Routeing Guide

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johnnycache

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For my sins i am the representative on the ATOC Fares and Retail Group for Go-Ahead Group TOCs

The group meets every two months the next meeting being in July

I am writing a paper suggesting some changes to routeing guide easements

also there is a "data cleansing" exercise going on which will ensure that easements have been correctly set up in electronic systems and are still relevant

If any of you experts out there would like to feed in any suggestions i can include them
 
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cjp

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For my sins i am the representative on the ATOC Fares and Retail Group for Go-Ahead Group TOCs

The group meets every two months the next meeting being in July

I am writing a paper suggesting some changes to routeing guide easements

also there is a "data cleansing" exercise going on which will ensure that easements have been correctly set up in electronic systems and are still relevant

If any of you experts out there would like to feed in any suggestions i can include them

As a start I suggest that a stop is put to the present abuse of the English Language by the Routeing Guide claiming a restriction is an easement.
 

34D

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If any of you experts out there would like to feed in any suggestions i can include them

There were a number of genuine and well-intentioned easements that were removed earlier this year (one such example being doubling back through Hampden Park). I'd like to understand the consideration process for the deletion of easements.

I'd also like to suggest that someone with a brain (quite possibly your good self?) reviews all current easements to see whether their language can be tidied up - example: "300393 Customers travelling via Norwich using fares routed Irish Ferries may travel
via Norwich" and also "300441 Customers travelling from Burton on Trent to Birmingham New Street and beyond may travel via Tamworth. This easement applies in both directions."

Also there are a few spelling mistakes. One easement refers to Temple Mead and another spells Middlesbrough as borough (600083 Customers travelling from/via Middlesborough to/via Darlington may not travel via Northallerton. This easement applies in both directions.)

Finally from me, I'd like the easements list to list the easements that have been amended or deleted, in order that people can be aware properly.
 

clagmonster

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I presume you can only make suggestions relevent to the GO-Ahead franchises. If so, may I just check that this is: LM, SN, SE?

I would quite like to see past copies of the guide going back a year left on the internet, for the purpose of passengers who have purchased tickets in advance or have annual seasons. Maybe it would be worth putting "for tickets purchases between" as a footer to each page, to make it clear should people need to present printouts in a case of disputed validity.

I hope this helps, and thanks for taking forward our ideas.
 

johnnycache

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I think we can submit suggestions about any part of the network. These are groups where one is expected to take an industry wide view not just an owning group one.
 

34D

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I think we can submit suggestions about any part of the network. These are groups where one is expected to take an industry wide view not just an owning group one.

Good stuff. This thread from March 2012 http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=61942 lists the changes that occurred then (yes, there were changes in both March and April).

If I could also draw your attention the the deletion of various easements around FCC land, particularly hitchin-stevenage double-back and those for journeys such as cambridge-standsted, then this would be appreciated.
 

hairyhandedfool

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I would second the removal of 'negative easements', The Routeing Guide was never designed for them. Oh, and if they can look again at Section F, perhaps getting a version that actually tallies with the rest of The Routeing Guide.
 

Greenback

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The whole concept of 'negative easements' is absurd. they are restrictions, not easements, as has been pointe dout above. They have to be renamed at the very least!

To be fair, though, with such a large and complicated publication, there are bound to be some spelling errors, tortured grammar and other things that could be tidied up to help users. So it would be very good if a data cleansing exercise takes place.
 

34D

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Here's a couple that can be dispensed with (by changes elsewhere). Lincoln-London has route Retford (more expensive) and route any permitted (cheaper). We have easements:

62 Tickets routed Retford for Lincoln-London or Saxilby-London are also valid on permitted routes that do not pass through Retford. This easement applies in both directions.(Not implemented or tested yet. To go live on 23rd May
2004)
and
68 Tickets routed Any Permitted for journeys Lincoln-London and Saxilby- London are not valid via Retford. This prohibition applies in both directions. (Not implemented or tested yet. To go live on 23rd May 2004)

We can delete both of these easements simply by renaming the current 'any permitted' as 'not Retford' and then a year later (to keep things simple for guards) rename the current 'Retford' as 'any permitted'.

I assume that the difference is that northern rail gets a slice of the more expensive ticket (and perhaps that HT gets more).

Indeed - I would suggest that a number of negative easements can be deleted if (for a collection of tickets) any permitted could be replaced with 'not xyz'.

Further example:
83 Journeys from Harpenden, Luton Airport Parkway, Luton, Leagrave, Harlington and Flitwick to stations north of Leicester on tickets routed Not London are valid only via Bedford, Kettering and Leicester. This easement applies in both directions.

'Not london' could be replaced with 'route flitwick and kettering' which would have the same effect as the easement - however there are a lot of places north of Leicester to update....
 

HowMuch?

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It's great that you have thought to consult us on this, JohnnyCache.

... after some of my "moany" posts on here it feels a bit like being told "put up or shut up". I hope we can rise to the occasion and make a meaningful contribution.

I'm definitely not an expert, but I might be able to ofer a suggestion or two about routes I use fairly frequently.

While I'm thinking about that....

Some general points to start with. Please accept these as a genuine desire to make the system more customer-friendly and so to promote rail travel, not as ATOC-bashing.

(1) I strongly support the suggestion that negative "easements" should be renamed - it IS clear that the easement system was not meant for them, and it does make it appear as though ATOC have been a bit sly (or lazy, see point 3) by slipping restrictions in here. It's in everyone's interest to be up front about how the system works, so if it IS necessary to "restrict" particular routes/times etc then why not be honest about it and call them RESTRICTIONS and put them in a separate list. Care needs to be taken that each entry either allows something extra, or restricts something otherwise allowed (no "Hybrid" entries).

(2) I also strongly support the idea of version control. Knowing what is allowed/disallowed TODAY is not sufficient if a dispute arises over what WAS allowed when. I'm sure this process applies to official documents wthin TOCs and ATOC, so why not to such an important public-facing document ?

(a) To avoid most disputes, all RESTRICTIONS (not necessarily genuine easements) could be added at least one month before they come into effect. But it should also be stated explicitly that restrictions do not apply retrospectively (ie restrictions added to the list between the date of ticket purchase and date of travel do NOT apply). Note that this is about properly approved restrictions, this does not substitute for the proposal/apporoval process!

(b) All current/entries should have an "Approved by DfT" Date ; a "Valid From" date ; either a "Valid To" date or a "Review" date ; and a "Last Reviewed" date.

(c) Outdated/replaced easements should in a separate section and have Valid From and Valid To dates.

(3) There is at least some risk of easements/restrictions becoming a substitute for careful design of the RG and Maps.

(a) It is reasonable to use an easement/restriction to apply a specific exception to a general rule when otherwise the rules and maps would have to be become very convoluted just to cope with one small change.

(b) But in my very inexpert opinion, there must be a temptation to add an easement/restriction when what is really needed is a simple change to a map (or other part of the RG) especially if the approval process for the latter is more difficult.

(c) When reviewing easements (and I'd suggest this should be annually) a general rule should be "any entry that can be replaced by a simple RG/Map change, must be" . Eg perhaps "doubling back through X is allowed for journeys passing through Y" might perhaps be removed by putting X into into Y's Routeing Group - I KNOW this is a simplistic example).

Thanks again.
 

flymo

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Regarding Easements and restrictions etc, how about a geographical grouping of such easements and restrictions to give one a much better chance of finding one in the particular area in which you intend to travel. i.e. Scotland, North East, North West, etc........

They seem to be just a bit random to say the least at the moment with just sequential numbers. Even if they are still numbered, at least group them so you can navigate more easily to the required area.
 

DaveNewcastle

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Another supporter for renaming Negative Easements for what they are: Restrictions.

Two general proposals from me:

1. Any alteration to the T&Cs of a ticket (including routing validity) must be the subject of full and proper consultation with all stakeholders (including passengers and those representating their interests). This consultation to include Easements and alterations which purport to be 'corrections'.

2. Any Condition (including routing validity) which is inadequately defined to be clear, or is inconsistent with another Condition without clarification of which takes precedent, will have no restrictive effect on validity (while inconsistent Easements shall both apply).
 

PR1Berske

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Regarding Easements and restrictions etc, how about a geographical grouping of such easements and restrictions to give one a much better chance of finding one in the particular area in which you intend to travel. i.e. Scotland, North East, North West, etc........

They seem to be just a bit random to say the least at the moment with just sequential numbers. Even if they are still numbered, at least group them so you can navigate more easily to the required area.

Amen

I can't comprehend how a system based on geography can come up with a list of restrictions based on pointing at a darts board with eyes closed!
 

HowMuch?

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Once the restrictions are in a separate section, the general rule should be that a later restriction overrules an earlier one. Oh,and put newer ones at the TOP.

And any easement must overrule any restriction. So if you want to make a partial exception to an easement, you can't just add a restriction, you have to amend the easement itself so that all the information is in one place.

ie if Easement 92 says "X to Y is valid via Z", and Restriction 99 says "X to Y is not valid via Z on Sundays", then Restriction 99 has no force. So you would remove Restriction 99 and amend Easement 92 to say "X to Y is valid via Z on Monday to Saturday".
 

OwlMan

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But with Basemaps (Fares Quick Wins) going live this Autumn the Routeing Guide will no longer be available in a pdf version. The only public version will be the Basemaps (Fares Quick Wins) on NRE.
One reason why there has not been a change to the NRG tables since April 2011 & that ATOC have been using easements to make changes is that BaseMaps needs a none-changing playing field to create the maps which will be the public face of the National Routeing Guide. The computerised version as used by journey planners will still be in use but will be completelly revised and apparantly programmed in a completely different way.

ATOC are not looking to make changes to the present guide, and a new public pdf version will probably not be released, and at present ATOC & the TOCs are reviewing the Basemaps prior to going live.

Peter
 
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HowMuch?

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OwlMan. I've seen a reference to BaseMaps before, but never followed it up. How about a separate topic where you could tell us what you know about it, and others could add their bits ?

For instance: Are they consulting on this ? I'd like to recommend that all doubling-back "Gotcha" stations are either included in Routeing point groups (so thry no longer block a route) or are put on the maps (so that you don't need to check the full network map when validating a route in case there is a lurking Gotcha, like Leyland).
 

kieron

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It would be useful to have a link somewhere to the minutes of the discussion which gave rise to an easement, or to some sort of rationale for it.

For example, easement 11 states that:

Journeys from Gobowen to Crewe and beyond may travel via Shrewsbury, but not via Wolverhampton. This easement applies in both directions.

This easement has no effect on Gobowen-Crewe journeys, as these are valid via Shrewsbury, but not Wolverhampton, on map BC.

It does (according to nationalrail.co.uk) affect Gobowen-Shotton ones, which would otherwise have to go via Wrexham.

I suspect this is an easement which has been overtaken by changes in the fare structure, but I wouldn't like to suggest any changes as I don't actually know why it was added.

On another point, I am concerned that there are a number of easements (such as 65 and 700231) which no longer appear to have any effect on NRE (or on your own site). I feel they should be either removed or honoured.
 

wellhouse

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Two suggestions to permit doubling back allowing a faster journey time than the permitted route.

1.Tickets to/from Luton, Leagrave, Harlington Flitwick and Bedford and stations north of Bedford permit doubling back via Luton or Luton Airport Parkway. (Travelling north via Bedford often involves multiple changes with extended overall journey times)

2. Tickets from Marsden and Slaithwaite to/from stations west of Marsden are valid via Huddersfield (some peak services skip Marsden and/or Slaithwaite)

3. Tickets normally valid on the direct route from Huddersfield to Wakefield Kirkgate or Westgate are valid via Leeds on Sundays (There is no Sunday service on the direct route, and there must be plenty of other lines where a similar Easements are appropriate

And not really an easement issue, but how about introducing through fares for fastest routes (e.g. the fastest route from Wakefield Westgate to Stockport is usually via Sheffield, but the only through fares available are for the slower route via Huddersfield
 

yorkie

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2. Tickets from Marsden and Slaithwaite to/from stations west of Marsden are valid via Huddersfield (some peak services skip Marsden and/or Slaithwaite)
There are already tickets routed "Direct" to places like Stalybridge, priced by Northern, and "Any Permitted", priced by TPE and clearly intended for use via Huddersfield. They should be changed to route "via Huddersfield" to avoid confusion.
3. Tickets normally valid on the direct route from Huddersfield to Wakefield Kirkgate or Westgate are valid via Leeds on Sundays (There is no Sunday service on the direct route, and there must be plenty of other lines where a similar Easements are appropriate
But there are already tickets routed "via Leeds" and "not via Leeds".
And not really an easement issue, but how about introducing through fares for fastest routes (e.g. the fastest route from Wakefield Westgate to Stockport is usually via Sheffield, but the only through fares available are for the slower route via Huddersfield
I know of cheaper ways to do that route, but yes that is ridiculous. via Sheffield should be a permitted route for that journey. It may be worth looking up the original Routeing Guide, to see if it was a permitted route, if so ask the DfT why they removed it. If not, ask TPE if they can introduce a via Sheffield fare.
 

hairyhandedfool

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....via Sheffield should be a permitted route for that journey. It may be worth looking up the original Routeing Guide, to see if it was a permitted route, if so ask the DfT why they removed it. If not, ask TPE if they can introduce a via Sheffield fare.

It was, maps CE+PS in the original Routeing Guide (the maps join at Sheffield)
 

snail

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Not sure whether this is an easement or routeing guide issue but ATOC should clarify routes where a single station on a map is crossed - e.g. TP+MH+NC that appears to prohibit Leeds-Lancaster services from Newcastle as you cannot travel between two stations on Map MH (it also excludes Leeds-Preston services).

Once the restrictions are in a separate section, the general rule should be that a later restriction overrules an earlier one. Oh,and put newer ones at the TOP.
I agree newer ones should be highlighted, but easements must be made easy to find so have to be geographical - or well indexed.

There are already tickets routed "Direct" to places like Stalybridge, priced by Northern, and "Any Permitted", priced by TPE and clearly intended for use via Huddersfield. They should be changed to route "via Huddersfield" to avoid confusion.
Seconded. I would suggest getting rid of all 'Route Direct' variants to avoid confusion.
 

yorkie

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It was, maps CE+PS in the original Routeing Guide (the maps join at Sheffield)

Thanks.

In that case the DfT could be asked:

  • On what date was this routeing removed?
  • Why was the routeing removed?
  • Will they consider re-instating the route?
And Passenger Focus could be asked:

  • On what date were you consulted about the removal of this route?
  • What response did you give?
Legally, ATOC are required by law to have all changes to the Routeing Guide approved by DfT, and Passenger Focus should be consulted.


Both bodies have to answer in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.

I am happy to proof read any letters.
 

yorkie

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Thank you all for your suggestions
No problem; thanks for asking :)

I wouldn't get involved in the ones out of area as you need specialist knowledge of the areas concerned (hence why I've not really said much other than as responses to other suggestions!), certainly the West Yorkshire suggestions are a bit flawed and would be shot down immediately I'm sure!
 

yorkie

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Anything useful or interesting come out of your meetings / our suggestions?

Eg they are now goung to call restrictions "a restriction" rather than "a negative easement"?
I thought the new "basemaps" were going to get rid of 'easements' / 'negative easements'?

Some people argue that 'negative easements' are, by definition, not enforceable ("Easements are relaxations of Routeing Guide rules to allow journeys that strict adherence to the rules would forbid"). Not everyone agrees though. They were not originally envisaged and were added later. Many have been added without DfT approval (which is a legal requirement), and some people argue that makes them even less enforceable.

But my biggest concern is that some people at ATOC are attempting to remove the shortest route rule from the NRCoC. Any such attempt should be resisted. The routeing guide does not always include the shortest route, and neither will the base maps. The shortest route +3 mile rule should also be moved to the NRCoC in advance of any change to base maps. I believe that the right to take a route up to 3 miles longer than the shortest route to have protected status, but sadly some people at ATOC and the DfT do not share that view, and want to quietly drop it.
 

wintonian

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I thought the new "basemaps" were going to get rid of 'easements' / 'negative easements'?

But my biggest concern is that some people at ATOC are attempting to remove the shortest route rule from the NRCoC. Any such attempt should be resisted. The routeing guide does not always include the shortest route, and neither will the base maps. The shortest route +3 mile rule should also be moved to the NRCoC in advance of any change to base maps. I believe that the right to take a route up to 3 miles longer than the shortest route to have protected status, but sadly some people at ATOC and the DfT do not share that view, and want to quietly drop it.

Prehaps there should also be an obligation on retail staff to inform passengers of where they can obtain and (a brief) how to consult it, a bit like the obligtion to provide or inform where the NRCoC can be obtained from?
 

hairyhandedfool

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Prehaps there should also be an obligation on retail staff to inform passengers of where they can obtain and (a brief) how to consult it, a bit like the obligtion to provide or inform where the NRCoC can be obtained from?

Whilst saying where it is may be possible, telling people how to use it (when even people on this forum cannot agree) is asking a lot. That said, most ticket office staff will access it through The Manual, which is not available to the public, and may not know it is freely available on the ATOC website.
 
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