Trivia: Journey with a change quicker than the direct service

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mjmason1996

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Feel free to advise me if this has been asked before:

I remember booking tickets a couple years ago to travel from Liverpool to Peterborough where I was surprised to find the direct service (EMT Liverpool-Norwich) came in at over 4 hours whereas another option with a change at York or Leeds (can't remember which one) took only 3 hrs 30. also apparently according to a friend Reading - Newcastle is quicker via London than on the Cross Country train.

I'm now curious as to how many examples of this there are, and which has the biggest time discrepency? Thanks.

Edit: it's also just occurred to me that Newcastle - Middlesborough is quicker via Darlington than it is direct along the durham coast.. i think their may be many more examples in hindsight :D
 
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Stansted to Birmingham (at least pre COVID) was quicker if you got the Stansted Express to Liverpool Street, tube to Euston then a fast Euston to Birmingham New Street train. The direct train goes through Cambridge, Peterborough and Leicester (and is really indirect between Peterborough and Leicester as the line goes via Melton Mowbray)
 

NSE

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I feel like Cambridge to Birmingham might also qualify buy something like three minutes. Though I think National Rail gave like 35 minutes for the tube KGX>EUS, that would easily be reduced.
I guess you’ve also got plenty of loop examples. Raynes Park to Wandsworth Town is quicker via CLJ than direct via TWI for example.
 

Sean Emmett

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Must be loads e.g. Tilehurst - Paddington, where quicker to change at Reading.

More interesting where it involves backtracking, and if so whether ticket is valid.

Grange-over-Sands to Carlisle via change at Lancaster, rather than direct via Cumbrian coast, appears to be valid?

Edit: Just checked Shortlands to London Victoria. Journey planner shows options via change at Bromley South, which would of course involve running non-stop through Shortlands. "No fares available for this journey", but a travelcard would be valid.

However, these journeys appear to be 27 mins rather than 25 mins direct, so falling foul of OP!

But, in the down direction at least, national rail planner showing journeys from Waterloo to Hilsea which are quicker via a change at Fratton than direct, obs involving back tracking AND tickets are valid.

A few years ago when inter-railing I was waiting for local train to reach camp site alongside Lake Geneva.

Staff advised travelling on fast train to station beyond mine, then doubling back on the stopper. Locals doing the same, presumably with zonal tickets.
 
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D6975

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How about Glasgow Central to Derby. There’s a direct service at 07:48, getting you there at 13:26. But if you set off just 11 minutes earlier, there’s a 07:37 which with a change at Crewe gets you to Derby at 12:19. Roughly an hour quicker by changing. Using the same 2 departures from Glasgow, New St is an even bigger difference, 07:37/11:59 with 2 changes (Crewe and Wolves) versus 07:48/14:04 (direct). That’s difference of nearly 2 hours.
 
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Neo9320

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How about Glasgow Central to Derby. There’s a direct service at 07:48, getting you there at 13:26. But if you set off just 11 minutes earlier, there’s a 07:37 which with a change at Crewe gets you to Derby at 12:19. Roughly an hour quicker by changing.

this is invaluable to know!!! Thank you so much!!!
 

gallafent

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Must be loads

That was exactly what I thought when I read the original post :)

Even Oxford-Paddington on a direct fast service (stopping only at Reading and Slough) can sometimes be beaten by taking one train to Reading (either a GWR fast or an XC) and then doing a quick change there onto a Reading-Paddington non-stop. That was certainly true in the HST days, and I'm fairly sure it still is with the IETs (since the Oxford-Paddington services generally stop at Slough …). This is even more likely when anything is running late — ideally one picks up a late-running non-stop Paddington service at Reading …
 

Bletchleyite

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MKC to anywhere on the WCML north of Crewe. The direct service runs via Birmingham at xx13, or you can catch it up by taking the following xx40 to Crewe and changing there.
 

MarlowDonkey

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Back in the days of HSTs, there was a morning through service Paddington to Paignton. They may even have named it the Torbay Express. It went via Bristol, so it was quicker to take the following train which ran via Newbury and change to a local service at Newton Abbott or Exeter.
 

PTR 444

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How many journeys are there where the quickest route involves passing back through the station you left from?

For example, station B has a direct service to station Z which calls at all stations, but there is another train to station A which leaves earlier, and from there you can change onto a direct service to station Z which passes through station B without stopping.
 

roversfan2001

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How many journeys are there where the quickest route involves passing back through the station you left from?

For example, station B has a direct service to station Z which calls at all stations, but there is another train to station A which leaves earlier, and from there you can change onto a direct service to station Z which passes through station B without stopping.
Leyland to anywhere on the WCML south of Wigan is often quicker changing at Preston. It's not a permitted doubleback though. <(
 

ChrisEL

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I haven't done this myself, but I think Wimbledon to East Croydon is quicker going via Clapham Junction than taking the direct tram (if you're allowing them as well).
 

SteveM70

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Bradford to London is about half an hour quicker changing in Leeds rather than going on the Grand Central direct services
 

Peter0124

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How many journeys are there where the quickest route involves passing back through the station you left from?

For example, station B has a direct service to station Z which calls at all stations, but there is another train to station A which leaves earlier, and from there you can change onto a direct service to station Z which passes through station B without stopping.
Brentwood to Liverpool Street changing at Shenfield?
 

Bletchleyite

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I haven't done this myself, but I think Wimbledon to East Croydon is quicker going via Clapham Junction than taking the direct tram (if you're allowing them as well).

Ooh, make me think of another one. MKC to East Croydon is about 20 minutes quicker using Avanti, the Victoria Line and Southern than direct via Kenny O. But if you use official connection times rather than what you can practically do then it may well not be.

Unless it's changed you can even save 10 minutes or so by changing from the direct service to a fast service at Clapham Junction on the 07xx run which sits at Clapham for about 10 minutes (but not for the rest of the day when it runs 11 minutes later on the WCML and doesn't sit at CLJ).
 

Doctor Fegg

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Hereford to Paddington can be faster changing at Newport than taking the direct train.
 

Optima

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How many journeys are there where the quickest route involves passing back through the station you left from?

For example, station B has a direct service to station Z which calls at all stations, but there is another train to station A which leaves earlier, and from there you can change onto a direct service to station Z which passes through station B without stopping.
When I used to live in Ealing Broadway it was usually quicker to get to Reading by going back to Paddington and then catching an HST, rather than the direct DMU services.
 

Bigman

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How about Grand Central 1A59 departs Bradford Interchange at 06:56 and arrives at Kings Cross at 10:18. Or you can get the 07:02 2E01 Northern and change at Leeds into the 07:41 1A13 and be in Kings Cross at 10:09. This isfrom the new timetable.
 

Chilternblue

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0935 High Wycombe to Marylebone arrive 1028
0935 High Wycombe to Beaconsfield arrive 0941 then
0956 Beaconsfield to Marylebone arrive 1020
passes earlier train at West Ruislip
 

FenMan

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Shrewsbury to Euston

Sat 26 June timings:-
The single direct through service takes 2h39m.
However travelling via Crewe can reduce the journey time to 2h24m.
 

Bertie the bus

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08:08 Carlisle – Carnforth arrives 11:51.
08:09 Carlisle – Lancaster arrives 08:57 and if you were lucky you would catch the 09:00 Lancaster – Carnforth arriving 09:10 - 2 hours 41 minutes earlier.
 

MarlowDonkey

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When I used to live in Ealing Broadway it was usually quicker to get to Reading by going back to Paddington and then catching an HST, rather than the direct DMU services.
The same can apply at the other end with Twyford and very occasionally Maidenhead.
 

ExpressTrain

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The once a day CrossCountry Bristol Temple Meads to Stansted Airport service springs to mind here. It appears from Bristol that stations between Peterborough and Stansted are quicker to get to via London.
 

gallafent

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At certain times of day Bletchley-Euston is quicker via MKC (but not Permitted).
It used to be the case that even Leighton Buzzard – Euston could be quicker that way sometimes too (but again of course not a permitted route …) — it's been a long time since I used that line so don't know if this is still true.
 

Gathursty

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I assume that the Heart of Wales can be beaten by any combination of consecutive trains along the Marches and South Wales line.
 

Timmyd

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Pretty much any journey from Addlestone or Chertsey to Clapham Junction or Waterloo is quicker changing at Virginia Water onto a fast train from Reading rather than staying on the direct through to London, because it takes the long way round via Hounslow stopping at all stations. The connections are neatly timetabled although it helps to be at the right end of the train at VW!

Also no-one would do Caterham to London Bridge on the direct service via Tulse Hill when there are plentiful non-stop Thameslink services with a change at East Croydon. Epsom Downs branch is another where a change onto one of the semi fast Victoria trains at Sutton will deliver a quicker arrival into Victoria.
 
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Bald Rick

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I assume that the Heart of Wales can be beaten by any combination of consecutive trains along the Marches and South Wales line.

To Swansea, yes. To Llanelli it’s close.

For example, Craven Arms to Llanelli.

HoW 3h16

Marches and SWML (direct, no change) 3h15

These are GBTT times. In the WTT there’s only half a minute in it!
 
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