Crewe to Reading, any and all suggestions on saving money and/or interesting routes

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by theshillito, 19 Aug 2015.

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  1. theshillito

    theshillito Member

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    Over the bank holiday weekend I am visiting friends in Reading from my home in Crewe. I can get to Crewe station for around 18:30-19:00. My options seem to be either via London (Virgin to London, underground, FGW to Reading) or "not via London" (Virgin/LM to Wolverhampton/Brum then CrossCountry to Reading).

    With my 16-25 railcard, the "via London" ticket is £56.30, while the "not via London" ticket is £53.45.

    In the past, I have bought a super off peak LM ticket for £19.15 and then a return to Reading for £17.65 (plus the underground trip for £2.30 each way) totaling £41.31, but due to the industrial action potentially happening on Monday along with engineering works and speed of the journey, I am leaning towards the "not via London" ticket. However, I am interested to know if there's a way I can save money on this trip, or maybe make it more interesting as £53.45 is a fairly hefty hit to my wallet for just a Crewe to Brum and then a Brum to Reading train. As mentioned above, I don't mind it taking a while as I usually take the LM service from Crewe (or from Stafford after a Crewe to Stafford service overtakes the London service) all the way to London first.

    To confirm, I plan to travel Friday 28th from Crewe to Reading (can be at Crewe station for around 18:30-19:00) and travel back on Monday 31st (afternoon/evening, but no particular time). If getting to Reading West somehow works out cheaper, that's fine too as my friend's house is roughly equidistant from both Reading stations, but I think they both come under the same fare bracket as "Reading Stations".

    Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: 19 Aug 2015
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  3. RailAleFan

    RailAleFan Member

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    For Stafford / Wolves / B'ham to Reading, investigate splitting at Banbury which can make a big difference.

    For Stafford to Reading, OFF PEAK-R I use Stafford > Coventry (£15.80) Coventry > Banbury (£16.80) and Banbury > Reading (£23.80), total £56.40 saving £11.10.
     
  4. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

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    You do know that's the weekend of the Reading Festival? The trains will be extremely busy, especially CrossCountry services, and on the Monday there will be entry controls which are likely to entail queueing outside the station before you're allowed onto a train. Friday will not be quite so bad but still expect trains to be crush loaded.

    Now, onto tickets. The (XC priced) Not Via London ticket is a rip-off, as you can buy a Crewe-London SVR for £49.00 which is valid via Reading (and for break of journey there).

    Since you mention "interesting routes", I'd suggest avoiding Reading station entirely on the Monday and taking the 800/850 bus to High Wycombe, whence you can take a Chiltern service to Birmingham. Alternatively there's the X39/40 to Oxford which likewise has services northwards - although as Oxford is the first stop after Reading on XC, you may struggle to get on the train. Either of these routes would be valid with the £49 ticket.
     
  5. crehld

    crehld Established Member Associate Staff Senior Fares Advisor

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    I have used this ticket with break of journey at Reading plenty of times. Just be prepared to stand your ground with the FGW staff manning the barrier line at Reading who (based on previous experience) will insist your ticket is not valid, despite it being indisputably so.
     
  6. theshillito

    theshillito Member

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    So, first off I had no idea Reading Festival was that weekend, whoops. Also, I had no idea I could use a Crewe to London ticket like that. That sounds like my best option. A quid more than RailAleFan's suggestion, plus the bus journey on Monday. Is there something I can print out to say that my journey is valid for the guards and the barrier staff? As crehld said, I will need something to back me up here.
     
  7. Romilly

    Romilly Established Member

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    On the Friday, there's a £16.15 Crewe-Reading Advance on the 2124 arriving 0134 and travelling via London.

    On the Monday, there's an £8.45 Reading-Leamington Advance on the 2045 arriving 2151, and a £5.95 Leamington-Crewe Advance on the 2152 arriving 0037 (including a London Midland bus from Wolverhampton to Crewe). Alternatively, a £13.40 Reading-Leamington Advance on the 1915 arriving 2013, and a £5.95 Leamington-Crewe Advance on the 2014 arriving 2253 (with no buses).

    Total: £30.55 or £35.50
     
  8. hassaanhc

    hassaanhc Established Member

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    So far I've found the following Off Peak Returns:
    Crewe > Wolverhampton £12.50
    Wolverhampton > Banbury £15.70
    Banbury > Reading £15.70 (or Banbury > High Wycombe is £13.85)
    Total: £43.90 (or £42.05)

    Well spotted by LexyBoy :)
     
    Last edited: 19 Aug 2015
  9. crehld

    crehld Established Member Associate Staff Senior Fares Advisor

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    National Rail Enquiries will print off an itinerary for you, displaying the £49 ticket and the route via Reading. You can also get reservations which may help. This may not be enough for some of the more stubborn barrier staff, but persist and you'll be fine. (To be honest I'm quite cynical given my previous experience, but don't let that put you off!!)
     
  10. theshillito

    theshillito Member

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    Well, I've forced National Rail to show me the fare by saying my destination was London and I set it to via Reading and it's showing the £49 fare. I suppose I just say "I want to travel on a later service so I'm breaking my journey here" or something? My own cynicism makes me feel like I will be stopped and made to buy another ticket >_<
     
  11. LexyBoy

    LexyBoy Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I've always found the barrier staff at Reading to be perfectly pleasant - though admittedly I do have a season ticket so no problem opening the gates. Since it's the festival, your ticket *will* be rejected by the barriers as they will be set to reject all railcard discounted tickets, so have your railcard at the ready to show.

    Almost always if you show the ticket and explain you're breaking your journey you'll be let through. Staff are usually more concerned to ensure that a passenger is going to the right place rather than using a dodgy ticket.
     
  12. theshillito

    theshillito Member

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    Thank you all for your help, especially regarding using the Crewe to London fare and breaking the journey. I'm curious whether this would help me in the other journey I regularly make (Crewe to Leicester) but that's another topic for another time.

    I'm going to go for the £49 plus a bus to High Wycombe on the Monday option and see how I fare (boom boom) with the barrier staff :D
     
  13. kieron

    kieron Established Member

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    Although, if theshillito was thinking of starting at High Wycombe on the return, a £25.75 Chirk-London "via High Wycombe" super off peak return would also work. An excess for the outbound leg to a "via Birmingham" off peak ticket should cost an extra £9.68 or so.

    If High Wycombe doesn't appeal, a "via Birmingham" ticket both ways is slightly cheaper than the Crewe-London ones at £45.10, and is valid via Crewe and Reading.


    There are time restrictions on all of these tickets, but nothing which would affect a journey leaving Crewe in the evening.

    Scrap that. With a railcard, Banbury-Reading is only £8.10 for an off peak single single, £15.70 for a return, so it's cheaper to get a "via High Wycombe" ticket even if you don't want to go there, and buy a separate ticket from Banbury for if you want to catch a train to Reading.
     
    Last edited: 19 Aug 2015
  14. crehld

    crehld Established Member Associate Staff Senior Fares Advisor

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    Split at Derby (again to avoid the Crosscountry priced through fare).
     
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