Friday 3 March 2017

Finance Fridays – Splitting train tickets

We were choosing the right accountant for last week's Finance Fridays. For this week we are looking at how to get cheaper train tickets by buying a number of different tickets for the journey.

The other week by eye was caught by a story of a football fan travelling from Oxford to an away match in Newcastle. He and his girlfriend visited seven stations on the journey, had 56 tickets between them but saved £30. Trying to work out the best deal on train tickets is very difficult as you have to negotiate between different train service providers and peak or off-peak times. So I thought I would pick a journey and see what the difference in price is between different internet ticket sites. Just for the record this isn't a sponsored or paid for post just my own investigations.

I decided the journey I would make was for Sheffield to Edinburgh Waverley, one way, on Saturday 11th March departing after 8am for one adult with no Railcards. Although this is a long journey it is straightforward and usually a direct service. The first websites I decided to check was the established Trainline site, East Mindlands Trains which manages Sheffield Station, and Virgin Trains which runs the train service between Sheffield and Edinburgh. As you can see the first train after 8am is 8.22 and all three companies are offering the same price for the ticket at £57.00

I then tried Red Spotted Hanky as I know many people say this site can be cheaper but on this occasion they were asking exactly the same price.
This is where things got interesting as I decided to try out dedicated train ticket splitting sites. It seems that Trainsplit, Raileasy and Trainsplitting are all the same site just different web addresses. As such they all showed the same price but it was £45.60 – a saving of £11.40 or a 20% saving. This is for boarding the exact same train as for the tickets sold by the other sites. How can this be possible? I found this out by visiting another site.
It seems Trainline do offer a ticket splitting service but you need to go through the tool on known as Tickety Split. At first it gives the original £57.00 ticket but once you press on 'Split this Ticket' it goes down to the same £45.60 offered by the other sites. It also shows how this is done. 
You are buying two separate tickets instead of one ticket straight through from Sheffield to Edinburgh. The first ticket is for Sheffield to York costing £10.00 and the second ticket is for York to Edinburgh at £35.60. The genius of this method is that this train stops at York on the way from Sheffield to Edinburgh so you do not need to get off and catch another. You may need to swap seats but on a train journey of over three hours you would want to get up at some stage anyway.
As I said at the start of our little journey the route between Sheffield and Edinburgh is direct and for the ticket options I've shown you don't need to get off the train or make sure it is stopping at a certain station as this is the standard route. However on other routes you will need to make sure that the tickets you have booked through the ticket splitting method do stop at certain stations. For example the 9.29 Sheffield to London St. Pancras stops at Chesterfield, Derby and Leicester but the 9.49 train stops at Chesterfield, Derby, Long Easton, East Midlands Parkway, Loughborough and Leicester. So if you bought a ticket from Sheffield to Loughborough and then Loughborough to London St. Pancras you could use it on the 9.49 but not on the 9.29 as it doesn't stop at Loughborough. Yes, it can be confusing but it means you should always be careful in your travel planning – it could save you quite a bit of money.

Have you ever use a train ticket splitting site? Did you find the saving worthwhile?

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Finance Fridays

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  1. My husband was in the UK recently, using the train and found splitting his tickets so much cheaper. Also one of his journeys was to go from London to Whatstandwell, a small stop between Derby and Matlock. The cheapest ticket was London to Matlock but it didn't stop at Whatstandwell, Only Derby first and then Matlock ... so he bought that and asked his sister pick him up in Matlock instead saving him over 50% of the cost of a ticket to Whatstandwell itself. Work that one out?

  2. I have never done this as it seems really complicated. I will have to look into it though as I have a few long train journeys planned over the next few months. x

  3. I have not heard of this before but will look into it. Train travel is so expensive!!


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