Purchase a train ticket from London to Glasgow

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Purchase a train ticket from London to Glasgow

Postby Haakin » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:49 pm

Hi!

I need to buy a train ticket to travel from London to Glasgow. It seems that there are a lot of companies that sell these tickets. Do you know which is the best option?

I'm pretty confused. In Spain there is only one railway company, and everything is easier.

Thanks!

Javier
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Postby nelz » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:07 pm

I find http://www.virgintrains.co.uk the best of a mediocre bunch, especially as it is a Virgin service from London to Glasgow.

We tried that idea of a single railway company, but apparently we are better off with the current fragmented mess. Unlike breakfast cereals, you can have too many train companies...
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Postby Haakin » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:09 pm

Thank you very much! Found it.

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Postby MartyBartfast » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:14 pm

You might find a cheaper ticket at http:///www.thetrainline.com/ , as they will sell tickets for all of the train companies.

However the pricing of train tickets in this country is ridiculous. A few things to bear in mind:

1. You will often find that a first class ticket is cheaper than a second class ticket for the same train!

2. If you buy a cheap ticket it may only be valid for a particular date and time (e.g. 10:00am on December 1st), so it will be ONLY valid on that train, so if you miss that train and try to travel on the next one your ticket may not be valid and you can end up having to pay the full fare (which will be over £100) to the guard on the train.

3. Sometimes it will be cheaper to buy a return ticket than a single ticket, even if you are not intending to come back by train.

4. In many cases you will find it is cheaper (and quicker) to fly than to travel by train.
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Postby Haakin » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:25 pm

Thanks for the tips!

I didn't think that first class tickets could be cheaper, I'll check them.

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Postby nelz » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:54 pm

The Virgin site isn't limited to Virgin trains. It seems to use the same database,but I find it a lot less user-hostile than the trainline.

It may sometimes be cheaper to buy a return than a single, but I often find it cheaper to buy two singles than a return.
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Postby guy » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:21 pm

Would second thetrainline.com

Really, there are only two rules for train tickets in the UK:

- the earlier you can book ahead, the cheaper the bargains available.

- read the small print. Every offer has different terms: check it doesn't apply on the wrong date, wrong time, wrong station, do you have to change trains along the way, do you want a buffet car or even a full meal, etc. etc.
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Postby johnhudson » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:48 pm

In general go for the company that is likely to transport you - like Virgin for London to Glasgow or East Coast for London to Edinburgh because the best deals are normally available only directly from them and only six to eight weeks in advance.

The best deals are also generally available if you book on a specific, normally middle of the day, train; so if you can avoid the early morning or early evening trains and are prepared to commit yourself to a particular train, you will get a better deal.

The best deals are never available as returns (you must buy two singles to make a return journey) for a convoluted reason I will not try to explain here.

However, because regular users know when these are likely to become available, they tend to go online the very first day they are available and snap up the best deals.

(The system was originally developed from the Easyjet model in the nineteen nineties when we had a single rail operator but the long distance private rail companies have refined it down to different fares for different trains).

The other tip is - if you are going on to a suburban area of Glasgow and there is station there, book the whole journey with Virgin through to the suburban station and you get the last (non-Virgin) part of the journey for a few pence. A lot of people make the mistake of booking the long distance part of the journey with the long distance company and they buying a separate ticket for the last part of their journey from the local company when they get there - which costs a lot more than including it in the one ticket.

Ditto, if you are flying in to Gatwick or Heathrow, for example, book the ticket with Virgin but give Gatwick or Heathrow as the starting staion and you will get the price of the train into London and the underground to Euston included in the one ticket for far less than if you bought separate tickets for these journeys.

Of course, you may not be able to rely on your plane arriving on time; in which case get an off-peak return if possible but include the whole of your journey and it will be much cheaper than buying the tickets separately.
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Postby nelz » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:19 pm

Virgin make their tickets available three months in advance.

The last two times I tried to use the trainline, it failed to find me the trains that were on the National Rail timetable and I had to complete the booking by phone. Not only was that a premium rate number, but you spend a long time on hold, listening to a message telling you how much easier it would be if you booked online!

I didn't try them the third time :(
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Postby guy » Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:36 pm

nelz wrote:The last two times I tried to use the trainline, it failed ...

Although I have used thetrainline to good effect, not that its use is not mandated by my two rules.

johnhudson wrote:In general go for the company that is likely to transport you - like Virgin for London to Glasgow or East Coast for London to Edinburgh because the best deals are normally available only directly from them and only six to eight weeks in advance.

The best deals are also generally available if you book on a specific, normally middle of the day, train; so if you can avoid the early morning or early evening trains and are prepared to commit yourself to a particular train, you will get a better deal.

The best deals are never available as returns (you must buy two singles to make a return journey) for a convoluted reason I will not try to explain here.

Oh go on. Go on go on go on. You know you want to.
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Postby Haakin » Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:58 pm

Hi,

I used to think that the Renfe (Spanish rail co.) website was bad until now...

Yesterday I checked the prices, and the cheapest ticket was 65 GBP. I didn't buy the tickets because I wanted to check the time with another traveller. Today the price was 107.50 GBP (Damn me!). Finally we will travel in First class (90.50 GBP). Quite crazy, if you ask me.

And the funniest thing is that it's quite possible that I'll have problems to get this money back. My company rules say that I have to travel in Standard class and I have to buy the cheapest tickets. I don't know if they will trust me when I tell them that First class was cheaper than Standard.

Javier
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Postby nelz » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:44 pm

Print the web page with the prices and, if they still complain, claim the price of a standard class ticket :)
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Postby Haakin » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:13 pm

This is what I did. Thanks.
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