Thursday, June 21, 2018

Getting Around in UK Rail System Without Breaking the Bank


Combining UK’s complex ticket pricing system with the 25 percent raise of train fares since 2011, many find it extremely difficult to travel at peak times on intercity routes. Therefore, Telegraph Travel has listed down 10 strategies to help passengers save rail travel cost. 

Book in advance

Booking earlier, which helps prevent the hassle of the last-minute booking, can also combat the unreasonable high prices of rail routes. Around 12 weeks before departure, train companies usually release their limited cheapest fixed-time Advance tickets. Therefore, tickets are cheaper the earlier you buy. To find information on how far in advance you are able to book with each company, see National Rail’s chart at In addition to this, you can register with The Trainline at to be alerted via email of when Advance tickets go on sale for specific routes 

Search for great deals, even at the last minute. 

If you are unable to book Advance tickets well ahead of due to circumstances, you are still able to combat the unreasonable high prices of rail routes. This can be done by booking Advance tickets just before traveling—with CrossCountry, you are sometimes able to buy Advance online tickets 15 minutes before departure. It is important to note that when booking Advance tickets last minute, the cut-off times change from one operator to another; cut off times are usually 6 pm or 11.59 pm the day before. 

Avoid Booking Fees

Although online booking fees are small, with agents such as Trainline charging 25p to £1.50 and charging £1, constant online booking for a frequent train traveler can take more money out of your pocket. To avoid this, book through train operators’ websites for free booking—any train operator can book any train journey at the same price. 

Look for Supersaver tips

Although finding online deals is hard-work, it does not mean they do not exist. On you are able to find exceptionally inexpensive fares on some services operated by South West Trains and East Midlands Trains—this includes Southampton-London Waterloo and Leicester-London St. Pancras). Prices normally start at £1 (with additional 50p booking fee). 

Take a Slower Route

Taking slower routes may result in your money being saved. When traveling, riding on other routes that take longer, but still end up in the same location, are usually a lot cheaper. For example, main route peak time travels between Bath and London Paddington costs £190 for an Anytime Return. However, you can save £108.7 by taking an extra 75 minutes by changing trains in Salisbury. You’re still going to end up in the same location, however, with more cash on your hand.

Well time Your Travel

By avoiding peaks such as Monday to Friday during business travel periods, you can still save significantly, even without booking ahead. Though prices are higher than Advance rail fares, buying Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak tickets don’t restrict you to traveling on a specific train. To see which services are a peak, off-peak, and super off-peak on a specified route, you can head over to 

Get a Railcard

Investing in a railcard can help you save ⅓ on rail fares for a whole year and only costs £30 a year for most— Disabled Persons Railcards are £20. The nationwide 16-25, Two Together, Family and Friends, and Senior and Disabled Persons railcards are able to pay for themselves on just one or two long-distance journeys. To find out more details and information, you can go on 

Research Airport Train Options

Considering cheaper alternatives, such as booking airport express services in advance, can help you travel for a lot cheaper. Traveling at the weekend, when booked 90 days ahead, costs £5.50, compared with £22 bought on the same day of travel on the Heathrow Express ( When services are stopped from London stations to Gatwick, it can take the same time or a few minutes later than the Gatwick Express except, it takes less money and is cheaper. 

Don’t ignore Refunds

When you’re disadvantaged, like your train being delayed, do not hesitate to get a refund—you are entitled to get your money back. To do this, you will need to put in a claim as compensation normally is not automatic. Train companies usually follow the Delay Repay arrangement— if the train is 30-59 minutes late, they pay 50 percent of the single fair and if the train is an hour or more late, they pay 100 percent. However, different train companies come with different policies; policy details are usually on their website and being aware of these can help you with your refunds. With some train companies, such as Southern and Thameslink, you are entitled to compensation if the train is late by 15 minutes. Keep in mind that being late may sometimes be out of the control of rail operators (operators such as GWR won’t pay up if they delay was caused by something outside their control). 

Try Split-Ticketing

Rail bosses have admitted that buying two or more tickets for different connecting segments of your journey, rather than buying one ticket for the whole trip, can be cheaper—this usually applies for long distance trips. Research shows that by doing this, you can reduce the price of traveling by nearly 90 percent. The train has to call at a station, as named on the ticket, and you do not need to get off or change.

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