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How To Get Really Cheap UK Train Tickets

There are two main ways of buying tickets for UK train travel: at the station, or online. No matter how you purchase your ticket, traveling at peak times can be exorbitant, and the sheer complexity of the ticketing system can make it difficult to find cheaper fares.

Reduce the cost of #train travel with split-ticketing. Click To Tweet

I recently traveled to Manchester from Leeds which takes about 1 hour in total. The cost of travel was absolutely ridiculous which prompted me to go online and conduct some research as to how I can reduce the cost of my travels.  This is a quick post to share my findings with you about how you can get really cheap UK train tickets. Below are 5 easy ways you can save on train ticket prices:

1. Split-Ticketing

The UK ticketing system is structured in a way that makes it cheaper to buy tickets for several routes of your journey instead of buying a single ticket. Recent research by the rail watchdog shows that this unusual pricing method will reduce the cost of travel by nearly 90%. Give split-ticketing a try with this tool from There is a £1 booking fee, but you could save up to 60% on a single ticket.

2. Book In Advance

Buying your ticket well in advance is a more affordable way of scoring cheap train tickets in the UK. Advance tickets are limited in number, so make sure to buy yours about 12 weeks early to get the cheapest price.

3. Avoid Peak Travel Times

If you can’t book ahead, you can still save money by avoiding peak travel times such as Monday-Friday, between 6.30 – 9.30 and 15.30 – 18.30. Though it is not as cheap as advance rail fares, you will get a better deal than what you would have paid for a standard ticket.

4. Invest In a Railcard

Railcards such as Two Together, Family & Friends etc., may seem initially costly but will pay for themselves pretty fast. You could get as much as 70% with a railcard on certain routes.

5. Buy Direct and Avoid Booking Fees

Purchase your tickets directly from the rail service and avoid agent booking fees. These charges are minimal (25p-£1.50) but can amount to a lot, especially if you are buying for a group. If you’re a frequent traveler, it is highly recommended that you buy your tickets through the train operators’ websites and pay no booking fees. Below are some useful websites:

1. CrossCountry Trains
2. Virgin Trains
3. East Midland Trains
4. Ticket Clever

6. Don’t Miss Out on Refunds

Train companies offer refunds and compensations all the time. If your train is cancelled or delayed you may be entitled to money back or compensation for any inconvenience. The process isn’t automatic, and you may need to put in a claim first.

There are different corporate policies that train companies have to comply with, so check their terms and conditions for details. For some train companies, a delay compensation may apply as early as 15 minutes. Next time your train is late, pay attention and speak to an operator if in doubt.

There you have it, here are my 5 best tips for saving money on UK train travel. Don’t forget to share your thoughts below and share on social media. Thanks for reading!