Railcard time restrictions on London Internation (CIV) tickets

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by itfcfan, 9 Jun 2019.

  1. itfcfan

    itfcfan Member

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    My parents are travelling on Eurostar next week. They hold Senior Railcards and I'm intending to purchase tickets to London International CIV for them - EURO STD RETURN tickets such as those shown below:
    http://www.brfares.com/#faredetail?orig=HLN&dest=LNE&rlc=SRN&rte=1000&tkt=EOR

    Their Eurostar is due to depart at 11:00 so to avoid cutting things tight for the "check-in" time they'll need to depart before 09:30 - inside what's normally considered to the morning peak from their station - Harlington (Beds).

    Is their railcard valid to use on this ticket for travel at this time? I see the following when I search online:
    However, the only website I know of that allows tickets to London International CIV to be purchased online (raileasy.co.uk) allows an itinerary to be priced for travel at 08:00 outwards with a Senior Railcard discount.

    I want to avoid any hassle for my parents so I'd prefer they have a ticket that won't have a strong possibility of staff suggesting their ticket is invalid.
     
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  3. clagmonster

    clagmonster Established Member

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    The journey is Harlington to mainland Europe, using split tickets. As such, the journey is not wholly within the NSE area, so surely valid ticket, especially as the ticket cannot be used on its own. I cannot comment on whether the revenue staff will agree with my interpretation.
     
  4. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    It's very difficult to know what the particular staff on the day will say, if anything. It's quite possible they will not have a problem with it and that there will be no holdups anywhere.

    But probably the only option that is guaranteed not to cause any issues is two undiscounted Anytime Day Singles, but clearly that is not a sensible choice (quite apart from the higher fare, it doesn't provide protection against missing the Eurostar in the event of delays on the way to St Pancras).

    However, what I can say is that, if you are offered an itinerary in conjunction with a particular ticket then it is of no relevance whatsoever what the intended validity of the ticket is. You are contractually entitled to travel in accordance with the given itinerary, as it is at the very heart of the contract, it showing the services for which one has paid.

    Unfortunately there's some rail staff out there who don't seem to recognise this rather logical rule of law, let alone take a common sense approach. This comes down to train companies not really caring enough about this kind of issue to train and select staff in an appropriate manner.

    All I can advise is that, it would be a good idea to print out the itinerary and booking confirmation and to show this if the ticket is rejected. But in the event of any difficulties with staff at barriers or on trains, the best option to mitigate further problems is to pay whatever it is they claim needs to be paid (e.g. the Anytime Day Single), and then to contact the train company afterwards to obtain reimbursement and an apology. (That is, unless your parents are in no rush and are happy to wait until the time it is claimed their tickets become valid, claiming delay compensation from GTR thereafter).
     
  5. bkhtele

    bkhtele Member

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    To avoid dispute suggest you buy the tickets without the rail card discount. They are still good value. Alternatively contact eurostar to see if they have any of their special advance tickets available from your station to London civ.
     
  6. island

    island Established Member

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    Sadly Eurostar no longer sells these tickets other than at the same time as the Eurostar journey is purchased.
     
  7. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    Although it might be possible to contact Customer Services and ask to repurchase the ticket. I don't know how much more flexible Eurostar CS are compared to the normal UK TOC standards!
     
  8. Dren Ahmeti

    Dren Ahmeti Member

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    From my experience using a Euro High Saver CIV into London from Reading, I encountered no issues with using my ticket during the peak, and it even operated the barriers everywhere!
     
  9. Gerald Fiennes

    Gerald Fiennes Member

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    I think you probably ought to get CIV fares but without the Railcard discount. Although it might be argued that the journey you are making is not 'wholly within the Railcard area' and therefore comes without time restrictions, Booking Engines offer a railcard discount on CIV fares whilst providing 'check locally' warnings on time restrictions and it should also be noted that the Senior Railcard is not valid on Eurostar so the journey being made (including the effect of restrictions that come with the railcard) can be argued to be wholly within the Railcard area and therefore cannot start until 0930.
    That said, in reality, I don't suppose the ticket staff see many fares of this type and won't argue very much if you do have a CIV with Railcard discount. More generally, if the rail industry is unable to provide unambiguous advice in advance as to the validity of any particular ticket (which once again seems to be the case here) one would I think have some difficulty convincing a court (if it came to it) that any particular restriction was enforceable....
     
  10. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    I agree that this is the only way that 100% hassle-free travel can be guaranteed. It's an indictment on the state of training that this is the case.

    Anyone seriously putting this argument forward is making themselves look like a fool (not that I'm saying you are putting it forward!). The entire point of getting tickets to London International CIV is to ensure that, though you have multiple tickets (often not because you wanted to, but because there was no alternative!), it is treated as one journey with interlinked contracts of travel according to CIV. If it were treated as two separate journeys then not only would there be no CIV protection to speak of, but the ticket to London International CIV would not be valid at all, as it is a requirement to be making onwards travel on Eurostar.

    They can provide as many warnings as they like, but legally speaking they can't both offer an itinerary in conjunction with a particular fare, and yet attempt to exclude liability for the non-validity of the itinerary with the fare. It's simply incompatible. The itinerary is a central part of the contract, so any such warning is only really effective if only the ticket were sold, without any accompanying itinerary.

    It's perfectly legitimate to split tickets at the boundary of the Network Area (which, for this kind of journey, has to be at your chosen Eurostar origin), with and without various Railcard discounts, without affecting whether or not you're making one journey.

    There are, really, three categories of response possible. There will be those who know it's valid and therefore pass it, those who don't know whether it's valid and therefore correctly give the benefit of the doubt, and then those with the unacceptable attitude that, because they don't know whether it's valid, it's not valid. We can simply hope that passengers encounter the first and second kind of staff as often as possible, and never the third.

    It's quite unambiguous from a legal standpoint - these tickets are correctly offered with a Railcard discount at all times because they are only valid as part of a journey involving (overseas) Eurostar travel. If anyone intends to use them solely for travel within the UK (and hence possibly the Network Area) they are in breach of the ticket terms. It is for that simple reason that the intent of any restrictions simply even come into it.
     

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