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Cheap Train Fares guide discussion

edited 8 March 2013 at 3:11PM in Public Transport & Cycling
1.1K replies 231.2K views
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  • dzug1dzug1 Forumite
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    Hi. I literally just registered after looking at this site for a good couple of years. I'd massively appreciate if any of you guys and/or gals could help me.

    Next friday (Nov 5th) my younger brother is coming home from his uni in Cardiff for a week (his first year so he misses us all badly and really wants to come home for a bit when he can).

    The difference here is I want to go see him for the day just for a day out and then come back with him late that night.

    The journey is: 1) Hemel Hempstead - Cardiff Central (Fri Nov 5th - depart Hemel after 10am)
    2) Cardiff Central - Hemel Hempstead (Same day - Arrive back in Hemel before 00.30)

    I need the very cheapest tickets possible. I did find £13.50 tickets a week or two ago when just browsing but can't find them anymore. I'd be perfectly happy spending £13.50 each way, but can't find a way of doing it now. I've tried all the train sites Martin suggests.

    So yeah, if any of you are able to find anything that i can't with your special powers i'd be eternally grateful. Thanks in advance to anyone who uses their time trying to help :)

    No special powers - just foresight. Those £13.50 tickets will still be available - but not for your date. They've sold out.

    Has he a young person's railcard? That will reduce the cost of most of his journeys.

    You could try split ticketing - Didcot is the most likely place, maybe Swindon. Just make sure the train stops there. Possibly London as well if it's a day return.
  • ceebeebyceebeeby Forumite
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    Hi All,

    I could do with your expert help in finding "cheap" rail-tickets from Glasgow to London Waterloo. It has been MANY MANY years since we last travelled by train, and cannot believe how expensive it now is!! Best I've got return is about £260 (from home station which is close to Glasgow).

    Our dates of travel are Friday 11th February returning on Tuesday 15th February. Can travel at anytime really, but preferably very early on the Friday and mid afternoon / early evening on the 15th if it's an option.

    We don't have a railcard, but presumably could buy one if it makes a massive difference (do you buy these things?)

    There are 2 adults, 1 x 17 and 1 x 13 year old.

    Very much welcome and appreciate any assistance.
  • dzug1dzug1 Forumite
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    ceebeeby wrote: »
    Hi All,

    I could do with your expert help in finding "cheap" rail-tickets from Glasgow to London Waterloo. It has been MANY MANY years since we last travelled by train, and cannot believe how expensive it now is!! Best I've got return is about £260 (from home station which is close to Glasgow).

    Our dates of travel are Friday 11th February returning on Tuesday 15th February. Can travel at anytime really, but preferably very early on the Friday and mid afternoon / early evening on the 15th if it's an option.

    We don't have a railcard, but presumably could buy one if it makes a massive difference (do you buy these things?)

    There are 2 adults, 1 x 17 and 1 x 13 year old.

    Very much welcome and appreciate any assistance.

    You are trying to book TOO EARLY. (I wish I had a fiver for every time I've written that)

    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/booking_horizons.html will be useful to you.

    And a Family and Friends railcard is probably going to save you money on this journey. Check it out while you are waiting for the cheaper fares to come out.
  • ceebeebyceebeeby Forumite
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    Thanks dzug! I've not booked a train for years and years, so didn't know what timescales were like! When should I ideally be looking? Have read through this short thread and doesn't seem to recommend best times. Thanks again, am grateful for advice.
  • wealdroamwealdroam Forumite
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    ceebeeby wrote: »
    When should I ideally be looking? Have read through this short thread and doesn't seem to recommend best times.
    Ceebeeby, this thread was apparently created to discuss the Cheap Train Tickets Article.

    Have you read that article?

    One of the early paragraphs explains this very topic.
  • dzug1dzug1 Forumite
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    ceebeeby wrote: »
    Thanks dzug! I've not booked a train for years and years, so didn't know what timescales were like! When should I ideally be looking? Have read through this short thread and doesn't seem to recommend best times. Thanks again, am grateful for advice.

    If you check the link I gave about once a week starting about 12 weeks ahead you'll get enough notice to buy cheap tickets - they rarely sell out immediately on release, particularly if you are flexible on ti,es.
  • ceebeebyceebeeby Forumite
    4.4K posts
    Thanks guys, have read all the articles, have set the prompt in my calendar for 13 weeks, 12.5 weeks and 12 weeks (just in case they come early) - have a whole new dictionary of knowledge re: split tickets, peak times etc. and am about to apply for a F&F railcard for 21 days time! Thanks for the help!
  • dzug1dzug1 Forumite
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    ceebeeby wrote: »
    Thanks guys, have read all the articles, have set the prompt in my calendar for 13 weeks, 12.5 weeks and 12 weeks (just in case they come early) - have a whole new dictionary of knowledge re: split tickets, peak times etc. and am about to apply for a F&F railcard for 21 days time! Thanks for the help!

    You don't need the railcard when you book online - just when you travel.
  • edited 2 November 2010 at 1:04AM
    yorkie2yorkie2 Forumite
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    edited 2 November 2010 at 1:04AM
    ceebeeby wrote: »
    We don't have a railcard, but presumably could buy one if it makes a massive difference (do you buy these things?)

    There are 2 adults, 1 x 17 and 1 x 13 year old.
    It will make a difference. That is 3 adults and 1 child.

    The child will get 60% off, and the adults 34% off tickets. This is less than the £26 cost of the annual card (but look out for special offers between now and February - they're sometimes half price (example - now closed)!) if you book online you won't need to buy the Railcard until the day you travel. But don't forget to buy a Railcard before you travel!

    If you want a fully-flexible ticket, an Off Peak return ticket with a Railcard is valid on ANY Virgin Train at any time. The price of this is £71.55 (adults) + £20.60 (child) total £235.25 return for the group.

    However you will get much lower fares (potentially around £70 return for the group!) if you can book a specific train at a less popular time, when Advance single fares become available (see booking horizon page linked to above). This option is very cheap providing your plans do not change and you adhere to the T&Cs. However if you do not get the train specified on your ticket, you will be charged for brand new tickets. If you forget to bring the railcard you would also be charged for brand new tickets. The cost of replacement tickets on board the train is up to £379.40 for a one-way journey for the group (or you could pay to the next stop and re-book en-route). Advance fares are a good deal but only if you do not want flexibility. And make sure you don't lose your railcard!!
  • yorkie2yorkie2 Forumite
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    Hi. I literally just registered after looking at this site for a good couple of years. I'd massively appreciate if any of you guys and/or gals could help me.

    Next friday (Nov 5th) my younger brother is coming home from his uni in Cardiff for a week (his first year so he misses us all badly and really wants to come home for a bit when he can).

    The difference here is I want to go see him for the day just for a day out and then come back with him late that night.

    The journey is: 1) Hemel Hempstead - Cardiff Central (Fri Nov 5th - depart Hemel after 10am)
    2) Cardiff Central - Hemel Hempstead (Same day - Arrive back in Hemel before 00.30)

    I need the very cheapest tickets possible. I did find £13.50 tickets a week or two ago when just browsing but can't find them anymore. I'd be perfectly happy spending £13.50 each way, but can't find a way of doing it now. I've tried all the train sites Martin suggests.

    So yeah, if any of you are able to find anything that i can't with your special powers i'd be eternally grateful. Thanks in advance to anyone who uses their time trying to help :)
    Assuming you have a railcard (?) then the through ticket costs £45.35 for a Super Off Peak Return, you can depart Paddington from 10:10 (first train to Cardiff (CDF) after that time is 10:15) and you can get any train from Hemel Hempsted (HML) to Euston + LU to Paddington, to connect.

    Looking at Advance tickets, there are £13.85 tickets back on the 20:25 from CDF to HML. But getting there is a little trickier. The only good price I can find is leaving HML at 0737 (is that too early?) which gets you on the 0915 from Paddington, arriving CDF 1123 for just over £18.
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