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I am planning to take a train from Bath to Manchester, but the ticket is cheaper if i connect in Bristol Temple Meads, for 12 minutes. I am a bit concerned that I, as someone who's never been there, might not find the right platform or get lost in the station. So, if someone took this ride before, can you tell me, if coming from Bath, is it easy to connect in Bristol? This is what Google maps say, that it's platform 5:

enter image description here

But I don't know which platform I will be getting off the train. Is this connection feasible?

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    For the one who inserted the image, thank you, it didn't work for me last night – Ayyash May 13 at 4:44
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    Are you planning to purchase two advance tickets or a single anytime/off peak ticket for this journey (since you mentioned the word "cheaper")? Quite similar to how flight tickets works, if you bought two advance tickets and your first train was somehow delayed, you might have trouble doing the Bristol-Manchester leg with your second advance ticket. – B.Liu May 13 at 5:36
  • it is two advanced, but to my amazement, cheaper only means a connection of 12 minutes, if I plan for a connection of 30 minutes, the price hikes! weird but true. – Ayyash May 13 at 5:42
  • I've made a long connection across almost all of the platforms at Bristol Temple Meads at just over one minute, although that was at a mad sprint and the train guard saw me and held the doors a few extra seconds to let me board. I guess it depends how fast you can walk but I think you'll be okay even if the train is a few minutes late :) – niemiro May 13 at 6:18
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    @DavidRicherby i used loco2, and i squeezed my eyeballs, not only is the short connection cheaper, but the second leg alone is more expensive, i think the idea is: let's confuse the heck out of people so we can manipulate prices as we wish :/ – Ayyash May 13 at 10:37
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I have been in Bristol Temple Meads many times, though I have not made connections there. Each track has stairs (there are also elevators) down to a tunnel (subway), and you can see signs in the tunnel pointing up to the other tracks. bristol temple meads subway https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bristol_Temple_Meads_passenger_subway.jpg

If your train comes in on time, you should be fine; it might take you as little as two minutes to get up onto the other track.

The National Rail Journey planner will let you see if there is another train after if you miss your connection, so you know how high the stakes are. It will also tell you what track you come in on. Here's a shot from a recent trip I took, showing that my train came in on track 15:

national rail journey planner

This is the train you'll be on from Bath, as it happens. Though it really doesn't matter, this is not a large station.

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    I'd agree, I've found Bristol Temple Meads fairly easy to navigate in the past. 10 minutes should be fine. If you need longer to change (mobility issues, want to get food, etc) , on the national rail journey planner (maybe others) you can request longer change times - anything up to 2 hours - if you go to the 'advanced settings'. – Algy Taylor May 13 at 14:44
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Is the connection feasible? If you check the station map you can see it should be, there are only four platforms divided by trains and there's a subway (that's just a tunnel, it's just called a subway, to me a subway would be like an underground train but no, this is not a metro) between them. The signs are obvious and hard to miss. Everyone will flow there which also helps.

The reason I emphasized it should but it might not be right now because work is ongoing and the Bath-Bristol Temple Meads train was replaced by a coach just this weekend: https://www.gwr.com/travel-updates/planned-engineering/bristol2019 If that happens, being on time is extremely unlikely especially because there are roadworks on A36... The same is scheduled for Sundays 23 June and 7 July. If your travel is a weekend, tweeting https://twitter.com/gwrhelp or calling +44-345-7000-125 to confirm there is a train and not a coach is strongly advised. GWR doesn't do this workdays, that'd be madness.

Also note GWR sets a trap by putting garbage collectors as you leave the train but don't fall for it, hold on to your tickets until you exit the station. Despite they are checked on the train, they are also checked at the exit and you will be forced to buy a second ticket. On the other hand, CrossCountry is a very helpful company, I only had positive experiences with them.

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    With the exception of the Glasgow underground railway, "subway" in the UK always means a pedestrian tunnel, usually to cross under a road or railway. – David Richerby May 13 at 10:31
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    @DavidRicherby Or the sandwich shop if people forgot to capitalise the "s" ;) – B.Liu May 13 at 11:05
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To add to the other answers, every station in the UK has a published minimum connection time, and the booking engines won't sell an itinerary with a connection shorter than this. In my experience this is always reasonable, provided you're able-bodied and can follow signs. For Bristol Temple Meads it's 10 minutes.

As an aside, if your incoming train is late at all and you miss your connection, you're allowed to take a later train: see point 9.4 of the National Rail Conditions of Travel.

  • so do I have to do anything specific if the train was late? like re-issue the ticket? or just swear to the conductor that it was delayed? :) – Ayyash May 13 at 5:43
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    @Ayyash You just come with the current ticket. They will know or can check that the previous.connection was late. – Vladimir F May 13 at 5:48
  • I don't know for UK but in general in case of a delay that can disrupt my change I go to the train crew and ask for a formal (written) confirmation of the delay. It may not be needed but it's hardly ever a problem and gives a back-up to your story ;-) – Ister May 13 at 7:50
  • If you missed the connection, just tell the "conductor" (these days probably called the train manager, but historically called the guard) on the later train that the first was delayed. They will be totally fine about it. – rjmunro May 13 at 9:35
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    @DavidRicherby 9.4 definitely applies, and this is just one ticket. But even if it weren't one ticket, there is plenty of precedence for counting a train journey with multiple tickets involved as just one journey, where you happen to be using multiple tickets. For instance there are specific rules in the NRCoT about making a train journey with multiple tickets. – Muzer May 13 at 11:16

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