Cheapest way to travel from Liverpool to Reading using train and free bus pass

gray1404

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I am wanting to travel from Liverpool to Reading getting best value for money and am happy to use the train (with a disabled person's railcard) and my ENCTS free travel pass.

I've worked out that a Liverpool to Milton Keynes Central Super Off Peak Return (Route: LNW/WMT Only) £19.80 then using the X5 bus from Mllton Keynes Central to Oxford and the X39/X40 from Oxford to Reading. (Or 2 x Anytime Advances LIV-MKC total £17.20)

That way I combine the best value of rail fares with my bus pass to make the journey. Question is though, have I missed any obvious alternatives? Alternative way of doing the bus element or another station I could cheaply get to and catch a bus connection to Reading.

Many thanks.
 
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30907

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I can't immediately see better than that, though the trek across Oxford from Gloucester Green to St Aldate's is annoying.
The operator specific fares undercutting Avanti are your obvious choice, and the next station with a halfway sensible road link to Reading is Watford (via Heathrow) - faster according to Traveline, but I assume your bus pass isnt valid on the Railair coach :(
 

JonathanH

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I can't immediately see better than that, though the trek across Oxford from Gloucester Green to St Aldate's is annoying.
The operator specific fares undercutting Avanti are your obvious choice, and the next station with a halfway sensible road link to Reading is Watford (via Heathrow) - faster according to Traveline, but I assume your bus pass isnt valid on the Railair coach :(
Hemel Hempstead - High Wycombe - Reading is also feasible by bus in broadly the same timeframe (3 hours) as Milton Keynes - Oxford - Reading without the need to walk between bus stops.
 

30907

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Hemel Hempstead - High Wycombe - Reading is also feasible by bus in broadly the same timeframe (3 hours) as Milton Keynes - Oxford - Reading without the need to walk between bus stops.
Good one.
As TravelineTraveline considers the X5 to be a coach, deselecting "coach" throws up the route I first thought of which is via Aylesbury and High Wycombe, journey time almost identical (southbound) but without the walking.
Either of these would be an interesting run one way or the other to add variety.
 

JonathanH

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Good one.
As TravelineTraveline considers the X5 to be a coach, deselecting "coach" throws up the route I first thought of which is via Aylesbury and High Wycombe, journey time almost identical (southbound) but without the walking.
Either of these would be an interesting run one way or the other to add variety.
Yes, Milton Keynes (or Leighton Buzzard but involves walking) - Aylesbury - High Wycombe - Reading is an interesting run.
 

gray1404

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Thanks, I'll look into this as it sounds like the journey time Milton Keynes, Aylesbury - High Wycombe - Reading is similar to Milton Keynes, Oxford - Reading.
 

Spandau

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If you can get to Chester for free with your ENCTS pass you might want to look at advances Chester to Newport + Newport to Reading. It’s a prettier route than the WCML!
 

L401CJF

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If you can get to Chester for free with your ENCTS pass you might want to look at advances Chester to Newport + Newport to Reading. It’s a prettier route than the WCML!
If the OP is using an ENCTS Merseyside Disabled pass (possible as a disabled persons railcard was mentioned although could always have a Blue OAP ENCTS pass) - I believe they are only valid in Merseyside at any time. Am I right in saying they're only valid after 0930 once you pass into Cheshire? Not sure if Merseyrail is an exemption to the Cheshire rule but on the buses they're only valid in Merseyside pre 0930. I see the original ticket suggestion by the OP was a super off peak ticket, so presumably after 0930 anyway, but you can never be sure with the rail ticket booking system!
 

Spandau

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The ENCTS pass is valid on Merseyrail (for Merseyside residents) except for weekday services departing between 06:30 and 09:29. That is one way the original poster could get to Chester at no cost.
 

gray1404

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My Merseytravel issued ENCTS pass is an orange disabled one so is valid at anytime in Merseyside and at anytime on Merseyrail to Chester.
If you can get to Chester for free with your ENCTS pass you might want to look at advances Chester to Newport + Newport to Reading. It’s a prettier route than the WCML!
What sort of prices are typically available? I have a disabled persons railcard.
 

Envoy

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Looks to me like the direct trains from Chester to Newport are not running due to Covid = the Holyhead to Cardiff run.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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There is a good super off-peak return fare Shrewsbury-Reading via Newport at £41, and Chester-Shrewsbury return is £13 (railcard fares).
Currently only the Manchester-Cardiff is running through to Newport, but from Chester you could pick it up at either Crewe or Shrewsbury.
A very nice run through the Marches, but often with rather poor connections at Newport.
 

gray1404

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In that case I'll stick to my Liverpool - MKC then getting the bus option for maximum value.

Yes, Milton Keynes (or Leighton Buzzard but involves walking) - Aylesbury - High Wycombe - Reading is an interesting run.
How long does this take (from MKC) and how many journey opportunities per hour are there?

The WMT from Crewe arrives at MKC at xx:14 so this may (or may not) narrowly miss the X5 to Oxford at xx:20. Rather then waiting until xx:50 it might be quicker to get "on the way" via Aylesbury.....

If its quicker/same as going via Oxford then it might be better. The walk across Oxford will luggage doesn't appeal.

@JonathanH @30907 @Bletchleyite
 
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NorthOxonian

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Unfortunately, the timings don't work that well - the X60 to Aylesbury generally leaves at xx:45 (and the 150 is even worse, at xx:09). Considering the journey will take longer that way, there'd be no time saving.

Incidentally, while a walk across Oxford is probably inevitable, you can reduce it ever so slightly by changing onto an S5 service at Bicester. That drops you off on Magdalen Street at the top of Cornmarket, which is slightly closer to the St Aldate's stops than Gloucester Green (and the walk is a bit simpler). It will extend your journey slightly, but not by very much.
 

gray1404

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Thanks so much for your input guys. Definitely sounds like the X5 MKC to Oxford followed by the X39/X40 Oxford to Reading.

Hopefully the train arrives at MKC on time at xx.14 and I make the bus at xx.20
 

ValleyLines142

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I wouldn't recommend going via the Marches, because there are no Cardiff to Holyhead services and with the 175s currently being refurbished there has been overcrowding reported on board. Highly advise going along the WCML.
 

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