back to article IT error at Great Western Railway charging £10k for 63-mile journey ticket

Great Western Rail has been advertising the bargain of a lifetime; a first-class journey from Taunton to Trowbridge for £10,000. We don't know if anybody could hate cider that much, but the extraordinarily priced direct trip was advertised from 22 May to 14 July, leaving potential customers stumping up £156 per mile. Great …

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As Jack Dee on I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue said: the Romans settled in Bath, and named it for its natural hot spring waters, and for its proximity to a toilet like Trowbridge.

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Coffee/keyboard

Amen. In 20 years of canal boat holidays I've been to an awful lot of English towns - and a lot of awful English towns - but never to any that were more awful than Trowbridge (not even Stoke).

If you ever get stuck there for an evening, just go straight to the Wetherspoons - it is the only vaguely-decent pub in town, so don't waste your time looking for any better ones.

Escape, if you can -> ->

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Pint

Escape Trowbridge?

Well, Devizes is not that far away and home to 6X. You shouldn't need any more help.

Beer icon naturally. I would dearly love a pint of that nectar right now as I'm in Southern France so getting even some Belgian beer is out of the question.

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080

Re: Escape Trowbridge?

Just go to Le Clerc's and get a few cans of Bavarian Brewing Company (from Amsterdam naturally) 8.6

And it's Trowhole not Trowbridge

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"We welcome readers' suggestions for other ways in which Tauntonians could spend £10,000 to escape the small city."

Buy a Dacia Sandero.

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Anonymous Coward

Great News!

The Dacia Sandero currently has an RRP starting from £5185, a saving of £4815 on the Great Western Railway £10k first class rail journey!

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Re: Great News!

currently has an RRP starting from £5185

Almost low enough to buy two. Presumably the proper thing to do would be torch the outbound one on arrival to avoid paying for parking, and then buy a brand new one for the return journey.

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Re: Great News!

Guys!

Have you not considered the cost of insurance? That's £4,000 on it's own before you take Petrol, Tax, etc.

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Re return journey

Why would you want a return journey?

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Re: Great News!@ wolfetone

Insurance? Why would I want that on a "burner" car? Admittedly the filth might take a dim view if I were caught on the road without insurance, but these days they do little real road policing, preferring to rely on cameras and back office flunkies to issue tickets. Even were I caught on a speed camera, by the time the ticket arrives my disposable ride will be a mixture of ashes and crushed metal in a scrappies yard, and I'll be saying, "wasn't me driving it gov'nr, was some yoof that twocked it".

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Re: Great News!@ wolfetone

The car dealer has to arrange the road tax[1] on it before you can collect the keys, and you need proof of insurance to get it taxed.

[1] Note to pedants, it is once again road tax, George Osborne changed it back.

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Not a denial

"We are aware of an IT glitch which has published fares for a first class journey that does not exist,"

Is it the fare or the journey that doesn't exist? Cos it sounds like they're saying its the journey and the fare is a certain possibility.

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Re: Not a denial

Chances are there are no first class carriages.

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Re: Not a denial

That was my thought - there's no 1st class available, so we put a "dummy" price in of £10k. It could then fall into an IT problem because the systems didn't exclude the £10k fare and mark it as "not available".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not a denial

> Chances are there are no first class carriages.

Maybe they'll add one for £10k. That's a fair price for having an exclusive first-class ride.

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Re: Not a denial

That was my thought - there's no 1st class available, so we put a "dummy" price in of £10k. It could then fall into an IT problem because the systems didn't exclude the £10k fare and mark it as "not available".

If you're willing to pay ten grand for the ticket, I suspect they'd be willing to add a first class carriage specially for you.

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Re: Not a denial

Not first class passengers at that price.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not a denial

"[...] there's no 1st class available, so we put a "dummy" price in of £10k."

I once contacted an eBay seller because an item price was ludicrously high. Apparently they were going on holiday - and it was easier to change the price to prevent a sale instead of temporarily withdrawing the long term listing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not a denial

£10000 is still a valid ticket price (e.g. a season ticket from Bath to London), so the dummy fare should probably have been set at £100000.

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Re: Is it the fare or the journey that doesn't exist?

A good question, as it addresses a likely error in the class hierarchies from which the software is built.

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Joke

Taunton ?

And I thought they smelled bad on the outside !

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MJI
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Re: Taunton ?

No that is Bridgwater

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One of the joys of travelling by train to Trowbridge was that, from the station, you got a first-class view of the Bowyers factory. With truckloads of pigs going in one end and sausages coming out the other. You could also hear the pigs screaming, because they knew it didn't look good.

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Just call it Porcine University.

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Anonymous Coward

IT Error?

Was it really an "IT Error"? Did the computer really make an error or did a human goof up and the computer took one for the team?

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Joke

Re: IT Error?

IT here stands for "Idiot Technician" perhaps?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IT Error?

They just got caught, that's all. Then blame the computer.

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Re: IT Error?

PEBKAC

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Re: IT Error?

GIGO = Garbage In, Garbage Out. I put it down to duff (human supplied?) data somewhere and the computer just doing its normal thing.

Meanwhile, to err is human but to really mess things up, it takes a computer.

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IT Angle

Re: IT Error?

"Did the computer really make an error or did a human goof up and the computer took one for the team?"

What's the difference? Computer error is always a human error at the end of the day.

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Re: IT Error?

It's probably an instance of the classic code smell known as "magic values".

First class tickets aren't available, so the price should be null. You can't use null because it's not supported or it breaks something elsewhere. How about zero? No, we don't want to risk people travelling for free. A negative number? No, we might have to pay them to travel. OK, we'll use a big number.

Long.MAX_VALUE might have been a better choice. If it ever got printed it would be pretty noticeable.

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Probably no more than a hangover from the British Rail philosophy of charging what the traffic will bear.

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Anonymous Coward

Given the current state of the railways, British Rail and their legendary sandwiches look like a never to be repeated golden age.

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British Rail and their legendary sandwiches

Don't forget the cans of Ruddles County

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Given the current state of the railways, British Rail and their legendary sandwiches look like a never to be repeated golden age.

OK, lets go back to a state owned railway system using ancient, slow and dirty rolling stock, providing half the number of journeys as our current system, and run apparently as a job creation scheme for the indolent and surly. I can recall the days of British Rail very well, and anybody who thinks things were better has clearly got their head wedged in the back pages of Socialist Worker.

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Anonymous Coward

"I can recall the days of British Rail very well, and anybody who thinks things were better has clearly got their head wedged in the back pages of Socialist Worker."

Can I recommend rush hour journeys on Southern Rail?

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Childcatcher

"a never to be repeated golden age..."

"This is the aaaaage - Of the train!"

</two thumbs-up></jewellery jewellery></creepy stare>

Ah - the good old days.

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Can I recommend rush hour journeys on Southern Rail?

Not materially worse than my recollection of the old Southern Region at peak time. Of course, back in those days you used to get Lillibolero played at Waterloo to keep everything moving along smartly, and I'll wager they don't do that any more. However, fans of the good old days of nationalisation will presumably be approving of the 1970s industrial relations that appear to have been reintroduced on Southern Rail.

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MJI
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Was not that old

I remember the locos were all around 20 years old, prime of life

Comfy roomy coaches sometimes downgraded first class (Mark 1 FO as a second, nice).

Rather a Type 4* + 8 to 10 than a multiple unit.

Rather a HST than the new stuff

* Peak 47 or best of all a 50

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Was not that old

I detect the whiff of a railway nerd...

Thumper double header has the best noise though.

I did prefer compartments with my own light and blind though. The old EMU's were already about 40 years old when I started using them as a kid though. These had windows that let air in too which is also limited nowadays in sealed box trains.

All new plastic, uncomfortable, densely packed sardine tins that pass for trans nowadays. Hypnotising drivers going through a permanent tunnel of overhead cable gantries (trust me a font view needs effort at speed to see anything through the blur)

Ahhh, reminicences

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Anonymous Coward

Er????

Can I recommend rush hour journeys on any train into London

There fixed it for you.

FWIW one of the most overcrowded trains is the 07:30 something GW service from Reading into Paddington but yes Southen Services (or not) with all that Union action is bad. About time that came to an end. As all new trains are being designed (by government diktat) for DOO they should get used to having more staff not sitting in their compartment doing the crossword for the entire trip and actually interracting with the passengers. As the Union Leader is name Cash, I guess only a hefty solution in Cash would settle it..

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Re: Was not that old

2-BIL or 2-HAL or possibly a 4-SUB gave way to 4-COR and 4-VEP and now you have Class 700's.

then spotting at Holme Box on the ECML as Diesels replaced the A3's and A4's. Oh, the good old days.

Hated the 2-BILs used on the Brighton Line. Got in one of the non corridor coaches at Victoria only to be joined by a bunch of Chelsea skilheads/boot boys who proceeded to kick the daylights out of me because Chelsea had lost at the 'Bridge' due to two goals by Greavsie. Even the guard wouldn't go near them.

Dammit it, showing my age.

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Re: Er????

But at least the union action is posted in advance so you can make alternative arrangements. It's the days when it is supposed to be working properly that the problems occur. Overcrowded trains running late, services cancelled at the last minute. Southern Rail are a terribly run operation, made all the more galling by the millions of pounds their shareholders take from Government coffers.

More taxpayer money is spent funding 'privately' run railways now than it ever was when nationally owned. We could re-nationalise, spend the same amount of money but return the profits to the treasury and have the same level of service we currently have.

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Re: Er????

According to the last figures, the sums paid to the Government vs the sums paid in subsidy to the TOC's is around £816M per anum in favour of the Government.

This little factoid is glossed over by those who want to re-nationalise the railways.

Granted, the GW electricification has been an unmitigated disaster yet Crossrail will come in on time and on budget. Perhaps the lack of meddling by the government in Crossrail might have something to do with it?

The newly let Southwest Trains Franchise will have to pay mony to HMG right from day 1. No subsidy there. Crazy decision to axe the new class 700 trains for the Windsor/Reading lines before they have all been built... Railways seem to have this effect on people. Look at some of the frankly stupid schemes that received royal acent in the 19th Century.

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Anonymous Coward

Given the current state of the railways, British Rail and their legendary sandwiches look like a never to be repeated golden age.

Ah yes, "British Rail - We're getting there."

Not exactly optimistic or dynamic, but on the whole, accurate.

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Re: Er????

8 of the 10 most overcrowded journeys are Reading to Paddington, one is Henley to Paddington, and one is a Transpennine service from Glasgow to Manchester.

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Anonymous Coward

I too can remember state owned BR and whilst it wasn't perfect atleast it was ours

Whilst I did not eat the food on the trains, I did however use the service daily for years to get A to B that is before it was "privatised" and I had to get a driving license.

Like every other service that we used to own that was "privitised" to make it more "efficent", things cannot be said to have improved and clearly "efficent" here doesnt mean less expensive, safer or better value.

"efficent" in this context clearly means sell off anything not bolted down such as real estate, research centres and associated patents etc. Then lay off the "expensive" highly educated and competent staff and replace them with cheap semi-skilled, disinterested short term contractors.

When the wheels invitably fall off then repeatedly demand yet more cash from the state to give to the share holders so the inept management can keep their sinecures. It used to be that only people buying a ticket paid for the service where as now every tax payer does and gets far less out of it to boot.

I also remember the "Socialist Worker" guys and they didn't work at BR or any of the "privatised industries", in my experience they worked for Socialist Worker Magazine itself simply because the "privatised industries" used to required you to have passed some technical exams. Now however if they keep stum they would fit right in, so the premise that privatisation removed them from the industry is shown as the lie it always was.

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Mushroom

so we've gone "forward" to a system where the public subsidy doubled on privatisation; that exists to funnel taxpayers money to boards of directors and shareholders and that has to have at least two regulators because otherwise the chiselling twats wouldn't bother with maintenance, eg Hatfield.

we did actually go forward and have the ecml run by the state and it was something like affordable. of course, that didn't work, because the hereinbefore mentioned chiselling twats hadn't got their snouts in the trough, so they gave it to branson who recommenced the gouging.

hth, hand.

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Anonymous Coward

<Quote> Given the current state of the railways, British Rail and their legendary sandwiches look like a never to be repeated golden age.

OK, lets go back to a state owned railway system using ancient, slow and dirty rolling stock, providing half the number of journeys as our current system, and run apparently as a job creation scheme for the indolent and surly. I can recall the days of British Rail very well, and anybody who thinks things were better has clearly got their head wedged in the back pages of Socialist Worker.</Quote>

some of the trains are newer, but the rest is the same...Now you just get a choice of one sandwich from a trolly that runs over your feet or gets stuck in crowded carriages and cant get to you.

Telling me it is better now means you have your own head stuck in Computer Weekly or some other periodical...

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