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Author Topic: Reading to London Paddington - evening peak hour fares and restrictions  (Read 7722 times)
Boppy
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« on: November 18, 2010, 02:46:03 PM »

Hi,

My wife is travelling up to London this evening from Reading.  She wants to get a fast train but pay the cheapest fare.

I know from past experience that you are only allowed to board certain trains from Reading to London Paddington with an Off-Peak ticket in the evening but trying to tell which ones whilst at the station has always confused me.  The only way I have ever managed to figure this out is by checking the fares online - e.g. for this evening:

(Single Fares quoted)

17:25 -> 17:59 Off-Peak 14.90
17:32 -> 18:02 Anytime 18.00 (Off-Peak not valid)
17:44 -> 18:14 Off-Peak 15.50
17:52 -> 18:21 Off-Peak 15.50
17:56 -> 18:24 Off-Peak 14.90
18:02 -> 18:30 Off-Peak 14.90
18:08 -> 18:39 Off-Peak 14.90
18:12 -> 18:44 Anytime 18.00 (Off-Peak not valid)
18:22 -> 18:54 Off-Peak 14.90

So two questions:

- Why is it that you can board some fast trains but not others with an Off-Peak ticket?  Why are there just two trains listed above with such an exclusion?  It is very hard to tell the difference at Reading with multiple trains for Paddington often arriving for within minutes of each other. 
- Why is there the slight difference between the Off-Peak fares?

Thanks!!!

Boppy.

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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2010, 03:00:48 PM »

Didn't think there was any restrictions in the evening on a CDS (Off-Peak Day Single) from Reading to Paddington @ 14.90.

Restriction 'P7' applies:

OUTWARD TRAVEL: By any train scheduled to arrive London Terminals at or after 1000.
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Boppy
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2010, 03:21:51 PM »

I used to think the same until last year when I boarded one around 5.30ish I was told my ticket was valid - to be fair the TM did let me off as he understood that it was near impossible to tell at Reading about the exclusion but warned me to check next time.

A couple of friends of mine have also had this occurrence.  I didn't believe it until I actually checked online as well and there do appear to be certain restrictions in the evening where Off-Peak tickets are not valid - as I say it's confusing.

Boppy.
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inspector_blakey
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2010, 03:45:45 PM »

Here's an except from restriction P7:

Quote
RETURN TRAVEL:               
By any train except those     
listed in the table below:   
                             
Ticket may NOT be used on the
following services, Monday - 
Friday:                       
                             
                             
From   From   Final           
Padd   Rdg    Destination     
1600___1628___Bristol TM (BRI)
1606___1633___Penzance (PNZ) 
1615___1642___Swansea (SWA)   
1630___1659___Taunton (TAU)   
1636___1704___Exeter St D(EXD)
1645___1712___Swansea (SWA)   
1649___1721___Oxford (OXF)   
1700___1727___Bristol TM (BRI)
1703___1732___Penzance (PNZ) 
1715   1743___Swansea (SWA)   
1722   1751   Hereford  (HFD)
1730   1757   Taunton (TAU)   
1736   1804   Paignton (PGN) 
1745___1812___Carmarthen (CMN)
1748   1817   Cheltenham (CNM)
1750   1823   Worcester (WOS)
1800   1828   Bristol TM (BRI)
1803   1833   Penzance (PNZ) 
1815   1843   Swansea (SWA)   
1822   1852   Hereford (HFD) 
1830   1857   Weston SM (WSM)
1833   1904   Exeter (EXD) FX
1833   1904   Plymouth(PLY) FO
1845   1912   Swansea (SWA)   
1847   1919   Cheltenham (CNM)
1851   1924   Oxford (OXF)   
1900   1929   Bristol TM (BRI)
1903   1934   Plymouth(PLY)_FX
1903   1934   Penzance(PNZ) FO
1915   1942   Swansea (SWA)

In essence, you can use most of the slower ex-Thames Trains services with a few exceptions. Some of those run fast to Reading (or only call at Slough on the way) so you may well be able to get a fast train to Reading that then becomes a stopper later in its journey. Bit of a mess but I hope the above is helpful!
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Mookiemoo
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2010, 03:48:25 PM »

I think the issue is the peak time journey is INTO paddington not away from it
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inspector_blakey
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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2010, 03:48:45 PM »

Ooops, sorry, what a numpty, I've just given the time restrictions from trains from Paddington to Reading!

In my experience there's no issue with using an off-peak day ticket or travelcard to travel to Paddington in the afternoon, since you're going against the principal flow. The outward restriction P7 for reading to Paddington is as follows:

Quote
OUTWARD TRAVEL:              
By any train scheduled to    
arrive London Terminals or    
Kensington Olympia at or after
 1000.                        
                              
The following exceptions      
apply:                        
                              
* Valid for travel from Marlow
 at or late then 0830.        
                              
* Valid for travel from Bourne
 End, Cookham or Furze Platt  
at or later then 0840.        
                              
* Valid for travel from all  
stations on the 0834 Reading  
to Gatwick Airport service.  

Quite why the 1732 and 1812 services show up as barred to off-peak day tickets is a bit of a mystery to me - there's no restriction in the fares manual to suggest they should be. One's an up Bristol service, the other an up Cardiff service, but there are plenty of other HST services from Oxford/Bristol/South Wales/the west country at around that time that are not shown as restricted. The best I can guess is some kind of bug in the system...

I'll leave that list above there in case it's useful to someone - all those restrictions are from NFM07, so are valid currently.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2010, 08:47:52 PM »

A bit of a mystery indeed. I'd write to FGW and ask why these services are barred on online journey planners.

Anyone staff out there with access to 'The Manual' shed any light on this. Does it say different to Avantix Traveller NFM07?
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Ollie
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2010, 03:35:49 AM »

There are no restrictions in the evening from Reading towards London, I will flag it up.
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Boppy
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2010, 11:09:50 AM »

Thanks Ollie.
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Ollie
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2010, 12:56:57 PM »

I've had a response already, but I need to go to work, so will post it this evening when I get back Smiley
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Ollie
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2010, 11:10:39 PM »

To cut the reply short, it's a known problem.

It's to do with how the restrictions system work and the system can't just restrict eastbound or westbound so it restricts both. As it stands there is no fix.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2010, 06:01:38 PM »

As it stands there is no fix.

Highly unsatisfactory!
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inspector_blakey
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« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2010, 06:18:30 PM »

Really...? From what I can recall there were plenty of up high-speed services which were showing the off-peak day ticket as valid, just seemed to be a couple every hour that were erroneously restricted... If it was a systematic problem then I'd expect to see all up and down high-speed services in the blackout window restricted Huh
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Ollie
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« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2010, 08:05:44 PM »

It's because they put a from and to time for the restriction, doesn't work based on direction for some reason
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IainH
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« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2010, 09:33:24 PM »

I raised this with the trainline years ago and got the usual unsatisfactory reply. However, does it not mean that the train company is in breach of its obligation to sell the cheapest ticket for the journey, and therefore just saying there is no fix is indeed very unsatisfactory? The situation does seem to have improved - a year or so ago no off peak tickets showed at all on the afternoon window to Paddington - but looking for next monday, FGW web sales shows the 1725 is valid for offpeak, the 1732, 1744 and 1752 are not, and the 1756 is. So a ordinary person might reasonably conclude they have to buy a peak ticket (at well over double the fare) when they do not if they want to leave in that time window.
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