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Routing restrictions forbidding quickest routes

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gsnedders

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Something that's struck me a few times are places where the routing table forbids what would be the quickest route between two stations, an example of which is Glasgow (Queen Street, ordinarily…) to Leuchars, where given a good connection the quickest route is via Dundee—though this is forbidden by an easement which disallows travel via Dundee from/to Glasgow to/from Leuchars or Cupar as a circulous route (it's worthwhile noting the fare to Dundee is 50% more than to Leuchars, quite probably the reason for the easement!).

How common is it for the routing table to forbid what would be the quickest route, and are there any really common examples?
 
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Bletchleyite

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It's very common for a double-back to represent the quickest route and those aren't allowed. For season tickets it's easy enough - buy one to the furthest point. For other tickets, it's very much a case of "you're not doing that as it doesn't suit our system, so ner".

There aren't all that many such double-backs that make sense - they mainly exist on the 125mph mainlines. So why not create fares allowing them, for instance EUS-BLY via MKC at the same fare set as EUS-MKC?

Or even create more zonal station groups, e.g. a Milton Keynes Stns, and change the Routeing Guide rule such that double backs within station groups are *always* permitted, as much of the time they do make sense even at the start/end of a journey.
 
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QueensCurve

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How common is it for the routing table to forbid what would be the quickest route, and are there any really common examples?

For a long time, the quickest route for many journeys is via London but you get cheaper fares on the slower cross country routes.
 

Bletchleyite

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Actually, thinking more widely about station groups in the context of routeing.

Most long distance journeys that aren't simple point to point ones involve a local journey connecting with an InterCity one, then possibly another local journey.

A good fare simplification to handle this kind of routeing issue might be for those local journeys to be simple zonal add-ons to the base InterCity fare. Then there'd be no disadvantage to the railway of people doubling back.

You already have stations that take IC fares from other stations - this would just be making it simpler and more transparent.
 

Starmill

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Very common. See Guildford to Farnham, quickest journeys are via Woking, but its not a permitted route. You're effectively forced to walk between North Camp and Ash Vale, or double the journey time and spend 32 minutes at Aldershot.
 

Hadders

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There aren't all that many such double-backs that make sense - they mainly exist on the 125mph mainlines. So why not create fares allowing them, for instance EUS-BLY via MKC at the same fare set as EUS-MKC?

There used to be an easement allowing EUS-BLY via MKC but it was removed a few years ago. I believe it was introduced when MKC opened so as not to disadvantage BLY passengers.
 

Bletchleyite

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There used to be an easement allowing EUS-BLY via MKC but it was removed a few years ago. I believe it was introduced when MKC opened so as not to disadvantage BLY passengers.

I can see why because BLY is a bit cheaper, but I'd be happy with a BLY-EUS route MKC ticket at the price of a ticket from MKC to avoid an anomaly being created (I can see this as a fair way of resolving this kind of issue). When needing a season I normally purchase it from MKC (or indeed Wolverton if I think I might want the local journeys for nowt) for that flexibility.

Or as I say they could zone the fares, with the "Milton Keynes Stns" fare, which could also usefully include Fenny Stratford, Bow Brickhill and Woburn Sands, being the average of the takings from all the stations to that destination in order that it is revenue neutral. They might want to keep an incentive for people to use the slower services from Bletchley, but that exists in another form anyway in the form of the car park being cheaper, while those not driving will in most cases just select their local station from the main three.
 
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Shaw S Hunter

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Very common. See Guildford to Farnham, quickest journeys are via Woking, but its not a permitted route. You're effectively forced to walk between North Camp and Ash Vale, or double the journey time and spend 32 minutes at Aldershot.

That one is all about timetabling. If Woking Junction finally gets grade-separated then it should be possible to change the paths used by Waterloo mainline trains and eliminate this situation.
 

2HAP

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I can't speak for Scotland, but down here in Kent most tickets are either endorsed Route: Any permitted or Route: Not HS1.

Not like the old days when tickets stated "direct" or "Via (named station)". That gives a bit of flexibility.
 
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gsnedders

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I can't speak for Scotland, but down here in Kent most tickets are either endorsed Route: Any permitted or Route: Not HS1.

Not like the old days when tickets stated "direct" or "Via (named station)". That gives a bit of flexibility.

I'd be more okay if there were tickets with "not via Dundee" and "Any permitted" (with Dundee being a permitted route, obviously). But because via Dundee isn't permitted, that can't be done…
 

Ianno87

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That one is all about timetabling. If Woking Junction finally gets grade-separated then it should be possible to change the paths used by Waterloo mainline trains and eliminate this situation.

I'd like to think there would be many more significant driving factors behind how the capacity of a grade separated junction was used than just to avoid accidentally providing a good connection ☺

But point taken, the good connection is an accidental outcome of the current TT pattern, itself driven in a large way by the current flat junction.
 

Ianigsy

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Leeds-Church Fenton is often quicker via York because for much of the time the direct stopper only calls every other hour.
 

Bletchleyite

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I'd be more okay if there were tickets with "not via Dundee" and "Any permitted" (with Dundee being a permitted route, obviously). But because via Dundee isn't permitted, that can't be done…

They can offer routed tickets that are not otherwise Permitted - you calculate the route split either side of the location named on the ticket. So they could, if they saw fit, introduce a route Dundee ticket.
 

craigybagel

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Stations at the north end of the Heart of Wales to London Terminals - the only fares that exist are into Paddington via Craven Arms and Hereford. The quickest route to London is usually to Euston via Crewe.
 

HarleyDavidson

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Very common. See Guildford to Farnham, quickest journeys are via Woking, but its not a permitted route. You're effectively forced to walk between North Camp and Ash Vale, or double the journey time and spend 32 minutes at Aldershot.

Quickest journey is via Ash. You have a 3-4' wait on the same platform at Aldershot, provided the darn 456's behave themselves.
 

Starmill

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While you're right in practice, those journeys don't show up in the journey planner.
 

kraiken

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I regularly travel from Levenshulme to Euston, and changing at either Stockport or Manchester shows up in the journey planner - is there an easement for this, or does this not count as doubling back? Never been questioned when they manually check tickets at Piccadilly.

The ticket prices LVM to EUS are the same as EUS to MAN (as it is at BWD too from where you can get to EUS via WAC and walk to WBQ or via MAN, whether this is due to the Stockport viaduct 'tax' is a seperate question).
 

furlong

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I presume the 'no doubling back' rule you're talking about is the one that only applies to the portion of the journey between the routeing points for the specific journey, viz, Manchester and London in this case - any local part (Levenshulme to Manchester) is considered separately. (If passing through your origin, conventionally your train must not stop there again.)
 

Bletchleyite

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I presume the 'no doubling back' rule you're talking about is the one that only applies to the portion of the journey between the routeing points for the specific journey, viz, Manchester and London in this case - any local part (Levenshulme to Manchester) is considered separately. (If passing through your origin, conventionally your train must not stop there again.)

That's not my understanding, though I can see that it would make sense if it was.
 

MedwayValiant

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Please may I ask a specific question which has been brought back into my mind by this thread.

A journey which I make fairly frequently is from Rochester to Bickley. At most times, the quickest way to make that journey is to travel via Bromley South - but that means passing through Bickley station twice and therefore is possibly not allowed.

I've never asked Southeastern for an official opinion on the matter in case I don't like the answer, but I've had four different unofficial answers from train conductors.

1. It is specifically allowed by means of an easement.
2. An easement is not even required because the fares Rochester-Bromley South and Rochester-Bickley are the same. Accordingly, no fare is being avoided and hence it's automatically allowed. (The fares are the same, but I have no idea whether this is relevant.)
3. It's not officially allowed, but by custom and practice it is, and I'd be very unlucky indeed if a conductor between Rochester and Bromley took exception. (All trains between Bromley and Bickley are DOO, and I've never seen an RPI on one.)
4. "It's not allowed, and if I wasn't in such a good mood I'd throw the book at you."

In practice, no train conductor has ever even tried to throw the book at me. But which - if any - of the four answers I've had over the years is correct?
 

furlong

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That's not my understanding, though I can see that it would make sense if it was.

Well that is what I think the routeing guide says, it is the way the web journey planners seem to work, and it also seems to be the sensible way to handle a local connecting journey to a routeing point that satisfies the fares check before picking up a long-distance service.
 

Helvellyn

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I see quite a lot of "Not London" routings on tickets where the cheaper price means changing trains at Clapham Junction. For outer suburban and longer distance services it can be quicker to go into London and catch the suburban service back out (or vice versa), but you need the more expensive ticket that lets you do that.
 

infobleep

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Very common. See Guildford to Farnham, quickest journeys are via Woking, but its not a permitted route. You're effectively forced to walk between North Camp and Ash Vale, or double the journey time and spend 32 minutes at Aldershot.
The quickest unofficial route is to stay on the same island at Aldershot and get the train that comes in 3 minutes after your train.


The mimum connection time is 4 minutes, which is why it doesn't show.

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--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I see quite a lot of "Not London" routings on tickets where the cheaper price means changing trains at Clapham Junction. For outer suburban and longer distance services it can be quicker to go into London and catch the suburban service back out (or vice versa), but you need the more expensive ticket that lets you do that.
That's definitely the case with South West Trains. Less so I think with Southern as they run less trains through Clapham Junction so don't have to have periods where no trains run.

The worst case I could come up with was trying to get to Poole after the 17.02 to Alton had left Clapham Junction.

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hairyhandedfool

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I presume the 'no doubling back' rule you're talking about is the one that only applies to the portion of the journey between the routeing points for the specific journey, viz, Manchester and London in this case - any local part (Levenshulme to Manchester) is considered separately. (If passing through your origin, conventionally your train must not stop there again.)

That's not my understanding, though I can see that it would make sense if it was.

It's not my understanding either, but I can see how it could be argued that a double back at one end of the journey, at the destination Routeing Point (and thus alternatively at the origin Routeing Point) might be allowed. I tend not to agree with this interpretation though.

Well that is what I think the routeing guide says, it is the way the web journey planners seem to work, and it also seems to be the sensible way to handle a local connecting journey to a routeing point that satisfies the fares check before picking up a long-distance service.

Journey planners are only as good as those who program them. Back in 1996 we had a definitive Routeing Guide, in black and whiite, because of "progress" and "technology", we now have multiple "versions" of the Routeing Guide that don't always agree with each other (or make sense).

....1. It is specifically allowed by means of an easement....

It's possible, but you have to look through the list (on the ATOC website) and try to work it out (or get a journey planner to show it with a through fare available).

....2. An easement is not even required because the fares Rochester-Bromley South and Rochester-Bickley are the same. Accordingly, no fare is being avoided and hence it's automatically allowed. (The fares are the same, but I have no idea whether this is relevant.)....

Comparative fares have little to do with routeing, the only real reason for fares to get involved is for the Fares Check Rule, and that may not be required.

....3. It's not officially allowed, but by custom and practice it is, and I'd be very unlucky indeed if a conductor between Rochester and Bromley took exception. (All trains between Bromley and Bickley are DOO, and I've never seen an RPI on one.)....

If a route is reasonable it is unlikely to be questioned and that might eventually lead to unofficial acceptance. It is not a local route to me so I'd not like to say if this is the case.

....4. "It's not allowed, and if I wasn't in such a good mood I'd throw the book at you."....

Well it's not exactly a shining example from the customer service handbook, but it might well be the case.
 

MedwayValiant

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It's possible, but you have to look through the list (on the ATOC website) and try to work it out (or get a journey planner to show it with a through fare available).

The last part is relevant here. If you ask National Rail Enquiries how to do this journey, it usually does suggest that you double back via Bromley, and quotes the same fare as for the direct (slower) routing.

It's not one of the answers I've had from conductors, but I have heard the notion "If National Rail Enquiries says you can do it, then you can" before. Is it an official part of the rules about permitted routes, or is it another custom and practice thing which a conductor who insisted on going strictly by the book could overrule?
 

hairyhandedfool

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The last part is relevant here. If you ask National Rail Enquiries how to do this journey, it usually does suggest that you double back via Bromley, and quotes the same fare as for the direct (slower) routing.

It's not one of the answers I've had from conductors, but I have heard the notion "If National Rail Enquiries says you can do it, then you can" before. Is it an official part of the rules about permitted routes, or is it another custom and practice thing which a conductor who insisted on going strictly by the book could overrule?

The Online Routeing Guide (as seen on the ATOC website) does now suggest valid routes are checked against NRES, but this does not mean NRES is always right. NRES has a disclaimer about errors and inaccuracies, so nothing on there is gospel unless it is. That said I think most Guards/RPIs would accept a journey plan from NRES, but I wouldn't like to say all.
 

maniacmartin

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Bickley is a member of the Bromley Routeing group. The Routeing Guide instructions explicitly allow double backs for interchange purposes only within an intermediate Routeing Group when travelling on a mapped route.

I wonder if NRE is applying this even though The group isnt intermediate but is the destination?
 
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All Line Rover

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It's very common for a double-back to represent the quickest route and those aren't allowed. For season tickets it's easy enough - buy one to the furthest point. For other tickets, it's very much a case of "you're not doing that as it doesn't suit our system, so ner".

There aren't all that many such double-backs that make sense - they mainly exist on the 125mph mainlines. So why not create fares allowing them, for instance EUS-BLY via MKC at the same fare set as EUS-MKC?

Or even create more zonal station groups, e.g. a Milton Keynes Stns, and change the Routeing Guide rule such that double backs within station groups are *always* permitted, as much of the time they do make sense even at the start/end of a journey.

There was a Milton Keynes Routeing Point Group (which included Bletchley) which was removed around 2 years ago, despite the service provision at Bletchley remaining unchanged. I expect that the Member of Parliament whose constituency includes Bletchley station was not informed by ATOC, the Department for Transport or Passenger (Transport) Focus.
 

Bletchleyite

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There was a Milton Keynes Routeing Point Group (which included Bletchley) which was removed around 2 years ago, despite the service provision at Bletchley remaining unchanged. I expect that the Member of Parliament whose constituency includes Bletchley station was not informed by ATOC, the Department for Transport or Passenger (Transport) Focus.

That didn't permit the doubleback, though, as doublebacks are only allowed within station groups when this occurs in the middle of, not at either end of, the journey.
 
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