A query if I miss my connecting train....

Hi. I haven't travelled by train in nearly 20 years so not sure what happens in this scenario.

I'll be catching a train with my wife/kids from Gatwick Airport. After just over an hour it stops at Reading Station where we have 12 mins to change platform and change train to final destination.

If our train is LATE arriving at Reading and we miss the connection (or we simply dont make it to the other platform in time, can we catch the next train which follows approx 45 mins later? (There are 5 of us and possibly 8 pcs of luggage so I am a bit worried)

I'm planning on buying a simple ticket, purchased about 2 months in Advance.

Thanks
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Comments

  • nomorekids
    nomorekids Posts: 415 Forumite
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    edited 10 December 2018 at 12:44AM
    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but my daughter catches the Gatwick Reading line to go to college and the line is notorious for late trains, cancelled trains and your train could indeed be late coming into Reading.

    I know Reading station and I don't know where you need to be to catch your next train but Reading station is in two halves, the old part is where the Gatwick train comes in and your connecting train if departing from the new side will mean a walk to the end of the platform, along to the new part, up escalators (or lift) and down to the platform.

    I wouldn't risk buying a ticket only valid for a certain train with 12 minutes only, what time is the next train? give yourself longer in Reading or buy an anytime anytrain ticket if I were you.


    Tip for you, At Gatwick, get on carriage nearest to front. When train gets into Reading, the passengers in the foremost carriage are nearest to barriers and the rest of Reading station. You'll also have less distance to lug your suitcases, this way and if you are trying to do the 12 minute rush to next train, it will give you more of a chance.

    Good luck
    If you want to be rich, never, ever have kids ;)
  • lammy82
    lammy82 Posts: 594 Forumite
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    If the journey planner finds this journey for you and sells you a ticket for it, you are protected. If it sells you a journey with a 12 minute connection then they are saying that is enough time to change, assuming the first train is on time.

    If it's an Advance ticket and you miss a connection due to a late service then you can use the next available service from the same train operator. Best to confirm with platform staff before boarding. If the inbound service isn't delayed and you miss the connection through your own error then you might have a problem.

    If your ticket is a standard anytime or offpeak single/return then you can use it on other services anyway.
  • nobile
    nobile Posts: 574 Forumite
    Thanks nomorekids & lammy

    The Advanced Single ticket is £67 for 5 of us. (Off-peak). An anytime off-peak ticket is £381! So that is completely unaffordable

    I suppose Plan B is take the coach but it takes the journey from 3 hours to 5.5 hours!
  • lammy82
    lammy82 Posts: 594 Forumite
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    nobile wrote: »
    Thanks nomorekids & lammy

    The Advanced Single ticket is £67 for 5 of us. (Off-peak). An anytime off-peak ticket is £381! So that is completely unaffordable

    I suppose Plan B is take the coach but it takes the journey from 3 hours to 5.5 hours!

    I'd go with the Advanced Single but be aware what the next few services would be if you missed the connection. Then you know what you're aiming for on the day if the first train is running late.

    You can use the 'live departures' feature of the National Rail website or any train operator's app to check which platform the connecting train will be departing from, while you're on the first train. So you can go straight to the right platform when you change.

    One other thing to try: if you search for the journey at https://www.nationalrail.co.uk but choose "Allow extra time to change trains" you might get a good Advance fare with a longer changeover period, committing to the train that's 45 minutes later. But then you won't be able to jump on the earlier one if everything goes smoothly.
  • Kite2010
    Kite2010 Posts: 4,304 Forumite
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    nomorekids wrote: »
    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but my daughter catches the Gatwick Reading line to go to college and the line is notorious for late trains, cancelled trains and your train could indeed be late coming into Reading.

    I know Reading station and I don't know where you need to be to catch your next train but Reading station is in two halves, the old part is where the Gatwick train comes in and your connecting train if departing from the new side will mean a walk to the end of the platform, along to the new part, up escalators (or lift) and down to the platform.

    I wouldn't risk buying a ticket only valid for a certain train with 12 minutes only, what time is the next train? give yourself longer in Reading or buy an anytime anytrain ticket if I were you.


    Tip for you, At Gatwick, get on carriage nearest to front. When train gets into Reading, the passengers in the foremost carriage are nearest to barriers and the rest of Reading station. You'll also have less distance to lug your suitcases, this way and if you are trying to do the 12 minute rush to next train, it will give you more of a chance.

    Good luck


    I wouldn't board the front carriage of a Reading service at Gatwick, as you will be at the rear of the train after it reverses at Redhill ;)


    For the fastest getaway at Reading you need to board the rear coach of the train at Gatwick as you will be at the front on arrival at Reading.
  • martindow
    martindow Posts: 10,215 Forumite
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    As the trains are either two or three coaches long I wouldn't worry too much which carriage you travel in. Reading station is quite large but you should be able to get to any platform in under 5 minutes.



    If you book specific trains and the Gatwick train is late it would be best to speak to a member of staff to get the ticket endorsed for a later train from Reading.
  • Basic rule of thumb is that if you buy a ticket for the entire journey then they are obliged to let you travel on a later train if you miss a connection.

    If you split the tickets as it sometimes works out cheaper to buy a ticket to the connection point and then another ticket for the second leg, they are not obliged to let you continue to travel as you simply missed your 2nd train regardless of how you got to the station.
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  • scones
    scones Posts: 58 Forumite
    edited 11 December 2018 at 8:12PM
    chunkytfg wrote: »
    If you split the tickets as it sometimes works out cheaper to buy a ticket to the connection point and then another ticket for the second leg, they are not obliged to let you continue to travel...

    This is untrue. Much as some train companies would like it to be the case, the National Rail Conditions of Travel specifically provide for a single journey to be made using a combination of two or more tickets.

    You have an absolute right to continue your journey if a late train causes you to miss your connecting service. The key things to take into account are:
    • You must have allowed enough time between connecting trains. There is an official time for every station - typically 5 minutes, but up to 15 minutes at larger stations. The easy way to be sure is to use the National Rail website's journey planner as this takes the official times into account.
    • You should stick to services run by the same train company as you have booked with unless you have been given special permission by rail staff. For example if a delay to your first train caused you to miss your connecting Virgin Trains service, you would be entitled to use the next available Virgin Trains service but NOT services provided by a different train company.

    It's one of those cases where you actually have more rights than you may expect and it's not unusual for on-train staff and customer service staff get this wrong and wrongly tell people to buy a new ticket. However, the right to take the next available service is an established principle and is detailed in black-and-white in the rail industry's official Fares Manual.

    There's information and an attachment showing this at: https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/railuk-fares-ticketing-guide-section-1-ticket-types-conditions.70018/#post-1179550

    So, if you're travelling within Great Britain on mainline rail services you are protected no matter how many tickets you are using.
  • nobile
    nobile Posts: 574 Forumite
    I decided that the National Rail website option was the best way to do it - factor in that we will probably arrive a bit late or not have enough time (3 kids & 8 suitcases!), so decided we'll book the next train from Reading.

    But it wont allow me to book - after inputing all the details, it simply says

    "Oh no! There's been a problem!
    Problem buying tickets on this website?
    Due to a technical issue, we are currently unable to pass your ticket purchase on to the relevant train operating company website. During this time, we advise you to buy your tickets directly from the train company.

    Please select the train company you want to purchase your tickets from:......"

    ....and then lists all the train companies, which DON'T give you the option to chose your own connecting train.

    Very frustrating
  • nobile
    nobile Posts: 574 Forumite
    Split tickets are more expensive - it doubles the cost unfortunately
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