Train travel on December 18

My husband and I never travel by train, but we were going to meet up with a friend in London and catch a musical on December 18. I managed to book cheap advance tickets on the Trainline website and bought a Network Railcard as well... Only to find out a few weeks after that there are going to be more strikes that weekend!

I know the strike is on the 17th, but the website for Southwestern Railways says there will be a late start on the Sunday. We are supposed to travel from Bournemouth to London Waterloo at 8:06 and come back on the same day at 23:05.

I contacted customer support but they couldn't tell me yet what trains would be running that day. I am now unsure of what to do. We can't get money back for the musical and exhibition we booked, so we need to find an alternative. Though it's probably going to cost a lot...
 
Should I book (really expensive) National Express tickets to get to London in the morning?
Should I book National Express for our return as well or would the train be fine at that time of night? 
Can I get money back for my train ticket (one way or return)?

Really annoyed about all this and it's putting me off trying to travel by train again in the future.  :(

Comments

  • Past history with these strikes with SWR is that trains start running on the following day around 7.30 and it is normal service from around 9am. If your first train is cancelled you will be able to catch the first one which does run using your advance ticket giving you a slightly shorter time in London but preferable to cancelling and going on the coach. There are trains at 0850 and 0906 which should run. SWR won't be announcing their actual times until a few days before though.
  • I'm not sure we can take that risk though. We have tickets for an exhibition (timed entry slot) that we would miss out on if we can't get there in time...

    The SWR has put warnings on all the trains until around 1 pm, saying they might not run or not run on time. I just wish they would confirm it sooner.
  • MSE_James
    MSE_James Posts: 1,159 Community Admin
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    Did you actually buy a Network Railcard, or was it a different type of railcard (eg Two Together or Senior)?

    The reason I ask is that Network Railcards don't give you a discount on Advance tickets.

    Are your tickets actually called Advance tickets or does the ticket type have another name (eg Super Off Peak Day Return or similar)?
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  • ClaraSolis
    ClaraSolis Posts: 60 Forumite
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    edited 29 November 2022 at 12:20PM
    MSE_James said:
    Did you actually buy a Network Railcard, or was it a different type of railcard (eg Two Together or Senior)?

    The reason I ask is that Network Railcards don't give you a discount on Advance tickets.

    Are your tickets actually called Advance tickets or does the ticket type have another name (eg Super Off Peak Day Return or similar)?
    You are right, I got the name wrong, I bought the Two Together Railcard.
    And the tickets are Advance Single (outbound and return) for second class, bought on the Trainline website. 

    Outbound

    2 × Adult - Advance Single - [Two Together Railcard]


    Return

    2 × Adult - Advance Single - [Two Together Railcard]


    I was really happy I managed to get them because they were really cheap (especially when combined with the Railcard). Just below £31 total for all tickets (not including the price of the railcard of course). Now I'm looking at National Express and just going to London will cost us £60, if we want return it'll be £90:(

    Annoyed that NE's prices for single tickets are higher than return as well, £60 vs £45.
  • MSE_James
    MSE_James Posts: 1,159 Community Admin
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    edited 29 November 2022 at 1:39PM
    Just as a side note for future reference, you have likely paid slightly more than you strictly needed to, as Trainline will have charged you a booking fee which wouldn't have been levied if you had bought the same tickets (which would have been priced the same) directly from SWR or any other operating company.

    Some people prefer the convenience of Trainline and find it worth paying for, though.
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    Please report all problem posts to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
  • MSE_James said:
    Just as a side note for future reference, you have likely paid slightly more than you strictly needed to, as Trainline will have charged you a booking fee which wouldn't have been levied if you had bought the same tickets (which would have been priced the same) directly from SWR or any other operating company.

    Some people prefer the convenience of Trainline and find it worth paying for, though.
    It was only a tiny amount so I didn't mind. For some reason I struggled to find the same price tickets on the SWR website.

    Anyway I just had a chat with Trainline customer service. Seems we can only get a refund for our tickets once it's confirmed that our trains are cancelled.  :|

    Knowing my luck, I will spend £90 on return coach tickets now, only to find out that our trains are running fine, meaning I can't get a refund and will have spent £150 for a trip to London. I could've taken the Eurostar for that amount haha.  
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