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Is it better to buy train tickets in advance ?

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Is it better to buy train tickets in advance ?

This is our first trip to England. Is it better to book train tickets in advance or is it okay to go to the station and buy the ticket ? How soon do we have to book ? Is it okay if we book 30 days ahead ?

UK
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11. Re: Is it better to buy train tickets in advance ?

Post 10... You would have got an even better price by not booking through trainline but through www.national rail.co.uk . Trainline charge booking fees whereas nationalrail transfer you to the company who run that particular route and they do not charge fees.

Edited: 26 June 2013, 08:31
Hampshire, England.
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12. Re: Is it better to buy train tickets in advance ?

"I used http://www.thetrainline.com/ for my upcoming journey from Loughborough to London and got a great price"

The Trainline are a 3rd party booking agency that charge extra fees, better to have booked through the train operator, as mentioned above.

Stirling, United...
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13. Re: Is it better to buy train tickets in advance ?

#2 << By booking on line gives you a great discount >>

Actually it doesn't; East Coast offer a 10% online discount on their own Advance fares, and there are a few other online-only special offers, but in general you can buy tickets at most railway stations at the same price as online - including "Advance" tickets.

Online is very convenient (and the only option for overseas visitors) but buying at the station will help keep your local railway station ticket office open and the station staffed.

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14. Re: Is it better to buy train tickets in advance ?

Thanks very much for all the answers. My train bookings are from London to Oxford, Oxford to Bath and Bath to Windsor. Would you consider them long distance travel or short distance ?

Redlands, California
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15. Re: Is it better to buy train tickets in advance ?

I'm probably the only fan of the Britrail flexipass on the forum :-) but don't discount it too quickly, especially if you have one lo-o-ong trip to and from Penzance. The advantage of flexibility and not having to worry about peak time prices can be worth quite a bit. Its something to be balanced against the greater cost compared with fixed advance tickets.

Illinois
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16. Re: Is it better to buy train tickets in advance ?

Lagnam, the easiest way to tell if you should book in advance is by pricing the journeys on the National Rail website, as I suggested. IME, the availability of cheaper advance fares does not always correlate with the length of the journey. By pricing it yourself, you will know exactly how much money you can save by booking in advance.

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17. Re: Is it better to buy train tickets in advance ?

Thanks. I really appreciate all the answers. I will look at the national rail website. I have one more question.

The travel especially from Bath Spa to Windsor Eton, requires two changes (Reading/Slough). The time in the intermediate station is sometimes pretty short (6 - 10 minutes). I did notice that there are trains from Reading to Slough every 18 minutes and from Slough to Windsor every 18 minutes as well. Can I assume that if I miss a change, I can catch the next train with the same tickets ? Will the trains be so full that this might become a problem (the timeline is late August). ?

Cotswolds
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18. Re: Is it better to buy train tickets in advance ?

It will not be a problem

Many (most) of the trains between Reading and Slough have no reservations - and no trains on the Windsor branch have them at all. Yes they may be crowded - but your reservation/lack of it makes no difference to that. Conversely the train you miss may be the crowded one.....

Liverpool, United...
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19. Re: Is it better to buy train tickets in advance ?

"I used http://www.thetrainline.com/ for my upcoming journey from Loughborough to London and got a great price"

I offer my wholehearted sympathy !

You would a saved a few quid by booking direct with the train operating companies that don't charge the booking and debit/credit card fees that the trainline charge.

Liverpool, United...
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20. Re: Is it better to buy train tickets in advance ?

"Online is very convenient (and the only option for overseas visitors) but buying at the station will help keep your local railway station ticket office open and the station staffed."

I always avoid buying train tickets at my local station, or even renewing my Merseytravel rail/bus pass there - because the staff are incompetant and don't know what they are doing.

The same can be said for some of the ticket office staff at Liverpool Lime Street and other large railway stations. ;-)