Best way to book train tickets

Discussion in 'transport' started by rikwakefield, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. moose

    moose like some cat from Japan

    I signed up for email alerts with Trainline for when cheaper tickets come on sale for a return trip to London in July. Got an email yesterday about the outbound journey, so snapped up 2 tickets for £44, and expected there'd be one about the return today. But nope, they're still £120 - 250 :mad:

    However, if had booked them yesterday, still as singles, they'd have been cheaper. How can inbound singles be cheaper if you book them with outbound singles? Now I've signed up for another alert for the inbound tickets, and they say they normally release the cheap tickets 12 weeks before travel - so how come I was able to buy the others yesterday? I fucking hate this system. :mad:
    marty21 and Badgers like this.
  2. Bungle73

    Bungle73 I was there, now I'm here Banned

    1) Why are you using theconline in the first place?

    2) Advance tickets are released weekly, so it's no no good expecting them to come out the next day.

    3) I've no idea what you're talking about in your second paragraph, because it doesn't work like that. Advance tickets are released 12 weeks in advance (but in some cases 24 weeks) and have a number of price tiers. As the cheapest tier sells out the next one up becomes the cheapest. Advance tickets are ALWAYS sold as Singles.

    4) Advance tickets are released (for 12 weeks) when Network Rail confirm their maintenance schedule, so I'm not sure else it would work?
  3. Miss-Shelf

    Miss-Shelf I've looked at life from both sides now

    Is there a generic train ticket site worth using ?
  4. Monkeygrinder's Organ

    Monkeygrinder's Organ Dodgy geezer swilling vapid lager

    Apparently is excellent. Everyone says so.
    A380, marty21, neonwilderness and 2 others like this.
  5. Bungle73

    Bungle73 I was there, now I'm here Banned

    You can purchase tickets from ANY of the TOC's websites, for ANY journey. There is no need to use a 3rd party sites, and pay their fees. In fact some TOC's websites use exactly the same booking engine as thetrainline's own site, so even if you prefer that system there is still no need to use them.

    Sometimes it is even advantageous to use a TOC's own website, eg with Virgin Trains East Coast there is a seat selector so you can specify your exact seat.

    And I'm always on the lookout for ones that offer cashback.
  6. Miss-Shelf

    Miss-Shelf I've looked at life from both sides now

  7. Miss-Shelf

    Miss-Shelf I've looked at life from both sides now

    I usually just use TOC sites

    I will continue on my way
  8. moose

    moose like some cat from Japan

    Because i don't know any better.

    Because in my ignorance, I assumed that if I received an email alert saying:

    We are pleased to inform you that cheapest advance single tickets for your outward journey from Macclesfield to London Euston on 1 July 2017 are now available to buy on
    The cheapest advance single ticket we found for you was £22.00. This price was last checked on 7 February 2017.
    These great value fares sell fast, so book now to save.

    then I might receive an email alert the day after about the return journey, on 2nd July. That's what happened last year, when the 2 journeys totalled £44 each.
  9. Bungle73

    Bungle73 I was there, now I'm here Banned

    Because by booking that far ahead you are taking advantage of the 24 week booking rather than 12. This works (usually) on weekdays because planned disruption is rare. The 2nd of July is a Sunday, and Sundays have the potential for engineering disruption. NR doesn't set out their work timetable that far ahead.

    It's a bit odd because it seems they are releasing them for Saturdays, looking at the calendar on their website, where as their sister company, VTEC, holds tickets for the whole weekend until NR release their schedule.
  10. Bungle73

    Bungle73 I was there, now I'm here Banned

    Personally, I'm not a fan of the whole 24 week booking thing. I don't want to book my tickets that early, and I'm not sure why anyone else would. And it would be simpler if tickets for all days of the week were released at the same time, at 12 weeks, as used to happen, and still does on other TOCs.
  11. moose

    moose like some cat from Japan

    I go to gigs/exhibitions in London a few times a year, and the cheapest is always £22 each way, so if I see the tickets for that price, I'll get them, given that I've already got the gig tickets and the hotel booked for July.
    And yes, it would be simpler i everything was released at the same time. I was taken by surprise by the outbound tickets going on sale so early, because they don't normally for a Saturday. Hopefully cheap Sunday tickets will be along at the 12 week point, otherwise I'll sack the outbound tickets and hire a car.
  12. OzT

    OzT Online early mornings when at work ....

    Most of the TOCs' sites are white lable sites for Trainline, only difference's you shoudln't have to pay a booking fee on TOC ones.
  13. Orang Utan


    I always use trainline. It has a handy app and the costs are pretty much the same as the train companies.
    A380 and Badgers like this.
  14. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse Free the Sepsis Six!

    GWR website
    marty21, Badgers, A380 and 3 others like this.
  15. colacubes

    colacubes Well-Known Member

    Bargain :D
    Badgers likes this.
  16. 2hats


    And they say you don’t get a wide choice of fares...
    Badgers likes this.
  17. Lancman

    Lancman Well-Known Member

    I bought some tickets on Trainline from Aberdeen to London some time ago but then had to cancel the trip. I applied for a refund on the 20th of this month and the money was in my account on the 28th. I call that pretty good.
    A380, marty21 and Badgers like this.
  18. doodlelogic

    doodlelogic arbitrary message here

    Trainline fans - did you know it's now taken over the excellent Capitaine Train so you can use it to book cross-European tickets? Gives more options than either Deutsche Bahn or SNCF in my experience. I just hope they keep the site in the same shape (ok I could probably swallow a €1 booking fee).

    The user touting redspottedhanky - shame on you given they are owned by ATOS.
    Libertad, marty21 and Badgers like this.
  19. smee22

    smee22 New Member

    Best way to book a train... IN ADVANCE!

    (...Yeah, sorry I know that's not that helpful 99% of the time...)

    I did once figure out that Virgin gave you the fabled 20-quid-each-way return (the cheapest fare on a London-Glasgow journey) if you book precisely 6 weeks in advance of your day of travel?
    Rosemary Jest, Badgers and alcopop like this.
  20. cybershot

    cybershot Well-Known Member

    Was impressed with the trainlines whole mobile app thing now. Thou I would recommend if you're buying the ticket on the day, do it at least an hour before it departs. I ended up buying tickets for a later train, which still ended up being an anytime return, but the barriers wouldn't open when I scanned my phone!

    People at the station said it wasn't a problem as they could see if was a valid ticket for the day, but just the ticket get's it's knickers in a twist and won't open the barrier.
    Badgers likes this.
  21. Yogibear

    Yogibear Let it be Banned

    Buy your ticket from your local railway station, or your nearest staffed railway station. They will find you the cheapest available valid ticket for your journey. Valid is an important point because some of these online private companies will show you tickets that don't exist, or routes that are not valid, and so you would be travelling without a valid ticket and likely to be fined for ticket fraud if caught.

    Also the likes of trainline will often offer 'cheaper' tickets but charge you for postage that makes it more expensive than buying from a person at your local station. The other big annoyance is that online tickets can only be collected from Mainline stations not from your local station. So you will be charged for a ticket from your local station to your nearest mainline station that has the facility to print out your ticket. You will then have to claim back from Trainline or whoever the cost of the ticket you had to buy or the fine you incurred travelling without a valid ticket.

    Use your local staffed station, especially outside the busy times, and you are going to get the best deal available and be able to explore real cost cutting options like splitting your journey with seperate tickets..:)
  22. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    Thetrainline, and others of its ilk, offer the exact same fares available everywhere. There is really no difference in price wherever you buy the tickets.

    It's fine for you to say "buy from your local staffed station" but there are lots of stations that don't have staff any more and of those that do, many are staffed by miserable surly cunts who wouldn't help their own grandmother to get the best deal.

    As for your assertion that online ticket companies sell invalid tickets, I would like some evidence that that has ever happened as I am certainly not aware of it.
    paolo likes this.
  23. Yogibear

    Yogibear Let it be Banned

    No they don't. They allow you to create rail routes that don't exist legally, and provide people with train times that are not accurate. They also sell people tickets online that cannot be collected from their local station only from Mainline stations. This puts the consumer in the position of either travelling illegally with an invalid ticket purchased online, or having to buy a valid ticket and then the further hassle of having to claim it back from these online companies. The whole thing is a mess and the only way to remedy it imho is to renationalise the railways.
    editor likes this.
  24. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    Cloud cuckoo land thataway on nationisation --->

    Speaking as someone who books travel for a living and has many, many colleagues who do the same, the online booking services can only sell tickets that the train companies actually offer so I have no idea where this notion of fraudulent tickets is coming from.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
  25. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    Yogibear I apologise for my aggressive posts. I'm not normally like that. Drink has been taken.

    I totally accept your point about tickets having to be posted out because not every station has a machine from which one can pick up tickets booked online.

    What I have an issue with is that in 20 years of booking travel, I and all my colleagues, have never once been sold an invalid or fraudulent ticket. I would really, honestly like to hear your examples of how and when this has happened.

    I have also never, ever come across incorrect timetables - exceptions being when timetables change at short notice (which they often do) due to unforseen circumstamces. Again, examples would be helpful.
  26. OzT

    OzT Online early mornings when at work ....

    May I suggest that to the comment online agencies offer invalid tickets that what it is is that online companies shows all tickets available, but some will not be valid for the time and route you want, but they will be cheaper than the correct fare.

    For example say Wimbledon to Reading cheapest Peak single is £16.60, but that's change at Clapham Junction, whereas the customer may want to go fast from Paddington, but that ticket is £26.20. Both are valid but if the customer just choses the cheaper one and went to Paddington it will not be valid.

    That's just an example, there are heapsa outhers. SuperSavers are a good one to make mistakes on.

    Also online companies gets a batch of tickets cheap from the TOCs, but they're for specific trains and routes, which the online company will then sell cheaper than walk up fares from a ticket office, but not cheaper than advance tickets from a ticket office, in fact cheaper as you don't have to pay delivery. But sometimes people travel on trains other than the specific one for the tickets and that makes the tickets invalid.

    When customers come to my window and ask about a ticket in the future for some trip they're planning, I'll give them the options of prices and sometimes suggest they look online for cheaper tickets, bearing in mind their delivery charge, and if they can't find them the come back and get the walkup ticket.

    Online deffo can save you money if there's a ticket for the exact train you want, it is up to you that that IS the ticket you want. Whereas at a ticket office we can usually suggest something else if there's a problem. Also, changing tickets online I believe costs £10 plus price of a preminum phone call, whereas at a ticket office issued it is easier.

    Hope that helps?
    mango5, chainsawjob and marty21 like this.
  27. Mrs Miggins

    Mrs Miggins There's been a slight cheese accident

    That's what I thought. Buying a ticket but not paying attention to what you've actually bought does not equal "invalid" ticket.
    OzT likes this.
  28. discobastard

    discobastard Well-Known Member

    With trainline, you are able to download the ticket to your phone (for some train companies at least). I am more than happy to pay the 50p fee for the convenience. I haven't had train tickets posted to me in years - can't understand why anybody would do that anymore.

    And I also just saved a significant sum (like forty quid or something) for a train up north by using SPLIT TRAIN TICKETS - they take a small proportion of the saving to which they are most welcome. Website is a bit old fashioned but will definitely be using again.
    chainsawjob and Mrs Miggins like this.
  29. chainsawjob

    chainsawjob Kipping in the dunes

    I didn't realise there are stations where you can't print out your online-bought tickets. My local one is small and unstaffed, but still has a ticket machine that prints out your tickets, so I've never needed to have them posted :confused:

    I tend to buy them direct from the TOC (South Western Railway) rather than TheTrainLine, they seem to have them just as cheap (and cheaper than walk up price), but I don't often buy much in advance.
  30. Yogibear

    Yogibear Let it be Banned

    If you are travelling on a train without a valid ticket you are committing travel fraud. I've seen people questioned then arrested cuffed and dragged off in to a police van for doing this. That's why I'm trying to explain what you can and cannot do. Maybe you need to challenge your online ticket companies about the services they claim to offer. Or you could just buy a valid ticket!

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