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The Great 'Split Ticketing' Hunt

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The Great 'Split Ticketing' Hunt

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Motoring
106 replies 38.4K views
MSE_JennyMSE_Jenny Senior WriterMSE Staff
1.3K posts
Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
MSE Staff
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Motoring
What's this about?

In recent months, UK rail pricing's changed. We want your help to catch up on all the new and still running split ticket routes.

What is split ticketing?

It's where buying tickets for a journey's constituent parts saves the cost, eg, last summer London - Penzance standard return was £257, yet the train stops in Plymouth, and a London to Plymouth & a Plymouth to Penzance return costs just £50 in total!

It's the same train, time, even seat; only the tickets change (see full Cheap Trains guide).

Now we want to find which routes still work and need your help


We need your help to collate a new list of split ticket journeys. Please click reply and report the routes that work for you.

The best format is like this:
  • Journey: eg, Birmingham – Bristol
  • Split tickets at: Cheltenham
  • Standard Fare:
  • Split ticket cost:
  • Saving:
Even if someone else has mentioned a route, please include it, as the number of mentions helps us which routes work best.

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Replies

  • One other thing to note, off-peak tickets are only valid after 9:30 from Birmingham, but are valid from 8:30 from Cheltenham. So if your train leaves Birmingham before 9:30 but then leaves Cheltenham after 8:30 just buy an off-peak ticket for the Cheltenham to Bristol leg of the journey. Also, another hint for this route, a ticket from Kidderminster to Stroud costs £11.90 Single £23.80 Return, but includes the Birmingham to Cheltenham as a valid leg of the journey ... but this one is a little bit naughty
  • simonf wrote: »
    One other thing to note, off-peak tickets are only valid after 9:30 from Birmingham, but are valid from 8:30 from Cheltenham. So if your train leaves Birmingham before 9:30 but then leaves Cheltenham after 8:30 just buy an off-peak ticket for the Cheltenham to Bristol leg of the journey. Also, another hint for this route, a ticket from Kidderminster to Stroud costs £11.90 Single £23.80 Return, but includes the Birmingham to Cheltenham as a valid leg of the journey ... but this one is a little bit naughty
    Why is this Stroud example naughty? This is a fare that is valid for break of journey and starting short/ending long. There is also an off-peak return at £13.80 - also valid for breaks. But are you sure that via Birmingham is a valid route for this ticket? I would be surprised if it was to be honest. Do you want me to check the routeing guide?
  • On journeys to London, consider splitting tickets at the network card boundary - see http://www.railcard.co.uk/clientfiles/File/map.pdf

    Bear in mind that the train will need to stop at the boundary station (unless you have a season ticket for part of your route). If doing something like Grantham-London, you can buy Gratham-Huntingdon and Huntingdon-London - you can also buy an all in one travelcard - ask for Huntingdon to Zone R1256.
  • A few times now, I've ended up missing my booked train and find myself buying a single off-peak ticket on the day to Exeter, which comes out £11 cheaper with splitting with my 16-25 railcard. Not sure how it works with returns yet, since I've often managed to get bargain advance fares back!

    It works like this (off-peak):
    Birmingham - Exeter St Davids (departing after 9:30 am)
    Split at: Cheltenham, Bristol Temple Meads, Taunton

    Standard Fare: £40.60 (railcard) / £61.50

    Split Cost: With Railcard: £29.35 single
    Without Railcard: £44.50 single

    Saving: With Railcard: £11.25
    Without Railcard: £17

    This uses all "off-peak" type fares, with the exception of the Bristol to Taunton portion, where an "anytime" fare works out cheaper!!

    Hope this helps anyone who is unable to get advance fares down here! :beer:
  • I'm a very experienced off-peak traveller on the rail network and I always try to find the cheapest possible tickets so hopefully I can share the wisdom of my experiences here! Here's a few....

    First, any day return journey on the Birmingham-Oxford stretch should be split. Sometimes this works out even cheaper than advance tickets... it's just silly. Who decides these prices in the first place?! The stations are Birmingham New Street, Coventry (for half the trains), Leamington Spa, Banbury and Oxford (maybe this works through to Reading now too, especially since Ox-Reading tickets have recently been slashed in price). Almost any split ticket will save you money for a day return, just try a few. Here's two examples.
    • Journey: Oxford to Leamington Spa, Day return
    • Split tickets at: Banbury
    • Standard Fare: £14.60 (off peak) or £25.40 (peak)
    • Split ticket cost:£11.80 (off peak) or £17.60 (peak)
    • Saving: £2.80 (off peak) or £7.80 (peak)
    • Journey: Oxford to Coventry, Day return
    • Split tickets at: Banbury & Leamington Spa (ie the only two stops inbetween the two!)
    • Standard Fare: £27.40 (off peak) or £42 (peak)
    • Split ticket cost: £16.20 (off peak) or £22 (peak)
    • Saving: £11.20 (off peak) or £20 (peak)
    Now if I am going back to visit family in Wales, i always, ALWAYS use this split. I don't even bother checking the "direct" fares any more.
    • Journey: Oxford to Cardiff, Swansea, or anywhere in south wales for a day, a week, whatever
    • Split tickets at: SWINDON!
    • Standard Fare: for example, day return to Cardiff. £46 op, £124 anytime :eek:
    • Split ticket cost: £25.50 (off peak) or £60.20 (peak)
    • Saving: £20.50 (off peak) or £63.80 (peak)
    • This split works for advance tickets too - the savings can be insane!
    A few more hints... Oxford to anywhere in the south/south west of the UK, try splitting at Didcot Parkway.

    Travelling on two different train companies and can't find an advance ticket? Try splitting at where you change from one train company to another! Examples from my experience - Oxford to Aberystwyth, split at Wolverhampton. South Wales to north-west England - split at Crewe.

    Another odd one... if you are travelling to Stafford or Wolverhampton and travelling through the other one, try splitting. Even though they are next to each other it can save money. For example an advance ticket to Stafford once cost me more than an advance ticket to Wolverhampton plus a standard single on to Stafford! (staying on the same train)

    Finally, ANY journey through Birmingham New Street is worth trying to split your ticket there. Although sometimes this involves a train change and you may miss your train leading to potential difficulties. If doing this I recommend leaving much more time than necessary. Example - saved £20 or so when booking a long journey by splitting ticket there, but instead of the 10 minute change the through-ticket suggested, we opted to book the next train which meant a 40 minute wait. Our first train was 38 minutes late and we *just* made it across the station for our connection! :cool:

    Hope this helps.
  • A regular journey in peak time from Carlisle to Manchester cost £45 before Christmas. It was more than £80 afterwards! I did panic, even though I get it back on expenses, it's quite a hike. Luckily I remembered the splitting strategy from this site.

    Split at Preston and it is around £47, as the Preston - Manchester leg is off peak. Our local MP Eric Martlew complained - you can see the story at http://www.cumberland-news.co.uk/1.509395 Virgin Trains chief admits price rises from Carlisle were wrong. Hmm, just about to book my next trip, let's see if there are any changes.
  • I get Carlisle to Manchester for about a fiver each way

    buy from: https://www.buytickets.tpexpress.co.uk/

    Sheffield to Carlisle: £30
    Split at Manchester: ~£15
  • Almost like split ticketing, but the other way round... Going from Southampton to London costs £35.20 for an off peak return. However, a ticket to Brighton on the "Not London" route is £22.40 and can get you as far as Clapham Junction. You can then go and buy a paper travelcard (Clapham Junction is in Zone 2) and continue your journey to Waterloo (trains run about every 5 minutes). As you usually need to buy a travelcard when visiting london anyway it makes it even better value!

    Also this can save you money to/from Gatwick Airport as that lies on the Soton-Clapham-Brighton route.
  • As a general rule of thumb, I find that if you split at the station where the train company who will be carrying you changes you are more likely to get a good result when booking in advance.

    For example: when I visit my parents in Scarborough, I travel Oxford to Scarborough which as a straight ticket is eye-wateringly expensive (let alone if I routed through London). However, buying a ticket on the non-stop CrossCountry train from Oxford to York, then a ticket from York to Scarborough on Transpennine works out to be literally a fraction of the price.

    Hope this helps!
  • dzug1dzug1 Forumite
    13.5K posts
    MSE_Jenny wrote: »
    What is split ticketing?

    It's where buying tickets for a journey's constituent parts saves the cost, eg, last summer London - Penzance standard return was £257, yet the train stops in Plymouth, and a London to Plymouth & a Plymouth to Penzance return costs just £50 in total!

    I think you are mixing two concepts there - split ticketing and advance cheap fares. A perfectly valid thing to do to save money, but liable to cause confusion when quoted as an example coz it ain't universally true. You can always get that £257 fare but the £50 one depends on availability.

    Currently London - Penzance advance singles start at £15 each way - no point in faffing around with splitting if you can get that.
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