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train tickets from Gatwick--time frame questions

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May 10th, 2013, 01:11 PM
  #1
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train tickets from Gatwick--time frame questions

I am meeting my mom at Gatwick Airport and then we will take the train to Newcastle (looks like it is cheaper to get tckt all the way through versus LGW to Kings Cross, then on to Newcastle). Her flight from US lands at 10:50. How long should I allow from land time to train departure?
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May 10th, 2013, 01:26 PM
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Hard to tell - lines for Immigration checks can be very long or none at all - depends how many other flights land at the same time IME - you can hop any train with a ticket like you have to Kings X - it will take about 35-40 minutes from Gatwick.

Planes can be late of course too - I would say do not book a train until 3 pm or so to be safe - but if you have a full-fare ticket you could board any train but if you have a discounted ticket that may well be train-specific and non-changeable or refundable - full fare tickets can always be purchased right at the Gatwick Airport train station and then you get off the plane and head for the train - the next train.

Is this the only train trip you will be doing - if you are doing several investigate the BritEngland Railpass that allows you to hop on any train anytime, including trains from Gatwick to Kings X - but you'd have to be doing more train trips to make that pay off. For lots of great info on British trains check out www.seat61.com (check this site's commercial link to RailEurope to see what current BritEngland Railpass prices are); www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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May 10th, 2013, 02:03 PM
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This reads as though you believe there is a train from LGW direct to Newcastle. There isn't. You will have to go to Kings Cross. Take a train from Gatwick to St Pancras then literally next door is Kings Cross station.

There's also a late afternoon flight to Newcastle with flybe.com which is another option.
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May 10th, 2013, 08:06 PM
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I didn't explain very well. I looked at the cost of two tickets: one LGW to Kings Cross, then one Kings Cross to Newcastle, and compared to buying a ticket from LGW to Newcastle (understanding it will still go through KC). Also looked at splitting @ York and didn't have luck with that being cheaper either.

I had a momentary leap of joy at the flight idea, but found that the luggage limits made that infeasible for us. Thank you for the suggestion, though, sofar, it is a great option!

PalenQ, thank you for the site suggestions. Seat61, especially, very clear and helpful. I am torn between flexibility and cost right now . . . Leaning toward a fixed advance fare scheduled later. She arrives on a Sunday morning in July if that gives anyone further inspiration on time frame of exiting plane, getting luggage, and going through customs. 2 to 3 hours?
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May 11th, 2013, 12:54 AM
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Splitting tickets is an art form - try splitting at Doncaster, Newark or Grantham
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May 11th, 2013, 09:14 AM
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Alan- you are right, those places put me more in shooting distance on price! I thought Grantham was going to work, but realized that the couple of hours later (some at Gat and some at Grantham) to get the better price isn't worth it to me. But thank you! Always feels good to know I explored the options and know what I am choosing instead df finding later that I should have done more checking.

I am still wondering about what I have discovered I need to be referring to as immigration. Is 2 hours a fairly conservative estimate? Worst case scenario, how long has it taken from landing to arrivals?
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May 11th, 2013, 09:24 AM
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2 hours should be plenty for immigration, but you also need to allow for the flight being late, and IIRC, depending on the terminal your mother's plane arrives at, it can take a little time to get to the train. Or maybe they were doing maintenance when we were there last.
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May 11th, 2013, 09:34 AM
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Trains to Kings X can also IME get mired down at times - sitting for some reason in some station.
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May 11th, 2013, 10:48 PM
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I'm puzzled about this question.

I can't get the price discrepancy gogogriff's finding: it's £53 Advance if you buy one through ticket almost all day on the tests I've done. And that's always a pound or two less than the two ticket option.

I say this because in my experience (and others might have a different one), if you've bought one through Advance rate ticket you don't get surcharged if you miss a connection. So PalQ's worry about the train from Gatwick sitting in a tunnel for 20 minutes while your Newcastle train leaves wouldn't matter: most connections on this route allow 20 mins at KX/St P, which would indeed be tight if the incoming train sat around too long.

The risk isn't THAT severe on a Sunday (though it's made me miss a plane at LGW in the past going the other way). But I'd be tempted to buy one ticket - even if my example doesn't work in gogogriff's case and the two-ticket option is a pound or two cheaper.

This isn't a route where being too clever makes much sense, though. On timings where Advance tickets are available, they're 60% less than the Offpeak rate gogogriff would have to pay (on top of the lost Advance fare) if there was a foulup in baggage handling, the plane was late or the train from Gatwick sat around on a two-ticket option.

The whole point of Advance fares is that they privilege those who are sure they can get the train they've booked on. Gogoriff can't be sure. If he wants the massive savings open for people who can be, he HAS to accept substantial cushioning in his schedule.

It'll probably take 60 mins or so from plane to train at Gatwick, allowing an extra 30 if arriving at the North terminal. But given the immense penalty if he gets this wrong, I'd allow four hours. The Advance restriction shouldn't affect which train you get on the Gatwick-St P leg, and if they're running ahead of time there are lots of distractions at St P itself, the hotel over it, the British Library (whose galleries, including the splendid-looking Propaganda exhibition, are open on Sundays from 1100 to 1700) or the Harry Potter stuff at KX.
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May 12th, 2013, 10:24 AM
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Thank you for your help. Yes, the fare i am looking at is the £53 option. I feel good about the advance fare with a good cushion knowing that we can actually get into London on an earlier train if all the stars line up and my mom speeds through everything. This may be obvious, but how does it work if our tickets are for, say, 3:00, but we are good to go at 1:30? Do we check at ticket booth or just get on an earlier train? Sorry, but I have actually never been on a train outside of the metro in Washinton DC! I'm afraid I am much more comfortable driving.

Thanks!
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May 12th, 2013, 10:52 AM
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Does the £53 ticket route you through Victoria station? Because you then have to change onto the Tube to travel to Kings Cross. At Gatwick I would buy a walk-up ticket for £10 direct to St Pancras, which means you avoid the Tube (worth the extra £4)

But you need to buy a ticket for Kings Cross - Newcastle journey ASAP. If you can commit to a specific train, prices are from £47 for July www.eastcoast.co.uk/ - if you want flexibility for any off-peak train on Sunday afternoon then it's £60.
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May 13th, 2013, 12:14 PM
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sofar-- I think the extra 13 for the flexible ticket will be worth it for both my mom and I (we lean toward the trying-not-to-but-tending-to-worry variety). I was a bit confused on the site, though. Is the 60gbp price available for walk-up tickets, or is that an advance price I need to jump on now?

Thanks!
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May 13th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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There are two ticket types for Kings Cross to Newcastle: an Advance Single (£47) where you commit to a specific train, and a Super Off Peak Single (£60), which means you can get any train on Sunday. Both are web-only fares (walk-up is expensive). The £60 fares are available for travel this coming Sunday. It sees to be a standard fare so you don't have to jump on it now.

The downside of not committing to a specific train means you won't have a reserved seat. So there's a risk you may not sit together, or may even have to stand. I expect Sunday afternoon will be busy.

Best if you could reserve a seat on a particular train with the £60 ticket, and even if you miss that train you won't lose out by catching a later one.
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May 13th, 2013, 04:29 PM
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seat reservations used to be at least free on that train line to York/Newcastle?
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May 13th, 2013, 11:17 PM
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Ok. We will definitely need seats, so I will look and see if we can reserve them on the £60 fare. If not, we may need to drop back to giving ample time to get from plane to train and spend any excess at KC station.

I'll let you know if the seat reservations are free or not for future info.
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May 14th, 2013, 03:38 AM
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Seat reservations are free of charge.

When you go through the booking process and select the £60 fare you will see the option to reserve a seat for a particular train.

Of course if you miss your reserved train you can get a later one at no extra charge, but then you won't have a reserved seat on the later train.
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May 14th, 2013, 08:12 AM
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it used to be that seat reservations at the station of origin were free if made up until 6 pm the night before - is that still so - can they make seat reservations just before the train, assuming any are available?
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May 14th, 2013, 10:08 AM
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no idea - never had to do that
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May 14th, 2013, 10:42 AM
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If they get on a train sans reservation they should look to see which seats - empty seats that is - are reserved and between which stops - they could be empty now but be reserved up the line - so if they still do the archaic paper way of putting a resrvation tag on reserved seats seats if they are reserved - or if they were with it then look at some kind of electronic signage by each seat.
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May 14th, 2013, 10:38 PM
  #20
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We're booked! I went with the off-peak fare but reserved seats on the 3:00 train from Kings Cross. Hopefully that will work, but if not, we'll take a later train and hope to get a seat. Gulp.

PalenQ thanks for the heads up on the reserved signage on seemingly empty seats. That would not have occurred to me and we would be sad, sad travelers to be displaced mid-journey.

sofar I appreciate your advice and answers to questions! I feel much better about my decision having gone into it equipped with information!
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