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Grand Central Railway — Mistake?

Grand Central Railway — Mistake?

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Old Aug 13, 19, 10:40 am
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Grand Central Railway — Mistake?

I found vey discounted same day rail fare on Grand Central Rail for a day trip to York from London. I've been to York before for a weekend trip and wanted to return just for a day.

The roundtrip fare is £33 which I purchased last week. I went to google to search for pictures of standard coach seating and found an enormous number of negative reviews about Grand Central in terms of trains being cancelled last minute, pax being forced to into odd routings to get to their destination, trains that are crowded because of reroutings, passengers sitting wherever they want thereby ignoring reserved seating, no wifi, clogged up toilets making them inoperable for the entire trip, dirty/old carriages, etc.

I had no idea! The advanced rail fare was so inexpensive that I should have thought that there has to be a reason….

Has anyone here recently taken a Grand Central train? Is it that bad? I'm disabled (not in a wheelchair) and need my reserved seat so I'm wondering if I should just accept that I made a mistake and do something else.

Or if not and they cancel my train, can I get refunded because I cannot be put on a crowded train without a seat given my disability.

In essence, is Grand Central Railway really that bad?
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Old Aug 13, 19, 11:46 am
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They're generally fine. The trains they have (known as "Adelantes") have had reliability issues over the last year or so and, as a small outfit with little contingency, that's caused a number of cancellations.

As the frequency of the Sunderland trains isn't that great, they'll generally accept tickets on LNER if your train is cancelled. If you have assistance booked, you'd go and present yourself at the LNER customer service desk (and they're great at both KX and York) who would sort you out.

Looking at their performance figure (services arriving no more than 15min late), it's gone from 71% this time last year to 92%, so a lot of the problems have clearly been resolved.

A lot of the issues rerouting come from GC mostly serving stations that have no other Inter-City services. This certainly isn't true of York.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 2:01 pm
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That sounds promising, thank you.

I didn’t book any assistance in advance as I can walk and climb steps. What I cannot do is stand for more than a minute or so without sharp pain.

92% is a great improvement! I will be traveling on a Saturday in late October. Are there any statistics about reliability (no cancellations) & on-time performance for Saturdays?

I am also relieved to learn that I could board the next LNER to/from York if there is a cancellation. I thought LNER trains only honor LNER tickets. Does Virgin or any other rail company also accept GC tickets if a GC train is canceled?

If a GC train happens to get cancelled, what is the process of getting a replacement ticket on the next train leaving for York or London? My tickets on GC will be on my iPhone. Thanks.

Last edited by Analise; Aug 13, 19 at 2:10 pm
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Old Aug 13, 19, 4:23 pm
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I didn’t book any assistance in advance as I can walk and climb steps. What I cannot do is stand for more than a minute or so without sharp pain.
OK. It's worth noting that trains are very rarely reservation-mandatory in the UK. So there is a chance (with any operator) that a seat reservation may not be upheld - rolling stock swap, computer/printer failure, severe disruption. Sadly, there are also (again, rare) occurrences where people will refuse to vacate reserved seats and train crew, unable to get the British Transport Police within a reasonable timescale, will be unable to do anything about it. There are priority seats, but these are also first come, first served. I don't know the assistance scheme well, but booking some form may be advisable to make sure you absolutely get a seat. None of this is particularly likely, but I understand you may want to be extra cautious.

92% is a great improvement! I will be traveling on a Saturday in late October. Are there any statistics about reliability (no cancellations) & on-time performance for Saturdays?
Afraid not - the stats compiled month per month. Saturdays alone would be difficult to get a meaningful data set for, as most engineering works happen at weekends. Note that there are engineering works that will affect your route on Saturday 26th October, if that's when you're travelling - trains are being diverted via Lincoln (stunning cathedral and castle if you can catch a glimpse of it). This is quite a slow route, so your journey time will already be rather extended because of it if that's your travel date (it's normally 2h). My experience of these diversions is that they can lead to extra delays, as the infrastructure isn't designed for a mainline volume of traffic.

I am also relieved to learn that I could board the next LNER to/from York if there is a cancellation. I thought LNER trains only honor LNER tickets. Does Virgin or any other rail company also accept GC tickets if a GC train is canceled?

If a GC train happens to get cancelled, what is the process of getting a replacement ticket on the next train leaving for York or London? My tickets on GC will be on my iPhone. Thanks.
Typically yes, LNER only honour LNER tickets (or inter-available tickets, of which there are many - it's a complicated business). However, in times of disruption, or cancellation of infrequent services, train operators tend to accept each others' tickets to help passengers out. Some arrangements are formal, some informal. Whenever I've seen a cancelled Grand Central or Hull Trains service at King's Cross, there is normally an announcement (and an indication on the departures board) to say that "passengers should catch the xx:xx LNER service". It's worth checking with the customer services desk if this happens, but generally the crew on the target service will be well aware of it, and you just show your original ticket.

Virgin no longer operate trains on the East Coast - from York, it's LNER to London. In the case of severe disruption resulting in the line being blocked then, all things being equal, they tend to say "tickets will be accepted via any reasonable route". So, from York, this could mean travelling via Leeds or Sheffield. Manchester if it's really bad. This is rare, and usually the result of something pretty serious.

The only exception to this if is there is such widespread disruption that another operator simply can't cope.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 4:26 pm
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(For future reference - I know it isn't useful here - LNER have a 2-hourly service terminating/originating in York. It's a slower service, calling at all stations from Peterborough to York, but is generally quiet, has cheap 1st class tickets, and gives you loads of time to alight/board at York where, of course, the train is empty.)
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Old Aug 13, 19, 7:23 pm
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Thanks for the info about future trips to York. I really love that city and I’m sure I will return.

I will be traveling on Saturday 19th October. Are you aware of any travel advisory or service changes on that date?

Thank you again for your help.

I just wanted to add that initially I wanted to go to Lincoln to see the cathedral but the rail fares were over my budget.

Last edited by Analise; Aug 13, 19 at 7:28 pm
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Old Aug 14, 19, 3:30 am
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You can check planned engineering works here

https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/servi...AndFuture.aspx

There is nothing planned to affect your day trip to York. Engineering works are finalised 12-13 weeks in advance and then added to the various rail booking systems so they would have been reflected when you booked your ticket.

It's been a little while since I travelled with GC but when I did I always found them reliable and the staff friendly. Some of the issues you mention - blocked toilets and no wifi can affect any train operator - looking at you Virgin West Coast t'other week!

Enjoy your trip to York. It's a lovely place to visit and re-visit.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 7:01 am
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I travelled to York on GC a couple of weeks ago and it was fine. Friday evening up, Sunday evening down so both trains were packed. There was no problem with my seat reservations or anyone else's in my carriage.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 7:45 pm
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The posts on this thread are very reassuring and I thank you.
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