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I had this happen to me a month ago but I didn't want to risk it, so didn't find out myself what would happen in such a case.

I had two single advance tickets with Virgin Trains. One in the morning to London Euston and one in the evening from London Euston.

So what happened is me and my friend were in zone 3 and we decided to head back to London Euston about 1-1:30 hour before our train departure time and we would have made it there (based on the app that I used to find directions) but when we went to board our overground train they told us we won't be able to make it to London Euston as there was an accident or some other problem and that our overground train could only get us to the next station as the issue was on/after the next station (and we needed to do about 4 stops to make it to the underground station that would take us to London Euston) and so they told us we would have to take a bus to the nearest tube instead, which we did but obviously got late for our train (bus in traffic probably took most of the journey).

I wasn't sure if in such a case we would be entitled to use another train (we even missed the next one as that one was in 10 mins after ours). I think we probably would be allowed if we were travelling on National Rail trains and got delayed on them but this was just an overground train (that we had a separate ticket for).

So as soon as I knew we (me and my friend) were 100% late we stopped traveling to London Euston and went to the Victoria Coach station to get on a megabus (not the most pleasant ride but it was about £16/person whereas we would have to pay ~£90/person if the inspector on a train would ask us to buy a new ticket).

But I'm still curious by this day what would happen if we were to use a later train that we were supposed to with our advance tickets?

P.S. Apologies for the long post.

  • 10
    I've missed Advance trains for a variety of reasons and in every case, staff have been friendly and permitted me to travel, even when de jure I should have bought a new ticket. It helps if your second train is as off-peak as the first train and operated by the same company. – gerrit Apr 26 '16 at 16:56
18

This is covered in the Frequently Asked Questions about Advance fares section of the National Rail Enquiries (internal) Knowledgebase (iKB), which isn't available online officially. However, one of the nice members of Rail UK Forums posted that to their site earlier in response to a different query. The relevant question in the FAQ is this:

Q22 - Can a passenger travel on any trains other than the one on which they are reserved, without changing the booking?

A: The following principles apply.

1). Start of the Journey. It is the passenger’s responsibility to turn up at the start of the journey in time for the first train. If they miss it due to problems parking, taxi not turning up etc, they must buy a new ticket;

2). Once the journey has begun. If the passenger is delayed and the rail industry or its partners (as shown below) is at fault, which should be checked with your Control Office, change to another train of the same company is allowed to get them to their destination with the least delay. This is irrespective of combinations of rail tickets held. Examples are:

Included: are passengers travelling on valid:

  • Through domestic or international tickets; e.g. Brighton - Scarborough route “+TOC X & Connections”;
  • Through rail & partner tickets for which there is a through bus, tube, ferry or metro fare, e.g. Zone U12 - Leeds, Wisbech Coach - York; Ryde Pier - Hull, etc;
  • Combination of domestic rail-only tickets e.g. rail season ticket Skipton-Leeds plus Advance ticket Leeds-Peterborough; or adjoining Advance tickets;
  • Combination of domestic rail & partner tickets e.g. Brighton - Zone U12 plus Advance ticket London-Manchester, or e.g. Advance ticket Bristol-Paddington plus tube single ticket plus Advance ticket Kings Cross to Hull.
  • All-Zones Travelcard, PTE-products etc (where rail is included) plus Advance ticket;
  • Combination of Eurostar tickets into the UK and then either advance purchase tickets from London Terminals or “London Intnl CIV” or “Lndon Eurostar CIV”.

Not included: for the avoidance of doubt, are:

  • Non train-company travel on separate tickets e.g. journeys that commence on bus-only, tube-only, ferry-only or metro-only tickets. (This includes “PlusBus” which is a local day- Rover bus ticket, not compatible with a medium/ long distance ‘Advance’ single journey, so are kept as separate tickets);
  • Tickets that cannot be read on-train e.g. smartcards (but allowable where electronically checked, delay verified and Advance ticket endorsed in Travel Centres).

So, because you had left enough time for the trip, and because the delay was the fault of the railways, you would be able to get your ticket changed/endorsed for free onto another later service from the same company.

However, if you'd missed the train due to a delayed bus, or a delayed taxi, or traffic on the roads or similar, then you'd have to buy a new ticket at your own expense (unless your travel insurance happened to cover it!)

  • 5
    Note that as specified in the quoted text, a delay on the tube (Underground) on a tube-only ticket will not allow the user to avail of this rule. However it seems that it does indeed count in the case of the Overground, or using a Travelcard. Using Oyster would make things more complex according to the above rules, required going through a Travel Centre. – jcaron Apr 27 '16 at 9:04
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    In my experience the train ticket office will check the TfL status screen --- if there are any problems, they will give you the benefit of the doubt. – Calchas Oct 21 '16 at 11:29
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The London Overground is part of the national rail network (here). According to the previous answer ("Through domestic or international tickets"), connections on the national rail network allow those on an advance ticket to continue on the next available train. However, they also technically need to verify that you were actually on the delayed train (it is extremely unlikely that this would be enforced in practice). There is a section on all National Rail tickets for "Endorsements" (on the reverse side of the traditional orange ones)- where they stamp your ticket if you are subject to a delay. If you were following the absolute letter of the rules, you would've adressed the staff at Euston upon alighting for the magic stamp.

It is always worth asking the staff at the station if you can travel on a missed Advance ticket - around where I live a mumbled "I missed my bus" can usually get you on the next train.

  • :D I laughed at the last sentence, thanks! I had a sort of similar experience with Manchester Airport where mumbling "my plane was late" got me a stamped paper saying I'm alright without any questions. – kiradotee Apr 26 '16 at 18:42
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    Manchester Airport is a special case - TPE Airport Advance tickets are valid in the case of flight delays of up to 3 hours – Gagravarr Apr 26 '16 at 18:45

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