Penrith to Irlam confusion

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neilmc

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Travelling down tomorrow, returning Tuesday. Debated whether to go via Manchester or via Warrington, however this is academic since journeys to or via Manchester do not offer "off-peak" returns.

Actually I believe the via Warrington fare comprises two Virgin "Saver half's - will this also be available for purchase at Penrith station on day of travel? Virgin's web site says this is a "web only" ticket!

I find this confusion disgusting, I could have easily booked this ticket online, decided to go via Manchester which is an eminently reasonable alternative and been treated as a criminal as a result.

Or am I missing something?
 
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neilmc

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Thanks, the fault must be with the booking engines then, the ones I tried only offered Anytime returns via Manchester.
 

hairyhandedfool

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Journey planners, like any computer software, are only as good as the people who make them.
 

IanD

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If you're using Virgin's website the default is to offer 2 singles. There's some small text at the bottom of the screen to check for other possibly cheaper fares from "other operators" - the definition of which usually includes Virgin's own cheaper return fares if there are any.
 

Paul Kelly

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Thanks, the fault must be with the booking engines then, the ones I tried only offered Anytime returns via Manchester.
If you'd explained this in the original post it would have been helpful! I think it is now clearer what your problem is - the very confusing Virgin Trains West Coast website. I don't think any other booking engine is as confusing. As IanD said, it doesn't show return fares by default, and the only walkup single fare from Penrith to Irlam is an Anytime Single, hence your confusion.

In general booking engines will only show the Saver Half/Off-Peak Single for itineraries where at least part of the journey is on Virgin (even though the fare itself doesn't have an operator restriction) - so it isn't being shown here for itineraries via Manchester on Transpennine Express and Northern.

See attached screenshots 1 and 2 - the second one I obtained by clicking on the text under the list of fares that says If you are making a return journey, there may be a cheaper fare available, particularly if you are travelling with a train operator other than Virgin Trains. Please click here to check if these are available for your journey. (emphasis added by me), and then on the Check for trains button against the £46.30 Off-Peak return fare, and it shows that it is available on all itineraries including those via Manchester. Incredibly un-user-friendly IMHO.
 

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