Cheap Train Tickets In 3 Easy Steps

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Ever wish you could travel back in time to the great age of steam engines? Wouldn’t it be even better if we could drop the cost of a train ticket in the Victorian era?

Fortunately, there’s no need to expose yourself to the grime and destitution of the 1850’s. Here is the moneysavingzone.co.uk cheap train tickets guide.

Research Your Train Journeys

The word ‘research’ might conjure up images of dome-headed scientists experimenting on a cure for all mankinds ills. I applaud them. Whilst they’re fixing the world you’re going to be doing some research on your train fares.

The most comprehensive list of train times and fares that I’ve found comes from www.thetrainline.com. The website does charge a £1 fee for online booking but the potential savings are huge.

I did some research on a one way ticket from London Euston to Manchester. The cheapest the First Class ticket came in at £62.50. Not bad. But then I looked at the sidebar that indicated there were 3 more deals on the day I am going to travel. The cheapest option? £12.50!!

Ok, it’s not first class but it’s a huge saving.

crosscountrytrains.co.uk is another great source of deals. Some of the train tickets have been reduced by up to 75%. The cheapest ticket for the same route was £73. More expensive than thetrainline.com but still cheaper than buying on the day.

The National Express East Coast actually covers more than just the East coast. The London to Manchester journey costs as little as £12 but only if you travel at 0100!! Cheapest price for normal hours of the day is £62.50.

Buy Your Train Tickets Early

Cheap train tickets are in big demand. No sooner are they advertised and they’re gone. Is there a way to ensure you get the best deals? Yes; you need to book in advance; well in advance. In fact, if you want the very best deals you’ll need to book 12 weeks in advance.

That is quite a long time to book ahead and you may find it’s only really suitable if you’re going on holiday or taking the family to visit relatives. It’s easy to forget the planning and book a few days before you travel but, before you do, check the prices of your train journey. Do you really want to pay £100’s more because you didn’t do a little planning?

Break Your Journey Down

It goes without saying that you’re going to pay more for the convenience of a journey without train changes. But, with a little planning and a change, or two, you could knock a hefty chunk off you ticket price.

Known as ‘split-ticketing’, this method can save you up to 60% off advertised prices (and that includes the already massively discounted tickets). Instead of buying a ticket on, say, a Virgin train that takes you from A to B in a single journey, you buy tickets for different stages.

Let’s take the London to Manchester example and factor in ‘split-ticketing’.

Instead of travelling direct to Manchester, you book a ticket to Birmingham. The lowest price I found was £6. Next book a ticket from Birmingham to Manchester. The lowest price I found was £6.50. So, for a total of £12.50, you can get from London to Manchester without having to travel in the wee hours.

Is split-ticketing legal? Yes, it’s perfectly legal.

Why is split-ticketing so cheap? Because you’re taking advantage of the prices set by each individual train company rather than relying on a single operator.

What could go wrong? The biggest problem you could run into will be delays. If your connecting train departure time is close to your arrival time you may miss your connection. Plan ahead.

Travel Cards

Contrary to popular belief, travel cards aren’t the preserve of students and pensioners (although they do get the best deals and rightly so).

Rail travel cards cater for just about every group you can think of. Here’s a quick rundown of the entitlements:

16 – 25 Railcard

To be able to buy one of these cards you need to be:

Aged 16-25 or a full time student. You also need to hold either a valid passport or UK driving licence.

How much does it cost and what do you get? The 16 – 25 railcard costs £28 for a 1 year subscription or £65 for 3 years. For this rather small sum of money you get 1/3 off UK rail fares for a year.

Friends and Family Railcard

To be able to buy one of these cards you need to be:

Travelling with at least 1 child. Children must be aged between 5 and 15 years old.

How much does it cost and what do you get? The Familay and Friends railcard costs £28 for a 1 year subscription or £65 for 3 years. Adults save 1/3 off ticket prices and childrens tickets are discounted by 60%. You also get some great discounts on hotel bookings, days out and meals in selected restaurants.

Senior Railcard

To be able to buy one of these cards you need to be:

Over 60 years old. You also need a valid passport number or UK driving licence. These will be used to prove your identity.

How much does it cost and what do you get? Senior railcard prices cost the same as the others we’ve talked about so far – £28 for a 1 year subscription or £65 for 3 years. In return, you’ll get 1/3 off Standard and First Class fares. There are additional perks and you can get the latest offers here: http://www.senior-railcard.co.uk/cardholders/offers

Disabled Persons Railcard

To be able to buy one of these cards you need to be:

In receipt of disability-related benefits, have epilepsy, be deaf or a hearing aid user or be registered as visually impaired.

How much does it cost and what do you get? £20 for one year or £54 for
three years. The disabled person railcard lets you save 1/3 on most rail fares across Britain. Make you check your are eligible before yo book. Your travelling companion is also entitled to the same discount.

Network Railcard

To be able to buy one of these cards you need to be:

Travelling in the network railcard area.

How much does it cost and what do you get? For a 12 month subscription that entitles to one third of rail fares on most of the London and south east network you’ll pay £28.

Claim Back Rail Costs

It’s not the best piece of advice for rail travellers as we know you just want to get to your destination with no fuss. But, if your journey is subject to delays, you can claim back at least some of the cost of your ticket.

Your train will need to be delayed by 30 minutes for overground journeys and 15 minutes for Tube journeys for you to be eligible to claim.

Claims forms are available at your local train station.


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