On line train booking - recommendations?

Sorry to be a less inexperienced rail user. Planning to travel within the UK a fair bit for hiking and bike packing. Next trip involves travel which is over 3 months away so the tickets are not yet out. (Perhaps even industrial action may have ended by then).

However, testing with some earlier dates using various sites yielded very many options/prices making comparison difficult. (I assume in part due to the number of operators running parallel services).

Is there any advantage from using the specialised train booking sites over National Rail? If so grateful for any recommendations.
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Replies

  • jon81ukjon81uk Forumite
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    National Rail themselves don't sell tickets.

    I would find the correct operator and buy from them. Trainline adds extra fees.
  • Alan_BowenAlan_Bowen Forumite
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    I use LNER for all my bookings, simple and straightforward. Best of all, when I had 8 tickets booked for a strike day in December, I applied for a refund on line on Sunday afternoon and the money as refunded in full on Wednesday!
  • daveyjpdaveyjp Forumite
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    Direct from a train operator, but always look at split tickets options for longer trips.
  • drjohn67drjohn67 Forumite
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    Thanks. Yes I saw the fees which were about 20% of ticket price. 

    Looks like it will be mostly LNER or the West Coast operator - will check them out.
  • serpico100serpico100 Forumite
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    I always use redspottedhanky.com as they don’t charge any fees. They charge a postal fee if you want paper tickets posted to your home address but you have the option to receive a self print e-ticket or you can pick up the tickets from the station ticket machine
  • Bicycleman22Bicycleman22 Forumite
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    With LNER you have to book your bike on their website no matter where you buy your ticket. Book your bike just before buying the ticket........ I nearly always buy my tickets with splitmyfare which is often way cheaper.....In case you are wondering I have received refunds from them for strike days called after purchasing tickets..........Can you get a railcard ? You might want to check as you can use them with split fares.
  • skycatcherskycatcher Forumite
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    I use Chiltern Railways app. No fees - tickets in app and google wallet.
  • drjohn67drjohn67 Forumite
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    With LNER you have to book your bike on their website no matter where you buy your ticket. Book your bike just before buying the ticket........ I nearly always buy my tickets with splitmyfare which is often way cheaper.....In case you are wondering I have received refunds from them for strike days called after purchasing tickets..........Can you get a railcard ? You might want to check as you can use them with split fares.
    Good tip. Thanks.
  • Neil49Neil49 Forumite
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    We frequently use TrainSplit (another split ticketing app) and aside from the cheaper prices were very good when Arriva cut their service at short notice. We got an email telling us that our times had been changed and the options available to us. We decided to cancel and got confirmation of a full refund in a matter of minutes. 
  • macmanmacman Forumite
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    drjohn67 said:
    Thanks. Yes I saw the fees which were about 20% of ticket price. 

    Looks like it will be mostly LNER or the West Coast operator - will check them out.
    You don't need to purchase from the operator(s) whose services you will be travelling on.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
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