Thursday 14 November 2013

The Trouble with Torpoint [1]

GoAhead versus First (Again)

Train Fares are a Great Mystery. From Axminster to Sherborne (53 miles there and back together) it costs ...
... a reasonable £7.05 with an old fogey's railcard. But to go all the way to Plymouth (155 miles return) you would have to pay a mind- and pocket- numbing ...

fbb is grateful to his Church minister for explaining.

There is a Devon Day Ranger (i.e. rover) ticket at £10 adult (£6.60 oap) so there is no point in trying to sell "ordinary" off-peak day returns at any higher price. So the day return is priced accordingly and more cheaply. The ranger would have been fbb's choice if he had longer time in Plymouth, possibly for a picturesque ride to Gunnislake and back.

Ranger information was not apparent at Stagecoach-land's Axminster; but then the ticket is a F*rst Gr**t W*st*rn product. Axminster is (a) in Devon (just) and (b) part of the ticket's validity. On enquiry, the young gell at the ticket window went to her cupboard of secret things and found a copy of the  F*rst Gr**t W*st*rn booklet.
The FGW web site doesn't make it easy either.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4
Step 5 ...
... an empty page! Oh, there it is. You have to choose the area of the FGW's territory you want first, so ...

Step 6
... the page fills up.

But fbb found the off-peak day return fare on-line, pegged to below the ranger price, and only later was able to read about the ranger from the little booklet prised out of Axminster ticket office, but not on display.
The only disadvantage with both cheapo deals, of course, is that you can't leave Axminster (Monday to Friday) until 0903 with an arrival in Plymouth at 1117.

fbb arrived at the station in good time to avail himself of the delights of the station caff.
Here the chubby one enjoyed the railway pictures displayed (some for sale) ...
... a freshly made bacon sarney, a mug of tea, and ...
... some helpful notices.

While fbb was enjoying his fodder it was remarked that "Captain Pugwash" was on his way. The bearded cartoon lookalike, in appearance a little like a "gentleman of the road", was a regular "character" who enjoyed a full breakfast. Then fbb enjoyed (?) a brief conversation as the big-bearded one chomped through bacon, sausage etc. He was going to Dunkeswell Airfield for a flying lesson. He once had a pilot's licence but lost it on health grounds. But he could buy a "lesson" and thus enjoy the experience from time to time. Only 300 quid a go. 

That made fbb's outing to Plymouth at £6.25 seem an even greater bargain! Of course, the highlight of the journey is the section of line between Exeter and Teignmouth, especially the stretch past Dawlish  etc. ...
... truly one of the most joyous bits of coastal railway in the UK.

On arrival (on time) at Plymouth station, it is a short, signposted ...
... walk out of the station, over a footbridge ...
... to the busy bus stop. Assuming, as ever, you know which side of the road you want. fbb did!

We're on our way to Torpoint.
Tears Before Bedtime
fbb has upset another train company.
He has been searching (unsuccessfully) or a cheap fare to get him from Seaton to Walsall by mid morning. There are good offers but they are hampered by not being available until after morning peak. So fbb never booked a ticket on the company website.

They are heartbroken.
So fbb can only apologise for upsetting General Manager Patrick Verwer ...
... and offer to post him a big box of tissues!
 Next bus/tram blog : Friday 15th November 


  1. There were no Devon Day Ranger leaflets at FGW's own (flagship?) Exeter St David's either. Unable to find a leaflet even after a rummage in the cupboard, the helpful clerk then called up the details from his intranet, and printed me off a copy. Full marks for that, and the result was that I did indeed buy one.

  2. A group of 12 of us from Wimborne Railway Society recently went to Penzance just for the hell of it starting on the 0903 from Axminster. Normal off peak return is £19 being £1 less than a Devon Ranger plus a Cornwall Ranger but then with Groupsave at 4 for 2 the cost came down to £39 (4x£20 - £1) or £9.75 each. I ended up with two and a half hours of taking bus photographs in Penzance which was quite fortunate since Western Greyhound have decided to quit that area and we had a pleasent journey in HST comfort to and from Exeter.
    Ken - Traveline Dorset