Booking Advance Train Tickets

Sarahspangles
Sarahspangles Posts: 1,333 Forumite
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edited 26 March at 3:32PM in Public transport & cycling
We are planning a trip in late June, so I have started to check prices on a couple of rail operators’ apps, including LNER as they operate services over the longest section of our route.

I'm still being offered Anytime tickets, except when I use the Trainline app. There, the outbound tickets are shown as discounted and ‘Advance’, although they are currently more than I am hoping to pay.

I haven’t booked as yet, but I’m wondering whether Trainline actually have access to these tickets? Or do they snap the Advance ones up when they’re released by the operators?


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Comments

  • daveyjp
    daveyjp Posts: 12,502 Forumite
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    Keep looking for the advance tickets being released.  I read a thread today of someone bemoaning the cost of a rail ticket as no advances were available, a quick search through  LNER showed advances were on sale.

    Trainline are the Ryanair of the rails, so be wary of what they are offering (outbound as 'discounted' is their type of marketing), buy through an operator.


  • amanda1024
    amanda1024 Posts: 396 Forumite
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    I usually start at nationalrail to check prices then click through to buy from train companies - not trainline. What date in late June? Usually tickets become available 12 weeks before, I think
  • Sarahspangles
    Sarahspangles Posts: 1,333 Forumite
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    I usually start at nationalrail to check prices then click through to buy from train companies - not trainline. What date in late June? Usually tickets become available 12 weeks before, I think
    It’s just over 12 weeks away so I’ll check again in a few days, I’m just puzzled how Trainline claim they can sell tickets that haven’t been released!
  • daveyjp
    daveyjp Posts: 12,502 Forumite
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    Without looking at the Trainline details its impossible to say, but if you are looking at LNER services for part of the trip on some routes their advances are available longer than 12 weeks out.

    I can book an Advance on LNER for July for a single between Leeds and London, but there is a pop up message:

    "You can buy LNER Advance tickets early and if the timetable changes we'll get in touch with your options.
    There may be occasions where other train operators Advance tickets are available only on their websites"
    .

  • grahamgoo
    grahamgoo Posts: 472 Forumite
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    If there is a pair of you, also take a look at the Two together railcard.  I realised after making a recent booking that I could have saved more than the cost of the railcard by getting one.
  • Sarahspangles
    Sarahspangles Posts: 1,333 Forumite
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    grahamgoo said:
    If there is a pair of you, also take a look at the Two together railcard.  I realised after making a recent booking that I could have saved more than the cost of the railcard by getting one.
    We have one, bought when there was still a 3x Tesco Clubcard offer. We had £10 of vouchers from OH’s fuel purchases pre-retirement, so it was effectively free. We’ve used it enough to convince us that we’ll buy another even if we don’t have the points to use.
  • katejo
    katejo Posts: 3,813 Forumite
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    We are planning a trip in late June, so I have started to check prices on a couple of rail operators’ apps, including LNER as they operate services over the longest section of our route.

    I'm still being offered Anytime tickets, except when I use the Trainline app. There, the outbound tickets are shown as discounted and ‘Advance’, although they are currently more than I am hoping to pay.

    I haven’t booked as yet, but I’m wondering whether Trainline actually have access to these tickets? Or do they snap the Advance ones up when they’re released by the operators?


    I am looking at similar dates in June for LNER. After reading your query, I have just looked at Trainline and they certainly appear to offer Advance tickets. Last time I checked LNER I was definitely too early. I only buy direct from the company so won't be buying from Trainline with their fees.
  • Sarahspangles
    Sarahspangles Posts: 1,333 Forumite
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    So, checking daily, an advance ticket for the Outbound part of our journey has now been released. The Advance cost us 28.5% of the full price. Hopefully the advances for the return will be out soon and suit our preferred travel time.
  • Sarahspangles
    Sarahspangles Posts: 1,333 Forumite
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    Adding to this in case anyone searches and finds this thread.

    There are now multiple apps which will search for journeys and prices. Twelve weeks ahead is a good time to look for advance (discounted) tickets, some journeys/advance tickets will already have been released before that point.

    The NationalRail app seems to have a simple policy of NOT publishing any journey or price until the twelve week point. You may miss out on seeing some advance tickets.

    Trainline seems to pick up information as soon as it’s released by the operators, but is best used as a search engine. If you identify the operator/journey from their app, go to the operator’s own app to book as this may be cheaper. Booking direct with some operators makes reclaiming for late trains simpler.

    If there is a change of trains in the journey, meaning you switch from one operator to another, then check both. Some will discount both legs of the journey rather than just their own. The risk with going on to book the legs separately, rather than through one of the operators, is that you lose protection if the first leg is delayed and you can’t make the second train.
  • martindow
    martindow Posts: 10,211 Forumite
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    If there is a change of trains in the journey, meaning you switch from one operator to another, then check both. Some will discount both legs of the journey rather than just their own. The risk with going on to book the legs separately, rather than through one of the operators, is that you lose protection if the first leg is delayed and you can’t make the second train.
    I'm not sure that this is true if you have allowed the minimum connection time at the intermediate station.  Split tickets can be regarded as a continuous journey and I don't think there is a stipulation that they must be booked with the same operator.  It may well complicate matters if there is a problem on the journey and more than one ticket seller is involved.

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