National Rail - valid routes

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Sammy h

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Just a question to everyone. I have been working in a booking office for roughly two months now and have noticed that the above website and also my computer system is always giving invalid routes for certain journeys.

Can anything be done to stop this so that customers do not travel this way?

An example of one is Lancaster to Liverpool, the valid route is to change at Preston or Wigan, however the system sometimes says Warrington.

Why is this?

Sorry if I am starting an old debate, but this is one of many and I was just wondering if there was a reasonable answer?
 
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tony_mac

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Yes, hopefully this will get moved, we have an entire section of the forum about ticket routeing.

However, for now, there are a couple of points to make.

Firstly, the National Rail website brings up the quickest journey, but does give an indication that a route isn't valid by showing that you need to buy more than one ticket. However, this isn't particularly clear - and it used to be much clearer before the last change to the site. Maybe you could ask your employers to complain to ATOC?

Secondly, have you just assumed that only via Wigan or Ormskirk are allowed for Lancaster to Liverpool, or did somebody tell you this?
Via Warrington is obviously valid, and so is travel via Manchester.

The correct procedure for determining valid routes is by using the Routeing Guide - as mentioned in the NRCoC.
I am assuming that they haven't told you about this, or you would probably have known that via Warrington is a permitted route.

It's not the easiest thing to follow, but I'm sure that people will be happy to help if you ask questions in the section that DaveNewcastle already linked to.
 

Eagle

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There are no direct trains. The shortest route is via Ormskirk (55 miles), no other route is within three miles of this.

Per the Routeing Guide, Liverpool to Lancaster is valid on the following maps:

CP + NC, which permits
  • Via Ormskirk (this is also the shortest route)
  • Via St Helens Ctl and Wigan NW
  • Via Earlestown and Warrington BQ
  • Via Liv Sth Pkwy and Warrington Ctl/BQ
  • Via Liv Sth Pkwy, Runcorn/Runcorn East and Warrington BQ

ML + NW, which permits
  • Via Kirkby and Wigan Wgt/NW
  • Via Kirkby, Wigan Wgt and Bolton
  • Via Kirkby, Wigan Wgt, Salford/Manchester and Bolton
  • Via Earlestown, Manchester and Bolton

NL + NW, which permits
  • Via Liv Sth Pkwy, Warrington Ctl, Manchester and Bolton
  • Via Liv Sth Pkwy, Warrington Ctl, Manchester and Wigan Wgt/NW

and WG, which permits
  • Via Liv Sth Pkwy and Warrington Ctl/BQ (despite already being covered by CP + NC)

Note that there might be a few nuances I've missed, given the various routes round Wigan and Bolton.
 

yorkie

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Just a question to everyone. I have been working in a booking office for roughly two months now and have noticed that the above website and also my computer system is always giving invalid routes for certain journeys.
The National Rail website is usually correct with regards interpreting the Routeing Guide. Note, that a route is only considered a permitted route for a ticket from origin to destination if that itinerary is offered on one ticket. The National Rail website will offer a combination of two tickets for itineraries that require two tickets and this is explained on the website (though not as clearly as it could be perhaps!)
Can anything be done to stop this so that customers do not travel this way?
Customers can travel on a route that is shown as permitted when they obtain a valid itinerary. However it would not count if the itinerary was not available on one ticket and the customer was not using the combination suggested.
An example of one is Lancaster to Liverpool, the valid route is to change at Preston or Wigan, however the system sometimes says Warrington.

Why is this?
Because it is valid, so is correct!
Sorry if I am starting an old debate, but this is one of many and I was just wondering if there was a reasonable answer?
No problems, but if you weren't previously aware of this section then there are a lot of threads here that may interest you! Try a search (you may prefer a Google search using site:railforums.co.uk):)
 

MarkyMarkD

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I hadn't tried using the National Rail mobile phone website, to look for ambiguous routes, but it is absolutely awful and designed by a numpty!

E.g. "London" to "Southend".

There are obviously a few routes - some from Fenchurch St, some from Liverpool St, but the site returns both, without naming the stations involved, but instead listing the platform numbers!

Don't they realise that knowing which station it leaves from - when, perhaps, you might be about to decide which way to walk, or which tube to catch - is a tad more useful than which platform?
 

sheff1

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Just a question to everyone. I have been working in a booking office for roughly two months now and have noticed that the above website and also my computer system is always giving invalid routes for certain journeys.

Can anything be done to stop this so that customers do not travel this way?

An example of one is Lancaster to Liverpool, the valid route is to change at Preston or Wigan, however the system sometimes says Warrington.

Well, as others have pointed out, Lancaster to Liverpool is valid via Warrington.

Why do you want to stop customers travelling via a route which is permitted by the Routeing Guide ?
 

hairyhandedfool

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Just a question to everyone. I have been working in a booking office for roughly two months now and have noticed that the above website and also my computer system is always giving invalid routes for certain journeys....

....An example of one is Lancaster to Liverpool, the valid route is to change at Preston or Wigan, however the system sometimes says Warrington....

Permitted routes are determined by the National Rail Conditions of Carriage (available as a pdf in the FRPP/The Manual or on the National Rail website) and the Routeing Guide (which you can find in the FRPP/The Manual or on the ATOC website).

If you have been in the job two months, you really should have been taught this.
 

Sammy h

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Ok, thanks for clearing that up guys. I don't want to 'stop customers travelling that way' - what are you on about?

When I joined my colleagues informed me that this route was not valid so I thought I would ask the question. My experience is obviously not as vast as the experience some of you have, no need to be so patronising though.

Ormskirk may be the shortest, but it isn't the quickest. The thing about changing at WBQ is that you have to change stations which I'm sure you know is quite some distance and some of our less mobile customers wouldn't be happy with this.

If customers ask, we send them via Wigan. I don't see a problem with that?
 

tony_mac

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Don't worry, everyone has to start somewhere, and it's good you decided to ask here.

I think people are maybe a little uptight because you should really have had better training by now, and dealing with untrained staff can make things difficult.

But, anyway, yes - via Wigan is generally the most sensible route.
But it's still handy to know the alternative routes, particularly at the moment with the weekend bus service.
I would much rather walk across Warrington than spend an hour on a bus!
And I know some people who would rather travel via Manchester so that they can do some shopping!
 

Deerfold

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Ok, thanks for clearing that up guys. I don't want to 'stop customers travelling that way' - what are you on about?

When I joined my colleagues informed me that this route was not valid so I thought I would ask the question. My experience is obviously not as vast as the experience some of you have, no need to be so patronising though.

I don't think people have been patronising.

But I suspect a few are disappointed in the level of training you (sadly along with so many others in the Industy) get.
 

RJ

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The National Rail website is usually correct with regards interpreting the Routeing Guide. Note, that a route is only considered a permitted route for a ticket from origin to destination if that itinerary is offered on one ticket. The National Rail website will offer a combination of two tickets for itineraries that require two tickets and this is explained on the website (though not as clearly as it could be perhaps!)

Usually correct, yes. However I've found a NRG anomaly which allows significant savings to be made on the ECML, MML and WCML in one fell swoop, that NRE doesn't seem to pick up on :p
 

Sammy h

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That is exactly what I mean about being patronising, just no need for it. Do you get kicks in making arguments? Pathetic.

The reason I have been told that it isn't valid via Warrington is that the fare from LAN-WBQ is more than the fare from LAN-LIV. That's what I have been told by colleagues anyway.

I appreciate the comments from the sensible mature members of the forum.
 

sheff1

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I think people are maybe a little uptight because you should really have had better training by now, and dealing with untrained staff can make things difficult.

Indeed. In this case the booking office concerned are apparently telling passengers they can't travel via a permitted route. Bad enough ....

... but what about when staff are telling people they can travel via a route which is not permitted. I have heard this myself but, of course, when picked up on board, 'the man at the station told me' is seemingly dismissed by guards as a fabrication.


Pathetic.

Pathetic indeed.

Why should passengers have to tell uninformed staff which way they can legitimately travel and then get hassle for doing so.
 
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Deerfold

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That is exactly what I mean about being patronising, just no need for it. Do you get kicks in making arguments? Pathetic.

You do appear to have been wrong.

This seems to have been due to poor training but there's no need to be unpleasant about it.
 

tony_mac

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The reason I have been told that it isn't valid via Warrington is that the fare from LAN-WBQ is more than the fare from LAN-LIV. That's what I have been told by colleagues anyway.
There are some circumstances (see the routeing guide) where you do check the fares like this, but never between major stations (which are routeing points).

In some cases, this would mean that all routes are impossible, or that you would need to spend all day checking fares!

Fares and valid routes often are not obvious. However, if the computer says it is valid then it probably is - and should definitely be accepted as this is what is advertised by NRES.
If the computer says it isn't valid, then it probably isn't, but it may be a mistake.
 

Sammy h

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I have just had a great pm which has explaine the situation and I will be going back to colleagues advising them of this.

I would like to thank the majority of you for your help :) As you can see I am still learning and I was raising a point which I was confused over, it's a good job I did as I now know that this route is valid and as they say you learn something new every day ;)
 

Clip

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Just out of interest - what ticketing machine do you use in your booking office? And why do you not use that to check the journeys with correct routing?
 

Sammy h

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Use argis for journey planner and Smart for ticketing.

Where have I said I do not use it? As stated in original post, it gives Warrington as a valid route, but my colleagues mis informed me that it was not the case....
 

Clip

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Use argis for journey planner and Smart for ticketing.

Where have I said I do not use it? As stated in original post, it gives Warrington as a valid route, but my colleagues mis informed me that it was not the case....


Apologies - I was under the impression you just used the website for journey planning as I obviously didnt read the post properly
 

hairyhandedfool

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Use argis for journey planner and Smart for ticketing.

Where have I said I do not use it? As stated in original post, it gives Warrington as a valid route, but my colleagues mis informed me that it was not the case....

RJIS is usually spot on for routeings, but like all machines, it is only as good as the software, so some care needs to be taken. That said, 'experienced staff' usually are less accepting of change (often because it is not what they are used to) and new staff tend not to want to correct them (quite understandable imo).

In response to what you can do if a passenger wants to use a route (or train) that is not valid, you can only really tell them the ticket is not valid for their journey. It isn't worth getting into an argument about it and you can't really refuse to sell a ticket purely on that basis.

If you come across as knowledgeable and certain that you are correct, most passengers will accept that you are right and either pay the correct fare or change their travel plans to suit the ticket.

Should they be really determined to take that route on that ticket you just have to tell them it isn't valid (making sure they are aware of why it isn't valid) and that if they make that journey they will be liable to pay more to the guard on the train, then mark the ticket 'validity advised'.

All that being said, relatively few people specifically ask for a ticket that isn't valid in my experience.
 

34D

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I have just had a great pm which has explaine the situation and I will be going back to colleagues advising them of this.

I would like to thank the majority of you for your help :) As you can see I am still learning and I was raising a point which I was confused over, it's a good job I did as I now know that this route is valid and as they say you learn something new every day ;)

Sammy, you are very welcome here, and I hope you stick around the forum.

Some members are concerned about the level of training some TOCs provide - this is a gripe with the TOC and not with the staff who aren't as properly equipped as they could be.
 
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