Cheaper to split Southampton-Tywyn fare?

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
17 May 2012
Messages
27
We will be visiting the UK this summer and are somewhat unfamiliar with train fares, so thank you in advance for your advice. We want to leave Southampton the morning of July 13, traveling to Tywyn. In checking the National Rail journey planner, the through fare for all of the morning departures is 92 pounds but if we buy separate tickets Southampton to Birmingham (31) and Birmingham to Tywyn (17), it's quite a bit chaper. Is there any reason not to do this? Also, we will pre-pay for the tickets online; if we collect them from the machine at Southampton, will it recognize an American credit card (which has only a magnetic strip, not chip-and-pin)? And can we collect the Birmingham-Tywyn tickets at Southampton, or do we need to do that while changing trains in Birmingham? Thanks again.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Ivo

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2010
Messages
7,307
Location
Bath (or Southend)
Welcome!

There is absolutely no reason why splitting would be a problem. In particular, because you are splitting at a location where interchange is so common and where all services stop, i.e. Birmingham New Street, the only potential hassle of the service having to call does not apply. In fact, we on here would most certainly recommend doing so. Be wary though, because these fares sound like Advances on which you *must* travel on the train you are booked for, and even though you are still covered in the event of delay some staff (wrongly) like to think otherwise.

As for collecting the tickets, you can collect them all from the same location so long as you set this location (well, that's the idea anyway :lol:). You do not need to enter a PIN, as the card is only needed for verification purposes - once this is done, which takes a couple of seconds, the card is removed.

Other people could explain in more detail if required.

Enjoy your holiday! :)
 

GadgetMan

Member
Joined
9 Jan 2012
Messages
892
Are you able to be a bit more specific and tell us what time you are looking to depart Southampton, there are cheaper options available depending on what time you want to travel.

If you are willing to depart Southampton on the 11:15 (arriving into Tywyn at 17:27) then you can buy a Advance ticket to Newtown (Powys) for £30, and then a Anytime Single from Newtown to Tywyn for £10.80. Total £40.80

This journey would involve just one change at Birmingham International station. If you have a lot of luggage then Birmingham International is a better place to change trains than Birmingham New street.

Another thing to note is Advance tickets are only valid on specific trains, so assuming your flying in, it's important you allow sufficient time between your landing time and train times.

For example if you book tickets for a 10 am train and you get to the station at 10:01am because your flight was delayed or you were slow clearing customs. Your Advance tickets will hold no value, and brand new full price tickets will have to be purchased.

By 'we', does it include any children? If so you would qualify for a family Railcard.
 
Last edited:

wintonian

Established Member
Joined
15 Jan 2010
Messages
4,889
Location
Hampshire
I'll spend longer on your query later when I have more time, but as for ticket collection IVO is correct in that you do not need to enter your PIN, however I think the machines read the chip on the card and I do not know if they will fall-back to reading the mag strip if they can't find a readable chip, however Island would perhaps know if he pops his head in.

If you are buying ahead then advance tickets would perhaps be the cheapest option if you can be tied to specific trains otherwise the usual Crosscountry splits up to Birmingham and from there will be cheaper than a through ticket (splitting at Basingstoke, Oxford/ Reading, Banbury and possibly Leamington Spa, if someone fancy's ago). Otherwise going via London is about the same as a through ticket which IMO is a better journey but best avoided during the Olympics.
 

Oscar

Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
11 Feb 2010
Messages
1,129
Location
Switzerland
Will you be returning at all or not? Are you happy to be booked on specific trains with no flexibility or do you need some flexibility? Are you doing any other travelling by rail in Great Britain? How many under 16s, 16-25 year olds, 26-59 year olds and 60+ year olds are there in the group? Depending on the ages of the members of your group and the travelling you want to do it may be worth investing in (a) Railcard(s).
It is very common in Great Britain to find that a combination of tickets to/from intermediate stations or ticket(s) to/from completely different destination/arrival stations (valid via the route you want to use) cover the journey you want to make at a much lower cost than the more obvious ticket. That's why it might be a good idea to give full details of your trip and get some detailed advice here.
If you want to buy flexible tickets you could also use the Split Ticket and Cheapest Route tools at trainscanbecheaper.info to help you find good value combinations of tickets. I don't know of any tools which will do the same for the non-flexible Advance tickets.
Note that (Super) Off-Peak (Day) Singles (singles which are not tied to a specific train but have certain restrictions) are generally priced at only a few pence or a pound less than (Super) Off-Peak (Day) Returns. Anytime (Day) Singles (no restrictions apart from the time period in which you use them) are generally priced at considerably less than equivalent Anytime (Day) Returns but these Anytime fares tend to be much more expensive that Off-Peak fares for long distance journeys.
Advances are only sold as singles and are tied to certain trains. They tend to be low to very low fares when compared to (Super) Off-Peak/Anytime (Day) Singles or often even when two Advances are compared to (Super) Off-Peak/Anytime (Day) Returns.
 
Last edited:

Waldgrun

Member
Joined
13 Oct 2011
Messages
297
I take it that you are arriving at Southampton on a Liner? If so which one so as someone can check docking time!
Also, please don't think badly of me for asking! But I take it that the Tywyn you wish to travel to, is the the one on the West Coast of Mid Wales, home to the Tal-Y-Llyn Railway? The reason I ask is because there is a Towyn on the North coast near Rhyl and I know there has been some confusion between them, mainly because they are spelt the same in Welsh!
 
Joined
17 May 2012
Messages
27
Thank you all for your helpful answers (and questions). Yes, we are arriving around 7:15 a.m. on the Queen Mary 2 (but flying back, so the train ticket won't be a return). No children -- 3 adults, including a couple of rail fans looking forward to again visiting some of the steam trains in Wales. I'm told the QM2 is rarely late, and we pull our own carry-on bags, so does an advance ticket on the 10:15 or 11:15 from Southampton seem reasonable? We would like to arrive in Tywyn in time for supper if possible. The 10:15 train would give us about 90 minutes to change in Birmingham; would that be enough to make a missed connection unlikely? Thanks again.
 

Oscar

Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
11 Feb 2010
Messages
1,129
Location
Switzerland
The 10:15 train would give us about 90 minutes to change in Birmingham; would that be enough to make a missed connection unlikely? Thanks again.

Yes, a missed connection would then be very unlikely. Around 90% of trains in Great Britain arrive at their final destination on time or less than 5/10 minutes late (where 5 or 10 minutes is the cut off point depends on the line). If your train were 60 minutes or more late you could usually get all of your money back in compensation in the form of Rail Travel Vouchers (admittedly probably not much use to you), but this depends on the train company.
National Rail Conditions of Carriage Article 19 and Q22 of the Advance Fares FAQ in the Fares and Revenue Protection Manual also oblige the train companies to put you on the next train if you miss a connection due to a delay, even you have a separate Advance ticket for the second leg, providing that you have left the minimum connection time at the relevant station (at Birmingham New Street this is 12 minutes and at Birmingham International 5 minutes). So you only really need a 12 minute connection at Birmingham New Street or a 5 minute connection at Birmingham International as then you can board the next service if you miss the one you are scheduled to take.
 

Waldgrun

Member
Joined
13 Oct 2011
Messages
297
On checking, I find that most Trans Atlantic sailings arrive in Southampton at about 06:30 hours, then there are the usual items to attend to Customs etc, that I feel you might be better off going for the 11:15 departure. Unless anyone knows different.
I would take a taxi from the Dock to Southampton Central station (less than 2 miles, but if I remember right not very nice to walk, and also,remember traffic travels the wrong side of the road too you!) asking for the Commercial Road (North Side), that where the main booking (ticket) office is to be found.
Have you visited The Great Little Trains of Wales website, the discount card might be of interest to you!
 

Lrd

Established Member
Joined
26 Jul 2010
Messages
3,018
If the arrival time of the QM2 is 0715, then 1015 will be fine. You should be off the ship and through customs in no more than an hour. Depending on where she berths (more than likely Ocean Dock) then I believe there should be free buses to take people into Town, or even taxis into town. This shouldn't take any longer than 10 minutes to get out of the dock and into the city. If you do find yourself in the city then there is a free bus going from Town Quay (Red Funnel) to the station (via Town) running every 15 minutes, or you could walk it (about 20 minutes).

If you want any maps or anything let me know and I will see what I can find.

P.S. If you see a Red Funnel car ferry pass (to the Isle of Wight), be sure to wave as I will probably be working on it!
 
Joined
17 May 2012
Messages
27
Thank you. Now a follow-up question -- for a party of three, should we request a table when doing reservations online (or do you get to select your exact seats, as with airline reservations?). I also saw some terms like "airline style" and "window view". (It would be CrossCountry from Southampton to Birmingham and Arriva from Birmingham to Tywyn.)
 

Oscar

Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
11 Feb 2010
Messages
1,129
Location
Switzerland
Thank you. Now a follow-up question -- for a party of three, should we request a table when doing reservations online (or do you get to select your exact seats, as with airline reservations?).
As far as I am aware you can select your exact seats for the Southampton - Birmingham train if booking at www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk (powered by The Trainline; a £1 booking fee is charged) but if you bought the tickets at for example www.redspottedhanky.com or www.eastcoast.co.uk (powered by Atos' WebTIS; no booking fee), then it would definitely not be possible to choose you own seats. I'm afraid I don't know about the situation with Arriva Trains Wales.

[(It would be CrossCountry from Southampton to Birmingham and Arriva from Birmingham to Tywyn.)
Arriva Cross Country from Southampton to Birmingham and Arriva Trains Wales from Birmingham to Tywyn. Arriva is a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn (German Railways).
 
Last edited:

Lrd

Established Member
Joined
26 Jul 2010
Messages
3,018
Most seats are 2+2, which is two seats either side of an aisle, there are also a few bays of 4, with 2 sets of 2 seats facing each other on the same side of the aisle, if you are able to get a table seat then you will all be sat around one table, or you could sit in a row together, with one on the opposite side of the aisle.

Hope that helps.
 

IanD

Established Member
Joined
18 Sep 2011
Messages
2,662
Location
Newport Pagnell
Thank you. Now a follow-up question -- for a party of three, should we request a table when doing reservations online (or do you get to select your exact seats, as with airline reservations?). I also saw some terms like "airline style" and "window view". (It would be CrossCountry from Southampton to Birmingham and Arriva from Birmingham to Tywyn.)

I find that if you request a table, it's better to set everyting else (except perhaps View) to 'No Preference' as you sometimes get split across two tables if you select window/aisle/forward/rear facing.

The trains from Birmingham to Tywyn don't normally have actual reservations, you'll get a message like 'We cannot reserve specific seats on this service but space has been reserved for you'. You may get a reservation card if you've bought an advance ticket which will say Caoch *, Seat ** which basically means you can sit anywhere on the train. If you are first on the train, then you may be lucky enough to grab a table. Be careful that you sit in the right section as these trains often split at Machynlleth with the other half of the train heading off to Aberystwyth.
 

Waldgrun

Member
Joined
13 Oct 2011
Messages
297
Sorry I think Ian, you may be slightly out on reservations, or there again the whole system might be wrong! Looking on a timetable obtain from the following
site www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/CambrianLine/ various services have the diamond at the head of the columns which denotes Seat reservations are available, and on Fridays the 16:09 hrs.. ex Birmingham International Seat reservations recommended! Still if Family Vacation obtains advance purchase tickets there should be no problems.
Family Vacation, the train from Southampton will be provided by Arriva Trains Cross Country and will be formed of either a Class 220 Voyager or a Class 221 Super Voyager. The service from Birmingham International, an Arriva Trains Wales Class 158.
Birmingham International is the easier station to change at with only 5 platforms (tracks) to Birmingham New Streets 13! The only thing to be careful of, is if the incoming train to form the Cambrian service is late, it may be terminated at New Street, and the trains starts there, however there are plenty of trains to connect!
 

LexyBoy

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
4,472
Location
North of the rivers
I wouldn't worry too much about seat reservations, the train from Southampton is unlikely to be very busy and you should be able to move to better seats if yours turn out to be spread around. The 158 from Birmingham to Tywyn has plenty of tables and if you change at Birmingham International instead of New Street (which I would strongly recommend, it's a much easier change and nicer station) you'll have your pick of seats as it's the first stop. Sit on the right for sea views when you reach the coast.

Note that you'll need to book tickets to Birmingham International specifically if using Advance tickets. As Waldgrun says, there's a (small) chance that the ATW service will start from Birmingham if it was very late on the inbound; in this case if you've left 30 minutes or more to change you'll still have plenty of time to be informed of this and travel on to New Street to catch it.
 

IanD

Established Member
Joined
18 Sep 2011
Messages
2,662
Location
Newport Pagnell
I've booked Advance tickets on the 0809 from Birmingham International to Machynlleth on 02/08. This is shown as reservable but as you can see from the attached I haven't been allocated any seats. When the tickets arrived, the reservation coupon stated Coach *, Seat **.
 

Attachments

  • BirmMachynn.jpg
    BirmMachynn.jpg
    38.2 KB · Views: 7
Joined
17 May 2012
Messages
27
Oscar, the screen I am seeing today on CrossCountry just shows the preferences for direction, position, table seat, etc. Are there times when the actual seats on each coach are there for the choosing?
 
Joined
17 May 2012
Messages
27
OK, and as for Ivo's note about collecting tickets both both legs of the journey from the machine in Southampton, is that sometimes a problem?
 

GadgetMan

Member
Joined
9 Jan 2012
Messages
892
OK, and as for Ivo's note about collecting tickets both both legs of the journey from the machine in Southampton, is that sometimes a problem?

No, you can pick prepaid tickets up from any station with issuing facilities.

If collecting from a machine, remember to check every coupon has printed before you leave the machine. It is very common for people to leave the machine with their tickets before all of the coupons have finished printing. They then get on the train and find themselves without a valid/complete ticket and end up paying for new tickets.
 
Joined
17 May 2012
Messages
27
Cross-Country offers e-tickets. That might be a better option, maybe? Also, does "quiet coach" mean no talking, or just no cell phones?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Also, I notice on the Cross Country seat selection screen some marked "priority seating" for people requiring additional space. Would these have extra legroom for tall people, or are they really intended just for the handicapped? Thanks.
 

LexyBoy

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
23 Jan 2009
Messages
4,472
Location
North of the rivers
I'd not go for e-tickets personally, they have a lot of problems as a forum search will show. The quiet carriage is supposed to be quiet- some conversation is ok but if you'll be chatting most of the way it's probably best avoided. Priority seats are supposed to be given up for those who are less mobile.

Oh, one more advice- bring lunch with you, there's only a drinks and snacks trolley on both of your trains.
 

Lrd

Established Member
Joined
26 Jul 2010
Messages
3,018
I've never had a problem with printed e-tickets on CrossCountry, no idea about ATW though.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top