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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Jenny
    • By MSE Jenny 9th Feb 09, 10:43 AM
    • 1,228Posts
    • 3,560Thanks
    MSE Jenny
    The Great 'Split Ticketing' Hunt
    • #1
    • 9th Feb 09, 10:43 AM
    The Great 'Split Ticketing' Hunt 9th Feb 09 at 10:43 AM
    What's this about?

    In recent months, UK rail pricing's changed. We want your help to catch up on all the new and still running split ticket routes.

    What is split ticketing?

    It's where buying tickets for a journey's constituent parts saves the cost, eg, last summer London - Penzance standard return was 257, yet the train stops in Plymouth, and a London to Plymouth & a Plymouth to Penzance return costs just 50 in total!

    It's the same train, time, even seat; only the tickets change (see full Cheap Trains guide).


    Now we want to find which routes still work and need your help



    We need your help to collate a new list of split ticket journeys. Please click reply and report the routes that work for you.

    The best format is like this:
    • Journey: eg, Birmingham Bristol
    • Split tickets at: Cheltenham
    • Standard Fare:
    • Split ticket cost:
    • Saving:
    Even if someone else has mentioned a route, please include it, as the number of mentions helps us which routes work best.

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    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 10-02-2009 at 7:14 PM.
Page 1
  • SimonF
    • #2
    • 9th Feb 09, 3:04 PM
    • #2
    • 9th Feb 09, 3:04 PM
    One other thing to note, off-peak tickets are only valid after 9:30 from Birmingham, but are valid from 8:30 from Cheltenham. So if your train leaves Birmingham before 9:30 but then leaves Cheltenham after 8:30 just buy an off-peak ticket for the Cheltenham to Bristol leg of the journey. Also, another hint for this route, a ticket from Kidderminster to Stroud costs 11.90 Single 23.80 Return, but includes the Birmingham to Cheltenham as a valid leg of the journey ... but this one is a little bit naughty
    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 10-02-2009 at 7:15 PM. Reason: Extra Info
    • gner_ex
    • By gner_ex 10th Feb 09, 11:50 PM
    • 281 Posts
    • 48 Thanks
    gner_ex
    • #3
    • 10th Feb 09, 11:50 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Feb 09, 11:50 PM
    One other thing to note, off-peak tickets are only valid after 9:30 from Birmingham, but are valid from 8:30 from Cheltenham. So if your train leaves Birmingham before 9:30 but then leaves Cheltenham after 8:30 just buy an off-peak ticket for the Cheltenham to Bristol leg of the journey. Also, another hint for this route, a ticket from Kidderminster to Stroud costs 11.90 Single 23.80 Return, but includes the Birmingham to Cheltenham as a valid leg of the journey ... but this one is a little bit naughty
    Originally posted by SimonF
    Why is this Stroud example naughty? This is a fare that is valid for break of journey and starting short/ending long. There is also an off-peak return at 13.80 - also valid for breaks. But are you sure that via Birmingham is a valid route for this ticket? I would be surprised if it was to be honest. Do you want me to check the routeing guide?
    Last edited by gner_ex; 10-02-2009 at 11:57 PM. Reason: query whether Kidd-Stroud valid via Birmingham, or whether must be via Droitwich
    • gner_ex
    • By gner_ex 10th Feb 09, 11:53 PM
    • 281 Posts
    • 48 Thanks
    gner_ex
    • #4
    • 10th Feb 09, 11:53 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Feb 09, 11:53 PM
    On journeys to London, consider splitting tickets at the network card boundary - see http://www.railcard.co.uk/clientfiles/File/map.pdf

    Bear in mind that the train will need to stop at the boundary station (unless you have a season ticket for part of your route). If doing something like Grantham-London, you can buy Gratham-Huntingdon and Huntingdon-London - you can also buy an all in one travelcard - ask for Huntingdon to Zone R1256.
  • tubagroova
    • #5
    • 11th Feb 09, 12:23 AM
    • #5
    • 11th Feb 09, 12:23 AM
    A few times now, I've ended up missing my booked train and find myself buying a single off-peak ticket on the day to Exeter, which comes out 11 cheaper with splitting with my 16-25 railcard. Not sure how it works with returns yet, since I've often managed to get bargain advance fares back!

    It works like this (off-peak):
    Birmingham - Exeter St Davids (departing after 9:30 am)
    Split at: Cheltenham, Bristol Temple Meads, Taunton

    Standard Fare: 40.60 (railcard) / 61.50

    Split Cost: With Railcard: 29.35 single
    Without Railcard: 44.50 single

    Saving: With Railcard: 11.25
    Without Railcard: 17

    This uses all "off-peak" type fares, with the exception of the Bristol to Taunton portion, where an "anytime" fare works out cheaper!!

    Hope this helps anyone who is unable to get advance fares down here!
  • WelshGandalf
    • #6
    • 11th Feb 09, 1:42 AM
    • #6
    • 11th Feb 09, 1:42 AM
    I'm a very experienced off-peak traveller on the rail network and I always try to find the cheapest possible tickets so hopefully I can share the wisdom of my experiences here! Here's a few....

    First, any day return journey on the Birmingham-Oxford stretch should be split. Sometimes this works out even cheaper than advance tickets... it's just silly. Who decides these prices in the first place?! The stations are Birmingham New Street, Coventry (for half the trains), Leamington Spa, Banbury and Oxford (maybe this works through to Reading now too, especially since Ox-Reading tickets have recently been slashed in price). Almost any split ticket will save you money for a day return, just try a few. Here's two examples.
    • Journey: Oxford to Leamington Spa, Day return
    • Split tickets at: Banbury
    • Standard Fare: 14.60 (off peak) or 25.40 (peak)
    • Split ticket cost:11.80 (off peak) or 17.60 (peak)
    • Saving: 2.80 (off peak) or 7.80 (peak)
    • Journey: Oxford to Coventry, Day return
    • Split tickets at: Banbury & Leamington Spa (ie the only two stops inbetween the two!)
    • Standard Fare: 27.40 (off peak) or 42 (peak)
    • Split ticket cost: 16.20 (off peak) or 22 (peak)
    • Saving: 11.20 (off peak) or 20 (peak)
    Now if I am going back to visit family in Wales, i always, ALWAYS use this split. I don't even bother checking the "direct" fares any more.
    • Journey: Oxford to Cardiff, Swansea, or anywhere in south wales for a day, a week, whatever
    • Split tickets at: SWINDON!
    • Standard Fare: for example, day return to Cardiff. 46 op, 124 anytime
    • Split ticket cost: 25.50 (off peak) or 60.20 (peak)
    • Saving: 20.50 (off peak) or 63.80 (peak)
    • This split works for advance tickets too - the savings can be insane!
    A few more hints... Oxford to anywhere in the south/south west of the UK, try splitting at Didcot Parkway.

    Travelling on two different train companies and can't find an advance ticket? Try splitting at where you change from one train company to another! Examples from my experience - Oxford to Aberystwyth, split at Wolverhampton. South Wales to north-west England - split at Crewe.

    Another odd one... if you are travelling to Stafford or Wolverhampton and travelling through the other one, try splitting. Even though they are next to each other it can save money. For example an advance ticket to Stafford once cost me more than an advance ticket to Wolverhampton plus a standard single on to Stafford! (staying on the same train)

    Finally, ANY journey through Birmingham New Street is worth trying to split your ticket there. Although sometimes this involves a train change and you may miss your train leading to potential difficulties. If doing this I recommend leaving much more time than necessary. Example - saved 20 or so when booking a long journey by splitting ticket there, but instead of the 10 minute change the through-ticket suggested, we opted to book the next train which meant a 40 minute wait. Our first train was 38 minutes late and we *just* made it across the station for our connection!

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Former MSE Lawrence; 16-02-2009 at 12:39 PM.
  • pillar
    • #7
    • 11th Feb 09, 9:11 AM
    Carlisle to Manchester - split at Preston
    • #7
    • 11th Feb 09, 9:11 AM
    A regular journey in peak time from Carlisle to Manchester cost 45 before Christmas. It was more than 80 afterwards! I did panic, even though I get it back on expenses, it's quite a hike. Luckily I remembered the splitting strategy from this site.

    Split at Preston and it is around 47, as the Preston - Manchester leg is off peak. Our local MP Eric Martlew complained - you can see the story at http://www.cumberland-news.co.uk/1.509395 Virgin Trains chief admits price rises from Carlisle were wrong. Hmm, just about to book my next trip, let's see if there are any changes.
  • imatt90
    • #8
    • 11th Feb 09, 9:27 AM
    • #8
    • 11th Feb 09, 9:27 AM
    I get Carlisle to Manchester for about a fiver each way

    buy from: https://www.buytickets.tpexpress.co.uk/

    Sheffield to Carlisle: 30
    Split at Manchester: ~15
  • m-s-m
    • #9
    • 11th Feb 09, 10:35 AM
    • #9
    • 11th Feb 09, 10:35 AM
    Almost like split ticketing, but the other way round... Going from Southampton to London costs 35.20 for an off peak return. However, a ticket to Brighton on the "Not London" route is 22.40 and can get you as far as Clapham Junction. You can then go and buy a paper travelcard (Clapham Junction is in Zone 2) and continue your journey to Waterloo (trains run about every 5 minutes). As you usually need to buy a travelcard when visiting london anyway it makes it even better value!

    Also this can save you money to/from Gatwick Airport as that lies on the Soton-Clapham-Brighton route.
  • nottinghamstuart
    Train companies
    As a general rule of thumb, I find that if you split at the station where the train company who will be carrying you changes you are more likely to get a good result when booking in advance.

    For example: when I visit my parents in Scarborough, I travel Oxford to Scarborough which as a straight ticket is eye-wateringly expensive (let alone if I routed through London). However, buying a ticket on the non-stop CrossCountry train from Oxford to York, then a ticket from York to Scarborough on Transpennine works out to be literally a fraction of the price.

    Hope this helps!
    • dzug1
    • By dzug1 11th Feb 09, 12:09 PM
    • 13,360 Posts
    • 6,125 Thanks
    dzug1
    What is split ticketing?

    It's where buying tickets for a journey's constituent parts saves the cost, eg, last summer London - Penzance standard return was 257, yet the train stops in Plymouth, and a London to Plymouth & a Plymouth to Penzance return costs just 50 in total!
    Originally posted by MSE Jenny
    I think you are mixing two concepts there - split ticketing and advance cheap fares. A perfectly valid thing to do to save money, but liable to cause confusion when quoted as an example coz it ain't universally true. You can always get that 257 fare but the 50 one depends on availability.

    Currently London - Penzance advance singles start at 15 each way - no point in faffing around with splitting if you can get that.
  • Amatrix
    Bristol - Manchester
    There doesn't seem to be much flexibility on the Bristol - Manchester Cross Country route, with direct singles working out cheaper than splitting at Birmingham for example for singles or returns, or buying direct returns. And bank holiday advance tickets for 4th May don't seem to have been released yet anyway. Best fare I have found so far is 54.

    Curiously if you had more time and wanted to travel via London (and didn't mind changing trains a couple of times), you could get an advance ticket to Paddington for about 20 return, and with a Tube connection to Euston get a Virgin train deal to Manchester for as little as 1 each way. Total cost in the region of 22, saving 32 - more than enough to cover the Tube fare and make a good saving, though it may add an hour or two onto your journey and you'd have the added palava of changing trains.

    I can't find any other splits or savings to be made by travelling the direct Bristol - Manchester route unless anyone has any other ideas?
  • Kendal 4
    Cheaper train travel
    I have just purchased advance train tickets for my 2 boys from Oxenholme to Manchester for 8. They are actually only going as far as Preston, but the cost to Preston was 13.80!! Is worth checking for longer journeys if the train stops at the station you want.
  • Bryony48
    The split I've started doing - I think as a result of a tip-off either here or in Guardian Money - is to split at the first station we call at outside peak time. National Rail Enquiries now shows all stations called at on the route, if you click on Journey details. A business trip from London to Swansea for work goes thus:

    08.45 Paddington 11.45 Swansea 33

    but the train calls at Swindon at 09.40 (20) and an OP day single from Swindon to Swansea is only 7 (WelshGandalf above - you might be able to save more than you think on this bit of your journey as this train calls at Cardiff!). Journey total: 27 and we don't have to swap seats.

    We saved about 6 this time although it was more when we went last summer, but even with the new pricing system, it still worked for us.
  • ALR
    Split ticketing - Preston to Cheltenham via Birmingham NS.
    I've found the route I do to get back to my parents is so much cheaper... A saving of around 30 if you split them.

    I live in Preston, they live between Cheltenham and Gloucester. Until last year I used to be able to get direct trains back to Cheltenham.
    Then Virgin stopped running the westcoast mainline south of Birmingham New Street so I have to now change in Birmingham onto an Arriva or a Central Trains service for the last hour of the journey back to Cheltenham.

    I always used to get Return tickets for the whole Journey costing (Last time I bought one) 46. (could be more now as this was around a year ago before prices went up)

    But now splitting my journey and buying single tickets from Preston to Birmingham, Birmingham to Cheltenham (Or Gloucester) and then the reverse for the return my Journey cost has been cut down to around 17, even after the new year prices increase.

    It sometimes takes a fair amount of searching to get the best prices on tickets but it usually pays off!
    Last edited by Former MSE Lawrence; 16-02-2009 at 12:41 PM.
    "Live like you mean it, Love 'til you feel it"
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  • claretnbluedom
    Tickets from 1 plus booking fee
    Certain trains on www.megabus.com run from as little as 1
    Mainly midweek trains.

    I got my grandparents tickets from Glasgow to Preston for a total of 9.50 return.
    Which isnt bad at all.
    It basically sells Virgin train seats at off peak times.

    Cheapest i have managed to get was Preston to Glasgow return for 3.50.

    Its all about timing, and booking ahead well before your planned journey.
    Trains leaving Midweek will always get you the best price

    • dzug1
    • By dzug1 11th Feb 09, 2:56 PM
    • 13,360 Posts
    • 6,125 Thanks
    dzug1
    I have just purchased advance train tickets for my 2 boys from Oxenholme to Manchester for 8. They are actually only going as far as Preston, but the cost to Preston was 13.80!! Is worth checking for longer journeys if the train stops at the station you want.
    Originally posted by Kendal 4
    Unfortunately they could be in trouble - advance tickets are only valid for the journey booked and travelling short is not allowed.

    In reality it depends on whether there are barriers/ticket checks at Preston.
  • angelsriches
    Train fares
    But HOW do you find them????
    This is not the beginning of the end;
    This is the end of the beginning......
  • whiskey9890
    word of advice
    remember ticket office staff work for the train companies not the customers, if you want to split the fares do your home work first do not ask the staff to do it for you, if one of their bosses is around you could get them into a LOT of trouble (been on the receiving end of this) also it takes time and they may not have the time to to it properly.

    also do not split your journey at a change point if you are buying advance tickets (not to be confused with a walk up fare bought before day of travel). with an advance fare YOU agree to board the train you book on, so if your connection is delayed TOUGH you have to pay the extra, but if you've bought a through ticket and your connection is delayed its not your fault so clemmancy is given (with a bit of grumbling).

    a few people have said its worth buying a ticket for further than you need to travel cos its often cheeper. it might be but is it valid for a break of journey on the outward journey (not all of them are) and if not do you want the fine from the revenue protection officer doing a spot check at the station you shouldn't have got on?

    and just because the ticket says any permitted route, it doesn't mean you can go round the houses to get where you are going, it means any route that is permitted within the national routing guide. which basically means you can't go down to go up, east to go west and vice versa.

    oh yeah if you check your journey on national rail enquiries web site or phone them double check and see if there are any changes as its not always obvious.
  • janb1
    I think you are mixing two concepts there - split ticketing and advance cheap fares. A perfectly valid thing to do to save money, but liable to cause confusion when quoted as an example coz it ain't universally true. You can always get that 257 fare but the 50 one depends on availability.

    Currently London - Penzance advance singles start at 15 each way - no point in faffing around with splitting if you can get that.
    Originally posted by dzug1
    Yep comparing like for like, the London - Penzance is 239 return, and splits at Plymouth as 229 and 19.50.
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