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best time to get a cheap train? urgent :)

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Thinking of going down to worcester for a bit as my friends live down there. now i live in darlington which is many miles away, i was wondering how i would get down there the cheapest? im looking at train fares, and i never get a train. its saying like £88 pounds return? is that cheap? or how could i get it cheaper?

would coach be cheaper?
what time of day would be cheaper?
what day of the week?
is return cheaper than buying 2 singles?


/stuck

anyone please help

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    thetrainline.com usually shows you the cheapest options for your chosen time. I guess lunchtime on a Monday is probably pretty well off-peak for most journeys.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Cheap train tickets go on sale 12 weeks in advance, so if you can book well in advance you can get cheaper fares. Times to avoid are morning and evening peaks, Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons as trains are at their most expensive or at their most full at that time.

    Use the website www.eastcoast.co.uk as they have a tool which shows you the cheapest trains for the dates you want to travel. If you can be flexible you can get better deals. You should also have a look at splitting your tickets (it may well be cheaper to buy a ticket to Birmingham New Street and then another on to Worcester) and make sure that you're looking at tickets for both stations in Worcester. Remember that the cheapest tickets are sold as singles not returns, so make sure that the website you're using shows both types of ticket.

    If you're under 25 or in full time education get a 16-25 railcard, it costs £26 but saves you 1/3 on most train fares. Useful even if you get the odd train to Newcastle or Boro for the shops.

    ETA: Avoid using TheTrainLine at all costs. They charge fees for absolutely EVERYTHING and most other websites do not. EastCoast (who operate the trains from Darlington to London) have the best website and the only charge they make is £1 to send your tickets to you by post; you can avoid this fee by collecting the tickets at the station (you put your debit/credit card in the machine, with the code you're given, and the machine spits the tickets out for you).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ETA: Avoid using TheTrainLine at all costs. They charge fees for absolutely EVERYTHING and most other websites do not. EastCoast (who operate the trains from Darlington to London) have the best website and the only charge they make is £1 to send your tickets to you by post; you can avoid this fee by collecting the tickets at the station (you put your debit/credit card in the machine, with the code you're given, and the machine spits the tickets out for you).

    My bad, never bought from thetrainline. I usually buy directly from the operator because they don't but I wasn't sure which yours would be. Heed the words of Arctic Roll, for he is wise.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The operator for those trains is CrossCountry to Birmingham and then London Midland from Birmingham to Worcester. They all use the same central booking system, though, so it usually doesn't make much difference. If you're only using one operator you sometimes get an extra discount for booking with them (e.g. EastCoast give you another 10% on EC trains if you book on their website).

    If you do decide to split tickets at Birmingham, using CrossCountry's website might be a good idea, although IIRC they don't give extra discounts. Just make sure they don't charge you for paying by credit card or for collecting the tickets at the station.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whether returns are cheaper, probably depends on the train operator and where you're going. It's cheaper for me to get an open return from Plymouth to Exeter than it is to buy 2 single to get there and back again.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If you cant plan your life 12 weeks in advance with military precision then you've got no chance with the rip off train companies in the UK.

    Get a hire car or fly (although not in your case). :thumb:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    Whether returns are cheaper, probably depends on the train operator and where you're going. It's cheaper for me to get an open return from Plymouth to Exeter than it is to buy 2 single to get there and back again.

    That's because that's a relatively short journey.

    They don't really do cheap advance tickets for Braintree > London, for example, but when I was with Rich and I lived up in Newcastle he used to be able to get two singles (an on-the-day return was somewhere in the region of £80-£100) for £20 if he booked far enough in advance.
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