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I am considering taking a train from Pwllheli to Bristol. It looks like the train tickets using the fastest route would cost around £100, and the cheaper alternative, connecting in Shrewsbury and Newport, is much more affordable around £50. In case I will not spot an Advance ticket for my journey, I am happy to take the train via Newport (the ticket conditions seem to state "Offpeak, via Hereford").

My question is, if I decide to get the "offpeak via Hereford"-kind of ticket, can I stop for an hour or two while connecting at Shrewsbury, instead of taking the first possible train onward? It would be nice to break the 6-hour train ride to have lunch, for example.

Since there is no ticket vending machine or a ticket office in Pwllheli, I hope I can buy the ticket onboard the train (should I ask "one ticket to Bristol via Hereford please"?)

  • Highly related: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/102901/… – skifans May 17 '18 at 8:26
  • I suspect when the train comes to Pwllheli the guard will have to get out to check the platform before s/he can safely dispatch the train. If they are on commission which guards on some routes are s/he will definitely spot you and come down to try to sell you a ticket – mdewey May 17 '18 at 15:29
  • There is a difference between breaking your journey by staying in a station for a later train and by leaving the station for a while to return to the same station for a train, (whatever the time that has passed.) In the UK the first kind was always allowed as long as you do not have timed tickets, the second kind was often not allowed. I am not familiar with the current rules, but if you have to leave through gates, talk with staff before you put your ticket in on the way out. – Willeke May 17 '18 at 16:37
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Peter Green has answered the first part of your question very well - the fare you're looking at allows break of journey (in fact, all anytime and most off-peak tickets allow this), so you should have no problem having a lunch break in Shrewsbury. Since the anytime tickets are valid for at least two days (an anytime single is valid two days; an anytime return is valid 5 days on the outward portion and a month on the return) you can even have an overnight break if you wish!

In terms of ticket purchasing, yes, the rule (6.1 on page 7) is that you must buy a ticket at the first opportunity you get on your journey. This is taken to mean that if there's ticket buying facilities at a station, you must buy it there. But if there aren't, you may take a seat on the train and wait for the guard. While some operators encourage it, there is no requirement to actively seek out the guard (but of course, you may choose to do so to set your mind at ease, and especially on other routes with fewer stations with no ticket facilities, doing so to avoid potential trouble could be wise). If the guard doesn't come round (which may be down to their machine being broken or them just not wanting to come round and sell tickets...), you must buy a ticket at the first interchange station with ticket-buying facilities where you have sufficient time to do so (in your case it would likely be Shrewsbury).

  • Not that I doubt you for a moment, but any chance of a pointer to an appropriate authority? – MadHatter May 17 '18 at 9:50
  • While some operators encourage it, there is no requirement to actively seek out the guard. If you don't seek out a ticket inspector, they may infer that you were trying to evade paying, even if this isn't true. Seeking out a guard will reduce the chance that you have to deal with appealing a penalty fare. – MJeffryes May 17 '18 at 9:51
  • @MadHatter good idea, have done that. – Muzer May 17 '18 at 11:59
  • @MJeffryes it depends on the route. On some routes the guard will get annoyed if you seek them out, because almost every station doesn't have ticket buying facilities and so the guard prefers to go round to all the seats rather than have people come up in a disorderly manner! I know there have been various heated discussions in the past between members of Railforums and train operators/the RDG, but it is my understanding that the interpretation accepted by the RDG is that there is no requirement to actively seek out the guard. Indeed, the Conditions of Travel mention no such requirement. – Muzer May 17 '18 at 12:02
  • @Muzer Sure, but I think if you're a tourist unfamiliar with the route then the best advice is to seek out the guard. I'd rather annoy the guard then have to fight a penalty fare. – MJeffryes May 17 '18 at 12:03
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In theory whether "break of journey" is allowed on an off-peak ticket depends on the particular ticket. Most allow it but some have restrictions preventing it.

Curiously though I don't see any off peak singles from PWL to BRI, only anytime singles. It seems an anytime single from PWL to BRI via Hereford costs £53.10 and doesn't have any restrictions.

http://www.brfares.com/#faredetail?orig=PWL&dest=BRI&rte=822&tkt=SOS

  • Yes, it seems I got confused with the fares, while checking them for multiple journeys. The fare I have been looking for PWL-BRI is certainly that Anytime fare. – borellini May 17 '18 at 14:31

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