Luton via Bletchley

danm14

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I need to make a journey from London-Bletchley-Luton-London (breaking journey at both Bletchley and Luton).

The cheapest valid ticket I can find is a London-[any station between Bletchley and Bedford] Off Peak Day Return via Any Permitted route at £25.70 (the £19.10 Super Off Peak bars break of journey).

Is there anything less obvious at a lower price that I'm missing?

It appears that the £16.00 Super Off Peak Day Return from London-Bletchley is not valid for travel via Bedford; and tickets to anywhere on the Thameslink route south of Bedford are not valid via Bletchley.

Thanks in advance.
 
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AlterEgo

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I’d just buy the £19.10 ticket and ask to leave the station at Bletchley. The gates are often open anyway and with an hourly service you have a pretence to leave if the connection onto the branch isn’t immediate.

The worst that can happen is they excess you up to the £25.70 ticket anyway.
 

Bletchleyite

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The Marston Vale is only running a very sparse service at the moment with 2-3 hour gaps and the missing hours filled in by bus, and buses only on Saturdays. Therefore you are likely to need to pass the gate line anyway.

The gateline is mostly closed but much of the time is supervised by a contract security guard who unlike Northern's mob are pleasant enough but don't know about ticketing.
 

Watershed

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I’d just buy the £19.10 ticket and ask to leave the station at Bletchley. The gates are often open anyway and with an hourly service you have a pretence to leave if the connection onto the branch isn’t immediate.

The worst that can happen is they excess you up to the £25.70 ticket anyway.
With the branch being bustituted most of the time, and with most booking sites not communicating the break of journey restrictions (which in any event only apply to the outward portion), I agree that OP is likely to be absolutely fine on the £19.10 ticket.
 

Bletchleyite

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Forgotten we were still on buses on the Marston Vale! Gosh.

Sadly they have increased. There was one diagram on a Saturday (2 hourly) but that has now been dropped with buses all day.

This is probably justified as it's better than a cancellation on the mainline, but it's a shame.
 

Watershed

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Forgotten we were still on buses on the Marston Vale! Gosh.
Well, it's "again" rather than "still", but yes. You can tell that the Marston Vale and St Albans branches are seen as inconveniences as far as WMT management is concerned.
 

Bletchleyite

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Well, it's "again" rather than "still", but yes. You can tell that the Marston Vale and St Albans branches are seen as inconveniences as far as WMT management is concerned.

They are a lower priority than maintaining mainline services while staff are short because of the "pingdemic", so much as I don't like it it's a sensible choice on their part, really.
 

Gathursty

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When East West Rail is complete I predict we will still be on buses between Bedford and Bletchley.
 

kieron

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It appears that the £16.00 Super Off Peak Day Return from London-Bletchley is not valid for travel via Bedford
Have you checked this?

If you need a different ticket, one possibility would be to buy a return to Bletchley, and also buy bus tickets between Leighton Buzzard and Luton. This is faster than the train via Bedford (much less the rail replacement bus), but I don't know how much a bus ticket costs.
 

Bletchleyite

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Have you checked this?

It's definitely not valid that way, nor are any point to point Euston-Bletchley tickets. The Travelcard arguably used to be (because you can pick any destination in the Zones to construct your Permitted Routes) but they routed that Watford Junction to prevent such use.
 

kieron

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All I can do is ask you the same question - have you checked this? And, by that, I mean recently.
 

JB_B

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The £16 London-Bletchley ticket wouldn't normally be valid for returning via Bedford. Although the ticket is route: any permitted and allows break of journey on the return, going via Bedford isn't on a mapped route and (when the Marston Vale trains are running) nowhere near the shortest route by rail.

However, at the right times, it's currently possible to get journey planners (e.g. TCBC) to offer the £16 ticket from Euston to Bletchley (bus to Bedford) and back to St Pancras - presumably because the bus miles don't count against the shortest-route-by-rail test.
 
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Bletchleyite

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All I can do is ask you the same question - have you checked this? And, by that, I mean recently.

I just did now. The NRE planner appears to show it as valid on the RRBs but not on the (sparse) train service. This I think is because of a quirk with the way the planner handles replacement buses and not a change to the Routeing Guide (I've seen it before elsewhere), and I wouldn't fancy an argument with a Thameslink RPI about it or indeed the ability to get past any gateline on the way.

Only way I'd even consider chancing it is if I was travelling to an itinerary, which would have to include the planned break (given that that ticket doesn't allow outward BoJ either and I think that's when the OP wants to break?..). I'd call this one of those savings that to me wouldn't be worth the stress, and would only be "valid" because of an incorrectly issued itinerary.
 

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