Potential for getting wrong train on Advance Ticket

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blakey1152

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I was wondering if there is the possibility of accidentally getting on the wrong train with an advance ticket in the following scenario.

Is there any trains timed to depart at the same time as another train in which advance tickets are sold which happen to stop at the same destination station.

For example (not a real one) If you were travellling from Euston to Birmingham and there were two trains timed to leave at 1100 from Euston - one to Glasgow and the other just to Birmingham New Street but both stopping at Birmingham New Street.

If there are any real examples of this happening - how would a passenger know which train to catch?

Blakey
 
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MikeWh

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Are there actual real examples of this?

There were between Ashford International and St Pancras International before the longer route via the coast was blocked near Dover. Oh, and the advances were often on the slower train.
 

AlterEgo

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I'm not sure if there are "real examples" of this, but at Birmingham New Street, there are services to Edinburgh operated by both Virgin and XC. It only takes one to be delayed for both trains to be departing at the same time.

One one occasion, the VT service was at the B end of one platform and the XC one at the A end of the same platform! As they were both single Voyagers there were a number of passengers who ended up on the XC one by accident. I believe the TM that time didn't charge anyone up.
 

Quakkerillo

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There's the xx:35 London Kings Cross - Peterborough with either GN or VTEC. But surely you'd know in this case what you've booked for, no?
 

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I was wondering if there is the possibility of accidentally getting on the wrong train with an advance ticket in the following scenario.

Is there any trains timed to depart at the same time as another train in which advance tickets are sold which happen to stop at the same destination station.

For example (not a real one) If you were travellling from Euston to Birmingham and there were two trains timed to leave at 1100 from Euston - one to Glasgow and the other just to Birmingham New Street but both stopping at Birmingham New Street.

If there are any real examples of this happening - how would a passenger know which train to catch?

Blakey

Using your situation then your advance ticket would state which TOC you were on and thus the departure boards would also show which TOC was the one for you and in the case of VTWC would say(or should) that LM tickets were not valid on that service.
 

LexyBoy

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Does it count if there's a change? For example I could book an Advance ticket to Newcastle via London on the 1645 departure from Reading - there's a 1645 to London and another direct to Newcastle. I would think this is not uncommon.

Not quite the same, but for Didcot-Southampton (changing at Reading), NRE gives me an Advance fare for the 1800 departure - there are two 1800 trains to Reading! Similarly, I can buy an Advance Didcot-York (via London) on the 1800 departure - in this case I wouldn't make my train to York if I got the "wrong" 1800 (though in fairness the stopper is advertised as being to Ealing Broadway, although it has London Paddington as the destination on the train).
 

crehld

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Using your situation then your advance ticket would state which TOC you were on and thus the departure boards would also show which TOC was the one for you and in the case of VTWC would say(or should) that LM tickets were not valid on that service.

Not all ticket issuing facilities print the TOC information, especially in the case of the new style ticket design, which often simply states "Valid only on the following services and suitable connecting services" - no mention of TOCs at all. So it's entirely possible to be issued with an advance ticket and the only thing you have to go on is the departure time.

On the traditional design the average punter often finds it difficult to immediately decipher the cryptic message squeezed into the limited character route field. E.g. it's not immediately clear what "ROUTE: +VTWC &CONNCTNS" means, and if you're unfamiliar with ticketing and rail travel I think you'd struggle to understand how that is supposed to mean "Virgin Trains only".

So there is plenty of scope for confusion.
 

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Not all ticket issuing facilities print the TOC information, especially in the case of the new style ticket design, which often simply states "Valid only on the following services and suitable connecting services" - no mention of TOCs at all. So it's entirely possible to be issued with an advance ticket and the only thing you have to go on is the departure time.

On the traditional design the average punter often finds it difficult to immediately decipher the cryptic message squeezed into the limited character route field. E.g. it's not immediately clear what "ROUTE: +VTWC &CONNCTNS" means, and if you're unfamiliar with ticketing and rail travel I think you'd struggle to understand how that is supposed to mean "Virgin Trains only".

So there is plenty of scope for confusion.

Well lets be brutally honest here with their advance tickets they will have already been told who they are travelling with so not understanding an abbreviation isnt a problem and thus understanding what train in the example used is to be caught is quite simple.
 

Ianno87

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I'm not sure if there are "real examples" of this, but at Birmingham New Street, there are services to Edinburgh operated by both Virgin and XC. It only takes one to be delayed for both trains to be departing at the same time.

One one occasion, the VT service was at the B end of one platform and the XC one at the A end of the same platform! As they were both single Voyagers there were a number of passengers who ended up on the XC one by accident. I believe the TM that time didn't charge anyone up.

I seem to recall that, before the December 2008 timetable change, trains departed on both routes at xx03 in applicable hours, now the standard WCML departure time is xx15.
 

PeterC

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But surely you'd know in this case what you've booked for, no?
The sort of person who posts here would but we aren't representitive of the general public.
 

island

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On the traditional design the average punter often finds it difficult to immediately decipher the cryptic message squeezed into the limited character route field. E.g. it's not immediately clear what "ROUTE: +VTWC &CONNCTNS" means, and if you're unfamiliar with ticketing and rail travel I think you'd struggle to understand how that is supposed to mean "Virgin Trains only".

So there is plenty of scope for confusion.

Though tickets with that abbreviation are quickly vanishing.
 

crehld

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Though tickets with that abbreviation are quickly vanishing.

Because they're moving to the new design (which was supposed to directly tackle the understandability (yes I know it's not a word!!) of tickets), or because the abbreviation us changing, or because the industry is reducing through ticketing options?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Well lets be brutally honest here with their advance tickets they will have already been told who they are travelling with so not understanding an abbreviation isnt a problem and thus understanding what train in the example used is to be caught is quite simple.

I don't think it's that simple. The attitude that every passenger will all of the time know exactly what they are buying and automatically be fully aware of the intricacies of validity of every ticket they hold shows how out of touch of reality some in the industry can be. Indeed, the industry developed the new ticket design precisely to tackle this issue si that key information (such as mandatory reservations, TOC restrictions and the like) is presented with greater clarity (that some TOCs and TVM manufacturers are incapable / unwilling of implementing it properly is another discussion).

Most average people (ie not me or you) will go on a website, ask for a ticket from A to B on a certain date at a certain time and then punch in the credit card numbers. Most average people don't care who runs the train or what pretty colour it is. They just want to make their journey.
 

Master29

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The sort of person who posts here would but we aren't representitive of the general public.

Not in all cases.

As to whether you could travel on a different train, doesn`t it say which TOC the service will be operated by on the ticket?
 
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DaveNewcastle

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. . . . the average punter often finds it difficult to immediately decipher the cryptic message squeezed into the limited character route field . . . .

So there is plenty of scope for confusion.
. . . with their advance tickets they will have already been told who they are travelling with so not understanding an abbreviation isnt a problem and thus understanding what train in the example used is to be caught is quite simple.
Having heard East Coast guards' stories of the passengers they enounter who are 'confused' or, more often, blissfully unaware - generally tourists or other non-UK residents - who haven't any idea what anything printed on the orange thing might represent, I get the impression that there is often no connection at all between a passenger's wider intentions and anything that might have been printed on the orange things. Moreso on the longer journeys at this time of year.

[and for information, in all cases of such a disconnection being encountered by a guard that I have witnessed over the years, I have seen nothing but support and assistance being offered to the passenger. I say this in response to the numerous and repetitive anti-rail staff comments that I read on here.]
 

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There are two 1633 departures from Edinburgh to Perth. One 'express' ScotRail service, and one slower Virgin Trains East Coast service.
 

PeterC

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doesn`t it say which TOC the service will be operated by on the ticket?
As far as many customers are concerned a train is just a train.
 

Master29

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As far as many customers are concerned a train is just a train.

True, but it is up to them to be aware of how they use the train. A train being just a train isn`t an excuse for getting tickets wrong. Whether they know it or not they are entering into a contract. People should have basic consumer knowledge when using anything, especially when using a sometimes confusing ticketing system.
 

Bletchleyite

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There are two 1633 departures from Edinburgh to Perth. One 'express' ScotRail service, and one slower Virgin Trains East Coast service.

Which adds to the whole thing counter-intuitiveness - most people would expect the "international" IC service to be the fast one.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I must admit I don't understand why we don't use "flight numbers" more publically on tickets, displays etc. It would reduce the possibility of such confusion. And those numbers exist already in the form of the Retail Service ID for every single train, as shown on the NRE planner.
 

47271

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Around ten years ago I travelled from York to Edinburgh on (then) Virgin Cross Country when I held a (then) GNER advance. The Virgin train was running late and arrived at exactly the time the GNER service was due, I wasn't paying attention and got on.

I realised my mistake and owned up to the guard when he checked my ticket. He shrugged, said 'I've seen worse' and moved on!
 

crehld

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I must admit I don't understand why we don't use "flight numbers" more publically on tickets, displays etc. It would reduce the possibility of such confusion. And those numbers exist already in the form of the Retail Service ID for every single train, as shown on the NRE planner.

Indeed. Works perfectly well in France.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
True, but it is up to them to be aware of how they use the train. A train being just a train isn`t an excuse for getting tickets wrong. Whether they know it or not they are entering into a contract. People should have basic consumer knowledge when using anything, especially when using a sometimes confusing ticketing system.

But there's a balance to be struck here. I'm all for people using tickets as per the stated terms and conditions. But if the system is so confusing it is impenetrable to understanding there's something wrong with it. It's in the railway industry's interest to solve such confusion, especially as it will reduce cases of passengers inadvertently travelling without a valid ticket.

Making it clear is not that difficult to achieve. But a ticket, which is evidence of the contact you refer to, which simply says get the 10:00 from London Kings Cross to Peterborough (or wherever), and nothing else, when there are two such simultaneous departures will lead to confusion. And, reasonably, I fail to see how it is the passenger's fault if they duly board the 10:00 from Kings Cross to Peterborough as directly instructed by their ticket (i.e. the contract) but it turns out to be the 'wrong' 10:00 from Kings Cross to Peterborough.
 

AlterEgo

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I must admit I don't understand why we don't use "flight numbers" more publically on tickets, displays etc. It would reduce the possibility of such confusion. And those numbers exist already in the form of the Retail Service ID for every single train, as shown on the NRE planner.

Virgin half-heartedly tried this when they took over the ICWC franchise. I'm not sure of the reasons why, but it didn't succeed. Perhaps as you say, it's time to look at it again.
 

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Having heard East Coast guards' stories of the passengers they enounter who are 'confused' or, more often, blissfully unaware - generally tourists or other non-UK residents - who haven't any idea what anything printed on the orange thing might represent, I get the impression that there is often no connection at all between a passenger's wider intentions and anything that might have been printed on the orange things. Moreso on the longer journeys at this time of year.

[and for information, in all cases of such a disconnection being encountered by a guard that I have witnessed over the years, I have seen nothing but support and assistance being offered to the passenger. I say this in response to the numerous and repetitive anti-rail staff comments that I read on here.]


Oh I agree theres plenty of it that happens and even more so agree with your final statement that guards are mroe than happy to assist and support passengers who find themselves in such a situation. Ive even done it myself in the past possibly through too much beer and not enough sleep :)
 

crehld

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Having heard East Coast guards' stories of the passengers they enounter who are 'confused' or, more often, blissfully unaware - generally tourists or other non-UK residents - who haven't any idea what anything printed on the orange thing might represent, I get the impression that there is often no connection at all between a passenger's wider intentions and anything that might have been printed on the orange things. Moreso on the longer journeys at this time of year.

It happens. We shouldn't assume that every passenger on the network is aware of how our system of ticketing, fares and highly differentiated ticket validities operated. And I'm sure you'll agree is not helped by occasional poor service or wrong advice where the passenger's intentions, no matter how clearly articulated, are inadvertently misinterpreted by staff selling tickets, or websites which can be misleading to customers who may not be fully acquainted with sometimes poorly designed user interfaces and and often baffling array of options.

and for information, in all cases of such a disconnection being encountered by a guard that I have witnessed over the years, I have seen nothing but support and assistance being offered to the passenger.

This is good news, but do not fall for the problem of induction. Just because your personal experience is one of blissful trouble-free travel does not mean your experience is reflective of wider reality. Indeed I have witnessed many cases of confusion by passengers, most of which have been dealt with by excellent support and assistance. Some, unfortunately, have not been. If the industry and the rest of us what to tackle unnecessary confusion and poor service there has to be a recognition that it exists, no matter how isolated such cases may be.

I say this in response to the numerous and repetitive anti-rail staff comments that I read on here.]

You seem to be suggesting there is some sort of inherent anti-rail bias on this forum? As I'm sure you're all too aware, it's a wholly incorrect and unsubstantiated claim which lacks any real basis in fact and empirical evidence. Indeed it seems rather paradoxical for a forum explicitly dedicated to discussing rail matters to hold an anti-rail bias. While there are a small minority who seem to adopt an aggressive so-called 'anti-rail' stance, and indeed a small minority who might be argued to adopt an 'anti-passenger/customer' stance (and perhaps an even smaller minority who are simply just rude), the overall picture seems to be one of balance and reasoned discussion, especially given such extreme outbursts on either end of the spectrum are readily corrected by the overwhelming majority of posters on this forum.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Virgin half-heartedly tried this when they took over the ICWC franchise. I'm not sure of the reasons why, but it didn't succeed. Perhaps as you say, it's time to look at it again.

I don't see why it cannot work. It's a simple solution which would cost little to nothing to implement and would eliminate a problem which it appears some are very concerned about.
 
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You seem to be suggesting there is some sort of inherent anti-rail bias on this forum? As I'm sure you're all too aware, it's a wholly incorrect and unsubstantiated claim which lacks any real basis in fact and empirical evidence. Indeed it seems rather paradoxical for a forum explicitly dedicated to discussing rail matters to hold an anti-rail bias. While there are a small minority who seem to adopt an aggressive so-called 'anti-rail' stance, and indeed a small minority who might be argued to adopt an 'anti-passenger/customer' stance (and perhaps an even smaller minority who are simply just rude), the overall picture seems to be one of balance and reasoned discussion, especially given such extreme outbursts on either end of the spectrum are readily corrected by the overwhelming majority of posters on this forum.

thats strange as I have never noticed any posts of such nature from people on here, there is clarity and not wandering off into the 'what if' scenarios that pervade this part fo the forum but nothing that could be classed as 'anti passenger/customer service stance' that you claim.

Oh and dont percieve bluntness for rudeness - the two are vastly different.
 

CaptainHaddock

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I was wondering if there is the possibility of accidentally getting on the wrong train with an advance ticket in the following scenario.

Is there any trains timed to depart at the same time as another train in which advance tickets are sold which happen to stop at the same destination station.

For example (not a real one) If you were travellling from Euston to Birmingham and there were two trains timed to leave at 1100 from Euston - one to Glasgow and the other just to Birmingham New Street but both stopping at Birmingham New Street.

If there are any real examples of this happening - how would a passenger know which train to catch?

Blakey

There are two 1640 departures from Leeds to Sheffield on a weekday; one is a Northern service terminating at Sheffield, the other is a XC service to Reading.

Judging by the announcements on both services it seems some people do get confused and board the wrong train with an advance ticket.

To differentiate between the two, the info screens show the Northern service as going to Meadowhall, which only creates more confusion as some people going to Sheffield think they have to change at Meadowhall!

Seeing as the XC train waits in Leeds station for 10 minutes, you'd think they could time it to leave a minute or two earlier so the time printed on advance tickets would make it clear which train the customer is booked on.
 
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