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Will Scotland Rail Replacement Buses Make Us Miss Train?

Will Scotland Rail Replacement Buses Make Us Miss Train?

Old Feb 13th, 2008, 10:51 PM
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Will Scotland Rail Replacement Buses Make Us Miss Train?

While booking one of our rail trips in Scotland, I noticed that it listed two station changes. The middle leg of the journey consists of a "rail replacement bus" which leaves FOUR MINUTES after our scheduled station arrival via train, and then arrives at the next station just SEVEN MIN. before our next train departure. That freaks me out a little, what happens if the train is running late? Do these buses wait? Are they designed to coordinate with the specific train arrivals and departures?
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 10:59 PM
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Without seeing the details, I can tell you that the train will wait. Scotland is lucky in that there are the least number of train operators in the country. I don't think you will have a problem - if you miss a train due to train operator problems, they are obliged to get you there.

http://www.dur.ac.uk/p.j.d.scott/cheaprailtickets.html

Scotrail don't seem to have an online version of their passenger charter - here's NXEC (formerly GNER):

http://www.nationalexpresseastcoast....nce-standards/

I suspect it will be very similar to other TOCS.

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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 11:07 PM
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The practicalities of replacement buses vary a bit according to the circumstances. But as a general rule, they're specifically designed to ensure you get from the arriving train at station A to the departing train at station in time for the departing train. Four and seven minutes are actually pretty generous connecting times at most stations: 30 seconds is usually as much as you need.

Replacement buses leave the station more or less when everyone from the arriving train has got on. Since they're intended to connect at the next station with a train that's got a timetable to stick to, the replacement bus won't necessarily wait for every pillock who decides they may as well pop into the cafe for a cup of tea and nip into the loo while they're at it.

Normally, the ongoing train waits for the replacement bus.

My experience (others may have been less lucky) has always been that this is reasonably painless (though the buses can get crowded) when the replacements are all scheduled well in advance - even when buses have been late. It gets bloody chaotic when the whole replacement thing is thrown together at a few minutes' notice (typically when some idiot motorist decides to crash into a bridge or level crossing), and you may get a few horror stories based on such experiences. Yours isn't such a case, however.
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 11:07 PM
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The practicalities of replacement buses vary a bit according to the circumstances. But as a general rule, they're specifically designed to ensure you get from the arriving train at station A to the departing train at station B in time for the departing train. Four and seven minutes are actually pretty generous connecting times at most stations: 30 seconds is usually as much as you need.

Replacement buses leave the station more or less when everyone from the arriving train has got on. Since they're intended to connect at the next station with a train that's got a timetable to stick to, the replacement bus won't necessarily wait for every pillock who decides they may as well pop into the cafe for a cup of tea and nip into the loo while they're at it.

Normally, the ongoing train waits for the replacement bus.

My experience (others may have been less lucky) has always been that this is reasonably painless (though the buses can get crowded) when the replacements are all scheduled well in advance - even when buses have been late. It gets bloody chaotic when the whole replacement thing is thrown together at a few minutes' notice (typically when some idiot motorist decides to crash into a bridge or level crossing), and you may get a few horror stories based on such experiences. Yours isn't such a case, however.
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 11:17 PM
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Whew! That's a load off, and the journey is through National Express rail services (though I'm guessing they are the same at Scot Rail).
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 12:32 AM
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If you tell us exactly what journey you're making, we may be able to help more.
These journeys may take longer than scheduled because buses get stuck in traffic. If the onward trains are frequent, they won't wait if a bus is late because passengers can catch the next train.
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 09:40 PM
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The trip:

Depart:
Glasgow Central, 22:03
Change at:
Kilmarnock arr. 22:39
Bus
Ayr dep. 23:21
Arrive:
Stranraer Harbour, 00:44 (4/5)
Changes: 2 Duration: 2h 41m

From what I see, trains are very infrequent. We absolutely have to take this trip though so we can make the morning ferry to Belfast. Leaving earlier in the day isn't an option, as we will be gone on a day tour. This is the only part of our schedule that's very tight (although we will have about 4 hours leeway to get back from the tour before our train departs).
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Old Feb 15th, 2008, 12:22 AM
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If it's the last train at night, then the connections certainly will wait.
The train operators have a contractual obligation to get you to your destination. I've been in situations where late-night connections haven't worked, and railway staff have called taxis to get people to their destinations.
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Old Feb 15th, 2008, 07:11 AM
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I don't know which ferry to are taking. however, for what its worth...If you took the morning train direct you would arrive in time for the 9:55 ferry.
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Old Feb 15th, 2008, 12:34 PM
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Hey! We're taking the 4:55 am ferry (docks at 7 am) so we can get to Belfast in time for our 9:40 am tour of Antrim. As I said, the only tight connection, but we've done stuff like it before. My hubsband and I are the type of travelers that actually LIKE to get up at 4 am so we can maximize our time...though I have a feeling that may change as we get older, it's something we can handle pretty well for now.
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Old Feb 15th, 2008, 01:46 PM
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Where or when will you sleep?
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Old Feb 25th, 2008, 01:50 AM
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Problem solved!!! Rather than booking that nightmare, we just booked a 45 min. flight out of Glasgow for less $$$ than the train tix. Problem solved.
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