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  • FIRST POST
    pinkshoes
    Train Journey with toddler
    • #1
    • 22nd Nov 12, 5:21 PM
    Train Journey with toddler 22nd Nov 12 at 5:21 PM
    I'm travelling to my parents house at Christmas with my (just turned) 2 year old, and we're taking the train.

    I have a few Qs:

    1. Which is the best site to book the ticket with? (i.e. less or no booking fees)

    2. Two year olds travel for free, but is it possible to book a seat for them, and if yes, how do I do this?? He's HUGE for his age, so my legs would get really numb if he had to sit on my knee for almost 3 hours.

    3. Any tips for entertaining a 2 year old on a train, and how to be organised, especially when we have to change at Sheffield?? I'm not overly strong, and I'm just wondering how I'm going to manage toddler, bags and pushchair!

    (It's just a 1 way trip, we'll be going back by car!)
Page 1
  • Hasbeen
    • #2
    • 22nd Nov 12, 5:37 PM
    • #2
    • 22nd Nov 12, 5:37 PM
    What company are you travelling with? try them for advance type tickets.

    Where are you travelling from / to, consider a friends and family railcard 28/year to get approx 33% off

    Seats can be reserved for children but you would have to buy a childs ticket to get this.

    I am sure some experts will be along shortly, to give better advice
  • davenport151
    • #3
    • 22nd Nov 12, 6:04 PM
    • #3
    • 22nd Nov 12, 6:04 PM
    My Son was always happy just to look out of the window to see what we could spot. Especially if its a journey that you're not familar with. Possibly get something like an I-Spy book and tick things off as you see them.
    I see plenty of kids now with colouring books/ story books to do.
    Thats the great thing about trains plenty of time to watch the world go by.
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  • JQ.
    • #4
    • 22nd Nov 12, 6:09 PM
    • #4
    • 22nd Nov 12, 6:09 PM
    We've done a few long flights and have found a series of new cheap toys or activities every so often works quite well. A new toy or activity every 45 mins seems to work for us.
  • mysk_girl
    • #5
    • 22nd Nov 12, 6:48 PM
    • #5
    • 22nd Nov 12, 6:48 PM
    If its a long journey, look into buying a family railcard. You are correct that 2yo do not need a ticket, but you can't reserve them a seat without one. As a railcard will get you a discount on both adult and child tickets it can work out more economic. For example, I travel from Oxford to York with my 2 children, I buy a family railcard for 26 per year. For an adult ticket only without a railcard it is more expensive than an adult+child with the railcard. The difference is more than 26, so I save just by doing 1 journey AND I get a reserved seat. We can get 3 of us into 2 seats. I actually travel 2/3 times a year, so the savings are pretty good.

    As for buying tickets, I usually go to the station to do it as you can pick exactly which seats you want, I get the ones near the toilet and the large luggage area so my buggy can travel unfolded. Try and get the proper table rather than the airline style ones.

    Sheffield is an easy one to change at, there are lifts and a bridge to get between platforms. I have always found staff very helpful there (I sometimes break my return journey in Sheffield as my dad lives there)

    As for entertainment, I use videos on my iPhone, books (the poor people sat near us got very sick of the gruffalo's child on one journey!). Take plenty of finger food, always good for distraction. Pens and drawing. Take a pad though, not loose paper. Don't try and potty train 5 days before you travel (from personal experience - what WAS I thinking...). A change on the journey is actually good as you have the distraction of packing up, getting off and re boarding to break the journey. Lots of talking about what is outside the window.

    Have fun, I love travelling by train with mine :-) however, no.3 was due last Monday (no sign yet) and I'm a little apprehensive about doing it with 3 of them!
  • V Chic Chick
    • #6
    • 22nd Nov 12, 7:16 PM
    • #6
    • 22nd Nov 12, 7:16 PM
    Take something quiet like colouring in for him to do.

    Try and centre the train journey around his nap time.

    And for the love of god don't sit in the quiet carriage - they're not designed for toddlers who will struggle to stay quiet for three full hours.
  • TwinkleJode
    • #7
    • 22nd Nov 12, 7:52 PM
    • #7
    • 22nd Nov 12, 7:52 PM
    This year I have done 2 return journeys from Manchester to Edinburgh with a 1year old.

    We booked a table seat, using a family rail card, booked on Trainline or Red Spotted Hanky. We took finger snacks, juice, a magazine, pad and crayons and the iPod/iPad and a few little cars
  • spiro
    • #8
    • 23rd Nov 12, 1:33 PM
    • #8
    • 23rd Nov 12, 1:33 PM
    You are correct that 2yo do not need a ticket, but you can't reserve them a seat without one.
    Originally posted by mysk_girl
    Not only can you not reserve a seat, if the train is busy the 2yr old can't occupy a seat you have to give it up to fare paying passengers.

    As to changing trains at Sheffield if you look here you'll see a good layout map.http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/sjp/SHF/plan.html?rtnloc=SHF
    As you can see there are lifts to get you to the footbridge. Suggest you try and find out your arrival and departure platforms in advance as this may influence where you sit if you have to get to the footbridge.
    IT Consultant in the utilities industry specialising in the retail electricity market.

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  • Stigy
    • #9
    • 23rd Nov 12, 4:06 PM
    • #9
    • 23rd Nov 12, 4:06 PM
    With regard to entering/alighting from trains with a pushchair (assuming you'll have one), I see all the time in my job, parents struggling to alight from trains with their pushchair 'nose first'. This can be dangerous if the little one isn't secured properly and is far less easy than reversing off. Seems common sense to me, but most don't do it this way for some reason. Give it a go, I'm sure you'll agree! Same with entering the train, nose first is obviously better. Parents tend to do this on entering the train though...I guess natural to do this nose first technique unless you use the trains a lot, or work on them?
  • thelawnet
    I'm travelling to my parents house at Christmas with my (just turned) 2 year old, and we're taking the train.

    I have a few Qs:

    1. Which is the best site to book the ticket with? (i.e. less or no booking fees)
    Originally posted by pinkshoes
    Completely depends on what stations you are travelling between.

    Could you say which they are?
    • skintchick
    • By skintchick 24th Nov 12, 12:09 AM
    • 14,668 Posts
    • 23,337 Thanks
    skintchick
    How long is the journey? I've travelled into London with my toddler and that's just over an hour. She was very happy looking out of the window, reading some books, eating snacks and chatting to me.

    You could also try:
    colouring/drawing
    games on your phone
    stories on your phone
    I-Spy
    Exploring the train (walking up and down)
    DFW Nerd Club member 023...DFD 9.2.2007
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  • pinkshoes
    Thank you so much for all your help, particularly the map of Sheffield station - I hadn't even though out the hassle of changing platform with a pushchair!!

    I've just booked my ticket with red spotted hanky, and no booking charge nor credit card fee which was fab. I decided just to book me a seat, because my son has been on a train once before (a steam train), and he insisted on sitting on my knee.

    I didn't bother with the family rail card, as this is a one off train journey; I normally drive everywhere, but my OH is working until the 24th December, so I thought me and my son would go up and see my parents early, then my OH will drive up CHristmas day, and we'll travel back in the car with him. Saves having 2 cars up at my parents house, and the single train ticket is cheaper than the return petrol for a 320 round trip.

    We'll be leaving the house at 7.30, then a 1 hour bus journey to our nearest station (Oxford), then a 2.5 hour train to Sheffield, then the second train journey is an hour.

    So, er... what do I do if my son fills his nappy whilst on the train?! Do they have nappy changing facilities, as all I remember are tiny toilets hardly big enough for one!?
  • mysk_girl
    Yes, the disabled loo has a changing table. I also live an hour from Oxford station on the bus! You'll be fine, mine love the journey :-)

    Oxford is not difficult with a buggy, but I would leave a decent amount of time as if either of the lifts isn't working (happened to me twice) you have to leave the stations and walk all the way round the road and up the wee access road by the youth hostel to get to the northbound platform.
    Last edited by mysk_girl; 24-11-2012 at 2:55 PM.
  • pinkshoes
    Yes, the disabled loo has a changing table. I also live an hour from Oxford station on the bus! You'll be fine, mine love the journey :-)

    Oxford is not difficult with a buggy, but I would leave a decent amount of time as if either of the lifts isn't working (happened to me twice) you have to leave the stations and walk all the way round the road and up the wee access road by the youth hostel to get to the northbound platform.
    Originally posted by mysk_girl
    Thankfully we'll have an hour from when the bus arrives to when the train leaves!

    I think I'll probably lug him up and down the stair case in the pushchair rather than have to walk round, or even get in the lift! Not keen on lifts, and best avoided if possible!
  • mysk_girl
    In that case, cross to northbound in plenty of time - it has a waiting room and coffee shop on that side as well, with changing facilities so you should be set. If you show the platform staff your seat reservation they will be able to give you an idea of where to stand so you are in the right place when the train stops.

    It's an easy walk round, only takes a couple of minutes but you wouldn't want to do it if you were running late!
  • barbiedoll
    Just a quick tip....stock up on kids comics in these few weeks before you travel. They invariably come with a plastic toy attached to the front and if you have 3 or 4 new ones, they will keep your toddler amused for a while at least. And they usually have colouring/scribble pages in them too.

    Have a good journey!
    "I may be many things but not being indiscreet isn't one of them"
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