NFM64 fare check - ATOC calculator not doing it for me

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Established Member
26 Nov 2010
I have downloaded the NFM64 data file from the ATOC website but how do you actually use it?

The reason I ask is that I am trying to do a Fares Check and ATOC's online Routeing Point Calculator isn't working for that stations and route that I am interested in. The fare I am interested in is routed either VIA LONDON or NOT VIA LONDON. The fares from the routeing point that I am trying to fare check are routed either ANY PERMITTED or NOT VIA LONDON. ATOC's calculator is only comparing the NOT VIA LONDON fares, but it is the VIA LONDON/ANY PERMITTED route that I am interested in. I know that the Routeing Point in question passed the Fares Check in NFM95, so I suspect that it was OK in NFM96 but need to check and be sure.

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Paul Kelly

Verified Rep - BR Fares
16 Apr 2010
There was some guidance issued from ATOC a few years back that said you could do the fares check with non-matching fares routes as long as the itinerary you were checking complied with both routes. So in this example if the fares check passed comparing the VIA LONDON and ANY PERMITTED fares (I'm assuming one is from the origin to destination, and one from the origin routeing point to destination) - that would be fine as long as the itinerary went via London.

This approach falls down a bit now that NFM64 checking has been mandated though. For one thing, the downloadable list of NFM64 fares only has numerical route codes, and the meaning of some of them has changed since NFM64 (e.g. 00099 used to be LONDON NOT RETFRD but now it is NOT DARLINGTON), which makes a thorough check very awkward and error-prone.

The instructions supplied to developers of booking engines and electronic journey planners recognise this problem, and say to ignore the actual meaning of the route code. You simply do a fares check on any routes for which the route codes match. If there are no matching route codes between the fares from the origin and origin routeing point, the fares check is done using the cheapest route. In your case there is one matching route (NOT VIA LONDON), so (if you were a booking engine) you're supposed to do the fares check using the NOT VIA LONDON fares only and ignore all the others.

As NOT VIA LONDON, VIA LONDON and ANY PERMITTED are really long-standing, standard route codes (the numerical codes were 700, 200 and 000 in my 1986 edition of the National Fares Manual and they still are today) I think there should be no issue in doing the fares check using them and you could argue your case with ease if your choice of permitted route was denied and you had to invoke the disputed route procedure. But booking engines (and the fares checker at will stick to the rules they have been given and use the only matching route, i.e. NOT VIA LONDON.


30 Sep 2014
The fares check only applies to NFM64 fares, and only ever has done so. They are the only fares used for fares checking in online systems at the insistence of the Rail Regulator and now the DfT. So there is no fares check on any other set of fares. All stations opened after Sept 1996 are allocated an NFM64 station for fares checking. They were deemed to be the last fares of the pre privatised railway and therefore the ones that reflected the promise that the "any reasonable route" would be honoured by the private sector. Reasonable routes were tested by price. Of course 20 years on this is highly decayed. Fares and routes have evolved, and routeing points have been abolished and created.
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