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Split your train ticket and save money

Which? reveals how to save cash on train fares

Graphic representing a split fared train ticket

Rail passengers can save up to a third of the cost of a train ticket simply by splitting their journeys and buying two tickets rather than one, new Which? research has shown.

We found that simply splitting your journey into two parts, while staying on the same train, can save as much as 32% of the ticket price. And choosing  to travel on a less obvious route can save as much as 59% of the ticket price.

You can save money this way on walk-up tickets and season tickets. However, finding these money-saving tickets is hard because none of the train companies promote this kind of journey.

Read our online review to find out more about the best and worst train companies in the UK.

Money saving ticket split stations

If you’re travelling from London to Norwich, an anytime ticket is £64.10, but splitting the journey at Ely will save you £20.20 or 32%. As long as your train stops at the split-point, your ticket will be valid and you’ll be able to stay on the same train without getting off. An Edinburgh to Sheffield anytime ticket is £133.50, but breaking your journey in two by splitting at York will save £34.80, or 26%. 

Which? research shows that splitting your journeys at stations such as Bedford, Birmingham, Cheltenham, Ely, Manchester, Stafford, Swindon and York can save you money off the price of anytime tickets. Have a look at our ticket-splitting map to see some of the key split-points and savings we found on journeys around the UK. All prices shown are for 2013.

@inlinemarker@ Map of train routes in the UK @inlinemarker@

Money saving train routes

Our research also found that the most obvious route between two stations may well not be the cheapest. Taking a slower, or less frequent, train, is a great way of saving money. An anytime single from Waterloo to Southampton is £38 and takes 74 minutes. If you can live with one train an hour and a two-and-a-half hour journey, you could travel from London Victoria direct to Southampton for £27.90, a 27% saving. 

And trains don’t have to take longer to be cheaper. There are two ways to travel from London to Southend; from Liverpool Street on Greater Anglia trains to Southend Victoria, or on C2C from Fenchurch Street to Southend Central. Both take around an hour, but the train from Fenchurch Street is £4.70 cheaper than the Liverpool Street service, which is a 30% saving.

Hidden train ticket splits

Which? trains expert Matt Stevens said: ‘Split tickets will only save you money if you can find them. And it’s not easy, as not one train operator website allows searches for splits. Passengers need to do all of the work to find these freely available, but very well-hidden, ticket splits – despite all of the data being available for train companies to display.

‘We want to see train companies making it easy for passengers to see where buying split tickets will be better value than buying one ticket. The routing guide that tells you which routes are valid for your ticket also needs to be much more visible – passengers can’t be expected to wade through the detail.’

More on this…

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  • Watch our train ticket machine nightmares video
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