Route High Wycombe ticket valid on Virgin blockade buster?

Status
Not open for further replies.

IrishDave

Member
Joined
30 Jun 2009
Messages
353
Location
Brighton
As I understand it (e.g. from OpenTrainTimes) the Virgin blockade busters on Sunday are running via High Wycombe. Does this mean that a Route "Via High Wycombe" super off-peak return from Coventry to London Terminals will be valid on such trains? There's no silly rule saying the train has to stop at High Wycombe, or anything?

More importantly, has anyone had any (recent) experience of doing so? For example, when they did the same over Easter (April 8th), have Virgin guards accepted them without any hassle?

Thanks in advance.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

RJ

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2005
Messages
7,689
Location
Rail replacement bus cab
As I understand it (e.g. from OpenTrainTimes) the Virgin blockade busters on Sunday are running via High Wycombe. Does this mean that a Route "Via High Wycombe" super off-peak return from Coventry to London Terminals will be valid on such trains? There's no silly rule saying the train has to stop at High Wycombe, or anything?

More importantly, has anyone had any (recent) experience of doing so? For example, when they did the same over Easter (April 8th), have Virgin guards accepted them without any hassle?

Thanks in advance.

Sounds dodgy unless you can find some official publicity which clearly alludes to the Chilterns as the diversionary route.

 

Lrd

Established Member
Joined
26 Jul 2010
Messages
3,018
Completely and utterly valid as the train does indeed go through High Wycome. NRE are even offering to sell it to me.

Also, I believe bb21 used one over Easter.
 

sonic2009

Established Member
Joined
19 Jan 2010
Messages
4,181
Location
Moulton nr Winsford
Virgins own ticketing system will even offer the fare to a booking office clerk at Coventry, and even if you specify via High Wycombe. But they refuse to sell it.
 

IrishDave

Member
Joined
30 Jun 2009
Messages
353
Location
Brighton
Sounds dodgy unless you can find some official publicity which clearly alludes to the Chilterns as the diversionary route.


First item on NRE engineering works for Virgin on Sunday says
A limited Virgin Trains service will run between Nuneaton and London Euston via Coventry and Banbury (the route usual used by Chiltern Railways services)
which would seem to be good enough for me. Even if they were to run via Princes Risborough and Aylesbury double reverse (which is the only other route that Chiltern serve) it would be valid by easement 30039:
ATOC Routeing Guide said:
Easement 30039: Journeys via High Wycombe may travel via Aylesbury
 

calc7

Established Member
Joined
8 Aug 2011
Messages
2,097
Any chance a last-minute diversion could send them down the Cherwell Valley? :p
 

swt_passenger

Veteran Member
Joined
7 Apr 2010
Messages
24,765
Virgins own ticketing system will even offer the fare to a booking office clerk at Coventry, and even if you specify via High Wycombe. But they refuse to sell it.

Surely they should sell it as a matter of course for use on the normal XC and Chiltern services, changing at Leamington or Banbury?

I seem to recall a similar debate prior to Christmas 2010 about using 'route Salisbury' tickets on diverted FGW HSTs into Waterloo - that turned out to be badly informed staff as well...
 

calc7

Established Member
Joined
8 Aug 2011
Messages
2,097
Is this an issue of revenue (as well as the obvious staff training)? Can Virgin force Chiltern to "square up" with them?
 

bb21

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
4 Feb 2010
Messages
23,912
Is this an issue of revenue (as well as the obvious staff training)? Can Virgin force Chiltern to "square up" with them?

Quoting what yorkie always says, revenue does not determine validity.

As lewisrday has pointed out, I did use such a ticket on Easter Sunday, and experienced no problem whatsoever with both guards on the outbound and return and passed a manual barrier at Euston with no fuss.

However in my experience, Virgin staff at ticket offices are pretty badly informed on this matter yet staff on train should be aware of the validity of this ticket.
 

IrishDave

Member
Joined
30 Jun 2009
Messages
353
Location
Brighton
Quoting what yorkie always says, revenue does not determine validity.

As lewisrday has pointed out, I did use such a ticket on Easter Sunday, and experienced no problem whatsoever with both guards on the outbound and return and passed a manual barrier at Euston with no fuss.

However in my experience, Virgin staff at ticket offices are pretty badly informed on this matter yet staff on train should be aware of the validity of this ticket.

Many thanks for that, just what I was looking for. :) I suspect if I'm coming from Coventry I should be able to buy the route High Wycombe ticket from the machine, but I'll check and if needs be buy the (super off-peak) ticket in advance online and pick it up.
 

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
52,712
Location
Yorkshire
If a train is booked to go via High Wycombe, then of course a Route: via High Wycombe ticket is valid! This has been checked and clarified with both Virgin Trains and ATOC.

I know a few people who had problems with staff at Euston a few months ago. There is/was a known issue at Euston regarding ticket acceptance generally that was identified by members of this forum a while back, and I am very pleased to see that Virgin have done - and are continuing to do - a lot of work to address those issues. :) Someone wrote to Virgin about this issue and got an apology and assurances that steps would be taken to train staff. Given that no issues have been reported recently, it looks like the message has got through.

There will always be a small minority of staff who do not read their notices and incorrectly charge customers. For example, there is one notoriously well-known guard on East Coast (not based in Yorkshire, Scotland or London) who appears to have no desire to read ECs PTUs, nor the Routeing Guide, NRCoC or The Manual. He issued a UFN to a member of this forum in August 2010, the details of which I will not go into, and this was quashed. He continues to cause trouble. The same is true at most TOCs with one or two rogue individuals causing bother. If a guard acts incorrectly, you will be able to get an apology and the fare refunded (or UFN cancelled, as appropriate) and there are members of this forum (including myself) who are happy to assist with proof reading any letters. Customer Services are usually happy to receive such reports, as the rogue individuals are often known about but they're powerless to do anything about them unless customers complain. Any letter of complaint should be concise, polite, but assertive.

I wouldn't have any concerns using these perfectly valid tickets; though I would book online and obtain a reservation if possible (this is evidence of a contract). If a guard does not accept the ticket, then gather evidence for your letter of complaint. If the ticket was not valid then the correct action would be a change of route excess to the appropriate fare charged at HALF the difference between the Rte High Wycombe fare and Rte Any Permitted fare (with Railcard discounts, if the original ticket was discounted). In this case, the excess would be £9.30 (fare paid: £25.00. Appropriate fare: £43.60. Difference: £18.60. One portion: £9.30) If they charge new ticket, then not only are they incorrectly refusing a valid ticket but also not adhering to procedures. That makes it more serious (for them). I would comply with their request to pay, but state that as you fully expected the ticket to be valid, you have no spare money with which to pay immediately, and in any case you will be appealing. Do not ask for a UFN as this is not a good idea. You should be issued with a UFN, this can easily be cancelled. I am happy to assist anyone in this situation. Be polite, compliant, and gather evidence.

But, chances are, there will be no problems using these tickets :)
 

island

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Dec 2010
Messages
11,814
Location
0036
Virgins own ticketing system will even offer the fare to a booking office clerk at Coventry, and even if you specify via High Wycombe. But they refuse to sell it.

They are required to, in accordance with neutral retailing rules.
 

clagmonster

Established Member
Joined
8 Jun 2005
Messages
2,336
Just to clarify the documentation on the issue. The booking window should have a notice next to it stating that tickets are issued subject to the National Rail Conditions of Carriage. A similar notice appears on the back of the tickets.

Conditition 13 states:
"13. The route you are entitled to take
(a) You may travel between the stations shown on the ticket you hold in:
(i) a through train;
...
(c) Together, the routes referred to in (a) (ii), (a) (iii) and (b) above are the
“permitted routes”.
(d) The use of some tickets may be restricted to trains which take:
(i) routes passing through, or avoiding, particular locations; or
...
These restrictions will be shown on the ticket.
...
(f) For the purposes of this Condition, a “through train” is one which may be
used by a passenger to make their entire journey without changing trains."
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/nrcc/NRCOC.pdf

Clearly, the Blockade Busters are through trains from Coventry to a London Terminal. We know that they travel via High Wycombe. Therefore, Condition 13 states that these tickets are valid by these trains (subject to any other condition prohibiting it, such as time restrictions, operator restrictions, etc).

If thie issue is whether the trains actually travel via Wycombe, then a print out of the NRE link should be useful. Also, many journey planners will show the trains if you specify 'via High Wycombe'.
 

IrishDave

Member
Joined
30 Jun 2009
Messages
353
Location
Brighton
A belated thanks for your reply, Yorkie.

But, chances are, there will be no problems using these tickets :)

Well, the good news is I didn't have any problems at Euston when I was heading back to Coventry this afternoon... :roll:

However, this morning, the ticket inspector (not sure if it was the train manager or not) on 1Z08 10:43 Coventry-Euston gave me a bit of a ticking off. I had a Super Off-Peak Return Coventry-London Terminals via High Wycombe, and no sooner had he stamped the outward portion and given it back than he said "wait a minute..." and started complaining.

I don't recall exactly what he first said, but I think he said it wasn't valid on Virgin Trains - he may have said it wasn't normally valid on Virgin Trains (which would at least have the virtue of being correct). I asked (paraphrased) "I thought we were going via High Wycombe today?", to which he responded (paraphrased) "yes, but that ticket's only valid into London Marylebone".

I pointed out that the ticket said "London Terminals" but he was having none of it. He then went on to explain that when I was coming back I'd have to go from London Marylebone or I'd have to buy a completely new ticket. (I didn't press him on that point.) He then walked off, leaving me unsure if he'd accepted the ticket as valid or just let me off with it.

Fortunately the journey back was uneventful, with the usual on-the-ramp inspection at Euston being fine. I suppose if I'd been heading back tomorrow or any other day he'd have been right (let's not bring the Gerrards Cross-Paddington parliamentary into this!) but he didn't ask me - so I can't tell if he was just assuming I wasn't coming back today, or whether he honestly thought the ticket wasn't valid.

I shall be writing a complaint to Virgin later in the week once I've calmed down - what's the best way to send such a complaint?
 

yorkie

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Administrator
Joined
6 Jun 2005
Messages
52,712
Location
Yorkshire
I asked (paraphrased) "I thought we were going via High Wycombe today?", to which he responded (paraphrased) "yes, but that ticket's only valid into London Marylebone".

I pointed out that the ticket said "London Terminals" but he was having none of it. He then went on to explain that when I was coming back I'd have to go from London Marylebone or I'd have to buy a completely new ticket. (I didn't press him on that point.) He then walked off, leaving me unsure if he'd accepted the ticket as valid or just let me off with it.
Hmm, not the brightest spark then.
I shall be writing a complaint to Virgin later in the week once I've calmed down - what's the best way to send such a complaint?
By post I'd say. Or email if you prefer.

Sample letter (feel free to alter the wording to suit, and add the detail as appropriate):-
Dear Sir/Madam,

I looked up the correct fare for my journey, which involved the xx:xx train from xxx to London Euston on xx/xx/xx, and bought the ticket as shown as being valid for this service.

The ticket was routed High Wycombe, which I appreciate is not the usual route for Virgin Trains, but I checked and verified that this was indeed the route taken by the xx:xx service.

I was, therefore, surprised and disappointed when the guard, <name>, stated the ticket was "only valid to London Marylebone" and, although he did not charge me, he said that on my way back I would "have to buy a new ticket".

I have enclosed my tickets with this letter for your inspection.

Please can you answer the following questions:-

  • Was the conductor mistaken regarding the validity of the Route High Wycombe ticket, on a train that is shown on ticket booking sites as going via High Wycombe?
  • If so, can you provide some assurances that suitable training to guards will be given regarding ticket routeings, and can I have a date by which that training will be complete?
  • If a ticket is not valid due to a route restriction, is it really the case that a "new ticket" would need to be bought, as I is my understanding that an excess fare would be charged?
  • If the guard was mistaken on this point too, can I also have assurances that suitable training regarding excess fares will be given, and can I have a date by which that training will be complete?
I look forward to a swift resolution to this matter, and I trust I will not have to take it any further.

Thanks in anticipation.

Yours faithfully,


<name>


I'm sure Virgin Trains will give you a good response! If not, you could take it to Passenger Focus but I am 99.9% sure that will not be necessary. They have a good track record in this regard and their Customer Services dept know these tickets are valid. I also understand they are working to improve the knowledge of ticket routeings and excess procedures (I know someone who got a response stating that when he was told his Rte High Wycombe ticket was invalid by barrier staff a few weeks ago)
 

General Zod

Member
Joined
5 Jan 2008
Messages
517
Could someone kindly clarify matters. If the TM was adamant that the ticket was NOT VALID and he wanted to take matters a step further how would he have proceeded ? Would he have issued an excess on the original ticket or perhaps a UFN if the passenger remained immoveable and contested the excess ?
 

island

Veteran Member
Joined
30 Dec 2010
Messages
11,814
Location
0036
If the ticket were not valid due to the wrong route, as it is a geographical route the guard should issue an excess to ANY PERMITTED, at half the difference between the price of the ticket held and the ANY PERMITTED ticket. If the passenger refuses to pay it would be a UPFN for the full SOS Birmingham Stns to London Terminals.
 

TomJ93

Member
Joined
24 Apr 2010
Messages
865
I used them fine yesterday, though VT's twitter claimed they were not valid.
 

calc7

Established Member
Joined
8 Aug 2011
Messages
2,097
I used them fine yesterday, though VT's twitter claimed they were not valid.

VT's Tweeters are very good at customer service queries but provide a lot of bad (incorrect) advice regarding ticketing. I often feel like going round mopping up after them, but I am not getting paid for that and they are! <D
 

LexyBoy

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
4,472
Location
North of the rivers
If the ticket were not valid due to the wrong route, as it is a geographical route the guard should issue an excess to ANY PERMITTED, at half the difference between the price of the ticket held and the ANY PERMITTED ticket. If the passenger refuses to pay it would be a UPFN for the full SOS Birmingham Stns to London Terminals.

Out of interest, what would happen if a passenger were unable to pay the excess as they didn't have enough cash or their card didn't work? Would they be able to pay the UPFN and reclaim the difference or would it be a case of tough luck?
 

Lrd

Established Member
Joined
26 Jul 2010
Messages
3,018
Out of interest, what would happen if a passenger were unable to pay the excess as they didn't have enough cash or their card didn't work? Would they be able to pay the UPFN and reclaim the difference or would it be a case of tough luck?
They would get a UPFN and hopefully query it and then get it cancelled.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top