Reading to Alton

1955LR

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11 Dec 2019
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Hereford
I occasionally travel down to Alton to visit the Watercress Line from Hereford, via Reading (RDG) to catch the 09.20 down to Alton (AON). The route planners show a change of trains at North Camp and a walk to Ash Vale to catch the service to Alton . If I change the route to via Ash , the arrival time at Alton is the same, and the ticket cost is the same , but it eliminates the about 1/3 mile walk . The return produces the same result . Why do the planners routing involve this walk , which some people may not be able to handle?
 
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JonathanH

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Why do the planners routing involve this walk , which some people may not be able to handle?
At a guess, because there are more trains that stop at North Camp than stop at Ash and because only one change, instead of two, is required.

However, that doesn't seem true because even for North Camp - Ash Vale, it is only showing xx20 departures and there is no difference in travelling time relative to going via Ash.

Presumably the search algorithm doesn't favour a train connection over a walk.
 
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SickyNicky

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Not all of them do that. We're offering a change at Ash and Aldershot by default in order to avoid the walk.
 

Gloster

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Isn’t there a bit of illogical logic here. Choosing to walk from North Camp to Ash Vale is (in a way) two changes: from train fo foot at North Camp and from foot to train at Ash Vale.
 

MikeWh

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Isn’t there a bit of illogical logic here. Choosing to walk from North Camp to Ash Vale is (in a way) two changes: from train fo foot at North Camp and from foot to train at Ash Vale.
Yes it is. NRE even describes changing between Waterloo East and Mainline as two changes even though you don't leave railway property.
 

FenMan

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13 Oct 2011
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Please be careful when NRE reports a connection at Ash for journeys involving a Reading-Aldershot leg.

The minimum interchange time at Ash is 5 minutes, but the only means of switching platforms is via the level crossing at the south end of the station. This can make changes "ambitious" if the incoming service is a couple of minutes late, because the crossing barriers are lowered 2m 15s minutes before the arrival of northbound services to Aldershot or Reading

So what looks like an easy change can result in a 30 minute (towards Aldershot) or 60 minute (towards Reading) stay at a station with few facilities that has a less than stellar reputation for personal safety after dark.

Personally, I won't risk a connection at Ash of less than 9 minutes and if travelling from the Reading direction will hop off at North Camp instead if the service is running even slightly behind time.

And a top tip: Always sit in the front carriage when travelling towards Ash so you'll be ready to nip across the crossing as soon as the barriers are raised.
 

DerekC

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26 Oct 2015
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If only you could have travelled via the Basingstoke and Alton Light! Mind you, it would probably have taken a lot longer because I think they only ran mixed trains
 

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