Planning my First Class ALR, ideally in September 2021

Status
Not open for further replies.

Techniquest

Veteran Member
Joined
19 Jun 2005
Messages
18,692
Location
Nowhere Heath
Hi all,

It's been on the cards for ages, and this morning I've been getting more and more excited about it. So much so I've put a video on trains at York on pause to start some actual planning!

Yes I really am looking to do a First Class All Line Rover, and as much as a 14 day ticket sounds like great fun I'm only looking to buy a 7 day ticket. That will be enough to put onto the credit card as it is, never mind the hotel costs...I would try to do one sooner than September 2021, but it's getting close to peak summer season and that means all the parents at work will be wanting time off work. I'm also waiting because I want to do the trip after my second vaccine, so by September (I should be getting my second one some time in August, all being well, first one is next weekend) I should be ready mentally to put up with crowds again. Let's not go there though...

Anyway, during the epic planning session's first stage this morning it occurred to me that LNER do compulsory reservations. No problem by me, this trip is going to feature a lot of touristy stuff as well as trains, so on certain sections I'll know which trains I want to travel on by the day of travel. Of course, I will also have back-up plans too, just in case of seat allocations running out. Which may be unlikely but always a possibility.

This however brings up my most important question so far. While getting reservations when booking my ticket is not going to be hard to do, as I know pretty much where I'm looking to travel on Day 1, a hypothetical situation is that I'm stood on the platform at York and I see a required 800/801/802 (I'm not well versed yet with what LNER use, I know they use 801s but the rest of it I'm still memorising) on a Kings Cross stopper heading out in about 20 minutes. I fancy doing that and changing plans, going somewhere else at that time and picking up my original plan later on.

So in that situation, assuming of course compulsory reservations are still a thing (no I'm not wanting to discuss the pros and cons of that here, it's been done to death already), how would I go and do that? Is it doable in the LNER app, or would I have to dash over to the ticket office and make a reservation the old fashioned way?

Thanks in advance for all assistance :)
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Iskra

Established Member
Joined
11 Jun 2014
Messages
4,636
Location
Chapeltown, Sheffield
This sounds cool Tech, never had you down as a first class ALR kinda person for some reason. It's something I've always wanted to do too, but I'm 50/50 whether it's value for money or not, especially with reduced timetables, food offering and lounge car limitations.

Unfortunately, I can't help you with the LNER stuff. I find it a very frustrating situation; stood on the platform at York watching empty (but fully booked) Azuma's head off to Doncaster, but knowing I'm stuck on the Northern's stoppers back to Sheffield is very annoying. However, perhaps the best thing to do is have a polite word with the guard if there is clearly space on the train?
 

rg177

Established Member
Joined
22 Dec 2013
Messages
2,877
Location
Sheffield
Coach C exists for the purpose of passengers who don't have a reservation (generally so they can jump on and make one from the next station), though if you're only going one stop there isn't much of a need. I'm sure there must be a First Class equivalent, even if it's just a few seats.

You can reserve within the app and just enter "0" as the booking confirmation. I'm guilty of once even getting on the train, seeing I'm sat near a cluster of people, and reserving another seat at the empty end of the carriage.

Avanti and GWR are theoretically compulsory reservation but I've only ever seen it enforced on Avanti at Glasgow Central. GWR don't enforce it unless I assume trains are becoming too full.
 

Techniquest

Veteran Member
Joined
19 Jun 2005
Messages
18,692
Location
Nowhere Heath
This sounds cool Tech, never had you down as a first class ALR kinda person for some reason. It's something I've always wanted to do too, but I'm 50/50 whether it's value for money or not, especially with reduced timetables, food offering and lounge car limitations.

Unfortunately, I can't help you with the LNER stuff. I find it a very frustrating situation; stood on the platform at York watching empty (but fully booked) Azuma's head off to Doncaster, but knowing I'm stuck on the Northern's stoppers back to Sheffield is very annoying. However, perhaps the best thing to do is have a polite word with the guard if there is clearly space on the train?

I have to confess I'm becoming a bit of a snob these days, so First Class is ideal :lol: I have been eyeing up a First Class ALR for years, when I did my first one in 2011 (never expecting to do a full price 14 day Standard Class one in 2012!) I wanted to go First Class even back then.

10 years on, almost, and I'm not sure exactly what has spurred this decision on but I want to do another ALR. No faffing around on little bits of track this time, or tootling along on rural branch lines just to colour in the atlas, or going most of the way around the county just to score a passenger diversion over a freight-only line. That's all part of my now-distant past. 10 years on and I want more comfort, more space, more luxury on this tour. This time it's about having fun, seeing the sights more and taking it easy as well as marking off trains for haulage. I'm on the fence with the sleepers, I don't know if I fancy forking out a fortune to ride the Cally Insomniac. The GWR sleeper, that is an option on my Land's End visit, but I need to look into that.

As for food offerings, I honestly don't mind that. I'm almost 100% vegan these days, and a bit particular at that, so on-board catering is not a huge concern. In general, as long as there is tea and coffee available, with some biscuits occasionally, that's fine by me. I might expect a little more in a First Class lounge, again as long as I can get a black coffee (or two, depending on the size of the cup) and maybe some toast or similar (not fussed about butter/spreads) then the rest of my food intake I am happy to get myself.

Coach C exists for the purpose of passengers who don't have a reservation (generally so they can jump on and make one from the next station), though if you're only going one stop there isn't much of a need. I'm sure there must be a First Class equivalent, even if it's just a few seats.

You can reserve within the app and just enter "0" as the booking confirmation. I'm guilty of once even getting on the train, seeing I'm sat near a cluster of people, and reserving another seat at the empty end of the carriage.

Avanti and GWR are theoretically compulsory reservation but I've only ever seen it enforced on Avanti at Glasgow Central. GWR don't enforce it unless I assume trains are becoming too full.

I haven't seen it enforced on GWR either, and I've done a fair few journeys with them over the last few months.

Is it relatively easy to do a reservation in the LNER app? I might download it today and have a look anyway. One journey I'd like to do but sadly is unlikely unless the rules change is the 0540 Edinburgh to London, just to go non-stop through York. That's just a nice-to-do though, the priority is to use the trains to get to places of interest. One of the days, for example, I'd like to go and explore more of the Lake District, and I wouldn't mind spending some time in Norfolk for another example. Indeed, North Wales has been calling for ages, the Ffestiniog Railway still has not been done. It was to be done in 2005, but a mis-read of the timetables at the time meant I thought I couldn't fit it in and get back to Swansea the same day.

Nearly 16 years later, and I still recall kicking myself for the rookie error! Getting to/from North Wales in comfort is a nice idea, especially as by then in theory the MK4s should be in use on TfW...
 

rg177

Established Member
Joined
22 Dec 2013
Messages
2,877
Location
Sheffield
I did the sleeper on Wednesday night down to Truro in a berth, having rang up GWR telesales to secure the £90 reservation.

It was a pleasant enough experience with the lounge at Paddington being open, with everyone offered drinks and snacks before boarding.

Annoyingly though at the minute, everything is being set up as a double room so I had to stow away the top bunk. That said, it's a smart room even if the bed is quite narrow.

Breakfast was a coffee and bacon roll delivered around 40 minutes from Truro. Decent but a little bit pokey. The host was great though.
 

LowLevel

Established Member
Joined
26 Oct 2013
Messages
5,533
LNER reservations close 5 minutes before departure of the train from the booking station so as long as you're quick you can book using the website or app at your whim. Be wary that they have a limit per account per day though. I think it's 5 or 7 or something like that.

If I sell passengers a walk up ticket using LNER on board my local services as a courtesy I offer to book them a reservation using the account I have - it is easy to do.
 

mrcheek

Established Member
Joined
11 Sep 2007
Messages
1,300
The First Class option on an ALR is highly recommended. I speak as someone who has done 13 of them over the years.

The extra cost isnt much. You wont get it back in food, but you will appreciate the extra legroom and space when it gets to the end of a long day.....

The LNER reservation system is easy to use. If youre not sure what time you will be in a certain place, theres nothing to stop you making multiple reservations (although it would be polite to cancel them once you know). You dont even need a valid ticket to make a reservation online, I tested the system last year with an out of date ALR.
 

cactustwirly

Established Member
Joined
10 Apr 2013
Messages
6,336
Location
UK
Coach C exists for the purpose of passengers who don't have a reservation (generally so they can jump on and make one from the next station), though if you're only going one stop there isn't much of a need. I'm sure there must be a First Class equivalent, even if it's just a few seats.

You can reserve within the app and just enter "0" as the booking confirmation. I'm guilty of once even getting on the train, seeing I'm sat near a cluster of people, and reserving another seat at the empty end of the carriage.

Avanti and GWR are theoretically compulsory reservation but I've only ever seen it enforced on Avanti at Glasgow Central. GWR don't enforce it unless I assume trains are becoming too full.

GWR isn't compulsory reservations, it's only in the system to dissuade people from booking busy trains, they won't actually prevent you from boarding a busy train
 

Techniquest

Veteran Member
Joined
19 Jun 2005
Messages
18,692
Location
Nowhere Heath
Thanks everyone, very much appreciate that information! :D

One less thing to be concerned about, I might seek expert advice on the reservations bit nearer the time if I'm unsure. The fact it's easy to do is good news though :)

The GWR sleeper, not too bad that for £90, I have a vague plan that would involve it but that depends on what moves I make out of Scotland!
 

Emaharg

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2019
Messages
35
I have just completed a 14 day First Class all line. LNER is easy to book, with very little enforcement, if any. I did 3000 miles on LNER during the fortnight. I wasn't at any stage challenged for a reservation, which I did have just in case. Use a laptop if near to time, as mobile app only allows you to book in half hour windows. Laptop allows a 15 minute window. Food offer is slowly getting better on the long distance TOCs Avanti and LNER.
 

Techniquest

Veteran Member
Joined
19 Jun 2005
Messages
18,692
Location
Nowhere Heath
Nice! Good to hear it's not strictly enforced, although obviously I will make sure I have a reservation just in case.

Yeah the video at York I was watching earlier had a lot of announcements in the background suggesting on-board catering was available on LNER, so that's promising. It is coming back slowly on GWR, although I dislike the idea of paying for the Lavazza coffee and getting Message Azera in an instant coffee sachet, which is what I had the other week. Hopefully the good coffee will soon be back!

Hoping to get the week off organised before the boss who normally sorts out holiday time requests leaves this week coming up, then I'll get planning more thoroughly. Choosing my routes for Day 1 going north to Inverness currently, the two choices being:

Hereford-Newport-London-Inverness (ideally doing the Highland Chieftain throughout)

or

Hereford-Manchester-York-Inverness (possibly with a change in Edinburgh), which would ideally put me on a TPX 802 over to York at least, where I'd hope to have a bit of time to soak up the atmosphere/stretch the legs/take some photos. Obviously if a 68 was easily available I'd do that, but I think that they're unlikely to be on less restricted duties too soon.

I'm also hoping at some point to sample at least one Hull Trains 802, although I seem to recall an ALR is not valid on Hull Trains. It isn't on Grand Central, I seem to remember, but that's no big loss as I'm not a fan of 180s
 

Emaharg

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2019
Messages
35
ALR is valid on Grand central and Hull, even before 10am in out of King's Cross
 

Techniquest

Veteran Member
Joined
19 Jun 2005
Messages
18,692
Location
Nowhere Heath
ALR is valid on Grand central and Hull, even before 10am in out of King's Cross

Ooh that is good news! Maybe I'm getting the GC thing mixed up with other rovers. West Yorkshire Day Rover and I believe the North East Rover didn't permit travel on GC once upon a time, but again that could be some memories getting mixed up.

I've even got the 2021 edition of the NREA spotters book ordered today, I haven't had such a book in the last few years so that will be nice to have again. I have been using a digital needs list, but I've been finding it better to use a pen and paper for various things lately. My spending logs have gone over to pen and paper, and my 2021 moves file has been lost to the mysteries of the universe following a farce with Google Keep. It is what it is though, and I have to confess I have a desire to possibly do my first proper trip report in absolutely ages for this one...
 

ash39

Established Member
Joined
8 Feb 2012
Messages
1,453
Looking forward to reading the report from this trip!

You could always nip from York to Malton and back, should get you a 68 each way with current diagrams. TPE allocations now show on Realtime Trains as of last week, which will help you out!
 

Techniquest

Veteran Member
Joined
19 Jun 2005
Messages
18,692
Location
Nowhere Heath
Looking forward to reading the report from this trip!

You could always nip from York to Malton and back, should get you a 68 each way with current diagrams. TPE allocations now show on Realtime Trains as of last week, which will help you out!

Well I did decide some months back to discontinue trip reports, however it must be said I'm tempted, partly from the recent re-read of my 2019 World Frenzy trip reports, to make an occasional one for the bigger trips. Quite, the World Frenzy trips may well see the trip reports come back regularly in 2022, all to play for!

This trip will be one I'll be tempted to make notes on for a trip report, but we'll see.

Yes I heard TPX have joined the fun and games with the allocations, which is extremely useful! I've had a look at some planning for Day 1, based solely on the timetable available for this coming Wednesday. Just to get some ideas together, as the timetables may well improve by September. Hoping so at least! I'm definitely going via Newport to get to London on the first moves, unless the 0643 from Hereford to London is an IET I need. Very much going to decide that on the day, and who knows I may say stuff it and go to Land's End to do that on Day 1 instead, heading towards London on Day 2?

All I know for sure is that it's going to be a beast of a trip!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top