Routing guide errors: Hellifield to WCML stations

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crehld

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I've been trying to book tickets for a few journeys I have coming up. These include Hellifield to Warrington, Wigan and London. I want to go via Lancaster as (in the case of Warrington and Wigan at least) it is clearly the most logical, quickest and shortest route. In the case of London, going via Lancaster offers the earliest journey opportunity in the morning. However I keep getting told by a variety of booking engines that no fares can be found via Lancaster. Normally I would just buy walk up tickets from the guard on the train, but I'd like to explore advance ticket options (which should be available) to save some cash.

After a bit of digging around it seems the problem is a glaring error in the routing guide which does not map routes via Lancaster for many journeys from Hellifield to destinations along the West Coast Mainline. The only routes that are available either go via Clitheroe (where there is no meaningful service to make use of) or via Leeds. The routes via Leeds make absolute sense given Hellifield has a much more regular service to Leeds, so offers more journey opportunities. But not permitting journeys via Lancaster is baffling given such a route would often be the shortest, quickest, most convenient (with the fewest changes) and most logical.

When I first joined the forum it was to ask whether Crewe to Hellifield journeys were permitted via Lancaster. It turned out they were and the omission of mapped routes via Lancaster was an error that crept into the routing guide at some point during 2013. I wonder if these cases here are all part of the same error? I wonder if there are other destinations which don't have mapped routes via Lancaster when they otherwise should have?
 
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CyrusWuff

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The Routeing Guide doesn't need to be checked where a journey involves the shortest route (defined by the National Rail Timetable) or a direct train.

Unfortunately, the "shortest route" involves the line between Hellifield and Clitheroe, which currently sees just one train each way on a Sunday, but that's sufficient to throw the "shortest route" calculations off!

So for Hellifield to London, going via Lancaster gives a distance of 264 miles to Euston, whereas via Leeds gives 221.75 miles to Kings Cross.

Hellifield - Clitheroe - Bolton - Wigan is 46.5 miles, against 70.25 via Lancaster and 97.25 via Leeds and Manchester Victoria.

Hellifield - Blackburn - Leyland - Wigan - Warrington Bank Quay is 57.5 miles, against 82 via Lancaster and 95 via Leeds.

The obvious solution would be to create an easement permitting travel via Lancaster in such situations, rather than having to check every route from Hellifield Group and add relevant map combinations where needed...
 

crehld

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The Routeing Guide doesn't need to be checked where a journey involves the shortest route (defined by the National Rail Timetable) or a direct train.

Of course. The problem being if it isn't mapped you can't buy advance fares for it because the ticket systems won't recognize it as a permitted route.

Unfortunately, the "shortest route" involves the line between Hellifield and Clitheroe, which currently sees just one train each way on a Sunday, but that's sufficient to throw the "shortest route" calculations off!

But the line between Hellifield and Clitheroe isn't listed/defined in the National Rail Timetable (see table 94). And I'd strongly dispute that the argument it constitutes the shortest route at all times. The shortest route between Hellifield and Wigan/Warrington at all times apart from a short window on a Sunday evening is incontrovertibly via Lancaster.

So for Hellifield to London, going via Lancaster gives a distance of 264 miles to Euston, whereas via Leeds gives 221.75 miles to Kings Cross.

I don't dispute via Leeds is a shorter route. But via Lancaster offers the earliest itinerary to London in the morning (dep 0556, arrive 1001 via Lancaster vs. dep 0734, arrive 1128).

Hellifield - Clitheroe - Bolton - Wigan is 46.5 miles, against 70.25 via Lancaster and 97.25 via Leeds and Manchester Victoria.

Hellifield - Blackburn - Leyland - Wigan - Warrington Bank Quay is 57.5 miles, against 82 via Lancaster and 95 via Leeds.

Again, discount the fact there is no service between Hellfield and Cliteroe then via Lancaster is clearly the shortest route.

The obvious solution would be to create an easement permitting travel via Lancaster in such situations, rather than having to check every route from Hellifield Group and add relevant map combinations where needed...

For Crewe to Hellifield via Lancaster is permitted using (in part) map XW - I don;t see why a similar solution couldn't be used in these cases.
 

CyrusWuff

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But the line between Hellifield and Clitheroe isn't listed/defined in the National Rail Timetable (see table 94). And I'd strongly dispute that the argument it constitutes the shortest route at all times. The shortest route between Hellifield and Wigan/Warrington at all times apart from a short window on a Sunday evening is incontrovertibly via Lancaster.

I didn't suggest it was remotely sensible, but it is shown on the map headed as covering tables 35 to 38 (which also covers table 42), and it's included in table 42, though the trains in question (and mileages) aren't! (But then that's not entirely surprising given the "quality" of the NRT in recent years)

And I quite agree that the route via Lancaster is the obvious option for Wigan/Warrington, but without a fix being implemented, you're stuck having to rebook at Lancaster.
 

ashworth

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I've just been having a look on the East Coast website and notice that fares are available from Giggleswick to London Euston via Lancaster. Haven't done any fare comparisons but could be cheaper than rebooking at Lancaster.
 

kieron

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When I first joined the forum it was to ask whether Crewe to Hellifield journeys were permitted via Lancaster. It turned out they were and the omission of mapped routes via Lancaster was an error that crept into the routing guide at some point during 2013. I wonder if these cases here are all part of the same error?
I don't know about it being an error, but looking at a copy of information from a 1996 version of the routeing guide from here shows that Hellifield-Warrington and Hellifield-Wigan were then valid via Lancaster as per map combination MM+LM, but Hellifield-London wasn't.

In those days, a map combination which was listed as valid for a route could be used in either order, giving combinations CS+LM, ER+MM, LM+CS, MM and MM+ER.

CS doesn't include any routes to Hellifield except via via Clitheroe. ER and LM don't include Hellifield. MM includes a route between Hellifield and Lancaster, but neither MM nor ER include Preston (or Euston, for that matter).

More broadly, journeys from Hellifield to stations between Preston and Kings Langley were shown as being valid via Giggleswick, but ones to Watford Junction and beyond weren't (ignoring shortest route and direct trains, which I haven't checked).

I do notice that Hellifield-Preston (and Hellifield-Kirkham) had mapped routes added via Lancaster last year. It may be worth contacting Virgin about this.
I didn't suggest it was remotely sensible, but it is shown on the map headed as covering tables 35 to 38 (which also covers table 42), and it's included in table 42, though the trains in question (and mileages) aren't! (But then that's not entirely surprising given the "quality" of the NRT in recent years)
How did you calculate the distance between Hellifield and Clitheroe, given that there isn't a mileage shown for it in the National Rail Timetable?
 

crehld

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Happily the good folk at ATOC have identified the error and duly corrected it:

Some more updates were published yesterday.
New dataset IBRG0419 published 22 July 2016

To create permitted routes via Lancaster from Hellifield in line with permissions that exist between Hellifield and Crewe Routeing Points the following additions have been made.

Map sequence added

HELLIFIELD GROUP (G53) and EARLESTOWN GROUP (G78) - added sequence 'XY+WG'
HELLIFIELD GROUP (G53) and STAFFORD GROUP (G65) - added sequence 'XY+WG+MC'
WARRINGTON GROUP (G31) and HELLIFIELD GROUP (G53) - added sequence 'WG+XY'
WIGAN GROUP (G34) and HELLIFIELD GROUP (G53) - added sequence 'WG+XY'
Each of these adds mapped routes via Clapham and Lancaster. The other routeing points on the WCML between Lancaster and Stafford already included routes that way.

I can now purchase the advance fares which Virgin offer to Warrington.
 
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