Llandudno to Wolverhampton

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We will be traveling from Llandudno to Wolverhampton the morning of July 17 and it appears there are several options. We have luggage, so we won't want the 5-minute connection through Chester. We could take ATW to Warrington Bank Quay and then Virgin to Wolverhampton, or ATW to Llandudno Junction, Virgin to Crewe and London Midlands to Wolverhampton. From a service or reliability standpoint, is there any difference other than one transfer versus two? Thank you.
 
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SS4

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The more changes you make the more likely it is you miss a connection (obviously enough).
Changing at Warrington means you'll have to use the subway to get from P4 to P2.

There is one train every two hours from Llandudno Junction to Wolverhampton which runs direct if it's easier for you to get to Llandudno Junction (0607, 0825, 1025, 1225, 1425, 1646). This train is slower than changing though
 

philjo

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There are direct services from LLandudno Junction to Wolverhampton at 08:25, 10:25 and 12:25. These are arriva trains Wales services and run via Shrewsbury to Birmingham.
They take a bit longer than using other services & changing at Crewe but with luggage I think they would be the best option. You would have just the one change at LLandudno junction.

I can see them on the booking systems if you enter "Via Shrewsbury"
 

SS4

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You may be able to change at Shrewsbury but I can't check the platforms because NRES is being a tool
 

sonic2009

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I believe changing at Shrewsbury would not involve a use of lift or stairs.

Holyhead - Cardiff trains arrive on P7

Birmingham services depart from either P4 or the bay platforms.



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At Wolverhampton, we transfer to a Cross Country train to Reading (ticket already purchased). Is 31 minutes a reasonably safe connecting time at Wolverhampton from ATW to Cross Country?
 

sonic2009

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At Wolverhampton, we transfer to a Cross Country train to Reading (ticket already purchased). Is 31 minutes a reasonably safe connecting time at Wolverhampton from ATW to Cross Country?
Yes although what is the type of ticket you hold from Wolverhampton to Reading please.


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yorkie

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Yes, that is absolutely fine. You may use 2 (or more) tickets for one journey. You will be covered in the event of delays providing sufficient interchange time has been allowed. 31 minutes is vastly more than the minimum, so that's not only got you covered but a good margin for delays too.

In the highly unlikely event that you do miss the connection, your tickets will be valid on the next available XC service to Reading (though in such a case you may be better off changing at Birmingham New Street; seek advice from the guard of your train if this situation arises).
 
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The ATW direct trains are indeed much less expensive. An Advance ticket is 24 pounds for three people (vs. 95 pounds), but we would again face the prospect of no seat reservation with ATW Advance tickets. How full is a 10:25 train likely to be on July 17 (a Tuesday)?
 

sonic2009

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The ATW direct trains are indeed much less expensive. An Advance ticket is 24 pounds for three people (vs. 95 pounds), but we would again face the prospect of no seat reservation with ATW Advance tickets. How full is a 10:25 train likely to be on July 17 (a Tuesday)?
You can get seat reservations with this ticket. I have just managed a dummy booking for the 1025 on the 17th at EastCoast with seat reservations.

An advance ticket for 3 people is £36.00, not £24.00 as you have stated.
 

John @ home

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You can get seat reservations with this ticket. I have just managed a dummy booking for the 1025 on the 17th at EastCoast with seat reservations.
When I do this for this train on that date with EastCoast I get
Reservation Details

Llandudno Junction to Wolverhampton
Coach: *
Seat *** -
Seat *** -
Seat *** -
We were unable to reserve table for this part of your journey.
As usual with ATW Advances, no actual seats are reserved.
 

John @ home

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the prices have now gone up to £45.00 for 3 adults
They may go back down in an hour or so, after the tickets in your basket and mine are released. East Coast place tickets in the basket for two hours part way through the purchasing process.
 
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Yes, they did go back down to 12 pounds (and sorry about my inability to multiply 12 times 3!). I'm willing to pay the extra 20 pounds each for Anytime tickets if that's necessary to keep us from being split up for three hours, but is there any way of estimating how full this train will be (Tuesday morning, July 17)? It makes about 11 stops between Llandudno Jct. and Wolverhampton, so if we opt for unassigned Advance seats would we be moving around to avoid seats that are reserved between intermediate stops? It appears you can't view a diagram showing reserved seats on ATW like you can on CrossCountry. A dummy reservation for one person yielded a seat assignment of 01B, but does that indicate anything this far in advance about how full the train will be on July 17? Thanks for you help.
 

sonic2009

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This a general question, if you book advance tickets for ATW, can you then after book a seat reservation for the train at a station.

Surely trains along the North Wales coast are reservable?

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John @ home

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is there any way of estimating how full this train will be (Tuesday morning, July 17)?
One can estimate based on experience, but one cannot predict.
It makes about 11 stops between Llandudno Jct. and Wolverhampton, so if we opt for unassigned Advance seats would we be moving around to avoid seats that are reserved between intermediate stops?
This train is the 0923 Holyhead - Birmingham International 1350, which makes up to 25 intermediate stops, 8 of which are request stops which are made only when required. The full itinerary is here.
It appears you can't view a diagram showing reserved seats on ATW like you can on CrossCountry.
That is correct. Sorry.
A dummy reservation for one person yielded a seat assignment of 01B, but does that indicate anything this far in advance about how full the train will be on July 17?
It suggests to me that very few seats have so far been reserved, but tells me nothing about the number of "places" which have been reserved without a seat being allocated and does not give any useful indication about how full the train will be on July 17.

My expectation would be that the 0923 Holyhead - Birmingham International on Tuesday July 17 would not normally be very busy, but I would not expect to find a free table of 4 seats if joining at Llandudno Jn at 1025. But even the evening before travel, it will not be possible to predict with certainty whether your group will have a comfortable journey. A sunny day, the cancellation of a previous train, the closure of a road or a delay to a ferry from Ireland could all add large numbers of passengers to a 2-coach Class 158 diesel multiple unit (DMU).

Since ATW replaced seat reservations with place reservations for Advance tickets sold online in December 2009, I have made half a dozen long distance return journeys to Wales involving several hours on ATW DMUs each time. The party size has ranged from 2 to 8 (6 adults and 2 aged under 5). On one occasion we travelled at short notice and had flexible tickets including seat reservations. On all the other occasions, we had Advance tickets with place reservations only.

We have always obtained seats with the single exception of a connecting train from Llandudno Jn to Bangor, so I have had to stand for only 20 minutes in journeys lasting over 20 hours in total. It has not always been possible to obtain seats together.

My experience is that holding an ATW seat reservation does not completely eliminate the risk of having to stand. When we travelled with flexible tickets, the reservations were not placed on the seats for one of the two legs of the journey. I could say that this is a failure rate of 50%. Hopefully, your experience will be different.

If I were a person for whom holding a seat reservation was a very important part of planning a long-distance railway journey, I would buy Advance tickets for the 1025 Llandudno Jn - Wolverhampton on 17 July, together with seat reservations at a railway station, not online. If, exceptionally, that railway station was unable to provide seat reservations with Advance tickets for that train, I would not complete the purchase but would try another station.
 

SickyNicky

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This a general question, if you book advance tickets for ATW, can you then after book a seat reservation for the train at a station.
The Marches line trains are (usually) reservable but online advances don't get reservations and they won't give you a reservation if you present your ticket at Hereford. However, to echo what [email protected] has said, if you buy your advances from the station, you can get seat reservations.
 

dvboy

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At Wolverhampton, we transfer to a Cross Country train to Reading (ticket already purchased). Is 31 minutes a reasonably safe connecting time at Wolverhampton from ATW to Cross Country?
31 minutes will be fine. Your ATW is booked to arrive on Platform 3 at 1308, and the XC is booked to depart Platform 4 at 1341.

When you arrive at Wolves you'll want the big white bridge that's near the rear of the train - it has lifts. Don't follow the crowd to the other bridge near the front of the train as that doesn't provide access to Platform 4.
 
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Thanks to all for your good advice. I am in the U.S., so cannot purchase Advance tickets at a station. Interesting that seat reservations can be made with online Advance tickets on Cross Country but not ATW; aren't they owned by the same company?
 
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