High fare prices?

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Robnw67

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Hi I am looking for some advice if possible.

Every year my parents and I travel from the Midlands (Birmingham / Cannock / Lichfield / Stafford) area to Falmouth. This year, they want to also take along my niece (who is under 15) and we won't all fit in the car. I have suggested that going on the train might be a nice adventure so have been looking into prices. We are due to go in June, but those prices seem to be not available on TheTrainLine.com so I am looking at dates nearer to now, just to give me an idea.

The prices that the website is coming back with are £930+ for the four of us or if we want to go first class £2381! Those prices really aren't sensible, so I must be doing something wrong. Is there any way to get it cheaper? Both parents are 78 and my niece is in the under 15 category.
 
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_toommm_

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A senior railcard each or a two together railcard would be a good start for your parents. That will get you 1/3 off. Your niece will get half fare due to being under 16, and spending on your age/circumstances you may also be eligible for a railcard too.
 

paul1609

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The bottom line is it will almost certainly be cheaper and more flexible to hire a larger car either 2 x one ways or more likely for the whole period.
 

Fawkes Cat

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Your first point of call should be a Family and Friends Railcard (https://www.familyandfriends-railca...9Cz5AnlISRER7CG0SanNWjgcr2Yc9-DkaApODEALw_wcB) which, if I read the website properly, will cover all four of you and get at least a third off the fare. I'm not sure if it will work for first class - someone should be along shortly who actually knows.

But the big savings are to be made by doing two things:

- booking 'advance' tickets that are only valid on a given train
- 'splitting' your tickets (so, for example, you have one ticket from Birmingham to Cheltenham, another from Cheltenham to Bristol and a third from Bristol to Falmouth). It's counter-intuitive but this can be cheaper than buying through tickets.

This is all something of a faff - but happily there are websites that will help - see, for example https://raileasy.trainsplit.com/. As with Trainline, they probably can't show fares yet for June (the train service isn't yet definite) but you can get an idea of the fare.

Ultimately, you might still get a fare that is more than the headline cost of driving. But think about (on the one hand) the easier journey by train - no need for someone to drive the car - against (on the other) the cost, the possible need to wear facemasks on the train and not having a car with you when you get to Falmouth.
 

Robnw67

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Your first point of call should be a Family and Friends Railcard (https://www.familyandfriends-railca...9Cz5AnlISRER7CG0SanNWjgcr2Yc9-DkaApODEALw_wcB) which, if I read the website properly, will cover all four of you and get at least a third off the fare. I'm not sure if it will work for first class - someone should be along shortly who actually knows.

But the big savings are to be made by doing two things:

- booking 'advance' tickets that are only valid on a given train
- 'splitting' your tickets (so, for example, you have one ticket from Birmingham to Cheltenham, another from Cheltenham to Bristol and a third from Bristol to Falmouth). It's counter-intuitive but this can be cheaper than buying through tickets.

This is all something of a faff - but happily there are websites that will help - see, for example https://raileasy.trainsplit.com/. As with Trainline, they probably can't show fares yet for June (the train service isn't yet definite) but you can get an idea of the fare.

Ultimately, you might still get a fare that is more than the headline cost of driving. But think about (on the one hand) the easier journey by train - no need for someone to drive the car - against (on the other) the cost, the possible need to wear facemasks on the train and not having a car with you when you get to Falmouth.
Ah thanks for that. I'll take a look. We tend not to use the car once at our destination anyway, so the lack of one doesn't bother us.
 

Watershed

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Taking the train will probably cost more than driving, even if you had to go in two cars.

However you can get the cost down considerably using a Railcard and by booking ahead.

A Family Railcard would be very useful here. You don't need to be related - you qualify if 1-4 adults and 1-4 children are travelling together, so one such Railcard would cover all of you.

Only one of the named cardholders needs to travel, so you could put down you or one of your parents as the cardholder, and one of your niece's parents as the additional cardholder for example.

Looking at random dates in a month's time leaving after 10am on both legs, with that Railcard, TrainSplit is suggesting it would cost from about £238 return for all of you.

Once it's nearer the date and Advance tickets start being sold you may want to take a look at what TrainSplit etc. are suggesting.

Also a useful tip, you can convert Tesco Clubcard points to triple their face value in vouchers towards the cost of a Railcard.
 
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CyrusWuff

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A Family Railcard is one useful option (you don't need to be related, you qualify if 1-2 adults and 1-4 children are travelling together).
As a point of order, a Family and Friends Railcard is valid for up to four adults (at least one of which has to be a named cardholder) and four children, with the minimum group size being one of the cardholders and a child.
 

Watershed

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As a point of order, a Family and Friends Railcard is valid for up to four adults (at least one of which has to be a named cardholder) and four children, with the minimum group size being one of the cardholders and a child.
Ah, that's a good point. Even better for the OP then, they don't need to buy a Senior/Two Together Railcard at all.
 

py_megapixel

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Even if you don't want the hassle of splitting tickets, not buying via thetrainline.com will save you a little bit as they add an additional booking fee.

Buy via a train operating company (TOC) instead. The last couple of journeys I've bought from Avanti West Coast (https://www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/) and it's worked OK, but you can buy from any TOC in the UK for any journey and it will always be the same price.

Trainsplit/Raileasy also charges a booking fee IIRC, but the savings you get from using their split ticketing engine should outweigh that.
 

WesternLancer

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Hi I am looking for some advice if possible.

Every year my parents and I travel from the Midlands (Birmingham / Cannock / Lichfield / Stafford) area to Falmouth. This year, they want to also take along my niece (who is under 15) and we won't all fit in the car. I have suggested that going on the train might be a nice adventure so have been looking into prices. We are due to go in June, but those prices seem to be not available on TheTrainLine.com so I am looking at dates nearer to now, just to give me an idea.

The prices that the website is coming back with are £930+ for the four of us or if we want to go first class £2381! Those prices really aren't sensible, so I must be doing something wrong. Is there any way to get it cheaper? Both parents are 78 and my niece is in the under 15 category.
In addition to the good advice offered in earlier posts I would imagine that you will want to select a train from West Mids to Falmouth, probably a through train to reduce changes with the whole group - eg New Street to Cornwall. So you will probably be using Cross Country Trains - so you may want to keep an eye on their website with regard to release of cheaper tickets or even book with them, though I'd be tempted by point made in post #9 ref Trainsplit etc
 

Hadders

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Trainsplit doesn’t charge a booking fee but they do charge 10% of the saving they identify.

Trainsplit also has a seat selector.
 

30907

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In addition to the good advice offered in earlier posts I would imagine that you will want to select a train from West Mids to Falmouth, probably a through train to reduce changes with the whole group - eg New Street to Cornwall. So you will probably be using Cross Country Trains...
You will need to change at Plymouth and Truro at most times of day.

It might be worth checking out travel via London then direct to Truro as well, depending on which starting point suits you best.

Unfortunately a F and F railcard is only valid in Standard class :(
 

Watershed

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At the moment there's one direct train a day from Birmingham to Truro, the 1512 off New Street.

On the way back there's also one direct train, the 1007 off Truro (0918 off Falmouth Town would be your connecting train).

Going via London is probably quite a lot more hassle even than changing at Plymouth and Truro.
 

david1212

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Picking up on your comment about adventure with very cheap tickets from Birmingham to Euston or Marylebone the overall cheapest journey could just be Waterloo - Exeter - Truro - Falmouth. It would be a very long time though.

I would avoid Paddington - Truro simply because of the ' ironing board ' seats in the 80x IET's.

Realistically I would keep to Birmingham - Bristol - Truro - Falmouth as changes at Exeter or Plymouth are far better than between London stations. On a relative scale a Cross-country Voyager to Exeter or Plymouth then a GWR castle HST is better for comfort. Better still is a Cross-country HST.

Birmingham - Cheltenham is expensive per mile so should be one break point for split tickets.
 

paul1609

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Ultimately, you might still get a fare that is more than the headline cost of driving. But think about (on the one hand) the easier journey by train - no need for someone to drive the car - against (on the other) the cost, the possible need to wear facemasks on the train and not having a car with you when you get to Falmouth.
Its all a matter of personal preferences I suppose but for me a leisurely drive down diverting for a pub lunch or picnic in the Wye Valley and afternoon tea in say the upper Teign Valley is infinitely more pleasurable that humping the luggage through 2 taxis and 3 changes of trains the highlight of which is a cramped table in a Voyager with the smell of the retention toilet tank wearing a face mask all the time.
 

jamiearmley

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I'm getting £263.80 family railcard, 3 adults 1 child, flexible saver returns, split at Cheltenham, Bristol, tiverton and Plymouth. Plus obvs cost of railcard.
 

Snow1964

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The cheaper fares, the advance saver are not being offered, partly due to social distancing and partly because the normal rule of tickets on sale minimum 12 weeks isn’t happening.

In some cases you won’t need a railcard, as group-save tickets are available which would give give you 3 for price of 2 (effectively third off)

There is also a 3 days in 7 Freedom of Devon and Cornwall rover £52.50 adult, £26.25 child, £34.60 with some railcards. This would cover the Tiverton Parkway - Falmouth leg. If buy this can have a day out by train during the holiday using 3rd day. If you did this would only need to get the West Midlands - Tiverton Parkway tickets for remainder of journey. But wouldn’t work if you are doing 7 nights and returning 8th day
 
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trainophile

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Just out of curiosity, if the 15-year-old turns 16 during the year long validity of the F&F railcard, would it still be valid until the expiry date?
 

skyhigh

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Just out of curiosity, if the 15-year-old turns 16 during the year long validity of the F&F railcard, would it still be valid until the expiry date?
From the Railcard website:
If your little one turns 16 before your 1-year Family & Friends Railcard runs out, they can still travel at the discounted child fare for as long as the card is still valid.
If you’ve got a 3-year Railcard and your child turns 16 before it runs out, they can carry on travelling at the discounted child rate until the day before they turn 17.
https://www.familyandfriends-railcard.co.uk/about-railcard/are-you-eligible/
 

ChrisC

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There is also a 3 days in 7 Freedom of Devon and Cornwall rover £52.50 adult, £26.25 child, £34.60 with some railcards. This would cover the Tiverton Parkway - Falmouth leg. If buy this can have a day out by train during the holiday using 3rd day. If you did this would only need to get the West Midlands - Tiverton Parkway tickets for remainder of journey. But wouldn’t work if you are doing 7 nights and returning 8th day
That’s very similar to what I am intending to do in October. I’ve got a 7 night stay booked in Penzance. I will be travelling down from Nottingham. I will be getting tickets Nottingham to Cheltenham, Cheltenham to Bristol, Bristol to Tiverton Parkway and then an 8 Days in 15 Devon and Cornwall Rover. With my Senior Railcard that works out at approx £130 in total and with the rover ticket also gives me rail travel for the 6 days that I am there.
 

david1212

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Its all a matter of personal preferences I suppose but for me a leisurely drive down diverting for a pub lunch or picnic in the Wye Valley and afternoon tea in say the upper Teign Valley is infinitely more pleasurable that humping the luggage through 2 taxis and 3 changes of trains the highlight of which is a cramped table in a Voyager with the smell of the retention toilet tank wearing a face mask all the time.

That presumes this group of four can bag one of the few groups of four seats around a table in a Voyager. Otherwise airline seats which if unlucky are aligned to a pillar rather than a window. Further if the luggage racks are full end up with luggage too as the overhead racks are useless for more than a medium soft bag / rucksack.
Voyager layout

1617837894678.jpeg

It should be clear once the summer timetable is released which trains are planned to be an HST. Even then at most six tables in a standard class coach
Cross-country HST layout
 

infobleep

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Its all a matter of personal preferences I suppose but for me a leisurely drive down diverting for a pub lunch or picnic in the Wye Valley and afternoon tea in say the upper Teign Valley is infinitely more pleasurable that humping the luggage through 2 taxis and 3 changes of trains the highlight of which is a cramped table in a Voyager with the smell of the retention toilet tank wearing a face mask all the time.
How bad the smell of the retention toilet is will depend on how strong one's sense of smell is. Personally I don't have a strong sense of smell so it wouldn't bother me.

Equally I can withstand wearing face coverings for hours upon end. It is a nice feeling once it is removed mind you.
 

paul1609

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How bad the smell of the retention toilet is will depend on how strong one's sense of smell is. Personally I don't have a strong sense of smell so it wouldn't bother me.

Equally I can withstand wearing face coverings for hours upon end. It is a nice feeling once it is removed mind you.
I think you do get used to the smell however bearing in mind how many years this issue has existed in the voyagers you do have worry just how efficent their ventilations system is at filtering out viruses and germs.
 

infobleep

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I think you do get used to the smell however bearing in mind how many years this issue has existed in the voyagers you do have worry just how efficient their ventilations system is at filtering out viruses and germs.
I rarely travel on their services.
 
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