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Trains in the UK and booking

Somerset
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Trains in the UK and booking

Easy question I hope.

I've been trying to book a train West Country to London and am going round in circles.

Is there a better chance of a cheap fare on weekdays or on weekends? Are fares variable during the week and what is best to look at?

Was looking at November - December but maybe I've left it too late.

Would be grateful for advice as I feel I'm fishing in a pond and don't know if there's any fish in it!

1. Re: Trains in the UK and booking

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Albufeira, Portugal
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2. Re: Trains in the UK and booking

The spam post above has been reported.

Train fares for long distance travel in the UK vary according to the date and time of travel and how far ahead you book.

Some very, very cheap fares are non refundable and non exchangeable so you need to read the small print. Most cheap fares are tied to a particular train, you cannot just jump on any train that comes along.

Also, there are only so many cheap tickets per train, so the later you leave the more expensive it is likely to become.

You need to go a website like www.nationalrail.co.uk or in the case of trips between the West Country and London it's www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk (it's their trains) and look for train times and ticket prices on or around the date you wish to travel.

That's the important bit, you do need to have some idea of when you are going. There is no such thing as a 'normal' fare.

You can save £££ by avoiding travel towards London on a weekday morning.

UK trains cannot sell out except for overnight train from Penzance to London for which reservation is compulsory. If all the cheap tickets have gone you can buy a full price ticket, get on the train and hope there is a seat, otherwise you have to stand all the way for hours and hours.

A couple of years ago I booked with First Great Western from Taunton to Gatwick Airport for £10.

I hope that helps.

Edited: 22 October 2013, 12:51
Somerset
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3. Re: Trains in the UK and booking

Thanks Cubsur, I know enough not to go for peak times and, like you, have got some great fares in the past.

But looking over the next 9 weeks I'm struggling to find a cheap rate to give me 2 to 3 days in London. I can get one way but not the other.

Just wondered whether to avoid Fridays - whether weekend travel was a better bet or weekdays.

Cotswolds
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4. Re: Trains in the UK and booking

I can't believe you are too late to get reasonable fares in November and December. I've found £16 fares (Taunton) each way on random dates about a months from now. Saturday and Tuesday it turned out to be. Maybe you are just unlucky on the dates you can travel. Fridays are maybe best avoided - but even then at the right time of day there can be pleasant surprises

The fallback is the superoffpeak flexible ticket - wide choice of trains and available as single or return. But even next week travelling at the right times you can get cheaper

Edited: 22 October 2013, 16:53
Somerset
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5. Re: Trains in the UK and booking

Thanks Dzug, it looks like I was just unlucky. I'll keep trying.

I haven't heard of the superoffpeak flexible ticket - I'll look into that. It's all a learning curve.

Wales, United...
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6. Re: Trains in the UK and booking

Friday is a popular day for travelling, so the cheapest fares will sell out quicker or may be available in smaller numbers. But as dzug1 has said, it should be possible to find cheaper fares than the Super Off Peak Return for travel in November and December at this point, though maybe not on your first choice train.

Somerset
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7. Re: Trains in the UK and booking

I was looking at Friday but it isn't essential. Was hoping to meet someone who can only do weekends.

I'll skip that and get back to the drawing board tomorrow. Got to get to grips with this as I hope to be doing multiple trips.

Oxford UK
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8. Re: Trains in the UK and booking

Have you looked at splitting tickets - Google 'Tickety Split' and 'Split Your Ticket'.

Somerset
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9. Re: Trains in the UK and booking

Now that sounds like more fun than just booking tickets. I'll have a look becky.

Wales, United...
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10. Re: Trains in the UK and booking

Splitting tickets can work out cheaper but by no means always. For many people, the added complexity in booking the tickets seperately and the restriction of having to be on a train that stops where the tickets 'meet' is only worth it for decent savings, rather than just knocking a couple of pounds off the fare.

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