Travelling by train is one of the best ways to travel around Britain and UK. The UK has one of the best rail networks in the world. It is well connected from city to city and a swift journey along beautiful countryside is quite an experience to be had. However, the train network is a little complex with 28 national train companies operating throughout the UK. To avoid confusion as to which train companies to select, it is best to focus on the route you want to travel on rather than the train company to travel with. For this reason I use Trainline in Britain and UK for all of my travels within the country. From local trips to cross-country adventures, I Trainline it! I use Trainline to book for Europe travels as well when not using an Interrail Pass.
Trainline is a Trusted Partner of My Timeless Footsteps. Even so, my personal experiences coupled with those of my family and friends dictates that Trainline in Britain and UK is one of the best platforms offering cheap, competitively priced tickets for comfortable and timely journeys. Purchasing a ticket through Trainlline is convenient because of their user-friendly App and tools that comes with it. These days in the Covid era, it is even safer! Read on and find out more about Trainline and why I highly recommend using Trainline in Britain and the UK. This article is intended as an easy guide to independent travel, ensuring you can travel safely and to save money through cheap tickets without compromising on comfort. Ideal for first timers using Trainline services when visiting UK or Europe. It is also an useful guide for train travellers in general.
About this article on Trainline in Britain & UK
This article begins by setting out an overview of the types of train tickets available in the UK. While purchasing a train ticket in the UK can be confusing, this overview may help to understand the various types available so you could purchase at ease. This easy guide also introduces Trainline, a leading platform for purchasing tickets for train travel. It includes tips on how to travel safely, smarter and to get cheap tickets for train journeys with Trainline, using their App (links to download the App is included). Find out how to book tickets conveniently, and up to 15 minutes before departure. You could cancel and obtain a refund should you need to. Also included is UK train network at a glance.
Type of UK train tickets available to purchase through Trainline | Trainline in Britain & UK
Purchasing a train ticket in the UK for a first timer can be a confusing experience. It is confusing even for a regular traveller! There are a number of options, about eight main types, and here is an overview of each of them.
1 | Advance Train Ticket
Advance train tickets are tickets that you can buy before the date of travel. If you are certain of your travel plans, you could secure good deals on your long-distance rail journeys by booking in advance.. There are Single tickets sold for both Standard and First Class seats. Tickets are usually made available 12 weeks before departure, You could enjoy further discounts if you have a Railcard. (More on Railcard below)
You can mix and match Single fares for the cheapest possible return journey. Just be aware that Advance train tickets aren’t flexible. Once purchased, you are usually tied to the exact trains and dates shown.
North Yorkshire, England
2 | Anytime Train Tickets
Anytime Train Tickets are the most flexible option for travelling by train. It gives you full control over when you want to travel up to the same day travel.
There are four choices of Anytime Train Tickets. Anytime Day Single | Anytime Day Return | Anytime Single and Anytime Return.
3 | First Class Train Tickets
First Class Train Tickets offer great comfort with extra-wide seats and extended legroom. There is a table for laptop use and it is quiet! It also comes with complimentary snacks and drinks. There are, usually, but not always, WiFi, plug-in points and hot meals. With a First Class Train Ticket, you can have access to first class lounges at certain stations.
4 | Off-peak Train Tickets
Off-peak train tickets are perfect for bargain hunters and for those who are flexible with their travel plans. Travel is restricted to certain times in the day, normally avoiding the peak times of morning and evening commuter travel. On weekends and bank holidays, there is the choice of purchasing Super off-peak tickets.
5 | Return Train Tickets
Return Train Tickets combine both your journeys – outward and return on a single ticket. You have an option here – you can either choose to depart and return on a specific date or opt for an Open Return ticket, thus giving yourself more flexibility on travel dates.
Day Return tickets require you to travel back on the same day, and First Class Return tickets allow you to sit in the First Class carriage for both your outward and return journey.
6 | Season Tickets
Season Tickets are the best option for daily commuters on a through journey from one station to another. It offers unlimited travel between two given stations on a weekly, monthly or annual basis. You can specify a custom duration for a Season Ticket to suit or select one of the periods to fit your schedule. Using a Season Ticket can save you over 1/3 compared to buying peak daily return tickets 5 days a week.
7 | Cheap Train Tickets
The best way to secure cheap train tickets is to keep an eye on when Advance tickets are released. Booking Advanced tickets as early as possible can save you money. More on this below.
8 | GroupSave Train Tickets
GroupSave Train Tickets can save you up to 34% off the cost of your fares when travelling in a group of 3 to 9 people.
With the overview of the various types of UK Train Tickets available to purchase, the following guide on Trainline will support further in your decision to select and purchase the most suitable train travel tickets for your adventure.
…first, a little about Trainline in Britain & UK
Trainline is a one-stop platform for train and coach travel in UK and Europe. As a one-stop platform, they bring together the routes, fares and journey times of 270 train and coach companies in 45 countries. Furthermore, Trainline is in the forefront of technology with their in-house data science and data engineering teams. Unique and highly predictive features, driven by data, are developed, so travellers can easily buy tickets, save time, hassle or money. This is evidenced from their new App feature, SplitSave and their Price Prediction tool which has been around for a couple of years or so. – more on this below.
Here are all the information you need to support your purchase of Trainline tickets for your train travels in Britain and UK
1 | Travel safely with Trainline in Britain
As we are in the Covid-19 era, it is important that we travel safely and adhere to UK Government regulations in relation to Covid-19 measures. Trainline has the following in place to ensure passenger safety.
1.1 | Contactless travel
With Trainline, you can avoid queuing up at ticket halls or ticket machines in train stations. Peruse options for your route , purchase your tickets online and download your digital tickets. There is no need to print paper tickets. Once the digital tickets are downloaded, you don’t even need internet access to use it. Scan your digital ticket directly from your phone or show to station staff before walking straight to the platform.
Digital tickets are convenient, you won’t lose them and makes getting around easy as well.
1.2 | Book a seat
Trainline offers you an option to reserve your seat prior to travel. Depending on the class of travel, and subject to the requirements of the train providers, you will be allocated a reserved seat at the time of booking. .
Note: Requirements of the train providers – this is generally applicable throughout all classes of travel when social distancing measures are in place legally.
1.3 | Wear a face covering
At the time of writing, it is now a requirement in England that each person travelling on public transport must have face coverings. Face coverings must cover the mouth and nose. It must be used throughout the journey. It is for your own safe journey as well as others who share the ride.
1.4 | Use the Trainline App
The Trainline App gives you absolute control of your journey. Whether you are travelling by train or by coach, within UK or across Europe, travel becomes easy and smarter. The App is compatible with all iOS and Android phones.
2 | Travel smarter with Trainline in Britain
The App, once downloaded, gives you access to live times and journey information on the go. It gives you access and flexibility to plan your journey up to the minute. See live train and coach information in one place – open up the Journey Tracker to see all of your stops. One invaluable benefit of having this App is the Disruption Alert that comes through due to unforeseen circumstances should your journey be delayed en route.
3 | Convenient and easy to book journeys | Trainline in Britain & UK
As a one-stop platform, Trainline offer travellers a great choice in routes and fares for 270 train and coach companies in 45 countries. You have access to UK Rail, Eurostar, SNCF, Trenitalia, Deutsche Bahn and Renfe to plan your journey.
With the App at your fingertips, plan your journey either at your leisure or on the go. Book your trip up to 15 minutes before departure.
4 | Don’t despair when plans change
If you have pre-booked your journey and plans change…don’t despair. With Trainline, you can change the time and date of your journey if you wish. Alternatively, you could request a refund if you are unable to make the journey. You can manage your booking or request the refund via the App at your convenience.
5 | Get Cheap train tickets for your journey with Trainline | How to save money when travelling with Trainline in Britain & UK
When purchasing tickets for your journey, you can benefit from good savings. Here are some ways for you to purchase cheap train tickets:
5.1 | Purchasing tickets in advance
If you buy your tickets in advance, you can usually benefit from good savings. You can’t usually buy too way ahead of time but anything between 8 to 12 weeks is a good time frame. It is also helpful if you are flexible with your dates of travel. Use Trainline’s best fare finder to find your cheapest train tickets. The App will automatically scan all prices of different tickets across all operators and timetables for trains and buses using your preferences to bring you the best price for your journey.
5.2 | Price Prediction tool
Trainline’s Price Prediction tool is every traveller’s best friend! This tool is available in the Trainline App. The Price Prediction tool shows when cheap advance tickets are likely to rise in price, and when they’re expected to sell out altogether. The tool, as the name suggests, gives a prediction on the specific route, date and time you wish to travel.
5.2.1 How does the Price Prediction tool work
Train companies usually release tickets in advance, at about 12 weeks ahead of time at lower prices to encourage purchases. Often, and almost always, prices go up over time and nearing the date of travel. To get the best fare, it makes sense to purchase an advance ticket.
Advance tickets are specific and affords no flexibility. This means, advance tickets only allow travel on a specific service at a specific day and time. Purchase an advance ticket just as soon as you can confirm the date and time you want to travel.
Don’t book until you are sure of when you want to travel. You don’t want to pay for a ticket that you can’t use.
5.2.2 How to benefit from using the Price Prediction tool
The key to benefiting from using the Price Prediction tool is to use it in advance of your journey, about 12 weeks or so. Provided data is available for your selected route, the tool will search using historical price trends to highlight potential fare increases. It will provide you with detailed breakdown of ticket prices, thus helping you to find the cheapest tickets for your route in advance of your journey.
It is worth noting that as the Price Prediction tool uses historic data from passengers’ journey, searches on the Trainline tool to predict how the cost of advance tickets is likely to return a change over time. It’s predictions are likely to become more accurate as more data is gathered. This may not necessarily be cheaper than earlier predictions.
5.2.3 How to use the Price Prediction tool
Once you have downloaded the Trainline App, you need to find the tool.
To find the tool, use the search bar and enter your ‘from’ and ‘to’ destinations. Click “Find trains.” A list of train times will appear. On the right, there’ll be a button marked “price tracker” – click this to access your Price Predicition tool.
While the Price Prediction is a popular and useful tool, it is important to remember that these are predictions only, not certainties.
5.3 | SplitSave
SplitSave is a great way to save money on your journey when travelling by train. Trainline’s new split ticketing App feature, SplitSave splits your tickets for your journey, making it cheaper than buying a single ticket when travelling on a long journey.
5.3.1 How does SplitSave work
This clever tool finds the combination of tickets to save you money on. It automatically splits your journey into multiple legs. You don’t have to change trains and your journey continues unchanged.
The only thing you may notice is that the train makes a stop at the split ticket station along the way. If you are asked to show a ticket for your journey, just ensure you show the correct ticket for the leg of the journey you are in.
5.3.2 How to book SplitSave tickets with Trainline
To use the SplitSave feature, you need to have the Trainline App. Once you have downloaded the App, follow these steps:
Firstly, search for your journey in the Search bar by stating “to and from destination”
Secondly, the App will show you if SplitSave tickets are available. It will also show how much you can save. Just look out for the SplitSave icon in your search results.
You will see detailed breakdown of your journey. All you need to do is show the correct ticket for the leg of your journey, if asked.
Finally, store SplitSave tickets as etickets in your Trainline App or add to your Apple Wallet.
5.3.3 | Some features of SplitSave you may want to know about
A single and through journey: While SplitSave allows for splitting of tickets, it does not mean that you need to split your journey. Almost always you do not have to and you enjoy a through journey to your final destination. However, you do have to change if your original journey requires a change to get you to your final destination.
You can reserve a seat with split tickets: If the train you are taking offers seat reservation, then you can reserve your seat. Seat reservation may in some circumstances be only available for part of your journey and you may have to move seats. Check your ticket for seat-specific information.
National Rail Card: You can use your National Rail Card and buy split tickets for any specific journey.
Other points about SplitSave which you may want to know: Splitting your one journey into multiple tickets may seem strange but it is legal and is allowed by the National Rail Conditions of Travel under which all train companies on the National Rail network operate. You just need to ensure and remember to take a train that stops at the split station(s) you bought your train ticket(s) for and not a train that just pass by the said station.
5.4 | Travel off-peak with Trainline
Off-peak travel in London Underground
In the UK, you can travel by train and benefit from reduced fares by choosing off-peak times in a day. Off-peak times are times of day that are less busy and this is generally any time excluding mornings and late afternoons/early evenings during the week – Monday to Friday. Train travel during weekends and bank holidays is also considered off-peak.
Super off-peak fares are also available but this can vary across routes and train companies. These are usually the least busy travel periods and typically is around 10:00 to 15:30 and from 19:15 onwards, Monday to Friday. Super off-peak travel is also available during weekends and bank holidays.
There are 4 Off-peak ticket types you can choose from:
Single Off-peak ticket
Off-peak day return
5.5 | Save through a Railcard
You can save up to a third off the price of off-peak train tickets with a National Railcard. Railcards are available from ages 16 to retirees. There eight main types of UK National Railcards available.
Navigate through this link to the official site of National Rail to peruse and purchase a Railcard to suit your requirements.
5.6 | GroupSave
If you are travelling in a group of 3 – 9 persons, then you will want to take advantage GroupSave. This is a concession that allows up to 34% discount on off-peak tickets on selected routes. This is a great option for family travel and group of friends.
When using the Trainline App to book your tickets, navigate to the Railcards menu to select this option.
5.7 | BritRail Passes
BritRail Passes are available for non-UK residents and is available to purchase only overseas – so remember to purchase yours before leaving for the UK.
It is a great way to travel across UK by train, taking you through some breathtaking scenery whether it be in Scotland to visit the Highlands, soaring up the north-east coast, or taking in the stunning views of the Cornwall countryside, there are plenty of rides using a BritRail Pass.
About the UK’s Train Network at a glance
Having introduced you to Trainline in Britain & UK and the ways to get cheap tickets for your train travels in Britain, here is a very brief overview of UK Train Network
About the UK train network at a glance
The train network in Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) are run by National Rail. National Rail are primarily responsible for the administration of passenger bookings.
Network Rail is a separate organization that oversees and maintains all rail infrastructure in the UK, from train tracks to major stations, and is also responsible for timetables and logistics to make sure everything runs smoothly.
There are currently 28 national train companies that operate within the UK. To avoid confusion as to which train companies to select, it is best that you focus on the route you want to travel on rather than the train company to travel with.
High-speed trains in the UK – The UK has one of the best high-speed train system in the world that will whisk you through Britain’s beautiful countryside from one city to another in speed and style. The High Speed Eurostar train from London to Paris run at speed of 186 mph/300 kmh. Other high speed lines run at 125 mph/200 kmh.
A key benefit of train travel is, you avoid airport hassle – queues, passport control, baggage restrictions and overpriced beverages!. There are awesome views of the countryside out of the windows as well.
My final thoughts on Trainline in Britain & UK
Train travel in the UK is an essential activity either for work or for leisure. I write this article with knowledge and experience of Trainline services as I am a frequent user. As a frequent train traveller, I know that every train traveller, be a first timer or a seasoned traveller, needs to know how to save money on their journeys. They need the best ways to do that. This easy guide on how to use Trainline and their App, to select and purchase tickets is aimed to provide the essential information needed to buy cheap tickets and to travel safely, without compromising on comfort of your journey.
Having said that, if you have been following my blog, I am also a strong supporter of organised tours because I truly believe that organised tours add value to independent travel. Navigate here or through the image below to have a look at some awesome unique experiences by train.
I sincerely hope that this article is a valuable guide to you. If so, do let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. Scroll all the way down for more ideas and inspiring travel stories. Subscribe to join us at My Timeless Footsteps to receive all the latest news and events. As always, I am contactable at email@example.com for any further info or to design your itinerary for you.
Have a wonderful time exploring scenic Britain with train travel 🙂
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