Travelling on Crosscountry?

Thomas31

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Just what the rules regarding reservations on XC? I may need to make a short journey from Reading to Oxford tomorrow, am I really expected to reserve a seat for a 20 minute journey? Is there no option to stand?
 
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ForTheLoveOf

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Just what the rules regarding reservations on XC? I may need to make a short journey from Reading to Oxford tomorrow, am I really expected to reserve a seat for a 20 minute journey? Is there no option to stand?
There has been a thread on this subject very recently. XC strongly encourage passengers to obtain reservations, but despite what the timetable data claims, they are not compulsory and you aren't going to be point-blank denied boarding for not having one (as LNER purport to be doing).

In the exceptionally unlikely event that the train were to be overcrowded, beyond its "socially distanced" capacity, you could theoretically be denied boarding if you don't have a reservation. But this is almost never going to happen between Reading and Oxford at the current time.

Standing is not favoured at the moment because it makes it harder to ensure social distancing, and there is no way to pass through the train past other standing passengers at a "safe" distance except in the vestibules.
 

davetheguard

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Although of course XC have made the change in the timetable data feed to say reservations mandatory so no accredited TIS should be retailing tickets without a reservation
A ticket from Reading to Oxford is of course valid with any operator, so in this case it should be perfectly easy to buy a ticket without a reservation; you can't reserve on the 387-operated all station GWR stoppers from Reading to Didcot, nor on the connecting Turbo to Oxford.
 

trainophile

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There has been a thread on this subject very recently. XC strongly encourage passengers to obtain reservations, but despite what the timetable data claims, they are not compulsory and you aren't going to be point-blank denied boarding for not having one (as LNER purport to be doing).

In the exceptionally unlikely event that the train were to be overcrowded, beyond its "socially distanced" capacity, you could theoretically be denied boarding if you don't have a reservation. But this is almost never going to happen between Reading and Oxford at the current time.

Standing is not favoured at the moment because it makes it harder to ensure social distancing, and there is no way to pass through the train past other standing passengers at a "safe" distance except in the vestibules.

Of course people get on with it and stand on the Underground and other services which are busy at certain times, but the fact that this doesn't seem to have caused any notable increase in infections is by-the-by for the dictators managers currently in charge of the railway.
Could you point me to the thread? Is it on this section of the forum? I was just looking at journeys involving XC and at Advance tickets, and found exactly this situation in that it says they strongly recommend seat reservations, and yet when I go to the next page I get coach * seat ***, which is no help at all.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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Could you point me to the thread? Is it on this section of the forum? I was just looking at journeys involving XC and at Advance tickets, and found exactly this situation in that it says they strongly recommend seat reservations, and yet when I go to the next page I get coach * seat ***, which is no help at all.
It's the kind of reservation they want you to get. It's a counted place reservation, which means that you are not allocated a specific seat, but you have one of a limited number of reservations that can be issued for that service.

The recent thread on the subject is here.
 

Skymonster

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The Cross Country reservations system really is a load of nonsense. Take tomorrow for example - there are “no fares available” for Derby-Leeds between 07:45 and 17:45 according to popular websites, despite there being an hourly direct train. This is presumably because all the Cross Country trains have reached their artificial socially-distanced capacity.

However, I am willing to bet:
  1. The TVM at Derby station will sell a Derby-Leeds offpeak return tomorrow
  2. There will not be bouncers at every door of every Cross Country train enforcing the reservations-only policy, meaning anyone with a SVR will be able to board the trains
  3. There will be unoccupied seats on each train, even if they are not quite as socially distanced as Cross Country might want (most likely some folks with reservations won’t travel and there won’t be any issue)
  4. If someone boards at Derby and in the unlikely event a ticket check takes place, the worst that could happen is someone without a reservation could be turfed off at Sheffield or Wakefield and continue on with Northern
Indeed, so much am I sure about this I am going to Leeds tomorrow, on Cross Country, on a train for which there are supposedly no fares available.

Extending this discussion slightly: how the heck will customers ever be encouraged back to the railway, when the railway booking systems seem to suggest there are no seats available on flows such as Derby - Leed?
 

ForTheLoveOf

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The Cross Country reservations system really is a load of nonsense. Take tomorrow for example - there are “no fares available” for Derby-Leeds between 07:45 and 17:45 according to popular websites, despite there being an hourly direct train. This is presumably because all the Cross Country trains have reached their artificial socially-distanced capacity.

However, I am willing to bet:
  1. The TVM at Derby station will sell a Derby-Leeds offpeak return tomorrow
  2. There will not be bouncers at every door of every Cross Country train enforcing the reservations-only policy, meaning anyone with a SVR will be able to board the trains
  3. There will be unoccupied seats on each train, even if they are not quite as socially distanced as Cross Country might want (most likely some folks with reservations won’t travel and there won’t be any issue)
  4. If someone boards at Derby and in the unlikely event a ticket check takes place, the worst that could happen is someone without a reservation could be turfed off at Sheffield or Wakefield and continue on with Northern
Indeed, so much am I sure about this I am going to Leeds tomorrow, on Cross Country, on a train for which there are supposedly no fares available.

Extending this discussion slightly: how the heck will customers ever be encouraged back to the railway, when the railway booking systems seem to suggest there are no seats available on flows such as Derby - Leed?
You are entirely correct; it's a ludicrous situation. As a taxpayer I am appalled at the profligacy of throwing money at the TOCs only for them to tell us either to go away, or as in your case, that there "are no trains" :rolleyes:

The problem is one of incentives. Under the current Emergency Measures Agreements, XC have no incentive to put themselves at risk of bad PR or other consequences if they're deemed to be 'careless' by allowing what's actually a sensible number of passengers onboard. The DfT is not going to start a massive argument with the unions by telling TOCs to stop taking pointless social distancing measures. The passenger and taxpayer is caught in the crossfire.

Also, minor tip - if this is a day-trip, you can save a fair chunk by splitting at Sheffield ;)
 

yorkie

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They may not be fully at reserved capacity.

They may be not open for bookings.

The reservation situation is a farce; it can't go on much longer surely?!
 

alastair

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The Cross Country reservations system really is a load of nonsense. Take tomorrow for example - there are “no fares available” for Derby-Leeds between 07:45 and 17:45 according to popular websites, despite there being an hourly direct train. This is presumably because all the Cross Country trains have reached their artificial socially-distanced capacity.

However, I am willing to bet:
  1. The TVM at Derby station will sell a Derby-Leeds offpeak return tomorrow
  2. There will not be bouncers at every door of every Cross Country train enforcing the reservations-only policy, meaning anyone with a SVR will be able to board the trains
  3. There will be unoccupied seats on each train, even if they are not quite as socially distanced as Cross Country might want (most likely some folks with reservations won’t travel and there won’t be any issue)
  4. If someone boards at Derby and in the unlikely event a ticket check takes place, the worst that could happen is someone without a reservation could be turfed off at Sheffield or Wakefield and continue on with Northern
Indeed, so much am I sure about this I am going to Leeds tomorrow, on Cross Country, on a train for which there are supposedly no fares available.

Extending this discussion slightly: how the heck will customers ever be encouraged back to the railway, when the railway booking systems seem to suggest there are no seats available on flows such as Derby - Leed?
You are completely correct. A member of my family needed to travel today from Totnes to Bristol TM (virtually all direct trains are XC) returning tomorrow. Conditioned, as so many are now, to booking on-line, he was perplexed that no website would sell him a ticket, presumably due to the absurdly low number of "counted places" apparently being sold out on EVERY train in either direction on both days. Having read this forum, I advised him to buy a ticket at the station (from a TVM, just in case the booking office chose to be obstructive), board the train, find a seat, and keep a low profile. As you correctly predicted, there was no problem boarding whatsoever, abundant seats and not even a ticket check.

But,as @yorkie has posted,what a total farce!
 

route101

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Took XC from Southampton to Bournemouth few days ago. No check before getting onboard or onboard and service quiet, 9 car double.
 

Mainline421

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Every on this thread is worrying about nothing far too much, the wording on XC's own site doesn't say reservations are mandatory, only encouraged.

I've done two long-ish journeys on CrossCountry without any reservations in the past few weeks and even had my ticket inspected on board on one of them, and I know someone who commutes on CrossCountry many times per week and never has a reservation.
 

alastair

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Every on this thread is worrying about nothing far too much, the wording on XC's own site doesn't say reservations are mandatory, only encouraged.

I've done two long-ish journeys on CrossCountry without any reservations in the past few weeks and even had my ticket inspected on board on one of them, and I know someone who commutes on CrossCountry many times per week and never has a reservation.
Yes, but with respect, surely that is not the point? It's all very well for people who read this forum and understand what is going on, but for any normal punter who visits the XC (or any other) website it is clear that tickets are "not available" and cannot be sold so therefore you either drive, or don't travel at all. That just seems wrong and disgraceful.
 

yorkie

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Every on this thread is worrying about nothing far too much, the wording on XC's own site doesn't say reservations are mandatory, only encouraged.
Yes you aren't going to be refused travel but you can't buy a ticket!

For example York to Plymouth off peak on a Wednesday in a couple of weeks time (so possibly the quietest day of the week for long distance journeys?)

0944 - sold out in standard class; cheapest fare £224
1057 - LNER + GWR service (over £100 on XC website but only about £50 on Trainsplit!)
1142 - sold out
1244 - sold out in standard class; cheapest fare £298

So your options are:
1) Travel on an earlier train and depart at "peak" time; this requires an Advance fare or an Anytime; the 0844 for example is £91.60 Advance or £206.70 for Anytime Single. We are being encouraged to avoid "peak" times (even though we know that train will be lightly loaded, but let's follow the guidelines) so let's rule that out;
2) Take LNER + GWR; the fares for each are really cheap (about £25 apiece when booked through Trainsplit) but many people making a journey of this nature would prefer to avoid London
3) Pay over £200 for 1st class
4) Wait until the 1344, which is the first train on which you can be sold an Off Peak fare.
5) Or you can get insider knowledge from this forum and realise that you can buy an Off Peak ticket from a ticket machine and just use it anyway as the train will probably be empty.



yrk-ply.jpg


And here is another one for the previous Wednesday (6th August):

Burton to Derby departing 19:26 requires a 1st Class ticket, at over double the fare. This 7 coach HST will be extremely lightly loaded.

but-dby.jpg

I am trying to book a ticket for the above train on 6th of August but can't get any website to sell a ticket for it.

I tweeted them about Burton to Sheffield:
Looks like there could be a problem with reservation systems? @CrossCountryUK can you assist? Is the 1926 Burton to Leeds actually sold out in Standard on 06/08? what is the correct fare for this train as £63.20 seems a bit steep for what's likely to be a quiet train? Thanks
Their reply was to check back on the day:
Hi there, the online systems reflects bookings made, so is no more standard class availability. There may be some more tickets released on the day of travel if you wish to check back then. ^RS
I don't think XC realise the scale of this problem, and they will continue to lose revenue as a result.

I feel sorry for third party retailers (@alistairlees ) who are also going to be losing out as people continue to ditch the train for their cars, not to mention the environmental impact, and the long term damage this is causing for the entire industry.

Is there any way to get the DfT to intervene?
 

father_jack

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Do any of the mods/admins/experts on here know of any website that gives the booking office system type "error messages", eg "no inventory", "no availability" or "Closed" ??? I'm looking into exactly the issues being discussed in this thread so a friend can travel. Trains have been removed and restored or stops removed. This works fine for journey information but the National Reservation System (NRS) is not robust, if one stop is removed it can put the whole journey back to "no inventory".
 
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Thomas31

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I’ve just had a look on National Rail for the fare between Reading and Oxford and although it refused to offer me a return fare it did give me an option to purchase the Oxfordshire day rover. So I can’t make a return journey with XC, but I can sit on their trains all day between Reading and Banbury...
 

yorkie

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Do any of the mods/admins/experts on here know of any website that gives the booking office system type "error messages", eg "no inventory", "no availability" or "Closed" ??? I'm looking into exactly the issues being discussed in this thread so a friend that travel. Trains have been removed and restored or stops removed. This works fine for journey information but the National Reservation System (NRS) is not robust, if one stop is removed it can put the whole journey back to "no inventory".
I can't answer that but you can see when stops were restored or removed on http://timetablehistory.com/

I often book with Trainsplit; their booking confirmations will link to the trains in your itinerary on that site, and you can see the history showing if the train was cancelled, reinstated, or any other changes that occurred. This is very handy as station staff generally blame the retailer in my experience (as happened at Leeds last year: https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/lner-sell-tickets-for-train-that-doesnt-exist.194597/ ) so it's great to have evidence to prove what really happened!

I’ve just had a look on National Rail for the fare between Reading and Oxford and although it refused to offer me a return fare it did give me an option to purchase the Oxfordshire day rover. So I can’t make a return journey with XC, but I can sit on their trains all day between Reading and Banbury...
You could try tweeting XC; while they may say to check back on the day, if sufficient people contact them they might look into it a bit deeper.

I think most potential passengers would just give up; certainly based on the loadings I've seen on XC I'd say that is the case. On the last XC train I was on, which was 2 days ago, hardly anyone was on it. Most people are just ditching the train. People can't be bothered to contact train companies with such queries as they expect to be fobbed off, and most people just don't have the time to faff around.
 

Skymonster

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Train depTue 28/07Wed 29/07Thu 30/07Fri 31/07Mon 03/08Tue 04/08Wed 05/08Thu 06/08
09:45No fareNo fareNo fare£18.80 Std£63.20 1st£63.20 1st£18.80 StdNo fares
10:45No fare£63.20 1st£63.20 1stNo fareNo fareNo fare£63.20 1st£63.20 1st
11:45No fareNo fare£63.20 1stNo fare£63.20 1st£63.20 1st£35.90 Std£35.90 Std
12:45No fareNo fareNo fareNo fareNo fare£35.90 Std£35.90 Std£35.90 Std
13:46No fareNo fareNo fareNo fareNo fareNo fare£35.90 Std£63.20 1st
14:46£90.90 1st£90.90 1st£90.90 1stNo fare£90.90 1st£37.50 OP£37.50 OP£37.50 OP

Hope no one wants to go from Derby to Leeds on a weekday for the next couple of weeks. One way journey departing Derby after 09:00. Cheapest fare offered is listed in the table (in almost all cases those quoted are Advance Std or Advance 1st, except where OP is shown).

Seriously, we all know these trains are likely to be lightly loaded. We also know that a TVM at a station is almost certainly going to sell an off peak ticket shortly before every one of these trains departs, but the average leisure consumer checking online is unlikely to know this. If this is the best Cross Country can do, there is no wonder people are not returning to the railway.
 

father_jack

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Train depTue 28/07Wed 29/07Thu 30/07Fri 31/07Mon 03/08Tue 04/08Wed 05/08Thu 06/08
09:45No fareNo fareNo fare£18.80 Std£63.20 1st£63.20 1st£18.80 StdNo fares
10:45No fare£63.20 1st£63.20 1stNo fareNo fareNo fare£63.20 1st£63.20 1st
11:45No fareNo fare£63.20 1stNo fare£63.20 1st£63.20 1st£35.90 Std£35.90 Std
12:45No fareNo fareNo fareNo fareNo fare£35.90 Std£35.90 Std£35.90 Std
13:46No fareNo fareNo fareNo fareNo fareNo fare£35.90 Std£63.20 1st
14:46£90.90 1st£90.90 1st£90.90 1stNo fare£90.90 1st£37.50 OP£37.50 OP£37.50 OP

Hope no one wants to go from Derby to Leeds on a weekday for the next couple of weeks. One way journey departing Derby after 09:00. Cheapest fare offered is listed in the table (in almost all cases those quoted are Advance Std or Advance 1st, except where OP is shown).

Seriously, we all know these trains are likely to be lightly loaded. We also know that a TVM at a station is almost certainly going to sell an off peak ticket shortly before every one of these trains departs, but the average leisure consumer checking online is unlikely to know this. If this is the best Cross Country can do, there is no wonder people are not returning to the railway.
But if you base things on 3 standard coaches per train at say 30% capacity for social distancing thats 51 usable seats so there isn't capacity for bargains.
 

Skymonster

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But if you base things on 3 standard coaches per train at say 30% capacity for social distancing thats 51 usable seats so there isn't capacity for bargains.
All of the trains are at least four cars, and most are doubled up to eight on this part of the network too.

But I'm not talking about bargains - the "No fare" entries in the table means that Cross Country won't even sell a Standard Open ticket. How do you get "normals" back on the trains if, effectively, train companies like Cross Country are telling them they can't use the trains? The answer isn't ridiculous capacity control - the answer is letting people who need or want to travel do so without facing artificial restrictions.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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But if you base things on 3 standard coaches per train at say 30% capacity for social distancing thats 51 usable seats so there isn't capacity for bargains.
At least 50% capacity should be possible even with "social distancing" measures (and bear in mind there will be some groups, which can of course sit together). And, since XC still haven't deigned to bother operating anything remotely resembling a normal service, most trains are either 5 car or doubled up. So capacity is a lot higher than 51 seats.

I don't think anyone is demanding that they sell Advance tickets. In fact in this situation that is the opposite of what's happening: they're claiming that flexible walk-up tickets are "sold out" (which is a contradiction in terms) and yet in some cases Advance tickets are still available.
 
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BJames

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I've had no end of problems trying to sort out my travel with Crosscountry.

To directly answer the question, from my travel, it is almost certain that you will not be denied travel, given that there is a) ample space onboard and b) nobody checking if you have a reservation or not. My ticket was not checked (nor was I expecting it to be to be honest), the guard passed through twice in my 40 minute journey.

I had to split my tickets more than I thought would be necessary - Nottingham to Derby, Derby to B'ham New Street and then a separate anytime return for the last leg of the journey. If I had bought a ticket Nottingham to New Street, it was only offering the first class return walk-up fare and even then not for all the services - some of these were "sold out" too. The standard class advance and first class advance were all "sold out", as were all the off-peak returns and anytime returns. I tried Derby to New Street and suddenly there were advance fares available (although still not for all the trains, and some only had first advances) but the walk-up fares supposedly weren't available.

Eventually I just bought an anytime single (was in the peak hours) to Derby using EMR and then used an advance ticket from Derby to New Street. There were plenty of available tickets from Nottingham to Derby, even though one was available for the Nottingham-Derby leg of the XC train that continues to B'ham, and a separate fare was available for the Derby to B'ham portion, but one ticket for Nottingham-B'ham was not available. Just doesn't really make sense to me.

Ticket machines will sell you an off peak or anytime single/return and you will be able to board the train, but online websites will not. If they are claiming reservations are compulsory this is by name only and is not enforced, other than by the refusal of websites to sell you a ticket. They don't give you a seat anyway, it's counted places. The train Derby-New Street was 8 carriages, it wasn't exactly busy and there was more than enough space to spread out. At no point did the train manager say that this train is for those with reservations only.
 
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35B

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At least 50% capacity should be possible even with "social distancing" measures. And, since XC still haven't deigned to bother operating anything remotely resembling a normal service, most trains are either 5 car or doubled up. So capacity is a lot higher than 51 seats.

I don't think anyone is demanding that they sell Advance tickets. In fact in this situation that is the opposite of what's happening: they're claiming that flexible walk-up tickets are "sold out" (which is a contradiction in terms) and yet in some cases Advance tickets are still available.
Just to note that XC have next to no autonomy here; the decisions about what they can do and how they can operate are apparently being micromanaged by government.
 

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