National Rail Enquiries Confusion

Status
Not open for further replies.

phil35

Member
Joined
17 Nov 2010
Messages
237
I'm not sure how new this feature is, but I nearly ended up on an invalid train today because of it.

I was in Barnsley and wanted to get to Bradford (this would be the return leg of my Bradford to Barnsley Anytime return). I checked the Rail Planner Live app on my phone, which suggested that I could take a train to Huddersfield, and then change to a direct service to Bradford Interchange. I usually make this journey via Leeds, but the timing of this journey was more suitable so this was what I was going for.

A couple of hours later, just before I left the house for the bus, I happened to be on my laptop and I thought I'd just re-check the journey times on NRE. Again, the Barnsley - Bradford journey via Huddersfield was there. I clicked on it and then noticed (in surprisingly small text considering the, in my opinion, vital importance of the sentance) in the top left of the screen the text "You need to buy more than one ticket for this journey."

Now I'm not sure how I feel about this. First of all, on NRE it doesn't even show you the two different tickets that it has chosen for me. I assume that it is trying to tell me to buy a Barnsley to Huddersfield Off-Peak Return and a separate Huddersfield to Bradford Off-Peak Return. But without clicking on the big "Buy Now" button, as far as I can tell there is no way to see the two tickets it's actually telling me I need to buy.

I don't know about anyone else, but when I use NRE I usually just quickly enter the start and finish point of my ticket, check the times / where I need to change, and then close the window. I would therefore assume that any results it gives me would be valid on my ticket. Apparently this is now not the case.

Secondly, I have a Bradford - Barnsley Anytime return. Upon checking the Barnsley - Bradford leg on my smartphone app (made by Thales, the most "official" app there is I believe") I was given in the results a journey that actually isn't valid on a Bradford-Barnsley ticket. If I hadn't actually looked on NRE (complete chance that I did!) and noticed that NRE is actually suggesting I need two tickets, I would almost have certainly faced some sort of penalty fare / fine for travelling on an invalid train.

I would have been much happier with this had it had advertised a Bradford - Barnsley Anytime return, route: Huddersfield.

What are your thoughts on this? Is this a new feature on NRE? If it's here to stay then I think it should be made clearer what it is actually telling you. Apologies if this post isn't very clear, I'll try and re-write it if it confuses!
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Robbies

Established Member
Joined
20 Sep 2009
Messages
1,997
Location
Berkshire
It is a feature that I believe has been on NRE website for sometime, now but is very confusing.

For instance I can obtain a ticket via NRE to travel from Martins Heron to Portsmouth Harbour and the NRE website will give me sevral routes including via Clapham Junction, however if I have not selected the route via Clapham Junction then my ticket will say 'Not Via London' on it, which means I can only travel via the following:

1) Woking/Guildford
2) Ascot/Guildford
3) Virgina Water/Weybridge/Woking

Now, I suspecting that you have something similar with the Ticket you have purchased via NRE where it is for certain routes only?
 

jbb

Member
Joined
29 Mar 2012
Messages
59
I've had it tell me the next train from Euston->Rugby is to get a train to Coventry then another back to Rugby which I'm sure isn't valid on my season ticket.
 

MikeWh

Established Member
Associate Staff
Senior Fares Advisor
Joined
15 Jun 2010
Messages
6,050
Location
Crayford
For instance I can obtain a ticket via NRE to travel from Martins Heron to Portsmouth Harbour and the NRE website will give me sevral routes including via Clapham Junction, however if I have not selected the route via Clapham Junction then my ticket will say 'Not Via London' on it, which means I can only travel via the following:

1) Woking/Guildford
2) Ascot/Guildford
3) Virgina Water/Weybridge/Woking
Tickets routed "NOT LONDON" are valid at Clapham Junction.
 

phil35

Member
Joined
17 Nov 2010
Messages
237
It is a feature that I believe has been on NRE website for sometime, now but is very confusing.

For instance I can obtain a ticket via NRE to travel from Martins Heron to Portsmouth Harbour and the NRE website will give me sevral routes including via Clapham Junction, however if I have not selected the route via Clapham Junction then my ticket will say 'Not Via London' on it, which means I can only travel via the following:

1) Woking/Guildford
2) Ascot/Guildford
3) Virgina Water/Weybridge/Woking

Now, I suspecting that you have something similar with the Ticket you have purchased via NRE where it is for certain routes only?
Not that I'm aware. There is no specific route on the Bradford to Barnsley Anytime return, only Route: Any Permitted.
 

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
47,588
Location
Yorkshire
Again, the Barnsley - Bradford journey via Huddersfield was there. I clicked on it and then noticed (in surprisingly small text considering the, in my opinion, vital importance of the sentance) in the top left of the screen the text "You need to buy more than one ticket for this journey."
National Rail enquiries is a journey planner, not a ticket selling site. It will tell you various journey options and tell you the fares that apply, it will show a combination of 2 (but not more than 2) tickets for a journey when it believes that one ticket does not permit the itinerary in question.

I much prefer this as otherwise passengers may be denied journey opportunities and information, it would be a huge shame if this was withdrawn.

Now I'm not sure how I feel about this. First of all, on NRE it doesn't even show you the two different tickets that it has chosen for me.

I assume that it is trying to tell me to buy a Barnsley to Huddersfield Off-Peak Return and a separate Huddersfield to Bradford Off-Peak Return. But without clicking on the big "Buy Now" button, as far as I can tell there is no way to see the two tickets it's actually telling me I need to buy.
I agree it should be clearer what the tickets are, yes.
I don't know about anyone else, but when I use NRE I usually just quickly enter the start and finish point of my ticket, check the times / where I need to change, and then close the window. I would therefore assume that any results it gives me would be valid on my ticket. Apparently this is now not the case.
No, it's a journey planner; you need to read the information it says regarding fares.
Secondly, I have a Bradford - Barnsley Anytime return. Upon checking the Barnsley - Bradford leg on my smartphone app (made by Thales, the most "official" app there is I believe") I was given in the results a journey that actually isn't valid on a Bradford-Barnsley ticket.
Valid Routes from Barnsley [BNY] to Bradford Stations [BDI / [stn]BDQ[/stn]]:

  1. Direct trains from Barnsley to Bradford Stations
  2. Shortest Route: 31.5 miles (may not be accurate)
    • Barnsley
    • Darton
    • Wakefield Kirkgate
    • Wakefield Westgate
    • Leeds
    • Bramley (W Yorks)
    • New Pudsey
    • Bradford Interchange
  3. Mapped Routes :
    Barnsley - BRADFORD GROUP:


WK permits travel via Wakefield, Huddersfield & Halifax to Bradford Int.
WY permits travel via Wakefield & Leeds to Bradford Int / Bradford FS.

It is surprising that travel via Penistone is not mapped. This is 39.5 miles so not within 3 miles of the shortest route either. However I would be very surprised if a Northern guard did not accept a Barnsley - Bradford ticket via Penistone! It appears reasonable to me.

If I hadn't actually looked on NRE (complete chance that I did!) and noticed that NRE is actually suggesting I need two tickets, I would almost have certainly faced some sort of penalty fare / fine for travelling on an invalid train.
Penalty Fares do not apply on Northern services.

A fine could only be issued if a guard requested payment of an additional pay, you refused to pay, and the TOC decided to take the matter to court, and you were found guilty, it would then be for a court to impose a fine. If that happened, I would be extremely surprised.

I would have been much happier with this had it had advertised a Bradford - Barnsley Anytime return, route: Huddersfield.
Huddersfield is on a permitted route between Bradford and Barnsley, all such a restriction would do is prevent people travelling via Leeds.
What are your thoughts on this? Is this a new feature on NRE? If it's here to stay then I think it should be made clearer what it is actually telling you. Apologies if this post isn't very clear, I'll try and re-write it if it confuses!
I agree that it should be made clearer.

But the real problem in this particular case is that via Penistone should be a permitted route.

I have checked the original Routeing Guide, and it was permitted, as Barnsley was not a Routeing Point, and Huddersfield was an appropriate routeing point for a Barnsley-Bradford ticket, therefore the shortest route to Huddersfield (ie, via Penistone) was permitted.

I strongly encourage you to send an FOI request to the DfT along these lines (feel free to change the wording as you see fit):-

Barnsley - Bradford was permitted via Penistone in the first edition of the Routeing Guide and was considered a 'reasonable route' prior to privatisation, therefore the route has protected status.

* When did via Penistone cease to be a permitted route?
* Who in the DfT authorised this route to cease to be permitted?
* What was the reason for the decision?
* Was Passenger Focus consulted as per the legal requirements? If so, what was their response? If not, why not?

However if the route is immediately re-instated, there will be no need for the above questions to be answered.
I'd also encourage you to contact Northern Trains and ATOC initially, and if the route is not immediately re-instated, contact Passenger Focus.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I...For instance I can obtain a ticket via NRE to travel from Martins Heron to Portsmouth Harbour and the NRE website will give me sevral routes including via Clapham Junction, however if I have not selected the route via Clapham Junction then my ticket will say 'Not Via London' on it....
This either means "Not via London Terminals" or "Not via London Group"; there's some debate as to which interpretation is correct however it rarely causes any issues, and in this case there no issue. Clapham Jn is not a member of London Terminals, and it is not a member of London Group!
 
Last edited:

phil35

Member
Joined
17 Nov 2010
Messages
237
With regards to my "Route: Huddersfield" comment, I said that under the assumption that seeing as via Penistone wasn't a valid route, then neither would be Barnsley - Wakefield - Huddersfield - Bradford. I am highly surprised that it is, which makes it even more surprising (As you say) that via Penistone isn't valid.
 

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
47,588
Location
Yorkshire
With regards to my "Route: Huddersfield" comment, I said that under the assumption that seeing as via Penistone wasn't a valid route, then neither would be Barnsley - Wakefield - Huddersfield - Bradford. I am highly surprised that it is, which makes it even more surprising (As you say) that via Penistone isn't valid.
Indeed. I've since edited my post as I have checked the first edition of the Routeing Guide. I'd love to hear the DfT's response. You may wish to send a private letter, or alternatively you may wish to use the Whatdotheyknow site.

I know the DfT love requests like this ;) but if they carried out their legal responsibilities correctly, we'd not need to send them.

I'd also contact Northern & ATOC requesting re-instatement of the Penistone route ASAP. Again, I'd be very interested to hear their response.
 

phil35

Member
Joined
17 Nov 2010
Messages
237
Would the Northern Rail Customer Relations email address be sufficient for this request, or what it have to go to someone different? I've never used the WhatDoTheyKnow website you linked to (and never contacted anyone about anything like this before to be honest), and so I don't really feel confident in using it. However, I'll happily send off an email to the ToC in question.
 

DaveNewcastle

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
21 Dec 2007
Messages
7,397
Location
Newcastle (unless I'm out)
. . . . I'd love to hear the DfT's response. You may wish to send a private letter, or alternatively you may wish to use the Whatdotheyknow site.

I know the DfT love requests like this ;) but if they carried out their legal responsibilities correctly, we'd not need to send them.

I'd also contact Northern & ATOC requesting re-instatement of the Penistone route ASAP. Again, I'd be very interested to hear their response.
I agree with all the above.
However, I'd advise making sure than any follow-up correspondence is clearly in the public domain and in writing. There are very many anomalies and changes which few of us (if any) can trace having been introduced after due process (which yorkie has alluded to).
One outcome which would not be helpful is the routine dismissive reply over the 'phone or by email which answer a specifc question without explicitly creating a binding Term which assists passengers' future travel. If you do contact Northern Rail and/or ATOC (and I would add my own encouragement to you), then please do so in writing with copies (for reference only) to as many and whichever of the following seems most appropriate to you:
Passenger Focus
your MP
the Transport Minister
the shadow Transport Minister

Would the Northern Rail Customer Relations email address be sufficient . .
. . .
. . and so I don't really feel confident in using it. However, I'll happily send off an email to the ToC in question.
No, a simple email will not give the assurance which passengers need.
I think I can speak on yorkies's behalf on this question: Either and Both of us would be happy to assist in the draftingof a simple letter in the form that yorkie has suggested.

It can be so helpful to have an audit trail of correspondence on these changes. I'm grateful that you have taken such an interest.
 

OwlMan

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2008
Messages
3,207
Location
Bedworth, Warwickshire
To add to Yorkies post Barnsley became a routeing point in September 2005, the mapped routes being either map WK or WY. Neither of these maps have ever shown Barnsley - Huddersfield since they were introduced in 2003.
So when Barnsley was made a routeing point who ever compiled the NRG never noticed that Huddersfield was a valid routeing point for the Journey Barnsley - Bradford and never included it the new edition.


Peter
 

phil35

Member
Joined
17 Nov 2010
Messages
237
Thanks for your responses guys. To be honest, I highly doubt I would ever actually make use of the Penistone route so for me personally it would be a problem going forwards. However, it does seems to be an error and I would be willing to help sort this out. If you could help in letting me know what it is I should be writing, who to, and what to say that I'm happy to do so. I know it probably seems like you'll be doing all the work, but I'm not really confident about all this and so I want to make sure we go about this the right way. Thanks!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top