How to Save Big on Train Travel

Sometimes, commuters feel like they are having to cough up an arm and leg to pay for their train tickets, with fares continuing to rise year-on-year.

However, don’t despair because there are way of beating (not cheating) the system to keep your wallet healthy.

Of course, there are some obvious ways to find the best fares, including purchasing a rail card (offering 1/3 off ticket prices), booking in advance (the earliest and cheapest seats are released around 12 weeks before departure) and avoiding payment on the day (particularly at the ticket machines; try and pay online if you can for the best deals).

One of the lesser-known methods, however, is known as ticket splitting, and thanks to a few consumer friendly websites, everyone can easily tap into the savings. Essentially, the practice of ticket splitting involves purchasing separate tickets between individual stations that lie between your starting point and destination on a longer route that you are taking, so as oppose to buying a ticket from A to E you would be purchasing one that is valid from A to B; B to C; C to D and D to E. To put that in a real world example, one might purchase a ticket from Newcastle to Darlington; Darlington to York; York to Peterborough and then Peterborough to London, meaning they would be carrying four tickets instead of one from Newcastle to London, yet they wouldn’t have to actually leave the train at all as long as the service they are riding on stops at the stations they have tickets to. The reason that this would work out cheaper is because train companies regularly hike up prices for through journeys rather than just adding the cost of travel between individual stations – it’s one of their sneaky little tricks that you should be aware of. In case you’re worried, rest assured that ticket splitting is perfectly permissible under the National Conditions of Carriage:

19. Using a combination of tickets

You may use two or more tickets for one journey as long as together they cover the entire journey and one of the following applies:

(a) they are both Zonal Tickets unless special conditions prohibit their use in this way. The Ticket Seller will, if you ask, advise you whether you can use a Zonal Ticket in combination with another ticket.
(b) the train you are in calls at a station where you change from one ticket to another;
(c) one of the tickets is a Season Ticket (which for this purpose does not include Season Tickets or travel passes issued on behalf of a passenger transport executive or local authority) or a leisure travel pass, and the other ticket(s) is/ are not

Try it for yourself here and trust me, it’ll change your attitudes towards train travel immeasurably.