Online booking - train preference problem

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mp01

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My mum prefers to make journeys with as few changes as possible, and with no pressure of having tight connection times. However, train booking websites seem to insist on minimising journey times.

So, the booking system gives the option from Chesterfield to Kents Bank, departing 1347 arriving at 1642, changing at Sheffield and Manchester. She'd rather get the 1318 from Chesterfield direct to Manchester, then hang around there for the extra time connecting on to the same onward train.

Of course she can catch whichever train she likes because the ticket is open, but she'd prefer to have reserved seats. How can I get her a reservation on the trains that she wants?

Thanks.
 
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GadgetMan

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A ticket office should be able to reserve seats on the train(s) of your choice as long as the service is reservable. If you can't get to a ticket office then buying your ticket over the telephone should be able to get you the same result.
 

Squaddie

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I just tried booking that journey using First Great Western's website and it offered the 13:18 with one change as well as the 13:47 with two changes (both arriving at 16:42).

So, perhaps you should just try a different booking engine.
 

mp01

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I just tried booking that journey using First Great Western's website and it offered the 13:18 with one change as well as the 13:47 with two changes (both arriving at 16:42).

So, perhaps you should just try a different booking engine.

That's interesting - thanks Squaddie.
 

calc7

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You can also use the East Coast website (or another WebTIS-based one like Redspottedhanky), go to the "timetables only" tab, and use the "calling at" function to select a station the desired train stops at but the other one doesn't.
 

yorkie

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Yes, as calc7 says, the "Timetables only" option allows you to specify a 'calling at' station and that can help in cases where you want to connect onto a train that calls at a station that the other train does not call at.

Also East Coast (and probably other WebTIS sites too) have a 'Text only' option that allows you to select extended interchange times. However this option is very time consuming to use.

Another option is to use the Takethetrain.co.uk booking engine, which gives different options for interchange times, and you can then select the option that meets your needs.

However it may simply be easier to enquire at a station with competent ticket office staff, who should be able to specify additional changing time on the systems they use. Telesales should also be able to do this.
 
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