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How to use cheap rail travel in the UK

For many travellers by rail within the United Kingdom, the annual or even seasonal price goes on increasing. This continues to make travel by this means an expensive option. However, there are some ways to find cheap rail travel in the country. Although these methods are not well advertised, it is just a matter of knowing where to look. Using this guide will help you to find and purchase those ever-elusive cheap rail tickets.

Plan ahead

Book in advance
If you know the date you want to travel, then you can make some big savings by booking your journey as early as possible. Advance fare tickets are first placed on sale up to 12 weeks in advance of their departure date. By booking, you can make big savings over the fare that will be charged for one day's journey. Set up fare alerts
Online sites like will send you reminders by email when tickets for a journey that you have requested go on sale. You just have to set up fare alerts together with your request. This will put you at the front of the line for the collection of cheap train tickets. Buying online
Buying your train tickets online through the above service can promote savings over the normally charged fare even if tickets are purchased on the day of travel.

Buy a rail card

Rail cards
Regular users of the train can get a rail card that offer discounts of up to one third off the advertised fare. You have to purchase the rail card but regular use will justify the cost.
Types of rail cards
-Anyone under 26 or in full time education is eligible to use a discounted rail card. -Family and friends can get up to one third off and 60% off child fares. To use this ticket, an adult must be travelling with a child on that journey to qualify for the discount. -Rail card - this is available for anyone over 60 years of age. -A disabled person's rail card gives the same discount benefits to card holders. -Network rail cards are available to anyone not in the above groups. These cards, however, are only operable throughout London and the south east of England.

Carnets and extremely cheap options

Rail ticket carnets
These are for people who travel the same route but not on a regular basis. You buy ten tickets for the price of nine and make a saving by buying in bulk. These tickets are usually valid for six months from the date of purchase. Mega Train
Extremely cheap tickets are sold by and can be used on certain routes. These can be just 1GBP per journey. Tickets are released 45 days before departure and are sold very quickly.

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