MSE News: Planning to hit the rails this summer? Seven ways to bag cheap tickets

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Public Transport & Cycling
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Former_MSE_HelenFormer_MSE_Helen
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Public Transport & Cycling
Trains are convenient, but they can be pricey. So here are MoneySavingExpert.com's tricks to slash costs...
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Planning to hit the rails this summer? Seven ways to bag cheap train tickets
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  • Would it not have been a good idea to put in your guide to avoid booking on sites like The Trainline when purchasing your tickets as they charge you fees on top?
    "If you no longer go for a gap, you are no longer a racing driver" - Ayrton Senna
  • ChrisBristolChrisBristol Forumite
    40 Posts
    I'd always avoided using thetrainline.com because of the booking fee and credit card fee, and the other train companies don't have that. So I've always used the East Midlands site.

    However, I was a bit shocked today when trying to book a ticket from Leicester to Barnstaple (with a railcard) - East Midlands quoted me £125.20 via London, and thetrainline.com £49.15 for the same journey!

    I guess this now means I not only need to shop around by fare-splitting, but by checking every operator's site too!

    Screenshot: http://www.southville.net/train/eastmidlands.png
    http://www.southville.net/train/thetrainline.png
  • Kite2010Kite2010 Forumite
    4.3K Posts
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    I'd always avoided using thetrainline.com because of the booking fee and credit card fee, and the other train companies don't have that. So I've always used the East Midlands site.

    However, I was a bit shocked today when trying to book a ticket from Leicester to Barnstaple (with a railcard) - East Midlands quoted me £125.20 via London, and thetrainline.com £49.15 for the same journey!

    I guess this now means I not only need to shop around by fare-splitting, but by checking every operator's site too!

    Screenshot: http://www.southville.net/train/eastmidlands.png
    http://www.southville.net/train/thetrainline.png

    If you look into it in more depth, it might be the same start and finish point, but East Midlands looks like it is directing you via Birmingham for a shorter journey than the sheep line which is directing you via London.

    You could probably get the same fare on East Midlands site if you change the options so it goes via London rather than via Birmingham
  • ChrisBristolChrisBristol Forumite
    40 Posts
    No, I checked the routing and the train times were identical, via London. It happened again - a day or two later, I booked a ticket from Leicester to Sheffield. Again, thetrainline offered cheaper tickets including cheap first class ones, and East Midlands didn't - even though this direct journey is on an East Midlands train.

    I always assumed there was a "pool" of cheap advance tickets that was limited, but it didn't matter which company you booked them through. That doesn't seem to be the case though. It looks as if each company has its own pool of cheap tickets and that East Midlands runs out of them earlier than thetrainline - probably because East Midlands doesn't charge a booking fee so is more popular.
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