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Gatwick to Southampton

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sddsddean | 15:56 Sun 13th Sep 2009 | Travel
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I think Chris is going to be best at this, but anyone feel free to chip in. Current price for a ticket on Southern Railways is £18.40. However, from Victoria it is only £3 for exactly the same train. So, can you buy a ticket for Victoria to Soton, but get on at Gatwick legally and practically? Next problem; I'm researching this for friends coming from Canada. Presumably they won't be able to use the 'ticket issue' machines at Gatwick as those machines won't chuck out tickets saying 'from Victoria', so they would have to get the tickets sent to them. I know that is possible, but could they use the 'excuse' along the lines "Our travel plans changed and we flew into Gatwick instead of Heathrow and already had the ticket". Is this a viable excuse.

Simon

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i think what you are saying is that you want to buy a ticket from one station but get on at another one? No you can't do this, as presumably there will be barriers at gatwick station. Gatwick is no-where near victoria, so it would be similar to me saying "can i buy a ticket from manchester to london but get on at edinburgh" i.e NO
i may have misunderstood your question though
unless of course gatwick is between victoria and southampton
Question Author
Thats my point. The train from Victoria to Southampton gos via Gatwick, which is why I'm asking the 'practicalities'.
Hi Simon

Southern's website isn't very clear but there are indications within it that travel is only valid between the two stations specified on the ticket. For example, it refers to discounts being available on the "ArunValley (Arundel to Christs Hospital) – London Victoria" route. That seems to indicate that the discounts are only available to/from stations actually in the Arun Valley. (Otherwise they could just say that discounts are available between Arundel and London). Similarly there's a reference to discounted fares as "London Metro area - Brighton". That seems to specifically exclude boarding at other stations along the line, such as Gatwick Airport.

That interpretation of the rules is also consistent with those that applied when I worked on the railways (but not for Southern). Advance purchase tickets are normally only available for travel between the origin and destination stated on the ticket. (i.e. boarding or alighting at intermediate stations is not permitted).

I've not travelled from Gatwick Airport station for many years but I assume that, like most (possibly all?) other stations along the route between Victoria and Brighton, entry to the platform is controlled by automatic ticket barriers. I strongly suspect that advance purchase tickets, with the origin shown as 'London Victoria', won't open the gates.

I'm sorry that my answer is a bit vague but Southern don't seem to want people to know exactly what their rules are! Probably the only way you'll get an exact answer is to use the 'Advance Tickets' query category here:
http://tickets.southernrailway.com/sn/en/contactus

Chris
I don't think there are any platform barriers at all at Gatwick Airport station - they'd be too much of a hindrance to the thousands of people rushing for their flights. I don't know whether this is also true for people coming into the station off the road (or even if this is possible).
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Thanks Chris and jno. I thought it would be a bit iffy legally and sounds like their website is vague enough to catch you out. I think we'll knock that idea on the head.
The answer is legally it can't be done. Full stop.

Practically it might work. The machines at Gatwick WILL spit out the ticket, it doesn't have to be done at the starting station. Any station with a TOD facility will do. And there are no barriers to pass to get access to the platforms.

There's still a risk though - if they are seen by a ticket inspector boarding at Gatwick it might lead to questions and a penalty fare when he later makes his rounds on the train. Even if not the baggage tags will be a giveaway.

Bear in mind that the higher fare is valid on any (??off-peak) train - the £3 only on the booked journey. You are not comparing exactly the same product.
Question Author
Thanks dzug. We've decided its not worth the risk for £15 each and knocked the idea on the head. Its bl00dy annoying though!

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