Instantaneous train changes--is Britrail joking?

I'm browsing BritRail timetables for trips from York to Stratford on Avon, among other possibilities. I just found official timetables showing I could make the trip with 2 changes, but the timings look bizarre, to say the least! For example, I leave York at 8:45. I arrive Birmingham New Street at 11:08. Then, according to the BritRail timetable, I leave Birmingham New Street at 11:08, arriving Birmingham Moor Street at 11:30. I then leave Birmingham Moor Street at 11:30, arriving Stratford at 12:21. Now I know I can sometimes manage an across-the-platform train change in Germany, for example, if both trains are exactly on time, but what BritRail seems to be suggesting sounds very, very impractical, to me! Can someone please explain the timings for me? Thx.

Posted by Joel
Tempe, AZ, USA
843 posts

Tom - in looking at the Bahn web site I see you train departing York at 8:45 arriving Birmingham New Street at 11:08. Depating Birmingham Moor Street at 11:30 arriving Stratford at 12:21. The Bahn web site has the distance between the 2 Birmingham stations is 400m and a transfer time of 20 minutes. Hopefully Nigel will see this post and provide his expert advice.

Posted by Suz
Denver, USA
223 posts

Tom, I went straight to http://nationalrail.co.uk and looked at your 08:45 departure from YRK to SAV. The 11:08 to 11:30 part of that trip is not a train journey - there's a pedestrian symbol at the left of that line on the National Rail site (I didn't go to the BritRail site so don't know how they lay it out). The 11:08 to 11:30 bit is your transfer time on the ground between Birmingham New Street station (arrival from YRK) and Birmingham Moor Street station (departure to SAV). Because I'm used to looking at airline flight details online and not rail trips, it took me a minute to figure that out. This is good; I need to develop rail-schedule skills.

Posted by Tom
Easley, SC, USA
268 posts

Thx Joel, thx Suz. The Brit Rail timetable does not display any symbol in its list of the three "trains" I'd take from York to Stratford. To my eye, each line looks the same and they all look like trains. There's an origin, destination, departure time, arrival time, etc., for all 3 lines. Thx for clarifying that one of the three is actually me walking from one station to another! Perhaps I should just go back to using bahn.de, which is my favorite online rail site anyway!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8760 posts

Above answers correct but more detail can be used. But, first - BritRail doesn't run any trains. What official timetables are you looking at? While I always use the Bahn for good information throughout Europe I always use a much better site for railways in Great Britain - National Rail Enquiries. It is filled with loads of information including network maps, maps of the stations, special offers, live running information, detours and engineering work, special schedules such as at Christmas and Bank Holidays, and best of all a very accurate planning tool based on live data. If you look at that you will see, as mentioned above, the little pictograph of a walking man. Now, I know that area of the world like the back of my hand and I must ask you if the arrival time in Stratford-upon-Avon is a critical time? The reason I ask is this:- the official minimum connection time at Birmingham New Street for connections within the station is 15 minutes. There isn't an official time for walking to Moor Street. The time to walk between the two is about 10 minutes if you know where you are going, and starting the clock after you reached the main concourse after going upstairs and passing through the ticket barrier line. The other consideration is that the train from York has once or twice been a bit late arriving at New Street. Nevertheless, as you pass through the main ticket barrier (lifts at the "A" end of the platform, stairs up in the middle of the "A" end, escalators at the join of the "A" and "B" ends in the centre of the platform. Don't go out the stairs at the far end of or you won't get where you are going.) bear left and pass the big WH Smiths on your left and Left Luggage on your right. Straight out the small set of doors ahead of you next to the small Boots and the coffee bar. more ...

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8760 posts

... more ... Hold your breath as you go outside because that's where the smokers congregate, past the parked police cars, to the traffic lights to cross the road. There is a very large shopping mall across the road with a "Boots" nearest the door. Cross the road. If you take the official route to Moor Street station turn left after you crossed the road to walk along the Queensway through the road tunnel on a separated pavement to the next corner a long block away, cross the next road and go into Moor Street Station on the right hand side. If you take Nigel's route as you cross the road towards the Boots use the door to the right of Boots to enter the mall called the Bullring. When you get to the main part of the mall take the escalator down one floor to the lowest one and walk the full length of the mall in the same direction you come off the escalator until you get to the end and an up escalator just before Selfridges department store. Back up one floor to the middle one and out the doors. Cross the street and you will be just in front of Moor Street Station. That assumes you didn't stop in the mall and miss your train. There is a regular service of trains to Stratford, it used to be hourly and now may be a bit more. I would be a bit concerned with a 22 minute connection. I could do it standing on my head if the incoming train was on time but I know where I am going...

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
3314 posts

This is when I wish there was a like button on the HelpLine. I so want to "Like" Nigel's posts. ; )

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8760 posts

Thanks, Pamela... ;-) My wife tells me that I am too optimistic. She says she'd never make the walk in 10 minutes - that it would have to be at least 15 or more. It is true that when I do it I know exactly where I am going, and while I don't dash along in speedos flinging wailing women and children out of the way in the style of our Ed, I do keep up a head of steam. I also have no luggage...

Posted by Tom
Easley, SC, USA
268 posts

Nigel, As usual, your answers are always spot on! As for "official timetables" I just Google on britrail and go to the link that pops up that includes the word timetables and go from there. I had no idea there would be a better way to do it! Thanks for that tip! As for details, it's too soon to tell. I'm just perusing ideas at the moment. I only posted the OP because I really didn't understand what I was seeing on the screen, e.g., one train "arrive at 10:38" and the next one "depart at 10:38". Thx all of you for the excellent explanation! Tom