The post shows the problem and information I have found in planning and booking a return train journey from Great Malvern Station to Wool in Dorset.
For this journey when I booked it book ahead tickets do not save any money so it's a standard off peak return. I quite often find that for some journeys from Malvern booked ahead does not save or does not save enough to justify the lack of flexibility.
For getting to Wool the quickest trains for me are to go via Evesham and Reading but to comeback via Bristol. I tried to book this on websites as you can get some seat reservations with flexible tickets.
The trains I wanted to use and book are:
I first tried my website of choice: Ticket Clever, but when I selected my outward train of choice it would not let me select the return I wanted. but it would allow me to select other later return trains via Bristol. This made we worry that there maybe some restrictions on the return that did not allow me to use the trains I wanted.
I then tried the West Midlands Railway website as I was think I may have to talk to a real person at the station to solve the problem. It does show three different off peak returns:
For the second two it looks like you can pay more to get more restrictions on where you can use it!
The return train I wanted can be found on the National Rail and Ticket Clever websites, but cannot be found on the West Midlands Railway website! even if you look for it as a single journey.
So I then tried to book via the National Rail website. It sent me to the GWR website were I booked it, meaning that my worries about restriction were unfounded.
I had emailed Ticket Clever about my problem and after three days and after I had booked with GWR they replied saying that if you click "std" for ("std" "1st" "any") all the fairs are shown and they I could select the return train I wanted. I had assumed that ("std" "1st" "any") was I filter on the class of fairs, but it's more than that. They also said "The system defaults to the cheapest options available", so I think the Super Off Peak Return was causing their websites problems.
In principle I support the idea of a new railway track going north south in England increasing the capacity. The problem with the current proposal it's all about building an independent transport system not integrated with the current rail or other public transport systems.
The problems is as I see it so that they have new stations except in London and Manchester, I’ll come to London later. There's a new station in Nottingham in the middle of nowhere, but close to the Motorway. In Birmingham is not as a new station, if fact a very old one, Curzon Street, but that stopped being used for long distance trains in 1854 when New Street was opened. Because New Street was a better location and closer to the city centre! The new station will be close to Moor Street but will be about a ten minutes walk away from the main Birmingham station of New Street. So for most of us, including us from Malvern I doubt if it will quicker to use HS2 rather than the existing West coast main line trains. I suspect the same may also apply to the Nottingham and the rest of the East Midlands and Sheffield.
Does the speed have to be so fast? Looking a projected time savings the only place where this is significant is London to Manchester see wikipedia . So should it be such a fast line? Running slightly slower will save construction cost. Less tunnels etc. as the line can curve more, and will use less energy when it is running.
The problem with London is London, the current HS2 plans don't have any connection with HS1 and most importantly there are no plans to a direct trains from Birmingham to the continent. A lot the supporters of HS2 just see it as a way of getting to and from London. To rebalance the economy of the UK away from London, what is needed is better connection with places that are not London. If HS2 is to any use to the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands region there it must be direct trains from Birmingham to Paris and beyond. Without out these direct connections it will just suck more into London.