TrainSplit.com, the website which promises to save you up to 22 per cent on each journey, is still down after being profiled over the weekend.
Interest is such that people are crashing the site in their eagerness to attempt to save money on the UK’s ever-more exorbitant rail fares.
But what other ways could you save money travelling? Here we list some of the most straightforward.
1. Book 12 weeks ahead of when you want to travel
Train companies love to brag about how little it can cost to travel, but the reality of much touted deals from companies such as EastCoast (sample: London to Edinburgh from as little as £24) is that they have to be booked months in advance.
The best time to look for these deals is around 12 (sometimes 10 or 11) weeks before the date you want to travel. Bizarre? Yes. But here’s the reason: contractually Network Rail must finalise the train timetable 12 weeks prior to the journey, so the cheapest seats are available just after that decision is taken.
2. Sign up to alerts
To help with the above, National Rail has a future travel chart where you can check the furthest ahead date that you can book.
Discount website TheTrainline also offers an alert system which emails you when cheaper tickets for a specific journey become available.
3. Have friends (or travel in a group)
If you’re planning to visit a destination with a group, it pays to travel as a group. South West Trains offers discounts of up to 34 per cent when groups of between three and nine people book together.
An example shows that a trip from Waterloo to Bournemouth – otherwise costing £208 – costs only £137.20 when booked as a group. Word of warning: if you still have a student railcard this option may not work out cheaper. For those decidedly over the hump, this may be a great alternative.
4. Railcards are wonderful things
A student railcard isn't the final say of discount cards (although it may feel like it when it ends). Here are some overlooked favourites that are worth investigating.
Chief among these are regional railcards. Cambrian Railcard, Cotswold Line Railcard, Dales Railcard, Devon & Cornwall Railcard, Esk Valley Railcard, First Capital Connect Student 16/18 Connect Card, Heart of Wales Railcard, Highland Railcard, Pembrokeshire Railcard, Valleys Senior Railcard, Valleys Student Railcard all offer discounts, some by as much as a third off travel.
Other railcards worth looking at include: Family and Friends railcard, which gives you 60 per cent off on child fares and a third off adult fares. Two Together: third off for two named adults on card travelling together.
Finally, the final Network Railcard for southern England is a steal: third off adult fares and a £2 flat fare for children travelling within the designated zone.
All these railcards do come with terms, conditions and initial costs but they’re worth glancing over.
5. Watch out for peak times
If you are taking a particularly long journey (say from York to Exeter) your journey may include some peak times. But if you don’t split up your travel (returning to split ticketing) then you will be charged peak fares for the entire journey.
That can turn a relatively inexpensive journey into an eye watering one.Reuse content