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Crippled By Train Fares? How To Make Them Cheaper

Train fares in the UK are at an all-time high, and it’s pricing some people out of using the classic public transportation system altogether. Around 20 years ago, the trains were sold from being a government-owned asset and being publicly run, to private companies who ran them as a franchise. This was billed as something which would put more money into the infrastructure of the railways and would keep prices competitive for the public. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out this way. Instead, prices have risen year-upon-year, whereas the trains and the general infrastructure has had little updating. Much of the profits, rather than being ploughed back into the industry, have been paid to the shareholders.


This is all very frustrating for those who need to take the train regularly or who don’t have access to other methods of transport. Commuters in particular, especially those who need to buy expensive season tickets, are being priced out of using the train. In some cases, some people are spending 15% of their salary on train fares alone.

Split your tickets

If you’re travelling for a one-off, then splitting your tickets can save you a lot of money. This basically means that you pay for each leg of your journey separately, even though you’ll be staying on the same train. For instance, if you’re travelling from London to Durham, you can buy a ticket from London to York, then from York to Durham. You wouldn’t have to change trains, and it’s perfectly legal to do this as long as your train stops in York. Why would you do this? Let’s look at the costs*:

London to Durham adult single = £118.00
Total £118.00

London to York adult single = £49.50 + York to Durham adult single = £8.90
Total £58.40

Use a railcard

There’s a railcard for almost everyone out there and although they cost a bit of money upfront, this cost can usually be more than covered by the savings that they give. The railcards that are currently available are: 16-25 Railcard, Two Together Railcard (gives discount to two named people on the card only when they’re travelling together), Family& Friends Railcard (for those travelling with children between the ages of 5-15. Up to 4 adults and children can travel on one card and they don’t need to be named on it), Senior Railcard (for those aged 60 and over) and a Disabled Railcard (for certain disabilities including epilepsy and the discount also applies to one friend travelling with you). You can save 1/3rd off normal rail fares with a railcard, so the annual fee of £20-£30 is definitely worth it for some.

Book in advance

Booking your tickets in advance can save you a lot of money, particularly if you book them up to 12 weeks in advance. The closer it gets to your travel day, the more expensive they’re likely to get, but you can still get huge discounts even when ordering on the way to the station.