Gomshall to Guildford - double back via Dorking

joncombe

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I was travelling from Gomshall to Guildford but just missed the train I planned to get (20:24). However National Rail Enquiries showed another journey departing 20:35 to Dorking Deepdene, changing there and coming back to Guildford, which means doubling back but much quicker than waiting for the next direct train (at 22:10). The price quoted is the same (£4.80) as the direct train.

There are no ticket purchase facilities at Gomshall and the guard did not come round so I tried to purchase a ticket at Dorking Deepdene whilst changing but the price quoted to Guildford was more expensive (over £7). This made me suspicious as to whether the £4.80 single shown on National Rail Enquiries is actually valid for this journey, doubling back via Dorking or if NRE is in error? In the end I selected the option to purchase a ticket from another station so I could buy a Gomshall to Guildford single even though I was now at Dorking. This was accepted by the guard on the train without comment even though that train didn't stop at Gomshall (non-stop between Dorking and Guildford).

I had a quick look at the routing guide and couldn't see any easement about doubling back here, though there is one about tickets from Gomshall to London being valid via Guildford. Is there something I missed or is this an error on National Rail? (I did keep it open on my phone in case the guard queried it).
 
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Mcr Warrior

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Presumably the connecting 20:55 Dorking Deepdene to Guildford service then passes back through Gomshall without stopping.

Can one of the Forum's fares advisors opine on this?
 

MikeWh

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Presumably the connecting 20:55 Dorking Deepdene to Guildford service then passes back through Gomshall without stopping.
Yes it does.
Can one of the Forum's fares advisors opine on this?
You seem to have a thing about fares advisors this evening.

National Rail Enquiries says that the ticket is valid for the itinerary described. That means it is valid. Interestingly, when NRE redirected to GWR to sell the ticket they said they couldn't. I then tried selecting London Overground and NRE redirected to Chiltern (?), and they were quite happy to sell the ticket against that itinerary.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Thanks for clarifying. Seemingly another instance where if you can buy the ticket, and it's accompanied by an itinerary, then you are good to go, although, of course, when the OP bought his ticket, he probably didn't ever intend to travel from Gomshall to Guildford other than directly.

It does, though, seem slightly counter-intuitive that you can actually travel via Dorking Deepdene given that the journey takes you wrong direction from Gomshall, before then doubling back through Gomshall again and the fare from Dorking Stns / Dorking Deepdene to Guildford is somewhat higher than from Gomshall to Guildford.

Is this anything to do with Gomshall and the Dorking stations being in the same fares cluster?

Also, why won't the TOC's own website sell the £4.80 CDS ticket with the Gomshall -> Deepdene -> Guildford itinerary, but another's does?
 
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I don't think it's valid. The stations share a common routeing point, Guildford, so the journey has to be valid under the 'local journey' rules. We're not on a through train, not travelling via the routeing point (Guildford), it's not the shortest route or within the small margin (it's around 10 miles further), and it's not via a valid double-back, which I think is largely decided in this case by the fare from Dorking being more than from Gomshall. Given the timetabled locations for the two trains, some planners might miss that there has been a double-back at all, but even if that isn't detected, the relatively long journey should deny it. I'm not sure why NRE allows it, they are usually correct so I wonder if I've missed something.
 

Watershed

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it's not via a valid double-back, which I think is largely decided in this case by the fare from Dorking being more than from Gomshall
Fares are only relevant for determining appropriate Routeing Points. There is no rule stating anything along the lines of "you can double back as long as the fare isn't higher".

As Gomshall to Guildford is a 'local journey' under the Routeing Guide, as you correctly identify, there is no need to determine appropriate Routeing Points.

some planners might miss that there has been a double-back at all, but even if that isn't detected, the relatively long journey should deny it
Gomshall is a mandatory timing point for all trains on that line (it is the nearest station to the boundary between Network Rail Sussex and Wessex, about 2 miles to the east).

So journey planners should be aware that the itinerary involves a double back.
 
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Fares are only relevant for determining appropriate Routeing Points. There is no rule stating anything along the lines of "you can double back as long as the fare isn't higher".

Whether a double-back is allowed on a local journey (I agree not generally) does depend in part on the fares, according to a document written for RDG about implementing the routeing guide. I don't know why this is different from what it says in the "National Routeing Guide in Detail" document, or which one is more 'contractual'. Either way, I think the distance should deny the journey.

Gomshall is a mandatory timing point for all trains on that line (it is the nearest station to the boundary between Network Rail Sussex and Wessex, about 2 miles to the east).

Don't know how I missed that! It does pass in the timetable, at 21:03.
 
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asharpe

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Certainly around 10 years ago when I lived around there Gomshall was part of the Dorking Routing Point Group (rather than associated to the group as it is now) so a double back for interchange purposes was allowed.

I wonder if the data still shows it that way and the PDFs don't.
 

Alex365Dash

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Gomshall was part of the Dorking Routing Point Group (rather than associated to the group as it is now) so a double back for interchange purposes was allowed.
What you’re referring to is the Routeing Guide’s Group Stations rule. This allows double-back between Routeing Point Group members, but comes with the following caveat:
This extended availability is for interchange purposes only and does not apply where the origin or destination stations are part of a group.
OP is starting from Gomshall, so if Gomshall was still part of the Dorking Routeing Point Group, then the OP would still not be able to double-back between Gomshall and Dorking Deepdene.
 

Paul Kelly

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Whether a double-back is allowed on a local journey (I agree not generally) does depend in part on the fares, according to a document written for RDG about implementing the routeing guide.
That document doesn't say which fares to use but in my opinion it is logical to use NFM64 fares as that is consistent with the rest of the routeing guide, with the overriding idea being to formalise the routes that were permitted at the time of privatisation. And if you use NFM64 fares, the double-back check passes! Both Gomshall and Dorking Stations to Guildford had a SDS for £3.80. Quite shocking that the SDS from Dorking is now 47% higher than from Gomshall (£8.80 vs. £6.00)!
 

asharpe

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What you’re referring to is the Routeing Guide’s Group Stations rule. This allows double-back between Routeing Point Group members, but comes with the following caveat:


This extended availability is for interchange purposes only and does not apply where the origin or destination stations are part of a group.


OP is starting from Gomshall, so if Gomshall was still part of the Dorking Routeing Point Group, then the OP would still not be able to double-back between Gomshall and Dorking Deepdene.


I'm never been sure about this rule - I think there is some conflation between the station group (e.g London Terminals or Dorking stations that a ticket can be bought for) and the routing point group such as Dorking Group or London.

It makes sense to me that you can't double back within a station group but I think it makes a lot of sense in a routing point group.

Edit: I thought I was having deja vu. This exact issue had me confused 8 years ago and was my second post on this forum. I've been to a few fares workshops since then and I'm still confused by it. https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/double-back-question.89327/
 
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Paul Kelly

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It makes sense to me that you can't double back within a station group but I think it makes a lot of sense in a routing point group.
This is a controversial opinion but I think it's OK to double-back within a fare group as long as you don't call at the same station twice. E.g. Reading West to Newbury via Reading, Vauxhall to Woking via Waterloo - in both cases passing through the origin station without stopping and with the fare issued from a group (Reading Stations, London Terminals) which includes both stations. I have thought a lot about it and this seems very logical to me. But I don't think it is documented anywhere.

On the other hand the Routeing Guide is very clear that you can't double-back within a routeing group if the origin or destination is in that group. I don't know why this is either. It may be to try to avoid fares anomalies, since routeing groups are often larger than fares groups and can involve fares set at different levels from the same station in the group.

But back to the OP, the doubleback from Dorking to Gomshall is allowed by the (unpublished) permitted local doubleback rule mentioned above by ThisIsSurbiton, provided the comparison is done using NFM64 fares. I think this is why various journey planners are allowing it.
 

FenMan

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Although no longer convenient because of timetable changes, there is another, similar, "anomaly" on the North Downs - for journeys between Shalford and Gatwick Airport.
If "via Guildford" is specified, NRE reports that Shalford - Guildford - Gatwick is permitted:-

I was on a Gatwick - Reading service a few years back where a group of passengers were doing precisely this. The guard ventured they should change at Dorking Deepdene, but they said "Gatwick - Shalford tickets have always been valid via Guildford" and remained on board. Nothing more was said.
 
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And if you use NFM64 fares, the double-back check passes!
That's a very good point! It doesn't say either way, but it makes sense, there's no requirement to know the current fares to do a routeing guide check after all. In that case, I've got some investigating to do...
 

infobleep

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When a double back is allowed, is it for interchange purposes only or can one alight at the station they might otherwise interchange at?
 

Paul Kelly

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You can't change platforms at Dorking Deepdene without exiting the station, so it would be undetectable whether you'd come from Gomshall or not. But no in this case I wouldn't say there's any restriction on break of journey or starting/ending short.
 

infobleep

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You can't change platforms at Dorking Deepdene without exiting the station, so it would be undetectable whether you'd come from Gomshall or not. But no in this case I wouldn't say there's any restriction on break of journey or starting/ending short.
Thanks for answering this.
 

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