Best time to buy rail tickets

OH has just started to have to travel into London by train semi regularly. Can you please advise if it's only ever the case that ticket prices go up the closer you get to the date of travel and after the cheaper tickets have run out? Do ticket prices ever go down as you get closer to travel dates?  We managed to get a return for £20 on one date, a later date the same journey is £47 less split ticket discount.

TIA
Make £2024 in 2024
Prolific to 29/2/24 £184.97, Chase Interest £11.88, Chase roundup interest £0.18, Chase CB £16.96, Roadkill £1.10, Octopus referral reward £50, Octopoints £6.30 to 31/1/24, Topcashback £4.64, Shopmium £3
Total £279.03/£2024  13.8%

Make £2023 in 2023
Water sewerage refund: £170.62,Topcashback: £243.47, Prolific: to 31/12/23 £975, Haggling: £45, Wombling(Roadkill): £6.04,  Chase CB £149.34, Chase roundup interest £1.35, WeBuyBooks:£8.37, Misc sales: £406.59, Delay repay £22, Amazon refund £3.41, EDF Smart Meter incentive £100, Santander Edge Cashback-Fees: £25.14, Octopus Reward £50, Bank transfer incentives £400
Total: £2606.33/£2023  128.8%

Comments

  • jbuchanangb
    jbuchanangb Posts: 1,326 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    If you travel together you would probably benefit from a Two Together Railcard. The way tiered pricing for advance tickets work is that the cheapest tiers for each service are sold first, so for any particular train the higher priced tiers are offered the nearer you get to the date of travel. But there may be lower priced tiers for other services. Some Train Operating Companies even sell "advance" tickets on the day of travel if they haven't sold them all earlier. Exact situation will depend on which TOC you are using.
  • Slinky
    Slinky Posts: 9,985 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    If you travel together you would probably benefit from a Two Together Railcard. The way tiered pricing for advance tickets work is that the cheapest tiers for each service are sold first, so for any particular train the higher priced tiers are offered the nearer you get to the date of travel. But there may be lower priced tiers for other services. Some Train Operating Companies even sell "advance" tickets on the day of travel if they haven't sold them all earlier. Exact situation will depend on which TOC you are using.

    Thanks, it's OH traveling on his own for work using Greater Anglia.
    Make £2024 in 2024
    Prolific to 29/2/24 £184.97, Chase Interest £11.88, Chase roundup interest £0.18, Chase CB £16.96, Roadkill £1.10, Octopus referral reward £50, Octopoints £6.30 to 31/1/24, Topcashback £4.64, Shopmium £3
    Total £279.03/£2024  13.8%

    Make £2023 in 2023
    Water sewerage refund: £170.62,Topcashback: £243.47, Prolific: to 31/12/23 £975, Haggling: £45, Wombling(Roadkill): £6.04,  Chase CB £149.34, Chase roundup interest £1.35, WeBuyBooks:£8.37, Misc sales: £406.59, Delay repay £22, Amazon refund £3.41, EDF Smart Meter incentive £100, Santander Edge Cashback-Fees: £25.14, Octopus Reward £50, Bank transfer incentives £400
    Total: £2606.33/£2023  128.8%

  • Slinky said:
    If you travel together you would probably benefit from a Two Together Railcard. The way tiered pricing for advance tickets work is that the cheapest tiers for each service are sold first, so for any particular train the higher priced tiers are offered the nearer you get to the date of travel. But there may be lower priced tiers for other services. Some Train Operating Companies even sell "advance" tickets on the day of travel if they haven't sold them all earlier. Exact situation will depend on which TOC you are using.

    Thanks, it's OH traveling on his own for work using Greater Anglia.
    Is OH over 50?  If so then Greater Anglia do the "Club 50" railcard, which can be a better deal that some other railcards on some journeys.  £30pa, 20% off all offpeak travel on GA booked online, 10% off at the ticket window/machine for walk up. No minimum fare which some of the other railcards have.  Check also if part/all of the journey would be in the "Network Railcard" discount area, £30 for 30% off peak discount.  Some fares have a minimum price, which limits ability to use Network Railcard for ticket splitting at the boundary of the Network Railcard discount zone.  Oddly, the whole of the line up to King's Lynn is in the Network Railcard discount area, but Norwich is not despite being similar distance (the Network railcard is full of such distance from London variations)

    Some other train companies also have an "Over 50" or a "regional railcard", but that's not relevant here;  and these operator specific railcards may only work for ticket purchase on the operator's own website.

    Always worth checking other railcards that you might be eligible for, to see if there is a better one for your needs.  In some rare cases there is the "Gold card" hack where you buy an annual season ticket between two cheapest out of London rail stations in the Network Railcard discount area (or two that overlap your regular journey for some split ticketing action);  this card has slightly better rules than Network Railcard AND you can apply to have the discount added to an Oyster card for 30% off London tube/train travel offpeak as well;  but you will have to use the trains etc. a lot (and be canny about the stations selected) to break even for the higher price.  So research this one in detail and plan carefully.

    (To get the Gold card discount for TfL: take the Oyster card to a Tube ticket office or gate line staff, show the Gold card season ticket, and they can add the necessary discount flag to the Oyster for the same dates of validity.  You have to have the gold card with your for ticket inspections to validate the discount.).
  • Slinky
    Slinky Posts: 9,985 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    @MilesT6060842 thanks for the very detailed reply. He is over 50 but is traveling at peak times so I don't think the discount cards will help much but I will check them out. The furthest out the Network Rail card discount goes is Manningtree and we're beyond that, he's getting some discounts with split ticketing that's splitting the tickets there.

    Fortunately although he's supposed to be in the office 40% of the time, at the moment he's only going in a handful of times a month, although this will probably increase in the future.

    Make £2024 in 2024
    Prolific to 29/2/24 £184.97, Chase Interest £11.88, Chase roundup interest £0.18, Chase CB £16.96, Roadkill £1.10, Octopus referral reward £50, Octopoints £6.30 to 31/1/24, Topcashback £4.64, Shopmium £3
    Total £279.03/£2024  13.8%

    Make £2023 in 2023
    Water sewerage refund: £170.62,Topcashback: £243.47, Prolific: to 31/12/23 £975, Haggling: £45, Wombling(Roadkill): £6.04,  Chase CB £149.34, Chase roundup interest £1.35, WeBuyBooks:£8.37, Misc sales: £406.59, Delay repay £22, Amazon refund £3.41, EDF Smart Meter incentive £100, Santander Edge Cashback-Fees: £25.14, Octopus Reward £50, Bank transfer incentives £400
    Total: £2606.33/£2023  128.8%

  • Slinky said:
    @MilesT6060842 thanks for the very detailed reply. 

    Your are welcome. 

    If you are on the line beyond Manningtree, then look up my other recent post about "beyond and back" splitting as that may be relevant to your OH too as my example is on the Great Eastern Main Line (Sudbury).  It is in this thread https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6324524/split-ticketing-official-mse-discussion/p2
  • yorkie2
    yorkie2 Posts: 1,595 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    ...Some Train Operating Companies even sell "advance" tickets on the day of travel if they haven't sold them all earlier. ..
    On the train I get for work meetings in the Midlands, they sell Advance tickets on the day, but not in advance.

    The price last night for my journey was about 54 quid and today it was about 44 quid. It also ended up being effectively free journey as I was delayed by just over 60 mins, so in the end it wouldn't have mattered!

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