Cheapest way to book 1st class advance tickets Sheffield to Aberdeen ?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Justin Smith

Member
Joined
14 Nov 2009
Messages
621
Location
Sheffield
Does anyone know their way round the vagaries of the online booking sites for tickets from Sheffield to Aberdeen ?
In July we're going to Fair Isle via Shetland and Aberdeen, as the first leg is obviously a long train journey to Aberdeen, we'd much rather go First class. The thing is some of the prices I found really were eye watering. I even thought about going by plane, which I'd rather not do but when I say eye watering I mean it !
Since the tickets aren't open for July yet I tried getting some sample fares for three months from now (i.e. late May) and found that some days earlier than others were actually cheaper ! ? ! Even at three months in advance there were no reasonable First class fares available on most trains coming back from Aberdeen.
So is it the case that the cheapest tickets are released three months before, or do they release any more later ?
Basically, if we're prepared to book the tickets as far in advance as possible, what's the cheapest way to buy ?
Thanks.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

SickyNicky

Verified Rep - TrainSplit.com
Joined
8 Sep 2010
Messages
2,467
Location
Ledbury
East Coast bookings are open until 18th May at the moment. A quick scan of the 17th May shows 1st class available at £37.65 each way. That doesn't sound unreasonable to me.

If you try to book any further ahead, you'll only be offered the expensive walk-up fares.

I would wait until your dates become available and then grab the seats immediately. East Coast will email you if you click on the "Send Alerts" button on their home page.
 

calc7

Established Member
Joined
8 Aug 2011
Messages
2,097
A couple of suggestions:
-You say "we". Remember EC discount some prices for groups of 3 or more
-Might be cheapest if you book separately as SHF-EDB (EC&Connections) and EDB to ABD. Others have had success splitting at Newcastle or Berwick, so you could try there, too. If the SHF-DON or SHF-YRK is becoming pricey, decide whether you would like to drive to DON, say, to make it and EC-only ticket. Or specify "calling at Swinton (S Yorks)" so that it put you on the Northern stopper as this, in my experience, rarely adds cost to the &connections.
 

Justin Smith

Member
Joined
14 Nov 2009
Messages
621
Location
Sheffield
East Coast bookings are open until 18th May at the moment. A quick scan of the 17th May shows 1st class available at £37.65 each way. That doesn't sound unreasonable to me.

If you try to book any further ahead, you'll only be offered the expensive walk-up fares.

I would wait until your dates become available and then grab the seats immediately. East Coast will email you if you click on the "Send Alerts" button on their home page.
£38 e/w is very reasonable, but I put the 17th May into East Coast`s website and the cheapest First class tickets it came up with was £478 (= £239 each) ! That was for the 14.21 from Sheff, it was the only service that they`d quote on for a "cheap" ticket.
What am I doing wrong ? ! ?
 

calc7

Established Member
Joined
8 Aug 2011
Messages
2,097
£38 e/w is very reasonable, but I put the 17th May into East Coast's website and the cheapest First class tickets it came up with was £478 (= £239 each) ! That was for the 14.21 from Sheff, it was the only service that they'd quote on for a "cheap" ticket.
What am I doing wrong ? ! ?
I can only imagine quotas for the &connections part have not been released yet.
 

SickyNicky

Verified Rep - TrainSplit.com
Joined
8 Sep 2010
Messages
2,467
Location
Ledbury
I don't know - I must have made a mistake because I now can't find anything less that £93.50.



Edit: I think I applied my railcard discount to the lowest tier advance - but that's not even available any more on that train so the quota must be really limited.
 

Justin Smith

Member
Joined
14 Nov 2009
Messages
621
Location
Sheffield
I really would rather go by train, but, particularly as I`m travelling with the wife (not overly keen on trains, esp if there are any noisy kids or personal stereos within earshot.....), plus it`s 6 or 7 hours, so I reckon we`d have to go First class.
However, I`m not prepared to pay some of the eye watering prices I`m being quoted at the moment, so I checked on BMI`s website, and a flight from Manchester to Aberdeen is £64 each e/w. OK that`s economy, but the flight`s only 1 hour so we could put up with that.
This brings into sharp focus the governments environmental arguments for rail v air. Building HS2 at great expense is a waste of time if the fares are going to be extortionate. People will only travel by rail if it`s a reasonable price, and £600 odd for a couple of First class non flexible tickets to Aberdeen, is not reasonable. I`m a rail enthusiast, but even I wouldn`t pay that, even though I could afford to, it`s just a ripoff.
 

DaveNewcastle

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
21 Dec 2007
Messages
7,397
Location
Newcastle (unless I'm out)
Yes, I had a quick look this morning and saw more cheapies available then than now - the best advice for finding the lowest-priced Advance tickets is to be quick once they are released.

However, its not so bad. Look at booking from York (then arrange the SHF - YRK leg of the journey later). Looking through the week commencing 14th May there's still 1st class Advances YRK - ABD for the lowest tier price of £39.60 (one way, one person, no discount) in both directions.

The rant about "£600 odd" and air travel needn't come into it. I make it nearer £160 for two people there and back in first class for a 650 mile journey. All you have to do is buy the tickets as soon as they become available.
 

Justin Smith

Member
Joined
14 Nov 2009
Messages
621
Location
Sheffield
I don't know - I must have made a mistake because I now can't find anything less that £93.50.



Edit: I think I applied my railcard discount to the lowest tier advance - but that's not even available any more on that train so the quota must be really limited.
The quota must indeed be limited, very limited. I was clicking around for dates 10 to 12 weeks in advance and there weren`t that many "cheap" (if £80 each e/w is cheap......) First class fares for any services.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Yes, I had a quick look this morning and saw more cheapies available then than now - the best advice for finding the lowest-priced Advance tickets is to be quick once they are released.

However, its not so bad. Look at booking from York (then arrange the SHF - YRK leg of the journey later). Looking through the week commencing 14th May there's still 1st class Advances YRK - ABD for the lowest tier price of £39.60 (one way, one person, no discount) in both directions.

The rant about "£600 odd" and air travel needn't come into it. I make it nearer £160 for two people there and back in first class for a 650 mile journey. All you have to do is buy the tickets as soon as they become available.
If I can get the tickets for £160 I`d take them, even twice that if I had to. But what worries me is that, unless I`m doing something wrong, for the last available week in May (i.e. booking as far in advance as possible, out on the Saturday and back on the following Sunday), the only outbound train quoted is £85ea, which is reasonable, but it`s too late. There`s no "cheap" First class tickets at all being quoted for on the return !
Unless I`m doing something wrong....
So I have to make a decision. Do I book the plane, which I can do now, or wait to see if the train tickets will be a reasonable price three months before we want to travel. By then of course the air tickets may well have gone up in price !
Why does life have to be so bleedin` complicated.....
I like trains myself, but I can see why some people rarely if ever use them.
 

DaveNewcastle

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
21 Dec 2007
Messages
7,397
Location
Newcastle (unless I'm out)
Its not complicated. Just book when they become available, which is 12 weeks before travel.

The £160 is based on First Class tickets which are still available as I type, in w/c 14th May. You can see them for yourself on the East Coast website. eg Northbound Wed 16th May, Southbound Thurs 17th May.

All I did that was different was I looked at York - Aberdeen so that I could easily identify and select the East Coast services (whose 1st Class offering might be worth paying for whereas Scot Rail's units might not be so enjoyable nor value for money). Having booked the East Coast journeys at £39.50 each, you then simply 'extend' your journey (between Sheffield and York) by whatever connection and class of travel suits you best (and at whatever cost is most agreeable). You're going to have to change somewhere* so it might as well be at York to maximise the time on East Coast.

[*Unless you catch the one a day Cross Country service, but as that has a noisy underfloor engine, then its not a very relaxing variety of First Class]
 

Justin Smith

Member
Joined
14 Nov 2009
Messages
621
Location
Sheffield
Yes, I had a quick look this morning and saw more cheapies available then than now - the best advice for finding the lowest-priced Advance tickets is to be quick once they are released.

However, its not so bad. Look at booking from York (then arrange the SHF - YRK leg of the journey later). Looking through the week commencing 14th May there's still 1st class Advances YRK - ABD for the lowest tier price of £39.60 (one way, one person, no discount) in both directions.

The rant about "£600 odd" and air travel needn't come into it. I make it nearer £160 for two people there and back in first class for a 650 mile journey. All you have to do is buy the tickets as soon as they become available.
Should I book the outbound single as soon as it becomes available, or book the whole journey (i.e. when the return journey becomes available) ?
The problem being, of course, that once you've booked the outbound journey you're committed to going by train so have to pay whatever they want to charge you for the return !
 

SickyNicky

Verified Rep - TrainSplit.com
Joined
8 Sep 2010
Messages
2,467
Location
Ledbury
Should I book the outbound single as soon as it becomes available, or book the whole journey (i.e. when the return journey becomes available) ?
The problem being, of course, that once you've booked the outbound journey you're committed to going by train so have to pay whatever they want to charge you for the return !
If you're considering by air as your other option, there's no such restriction. You can go by train one way and by air the other because most flights are priced one way.
 

DaveNewcastle

Established Member
Fares Advisor
Joined
21 Dec 2007
Messages
7,397
Location
Newcastle (unless I'm out)
Should I book the outbound single as soon as it becomes available, or book the whole journey (i.e. when the return journey becomes available) ?
My friends and colleagues on a budget choose the first option. Buy the first leg of the journey as soon as it becomes available. Wait a week. Book the return journey as soon as it becomes available.

Anyway, the £37.65 fare IS still available (I'm looking at Wed 16th May), from Sheffield to Darlington on Cross Country then Darlington - Aberdeen on East Coast, but that is in Standard Class. However, on the return journey (Aberdeen - Sheffield) the cheapest is still £53.40, First Class all the way, East Coast Aberdeen - Doncaster then TPE Doncaster - Sheffield. That isn't a bad price! for 2 people, booked a few days after the cheapest tickets were released.
 
Last edited:

Justin Smith

Member
Joined
14 Nov 2009
Messages
621
Location
Sheffield
Thanks for all your help guys.
I`ll try to go by train (I`d rather do so anyway) booking the tickets as they become available, you said 12 weeks didn`t you ? So they don`t give you any discount for booking a return, how things have changed, I thought it used to be nearly as cheap to get a return as a single !
 

SS4

Established Member
Joined
30 Jan 2011
Messages
8,454
Location
Birmingham
Thanks for all your help guys.
I`ll try to go by train (I`d rather do so anyway) booking the tickets as they become available, you said 12 weeks didn`t you ? So they don`t give you any discount for booking a return, how things have changed, I thought it used to be nearly as cheap to get a return as a single !
Still is for Off-Peak and Off-Peak Day returns (SVR and CDR).

Often two advance tickets are still cheaper

You've got time to check the fares when they become available so essentially it's a wait and see job
 

Bungle73

On Moderation
Joined
19 Aug 2011
Messages
2,573
Location
Kent
Thanks for all your help guys.
I'll try to go by train (I'd rather do so anyway) booking the tickets as they become available, you said 12 weeks didn't you ? So they don't give you any discount for booking a return, how things have changed, I thought it used to be nearly as cheap to get a return as a single !
Advances, which you're booking, are only sold as Singles. They are generally cheaper than an equivalent Return ticket.
 

Lee_Again

Member
Joined
29 Sep 2007
Messages
589
Location
Stevenage
My tip for buying 1st Advance tickets is to avoid the connections at all costs. As someone has already suggested, buy the tickets from York and sort the locals out on the day. I buy lots of 1st Adanvce tickets at some silly prices, often at short notice (less then a week in many cases), but as soon as I add the Stevenage > London portion the prices go through the roof.

Good luck
 

calc7

Established Member
Joined
8 Aug 2011
Messages
2,097
My tip for buying 1st Advance tickets is to avoid the connections at all costs. As someone has already suggested, buy the tickets from York and sort the locals out on the day. I buy lots of 1st Adanvce tickets at some silly prices, often at short notice (less then a week in many cases), but as soon as I add the Stevenage > London portion the prices go through the roof.

Good luck
And remembering that so long as you leave the minimum connection time at the station where you change trains, you are covered in the event that the first train is delayed. I never knew this before I used this forum so always used to get a stupidly early TPE from Huddersfield to Manchester to connect with the London train! :-x
 

mralexn

Member
Joined
2 Nov 2010
Messages
439
My advice, would be to "slum it in standard" between Sheffield and York on a voyager (the is not much difference between first and standard anyway on those lovely trains..)
Jump ship at York,
Then get one of the Direct Aberdeen HST's from York To Aberdeen :)
East Coast First Class may seem a bit expensive, but you do get a lot of "freebies" but im sure this has been discusses to death! on other threads ;)

"Sits in Coach D and opens a can of worms" :P
 

Justin Smith

Member
Joined
14 Nov 2009
Messages
621
Location
Sheffield
Thanks for all your help.
Used the earlier advised link to get straight on to the East Coast site when it opened for the date we wanted and I've just booked two outbound seats York to Aberdeen First Class for £80, that's £40 each, which I'm happy with.

The cost for tickets (which ended up on the same train) from Sheffield were £141 each, and from Doncaster (for a slightly later train with changes) £90 each. I can only assume that non East Coast connecting trains are being charged for at a high price, and the EC train (from KX to Aberdeen) empties out quite a bit at York !

I also used Ainsworth's advice and managed to book the exact seats (the opposed twin table) that we wanted, so, unless we get a fellow passenger with a loud personal stereo (hopefully unlikely in First class), even the wife should be reasonably happy !
 
Last edited:

daniel78

Member
Joined
19 Apr 2012
Messages
102
And remembering that so long as you leave the minimum connection time at the station where you change trains, you are covered in the event that the first train is delayed. I never knew this before I used this forum so always used to get a stupidly early TPE from Huddersfield to Manchester to connect with the London train! :-x
Hi, I was planning on asking about this issue on a new thread, but it makes more sense to post here as you've touched on it.

I regularly travel long distance by train by snapping up the cheapest advance fares, most often from London to Yorkshire or Lancashire (Rugby League fan from London).

I live in Enfield, North London (nearest station Bush Hill Park) so my journey
starts with:

Bush Hill Park - Seven Sisters (National Express/whatever they are nowadays)
Seven Sisters - Kings Cross/Euston (Victoria Line)

I do this on an Oyster card, all being well it takes 30 minutes tops, but what the man said above, I end up being ultra-cautious that I don't miss my booked train, upgrading to full fare would be a big expense to me, so I tend to find myself arriving at the London terminal a good hour and more before departure.

So the question is, do I have any rights if I set off in a reasonable time and I'm delayed by problems with my initial journey? If you can point me to the relevant T&C's that would be super-helpful.

Cheers.
 

calc7

Established Member
Joined
8 Aug 2011
Messages
2,097
Hi, I was planning on asking about this issue on a new thread, but it makes more sense to post here as you've touched on it.

I regularly travel long distance by train by snapping up the cheapest advance fares, most often from London to Yorkshire or Lancashire (Rugby League fan from London).

I live in Enfield, North London (nearest station Bush Hill Park) so my journey
starts with:

Bush Hill Park - Seven Sisters (National Express/whatever they are nowadays)
Seven Sisters - Kings Cross/Euston (Victoria Line)

I do this on an Oyster card, all being well it takes 30 minutes tops, but what the man said above, I end up being ultra-cautious that I don't miss my booked train, upgrading to full fare would be a big expense to me, so I tend to find myself arriving at the London terminal a good hour and more before departure.

So the question is, do I have any rights if I set off in a reasonable time and I'm delayed by problems with my initial journey? If you can point me to the relevant T&C's that would be super-helpful.

Cheers.
Use National Rail Enquiries to plan a journey to connect with your InterCity service ("arriving before xxxx"). This will give you the latest connecting journey you can take to make you arrive at the London Terminal in time (you will need to make sure it adheres to the minimum connection time for that station which can also be found on NRE).
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top