Trivia: Rail journeys between stations where the shortest route is not the quickest

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PTR 444

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The completion of HS2 will open up new routes between stations which will be much faster than before, but also cover more rail mileage. An example is London to York, which will become much faster via Birmingham even though that route will be longer distance wise than the ECML. It has got me wondering whether there are that many instances at present where a pair of stations has two or more different rail routes between them, but the shortest of these routes is not the quickest in terms of journey time.
 
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Llandudno

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Chester to Manchester Piccadilly is quicker via Warrington BQ than Via Northwich, which I would assume is a shorter route.
 

AndyNLondon

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Cambridge to London is one: the route to Liverpool Street is shorter, but Kings Cross is faster.
 

FenMan

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There are numerous examples from my local station, Blackwater on the North Downs Line, albeit with changes.

A few off the top of my head with the shortest route / quickest route:-
Croydon Stations - meandering through various Surrey shacks NE of Guildford / via Redhill.
Hastings - via Tonbridge / via Gatwick Airport
Dover Priory - via Tonbridge / via London Stations (via Paddington and St Pancras is quickest)
Leatherhead - via Effingham Junction / via Dorking Stations
Hereford - via Evesham / via Newport (Gwent).
 

MontyP

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Hull to Doncaster - shortest route is via Goole but the quickest trains are the London trains via Selby.
 

yorkie

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The completion of HS2 will open up new routes between stations which will be much faster than before, but also cover more rail mileage. An example is London to York, which will become much faster via Birmingham even though that route will be longer distance wise than the ECML. It has got me wondering whether there are that many instances at present where a pair of stations has two or more different rail routes between them, but the shortest of these routes is not the quickest in terms of journey time.
York to Sheffield is not quicker via Pontefract Baghill, at least not by taking scheduled timetable services, which I assume is what you meant?

(If a train was diverted via PFR, it would be a close-run thing whether this is quicker than going via Doncaster. Given a perfect run, York-Doncaster can be done in ~19 min and Doncaster-Sheffield in ~18min, giving ~37min. It may be possible to go via PFR faster than this, but probably not; others may be able to comment on this with more accuracy than I can)
 

PTR 444

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York to Sheffield is not quicker via Pontefract Baghill, at least not by taking scheduled timetable services, which I assume is what you meant?
Yes.
(If a train was diverted via PFR, it would be a close-run thing whether this is quicker than going via Doncaster. Given a perfect run, York-Doncaster can be done in ~19 min and Doncaster-Sheffield in ~18min, giving ~37min. It may be possible to go via PFR faster than this, but probably not; others may be able to comment on this with more accuracy than I can)
Interesting observation. I suppose another point to consider is whether the diverted XC service is slowed down by the local stopper on that line?
 

yorkie

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Yes.

Interesting observation. I suppose another point to consider is whether the diverted XC service is slowed down by the local stopper on that line?
You'd have to be unlucky!

Do your examples have to be possible by a direct through train? You may want to edit your opening post to make this clear. If not, the examples are almost infinite!

A few more examples which are possible by through trains:

Glasgow to Edinburgh - via Falkirk faster than via Shotts or via Bathgate

London to Birmingham - Euston to New St via Rugby faster than Marylebone to Moor St via High Wycombe

London to Horsham - faster via Gatwick on GTR but SWR is more direct

Wakefield to Sheffield - faster via Moorthorpe but via Barnsley is more direct

London to Exeter - faster from Paddington but the distance is longer than from Waterloo via Salisbury

Wigan to Manchester - fast trains go via Eccles but the Hag Fold route is shorter

Sunderland to York - LNER's daily through train is faster than Grand Central despite taking a longer route via Newcastle
 
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PTR 444

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You'd have to be unlucky!

Do your examples have to be possible by a direct through train? You may want to edit your opening post to make this clear. If not, the examples are almost infinite!

A few more examples which are possible by through trains:

Glasgow to Edinburgh - via Falkirk faster than via Shotts or via Bathgate

London to Birmingham - Euston to New St via Rugby faster than Marylebone to Moor St via High Wycombe

London to Horsham - faster via Gatwick on GTR but SWR is more direct

Wakefield to Sheffield - faster via Moorthorpe but via Barnsley is more direct

London to Exeter - faster from Paddington but the distance is longer than from Waterloo via Salisbury

Wigan to Manchester - fast trains go via Eccles but the Hag Fold route is shorter

Sunderland to York - LNER's daily through train is faster than Grand Central despite taking a longer route via Newcastle
All of the above examples are valid. I am looking for any legitimate A to B journeys that the general public would consider making, so these do not have to be through trains between the two stations and can even include separate stations in the same town/city centre (eg. Marylebone - Snow Hill vs Euston - New Street).
 
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Craven Arms to Llanelli via Heart of Wales or Newport. There's actually not as much difference time-wise as I had expected.
 

PTR 444

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Craven Arms to Llanelli via Heart of Wales or Newport. There's actually not as much difference time-wise as I had expected.
I was wondering whether this was the case when I created this thread but wasn’t entirely sure. The HoWL route is 90 miles whereas going via Newport is 140mi in total. All Manchester - Swansea trains take the latter route with fewer stops, so I presume this would be the quickest when compared with the HoWL stopper which is constrained by single track sections.
 

berneyarms

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Chester to Manchester Piccadilly is quicker via Warrington BQ than Via Northwich, which I would assume is a shorter route.
Except that the distance is shorter via Warrington BQ, mainly as the trains via Northwich have to divert via Stockport

Via Warrington is 40.2 miles while via Northwich and Stockport is 45 miles.
 

backontrack

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Margate to London is probably quicker on HS2 into St Pancras but more direct via Herne Bay into London Victoria.
 

aliceh

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I've only done a quick distance calculation, but Bournemouth to Bristol is quicker via Southampton and Salisbury than the (just slightly shorter) Dorchester and Yeovil route.

It's also quicker by the definitely longer Cross-country to Reading and GWR fast to Bristol route.
 

Master Cutler

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I've done Euston Chester via Warrington BQ (Avanti - TFW) quicker than Euston Crewe Chester on the late night service.
The risk is making the change at BQ with only 4 minutes to spare.
 

Llandudno

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Except that the distance is shorter via Warrington BQ, mainly as the trains via Northwich have to divert via Stockport

Via Warrington is 40.2 miles while via Northwich and Stockport is 45 miles.
I stand corrected, both routes seem a bit convoluted and whichever route you take it feels like an eternity to get from Chester to Manchester!

Sometimes it almost ‘ feels’ quicker to travel between Chester and Piccadilly by changing at Crewe!
 

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Swindon to Cheltenham can often be quicker via a swift change at Bristol Parkway rather than via the more direct and shorter route via Kemble. This is generally due to the via Kemble trains reversing at Gloucester whereas the Cross Country trains via Bristol Parkway don't.
 

FenMan

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I think on that one, the shorter route via Tonbridge is still quicker.

Yes, it is at the moment. Going via Gatwick was quicker for years, but nudges to the timetables have knocked the Gatwick connections out of sync when returning from Hastings.
 

yorksrob

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Yes, it is at the moment. Going via Gatwick was quicker for years, but nudges to the timetables have knocked the Gatwick connections out of sync when returning from Hastings.

Ah, thanks. I was always of the impression that the BML service was run more for the benefit of Eastbourne.
 

SteveM70

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Peterborough to Manchester is quicker changing at Doncaster then going direct with EMR
 

-Colly405-

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Not quite answering your question, but the traditional (and even now, principal) route from London to Bristol is neither the quickest nor the shortest.
PAD-BPW-BRI is both quicker and shorter than PAD-CPM-BRI.
 

LSWR Cavalier

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@PTR 444
York to London, faster via Birmingham? Seems a bit crazy, unnecessary, a much longer route but less time for the journey because trains would go much much faster. Direct trains via Grantham are fast enough already, I think

I should rather see better connections to Little Snoring, instead of even 'better' services to places that already have very fast and frequent services
 

341o2

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When I first visited the Isle of Wight after moving to the New Forest, the route was given as change at Southampton and again at Fratton, stopping train took ages, on return was advised Portsmouth to Eastliegh, Eastliegh to Brockenhurst far quicker.
So, to be clear, the two stations are Southampton Central and Portsmouth Harbour
 

Watershed

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Not quite answering your question, but the traditional (and even now, principal) route from London to Bristol is neither the quickest nor the shortest.
PAD-BPW-BRI is both quicker and shorter than PAD-CPM-BRI.
There is less than two thirds of a mile in it - and at the moment there's just one direct train a day via Parkway. However, the connections currently work well at Parkway in both directions, so it's still quicker to go that way if you've just missed a train via Bath.

There are lots of journeys where it's quicker to double back between Didcot and Reading, although the reduced frequency of fast GWR & XC services to Oxford and beyond has changed this in some instances.
 
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Old Yard Dog

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Chester to Manchester Piccadilly is quicker via Warrington BQ than Via Northwich, which I would assume is a shorter route.

Actually its 40¼ miles via Warrington BQ and 44¾ miles via Northwich, the diversion via Stockport adding considerably to the latter route.
 

norbitonflyer

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Lincoln to Peterborough
- via Sleaford, 56.75 miles, 80 minutes
- via Newark, 60.25 miles, 60 minutes

The time advantage via Newark used to be smaller when a change at Newark was required, (and often evaporated as the connections were notoriously unreliable) but the direct Lincoln to London services via Newark introduced in late 2019 (eight years late) have changed all that.
 
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