Rail Saver Money Saving Tips
RailSaver is here to help you make the very most of your rail travel experience, whether you are a business traveller, a student, a tourist, a senior citizen or somebody who just likes travelling on trains.
The following tips may help you secure those often hard to find cheapest train tickets:-
Choose Ticket On Departure
When booking your train tickets, opt to collect your tickets from a station and they will be available immediately for collection from any 'Ticket on Departure' station. All you need to do is insert the credit/debit card you booked with into the ticket issueing terminal at the railway station, and enter your booking reference to obtain your tickets. Doing this will save you paying an extra £2.00 to have your tickets posted to you.
Book In Advance
Everyone knows book early and you can get cheaper fares yet often these disappear quicker than empty seats on a commuter trip. A majority of rail tickets are made available 12 weeks in advance; therefore this is commonly (though not definitely) when tickets are released as some train operating companies add timetables at different times. So if you can, try and book 12 weeks ahead to bag super bargain fares.
Early booking is still cheaper even when it's not so early. Advance tickets can be available as late as 6pm the night before; so it's worth checking otherwise you may be unpleasantly surprised at the cost if you buy your tickets on the day of travel.
Buy Two Single Tickets Instead Of One Return Ticket
Logically, buying a return ticket should be cheaper than two singles depending on the train operating company and journey you are requiring. By searching for single fares you may find a cheaper combined charge by selecting these fares which wont affect your travel options in any way. Worth trying even if it saves you £1.
Only Pay Peak For The Portion That's Peak. Peak times are usually before 10am and between 5pm and 7pm. If at all possible avoid these times and you'll find better bargains. Yet even if not, you can still cut the cost by buying two singles instead of a return if only one part of your journey is during peak times or else by using split ticketing (see below), so that if some of your journey isn't during peak time, you're not paying a peak price for your whole ticket.
Split Your Tickets
Special train fares are often available for part of the route you wish to travel. Therefore by buying several tickets which in combination make up the whole route, you'll often massively reduce the price even though you're on the same train.
For example: For London to Penzance a standard open return was £234. This train stops in Bristol; so then I checked separate ticket prices. By buying four singles: London to Bristol, Bristol to Penzance and then for the return Penzance to Bristol and Bristol to London; the total cost was a tiny £36, a saving of £198. And remember this is for the same trip, on the same train. The same also worked on a £162 open return journey from Sheffield to Edinburgh, which was reduced to £44 via split ticketing.
Ticket Splitting is legal and within the National Rail Conditions of Carriage. This has been confirmed by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). The only rule is that the train must call at all the stations you've bought tickets for. The dedicated Split Ticketing web service at www.splitticketing.co.uk is a very good point to begin when looking for those cheap split fare train tickets.
Invest In A Rail Card
If you don't have a railcard, and the ticket(s) costs over £60, buy one. The maths is simple, the railcard is £26 and you get 1/3 off; so at £60 plus you save at least as much as the card costs. Yet even for cheaper tickets, if you're likely to travel by train again that year it's worth considering.
Railcards aren't always valid, so if you do a regular journey, first check whether the card's applicable. And don't try and use railcards on journeys they're not valid on as there are some reports they actually add to the price.
If you're under 26, over 60 or travelling with kids you can cut a third off most ticket prices with a railcard, costing just £30 a year. These can be bought at stations or online at www.railcards.co.uk.