Unable to collect tickets so issued with written authority to travel

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FelixtheCat

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Background:

I needed to get from London to Heathrow in order to catch a plane. This being the day of another tube strike, I decided I should go for Heathrow Connect. I booked my ticket online and opted to collect from the ticket machines at Paddington station. I was told I would have to go to the Heathrow Connect ticket machines.

I arrived at Paddington. However, these Heathrow Connect ticket machines were nowhere around. I eventually went to the Heathrow Express ticket office. Explaining my situation, and showing the code that I had taken down earlier, the people there seemed bemused. After some conferring between members, my piece of paper with the code on was stamped along with a request to allow me to travel.

This is my "ticket".

I got to Heathrow fine, thankfully.

Is this normal? Why are there separate ticket machines for each TOC? Is this another problem of our fragmented rail system?
 
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Did you try the Heathrow Express machines? Who did you book with?
 

Reason077

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In general, you can buy Heathrow Connect tickets online from any TOC, and pick them up from any TOC's ticket machine at any station that you nominate.

However, if you buy tickets from the Heathrow Connect website, you can only pick them up from the Heathrow Express ticket machines at Paddington or Heathrow.

The Heathrow Express ticket machines are located behind the Heathrow Express ticket office, at the end of the Heathrow Express platforms (6 and 7). You'd need to pick your tickets up there and then walk around to the Heathrow Connect, which typically goes from platform 12.

If the Heathrow Express ticket machines are not working (or their system is down for some reason?) then I guess it makes sense that you'd be given a hand written ticket for travel.
 
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sheff1

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I notice that the reference code contains 9 characters, whereas the norm is 8. Presumably that means that only TVMs set up to accept the extra character would recognise the code. I have never encountered any such TVMs - are the Heathrow Express machines the only ones ?
 

FelixtheCat

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Did you try the Heathrow Express machines? Who did you book with?
I was told to use the Heathrow Connect ticket machines. As I was quite close to the departure time, I was starting to panic so I didn't think of that :oops: . I thought it best to go to a member of staff. I reserved them from thetrainline.com .
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
In general, you can buy Heathrow Connect tickets online from any TOC, and pick them up from any TOC's ticket machine at any station that you nominate.

However, if you buy tickets from the Heathrow Connect website, you can only pick them up from the Heathrow Express ticket machines at Paddington or Heathrow.

The Heathrow Express ticket machines are located behind the Heathrow Express ticket office, at the end of the Heathrow Express platforms (6 and 7). You'd need to pick your tickets up there and then walk around to the Heathrow Connect, which typically goes from platform 12.

If the Heathrow Express ticket machines are not working (or their system is down for some reason?) then I guess it makes sense that you'd be given a hand written ticket for travel.
Cheers for the info :D . I reserved them from thetrainline where I was told the Connect ticket machines.
 
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James H

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For future reference, you may wish to buy your rail tickets from sites other than thetrainline (any TOC's site will do) as they do not charge a booking fee over and above the face value of the tickets.
 
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