Huntingdon to Didcot Parkway - Which route should I take?

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pmb

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Hi all,
I might be taking a trip to see my relatives in Oxfordshire next week. My route options are: Huntingdon - Peterborough - Birmingham New Street - Oxford - Didcot, or Huntingdon - St. Pancras - tube - Paddington - Didcot. I can't travel by car, so I'm wondering what would be the best rail route to take given the local lockdown in Leicester?

How crowded is the tube at the moment? Any particular times of day when it is quieter? Also should I get reservations even if they're not compulsory?

Also - this isn't a railway related question, but can anyone shed light on how many nights I'd be allowed to stay at their house? Or is there not a limit? Does 'overnight' mean just one night or what?

Thanks a lot for your help.
 
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ForTheLoveOf

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Hi all,
I might be taking a trip to see my relatives in Oxfordshire next week. My route options are: Huntingdon - Peterborough - Birmingham New Street - Oxford - Didcot, or Huntingdon - St. Pancras - tube - Paddington - Didcot. I can't travel by car, so I'm wondering what would be the best rail route to take given the local lockdown in Leicester?

How crowded is the tube at the moment? Any particular times of day when it is quieter? Also should I get reservations even if they're not compulsory?

Also - this isn't a railway related question, but can anyone shed light on how many nights I'd be allowed to stay at their house? Or is there not a limit? Does 'overnight' mean just one night or what?

Thanks a lot for your help.
The Leicester lockdown simply reverts the restrictions in Leicester to those that applied to the rest of England on 13 June, i.e. general retailers closed but no restrictions on being outside or passing through the area.

I'd go via London in this instance, simply because it's by far the cheapest and easiest option. You can do the whole journey in just two changes if you take the half hourly Thameslink Horsham service as far as Farringdon, whereupon it's a cross-platform interchange to the H&C/Circle Line to Paddington. There are then 3 fast trains per hour to Didcot.

Avoiding London involves 3 changes, using the currently awful 2-hourly Peterborough-Birmingham service, and then the hourly Birmingham-Oxford service... Total journey time 6¼ hours vs 2½ hours via London (and that's assuming a generous interchange time across London).
 

ForTheLoveOf

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The Tube is, on average, still at less than 20% of usual passenger loads. That certainly seems to bear out in reality - the 5pm (normally high peak) services I took the other day were about as empty as I've ever seen the tune. I definitely wouldn't worry about it, especially since the H&C/Circle lines are air conditioned and the carriages wide. Social distancing shouldn't be difficult at all unless you go when it's busy (which is currently mainly the first few trains of the day).

Certainly no harm in getting reservations for the GWR leg of your journey (none available for Thameslink or LU ;) ), but they're not compulsory and IME not really needed for the current level of loadings.

There are no limits on how long you can stay away from home any more in England. See my thread here for details of the current restrictions.
 

pmb

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Thanks very much for your detailed replies. Much appreciated. It looks as though I will choose the London route then.
 
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Jamesrob637

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Are there not cheap Thameslink fares to King's Cross and cheap GWR fares from Paddington to Didcot Parkway? Then just tap in tap out for the Tube - only £1.50 a go.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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Are there not cheap Thameslink fares to King's Cross and cheap GWR fares from Paddington to Didcot Parkway? Then just tap in tap out for the Tube - only £1.50 a go.
For a day return journey, yes. But for journeys made on a period return basis they're not worth it.
 
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