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Trivia - Maximum 'Minimum' changes between two stations

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crispy1978

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Apologies if this has been discussed previously - I did a search, but couldn't find anything of note.

I was sat on a heritage railway (Ravenglass & Eskdale) whilst away for the weekend, whilst thinking about the one I have near my home (NYMR), and that got me thinking that to do that journey from there back home would be quite the mission. A bit of research told me it wasn't even possible in a day, and required 5 changes!

Now, we know that heritage railways don't have the most comprehensive timetables, especially at certain times of the year - so I thought about moving this to just National Rail stations.

So - I wonder what the maximum number of changes are between two stations on the National Rail Network are - but whilst keeping changes to a minimum where possible. I would guess, we would be looking at a connection between two branch lines?

Looe to Oban, for example I can see in 4 changes:
Train 10:30 Looe[LOO] - Liskeard[LSK] 10:58
Train 11:04 Liskeard[LSK] - Manchester Piccadilly[MAN] 16:57
Train 17:15 Manchester Piccadilly[MAN] - Glasgow Central[GLC] 20:34
Walk 20:49 Glasgow Central[GLC] - Glasgow Queen Street[GLQ] 20:54
Train 05:23 Glasgow Queen Street[GLQ] - Oban[OBN] 08:35

I'm sure there will be more than that - will have a think whilst I go do some housework!!
 
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Bletchleyite

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Anything north of Inverness (say Wick) will add one more on top of that, assuming a walk doesn't count.

Might also get more involving a branch shuttle like Stourbridge? Or Marlow at peak times?
 
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MarlowDonkey

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Or Marlow at peak times?

Marlow to Exmouth (and numerous other places) would involve five trains at peak hours.

Marlow to Bourne End
Bourne End to Maidenhead
Maidenhead to Reading
Reading to Exeter
Exeter to Exmouth.

I'm not quite sure how you get to Stourbridge from Reading, but presumably it's at least another three. If you count the Underground as a train, any route via London adds an extra train or two.
 

rf_ioliver

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It used to be possible, if you took the next available train, to make London Road (Brighton) to Fishersgate as follows:

London Road -> Brighton
Brighton -> Hove (shuttle)
Hove -> Portslade (Victoria-Coastway west)
Portslade -> Fishergate

Which I think would be a good candidate for the most trains for the shortest point-to-point journey

t.

Ian
 

Philip C

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Anything north of Inverness (say Wick) will add one more on top of that, assuming a walk doesn't count.

Might also get more involving a branch shuttle like Stourbridge? Or Marlow at peak times?

If walks don't count then simply walk all the way for a nil train solution! As usual I'll need much more definition of the rules of this game before being prepared to join in.
 
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Haywain

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Starting earlier, the minimum number of changes from Looe to Oban is 3. The 0909 from Looe connects into a direct train from Liskeard to Glasgow Central, thus knocking out the change at Manchester. If the walk is considered one change, that actually takes it down to 2 changes overall. I suspect that there are very few journeys that can't be made in 3 changes on the National Rail network (excluding the Isle of Wight).
 
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Bantamzen

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Starting earlier, the minimum number of changes from Looe to Oban is 3. The 0909 from Looe connects into a direct train from Liskeard to Glasgow Central, thus knocking out the change at Manchester. If the walk is considered one change, that actually takes it down to 2 changes overall. I suspect that there are very few journeys that can't be made in 3 changes on the National Rail network (excluding the Isle of Wight).

Talking of all things Esk, I recently travelled from my home in Baildon to Whitby for the Goth Weekend which was:

Baildon > Shipley
Shipley > Leeds
Leeds > Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough > Whitby

And some friends of ours had more changes:

Aspatria > Carlisle
Carlisle > Newcastle
Newcastle > Darlington
Darlington > Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough > Whitby

So Whitby must be a likely candidate for journeys with the most changes from a number of places, as well as one of the longest and infrequent connections.
 

Haywain

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And some friends of ours had more changes:

Aspatria > Carlisle
Carlisle > Newcastle
Newcastle > Darlington
Darlington > Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough > Whitby

So Whitby must be a likely candidate for journeys with the most changes from a number of places, as well as one of the longest and infrequent connections.
But Aspatria to Whitby can be done with 3 changes (or even 2 with an overnight change at Middlesbrough), and the question was about the largest MINIMUM number of changes. It's possible to change trains half a dozen times between London and Edinburgh, but the minimum is nil.
 

Bantamzen

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But Aspatria to Whitby can be done with 3 changes (or even 2 with an overnight change at Middlesbrough), and the question was about the largest MINIMUM number of changes. It's possible to change trains half a dozen times between London and Edinburgh, but the minimum is nil.

Ah yes, I forgot about the Newcastle > Middlesbrough option (although only for those hardy enough to risk a Pacer all the way down). I'm not sure an overnight option would be one often taken, or indeed ought to be counted as it's really a 2 day journey.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Marlow to Exmouth (and numerous other places) would involve five trains at peak hours.

Marlow to Bourne End
Bourne End to Maidenhead
Maidenhead to Reading
Reading to Exeter
Exeter to Exmouth.

I'm not quite sure how you get to Stourbridge from Reading, but presumably it's at least another three. If you count the Underground as a train, any route via London adds an extra train or two.

Marlow is looking like a place with plenty of 4 changes required, just checked to Whitby and the minimum changes are:

Marlow > Maidenhead
Maidenhead > Reading
Reading > Darlington
Darlington > Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough > Whitby

Just do-able with the 10:05 departure from Marlow, arriving Whitby 19:07. otherwise it's 5 changes via London Paddington / Kings Cross.
 

crispy1978

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But Aspatria to Whitby can be done with 3 changes (or even 2 with an overnight change at Middlesbrough), and the question was about the largest MINIMUM number of changes. It's possible to change trains half a dozen times between London and Edinburgh, but the minimum is nil.

Yeah that's what I'm after, not unnecessary changes that can be realistically avoided.

I'm thinking branch line to branch line with a change between two stations in a city and possibly one change elsewhere (making 5 changes) must be out there.
 

61653 HTAFC

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How about...

Stourbridge Town -> Stourbridge Junction
Stourbridge Junction -> Smethwick Galton Bridge
Smethwick GB -> Brum New Street
New Street -> Cardiff Central
Cardiff C -> Cardiff Queen Street
Cardiff QS -> Cardiff Bay

5 Changes there...
 

greaterwest

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Merthyr Tydfil > Cardiff Central
Cardiff Central > Crewe
Crewe > Edinburgh
Edinburgh > Perth
Perth > Inverness
Inverness > Wick

Leaving Merthyr Tydfil at 6:38 and arriving Wick at 22:52, with no particularly long waits at stations.
 

Bevan Price

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Merthyr Tydfil > Cardiff Central
Cardiff Central > Crewe
Crewe > Edinburgh
Edinburgh > Perth
Perth > Inverness
Inverness > Wick

Leaving Merthyr Tydfil at 6:38 and arriving Wick at 22:52, with no particularly long waits at stations.

There are through services between Edinburgh & Inverness.
 

PHILIPE

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Merthyr Tydfil > Cardiff Central
Cardiff Central > Crewe
Crewe > Edinburgh
Edinburgh > Perth
Perth > Inverness
Inverness > Wick

Leaving Merthyr Tydfil at 6:38 and arriving Wick at 22:52, with no particularly long waits at stations.

You don't have to change at Perth to travel from Edinburgh to Inverness.
 

IanXC

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Starting earlier, the minimum number of changes from Looe to Oban is 3. The 0909 from Looe connects into a direct train from Liskeard to Glasgow Central, thus knocking out the change at Manchester. If the walk is considered one change, that actually takes it down to 2 changes overall. I suspect that there are very few journeys that can't be made in 3 changes on the National Rail network (excluding the Isle of Wight).

Without defined rules as yet, and if one is willing to travel on a Saturday and break ones journey in Edinburgh:

Saturday
0909 Looe - Liskeard 0940
0950 Liskeard - Edinburgh 1906

Sunday
0808 Edinburgh - Oban 1211
 

imagination

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19:08 Merthyr - Cardiff Central
20:17 Cardiff Central - Crewe
23:56 Crewe - Inverness (sleeper)
10:38 Inverness - Wick

3 changes and done within a day.
 
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Dr Hoo

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The London area might offer some rich pickings if we are thinking about National Rail only (during London Bridge Thameslink blockade)
How about:
Sundridge Park to Grove Park
Grove Park to London Bridge
London Bridge to Clapham Junction via Crystal Palace
Clapham Junction to Stratford
Stratford to Romford
Romford to Emerson Park?

Five changes on a fairly short trip.
 
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imagination

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The London area might offer some rich pickings if we are thinking about National Rail only (during London Bridge Thameslink blockade)
How about:
Sundridge Park to Grove Park
Grove Park to London Bridge
London Bridge to New Cross Gate
New Cross Gate to Canonbury
Canonbury to Stratford
Stratford to Romford
Romford to Emerson Park?

Six changes on a fairly short trip.

Sundridge Park to Grove Park
Grove Park to Denmark Hill
Denmark Hill to Clapham Junction
Clapham Junction to Stratford

reaches Stratford one change sooner. Without the London Bridge Thameslink Blockade it would be one less still. Still pretty good though.

--

Edit: On that note, I think Sundridge Park to Marlow is permanently 5 changes - at Grove Park, Denmark Hill, Clapham Junction, Reading and Maidenhead.

And is there any way to get from Sundridge Park to, say, Stoke Mandeville in fewer changes than
Grove Park
Denmark Hill
Clapham Junction
Reading
Banbury
Marylebone?

Because if not, then that's 6.
 
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DynamicSpirit

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Sundridge Park to Grove Park
Grove Park to Denmark Hill
Denmark Hill to Clapham Junction
Clapham Junction to Stratford

reaches Stratford one change sooner. Without the London Bridge Thameslink Blockade it would be one less still. Still pretty good though.

If you're insisting on National Rail only, then that would appear to rule out Denmark Hill to Clapham Junction.

On the other hand, if you are allowing use of the Overground, then I believe I can offer a quicker route (although no fewer changes):

Grove Park to New Cross
New Cross to Dalston Junction (which is recognized as an out-of-station interchange with Dalston Kingsland)
Dalston Kingsland to Stratford

;)
 
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greaterwest

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19:08 Merthyr - Cardiff Central
20:17 Cardiff Central - Crewe
23:56 Crewe - Inverness (sleeper)
10:38 Inverness - Wick

3 changes and done within a day.

Indeed, but it doesn't get you there within the same day (although that wasn't necessarily the point, your journey is perfectly valid!)
 

swt_passenger

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If you're insisting on National Rail only, then that would appear to rule out Denmark Hill to Clapham Junction.

On the other hand, if you are allowing use of the Overground,

The Overground is 100% a normal 'National Rail' TOC for routeing and fares purposes, despite what some of their staff think.
 
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ValleyLines142

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Merthyr Tydfil > Cardiff Central
Cardiff Central > Crewe
Crewe > Edinburgh
Edinburgh > Perth
Perth > Inverness
Inverness > Wick

Leaving Merthyr Tydfil at 6:38 and arriving Wick at 22:52, with no particularly long waits at stations.

You could even do Cardiff Bay to Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Queen Street to Cardiff Central and so on, as this thread is about the MAXIMUM number of changes.
 

mirodo

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You could even do Cardiff Bay to Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Queen Street to Cardiff Central and so on, as this thread is about the MAXIMUM number of changes.

No, it's about the maximum minimum. That is to say, the journey whose minimum amount of journeys required is the highest.
 
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