 many times over the years even for a commute to Worthing and Chichester and never had any issues with having to book seats - is this a new thing?
 

185143

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Thanks Paul Kelly, I`ll look into the Warminster split. I'd tried a split at Westbury but there was no advantage there. Also Ive caught the 9:04 many times over the years even for a commute to Worthing and Chichester and never had any issues with having to book seats - is this a new thing?
It's a Covid thing. GWR do not enforce it though, unlike LNER.
 

185143

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I've never heard of GWR trains having compulsory reservations
Precisely! The intercity trains were all marked reservations compulsory at some point between March and July last year, in the same way Avanti's were. (The latter only being enforced at Glasgow Central and nowhere else)

I asked last summer whilst on a Devon+Cornwall rover wether I'd need reservations on everything and the answer was along the lines of "if it's too busy, we won't let you on if you don't." I suspect it's simply done to force the booking sites to spread the passenger load across all trains. Most passengers seem to assume that because they have booked the xx:xx, they must travel on it even with a walk up. Needless to say, I had no issues whatsoever.
 

cactustwirly

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Precisely! The intercity trains were all marked reservations compulsory at some point between March and July last year, in the same way Avanti's were. (The latter only being enforced at Glasgow Central and nowhere else)

I asked last summer whilst on a Devon+Cornwall rover wether I'd need reservations on everything and the answer was along the lines of "if it's too busy, we won't let you on if you don't." I suspect it's simply done to force the booking sites to spread the passenger load across all trains. Most passengers seem to assume that because they have booked the xx:xx, they must travel on it even with a walk up. Needless to say, I had no issues whatsoever.

That's news to me, I can use a travel card from Reading to Paddington on any service. There is no mention of anything about needing a reservation anywhere.
 

Hardcastle

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Off peak Hove-Southampton £12 off peak day return valid on the 0904 ex Hove. Advance singles Southampton-Bristol TM £11.20 each way various trains available need to stick with the trains booked brings the total fare down to £34.40 each with railcard.
 

pat okeeffe

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Thanks Hardcastle - the Warminster split has already bought it down to £32.85 each unless my maths is wrong - which is often the case.
 

Paul Kelly

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There is no mention of anything about needing a reservation anywhere.
You can see it on the GWR website, when you click for details on a train - see screenshot below where it says "Reservation compulsory". If they don't intend enforcing it they really should remove it; it causes a lot of trouble.

gwr-res-comp.png
 

trainophile

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Is there a text number to make GWR seat reservations, as there is with XC? I have a Freedom of Devon & Cornwall 8 in 15 for July, and if it's still compulsory then it will cause me major problems, not least as I don't know where I will be going on each day.
 

Watershed

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It's "enforced" in the same way as it is for XC, i.e. not at all. It's just put in the data feed so that busy trains disappear from journey planners when all reserveable seats have been booked.
 

bignosemac

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Worth bearing in mind that the nearest station to the main University of Bristol campus buildings is Clifton Down. Extend that final split ticket to there. Same price as ticket to Bristol TM. Clifton Down station is on Whiteladies Road where there are numerous shops, bars, restaurants etc that are used by the student population.
 

pat okeeffe

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Thanks bignosemac - I`ll let them know. Also I noticed bizarrely that if they went along the west coast via Weymouth and did the split there, then to Temple Meads via Yeovil, the journey would be 10p cheaper for each, but of course it would take most of the day thus negating the whole purpose of the trip. In fact as I think has been pointed out before on this site, if you take the coast route, its possible to travel on a day return with a railcard for £19.00 from Dover to Weymouth.
 

NorthOxonian

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Thanks bignosemac - I`ll let them know. Also I noticed bizarrely that if they went along the west coast via Weymouth and did the split there, then to Temple Meads via Yeovil, the journey would be 10p cheaper for each, but of course it would take most of the day thus negating the whole purpose of the trip. In fact as I think has been pointed out before on this site, if you take the coast route, its possible to travel on a day return with a railcard for £19.00 from Dover to Weymouth.
Both the ticket you mention along the coast (which can also start from even further east - Margate is the limit iirc) and tickets between Weymouth and the West Country are very good value. But as you point out, the trains are much slower, and the service heading north from Weymouth is very infrequent. Still, I'd keep that ticket in the back of your mind - if only to recommend to your son should he ever fancy a trip to the seaside as a student (it is much nicer than Weston super Mare)!

Returning to the point though, I'd definitely recommend the Clifton Down ticket - it's the same price and you can travel back from Temple Meads if you end up walking back to the city centre and want to start from there. I regularly visit Bristol and always buy a ticket to a station on that line, because there's no reason not to.
 

Argyle 1980

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You can see it on the GWR website, when you click for details on a train - see screenshot below where it says "Reservation compulsory". If they don't intend enforcing it they really should remove it; it causes a lot of trouble.

View attachment 94138
The GWR/XC compulsory reservations are a very inconvenient thing to say the least (from a ticket purchasing POV)
Quite often I'll try and buy my ticket for the next train only to be told the by the app that the train is sold out and not available to buy, or in some cases it only offers first class anytime fares. Obviously when this happens you just board the train and buy from the train manager. The train is also practically empty so they must only release a very small amount of tickets anyway.

Both the ticket you mention along the coast (which can also start from even further east - Margate is the limit iirc) and tickets between Weymouth and the West Country are very good value. But as you point out, the trains are much slower, and the service heading north from Weymouth is very infrequent. Still, I'd keep that ticket in the back of your mind - if only to recommend to your son should he ever fancy a trip to the seaside as a student (it is much nicer than Weston super Mare)!

Returning to the point though, I'd definitely recommend the Clifton Down ticket - it's the same price and you can travel back from Temple Meads if you end up walking back to the city centre and want to start from there. I regularly visit Bristol and always buy a ticket to a station on that line, because there's no reason not to.
Those ridiculously cheap "route Barnham" and "route Edenbridge/Polegate" I think come about from when the direct Ashford to Brighton service was being launched and the hourly Brighton-Southampton service being promoted. (That's what the promotional leaflet said)
It lead to certain long distance journeys being considerably cheaper than a lot of shorter local journey's. Remember a few years ago I was travelling from West Worthing to Dorchester and had to wait until I changed at Southampton to get my ticket as I was using vouchers. The lady in the ticket office looked shocked that the ticket was cheaper than a return from Southampton to Dorchester was.
 
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pat okeeffe

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My offspring should be wandering around Bristol by now. I got the tickets yesterday afternoon at Brighton Station - bit of a pantomime. As I was near Brighton station yesterday on another mission I thought I`d save them time today by buying them myself. I`d assumed I`d be able to get them from the automatic machines as I didnt have their 16-25 rail passes with me. However, I found that the machines are not programmed to permit customers to get a ticket for the next day and from another station at the same time, so I had to go to the ticket office. The very helpful ticket office staff waived the need to show their passes, and said I could get a cheaper Advance ticket via London for £20 for the pair of them. This I did. As I left the station I thought I`d better check my wallet to make sure I`d got everything and found that I had only been issued with one way tickets, even though I had asked for returns - no wonder it was cheap! Went back

Another member of staff who was sitting next to the original ticket office clerk apologised and cancelled the Advance and issued the split day returns as discussed here. He charged me £8.45 for the Warminster to Clifton Down leg even though BR fares lists this at £8.40 - I didnt argue as he`d been great generally. He also seemed to think that they couldnt use the £19.00 day return on the Brighton to Salisbury leg as this was only valid after nine AM, so they would have to pay £1.50 more each, despite what has been said on this board and from my own previous knowledge, I said that they`d go from Hove even though the tickets start at Brighton- white lie. Then I mentiond the seats booking issue also discussed here. He looked it up in a book, and said yes strictly speaking they should book. He issued two booking tickets (from Hove to Bristol) - but with no seats or coach number details - strange.
 

alistairlees

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My offspring should be wandering around Bristol by now. I got the tickets yesterday afternoon at Brighton Station - bit of a pantomime. As I was near Brighton station yesterday on another mission I thought I`d save them time today by buying them myself. I`d assumed I`d be able to get them from the automatic machines as I didnt have their 16-25 rail passes with me. However, I found that the machines are not programmed to permit customers to get a ticket for the next day and from another station at the same time, so I had to go to the ticket office. The very helpful ticket office staff waived the need to show their passes, and said I could get a cheaper Advance ticket via London for £20 for the pair of them. This I did. As I left the station I thought I`d better check my wallet to make sure I`d got everything and found that I had only been issued with one way tickets, even though I had asked for returns - no wonder it was cheap! Went back

Another member of staff who was sitting next to the original ticket office clerk apologised and cancelled the Advance and issued the split day returns as discussed here. He charged me £8.45 for the Warminster to Clifton Down leg even though BR fares lists this at £8.40 - I didnt argue as he`d been great generally. He also seemed to think that they couldnt use the £19.00 day return on the Brighton to Salisbury leg as this was only valid after nine AM, so they would have to pay £1.50 more each, despite what has been said on this board and from my own previous knowledge, I said that they`d go from Hove even though the tickets start at Brighton- white lie. Then I mentiond the seats booking issue also discussed here. He looked it up in a book, and said yes strictly speaking they should book. He issued two booking tickets (from Hove to Bristol) - but with no seats or coach number details - strange.
Thanks for the update
- the £0.05 price difference is because some systems have not been updated to do a change in rounding rules
- an Off-Peak Day Return (route via Barnham; restriction B3) from Hove to Salisbury is valid on the 09.04 from Hove; but an Off-Peak Day Return (route via Barnham; restriction B3) from Brighton to Salisbury is not valid on the 08.59 from Brighton, even though it's the same train, because it's not valid before 09.00.
- the 08.59 Brighton to Great Malvern does not have reservations with allocated seat / coach numbers as you might find on a train from (e.g.) Bristol TM to Paddington. It just uses "counted places" to manage the total quantity of tickets sold. These are marked as "*** ***" in place of the coach and seat number.
 

Argyle 1980

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Thanks for the update
- the £0.05 price difference is because some systems have not been updated to do a change in rounding rules
- an Off-Peak Day Return (route via Barnham; restriction B3) from Hove to Salisbury is valid on the 09.04 from Hove; but an Off-Peak Day Return (route via Barnham; restriction B3) from Brighton to Salisbury is not valid on the 08.59 from Brighton, even though it's the same train, because it's not valid before 09.00.
- the 08.59 Brighton to Great Malvern does not have reservations with allocated seat / coach numbers as you might find on a train from (e.g.) Bristol TM to Paddington. It just uses "counted places" to manage the total quantity of tickets sold. These are marked as "*** ***" in place of the coach and seat number.
Does the Brighton/Portsmouth GWRs no longer reserve individual seats then? Haven't used it for a while for various reasons, mainly that going via Guildford/Wokingham is now more often not a lot cheaper (I've had fares as low as £9.85 Brighton to Plymouth via that route but they only seem to come up that price when Gatwick Express is involved)
Last time I used a GWR on the coastway a couple weeks ago there was the Romsey block so my journey was with Southern and by replacement bus until Sailsbury but i was issued a seat number for the leg between Salisbury and Westbury, but no seats were individually reserved. The previous time I travelled on GWR coastway service previously it was a Networker and reservation slips were just placed on the seat cushion.

My offspring should be wandering around Bristol by now. I got the tickets yesterday afternoon at Brighton Station - bit of a pantomime. As I was near Brighton station yesterday on another mission I thought I`d save them time today by buying them myself. I`d assumed I`d be able to get them from the automatic machines as I didnt have their 16-25 rail passes with me. However, I found that the machines are not programmed to permit customers to get a ticket for the next day and from another station at the same time, so I had to go to the ticket office. The very helpful ticket office staff waived the need to show their passes, and said I could get a cheaper Advance ticket via London for £20 for the pair of them. This I did. As I left the station I thought I`d better check my wallet to make sure I`d got everything and found that I had only been issued with one way tickets, even though I had asked for returns - no wonder it was cheap! Went back

Another member of staff who was sitting next to the original ticket office clerk apologised and cancelled the Advance and issued the split day returns as discussed here. He charged me £8.45 for the Warminster to Clifton Down leg even though BR fares lists this at £8.40 - I didnt argue as he`d been great generally. He also seemed to think that they couldnt use the £19.00 day return on the Brighton to Salisbury leg as this was only valid after nine AM, so they would have to pay £1.50 more each, despite what has been said on this board and from my own previous knowledge, I said that they`d go from Hove even though the tickets start at Brighton- white lie. Then I mentiond the seats booking issue also discussed here. He looked it up in a book, and said yes strictly speaking they should book. He issued two booking tickets (from Hove to Bristol) - but with no seats or coach number details - strange.
Probably not any use for a day trip due to the limited service but if in future they are looking for a cheaper, but slower alternative, then the off peak return thats route via Salisbury we've found out definitely is valid via Clapham Junction so they could potentially get there with one change at Clapham. Only probably is a lot of TOCs websites show that route as any permitted prices and charge the higher fare accordingly and not the cheaper route Salisbury fare. Southern's website does however offer the cheaper route Salisbury fare via Clapham and I had it confirmed by somebody on here that it definitely is valid.
 
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