Leicester -> Inverness

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J-W

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Hi all,

Shamelessly looking for advice getting the following journey as cheap as possible:

Leicester -> Inverness [return]
Start date: 7/Aug
Return Date: 14/Aug
Rail card:16-25 railcard

The main priority is price really, although flexibility I'd probably only substitute if the fare difference is large enough (things can be a pain on journeys this long).

Of course, I wish to leave in the morning - given the journey will be about 8-9 hours, this doesn't leave all that many options! (I don't want any overnight stops).

The cheapest I've found so far is £80.30 with advanced singles, which I may not bother with since the offpeak return is £98.55 (although that price difference may swing it for me). Really, there are two of us, but with identical requests (incl railcards), so I'm assuming the best price I can achieve for the two of us is two times the price of the cheapest for one!

Any help with this would be massively appreciated! :D
 
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Yew

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Maybe you could look at the sleeper? Scotrail have some bargain berths available in august from london euston for 30 quid each way. Maybe with some cheap advances to london it could be an option? If its a similar cost I would say its worth it for the experience.

If you arent into the sleeper. are you going via virgin or east coast? maybe the other would offer you some cheaper advances?

EDIT: If you want the sleeper, Megatrain (www.megatrain.com) have some singles to london for as low as £7 from leicester.
 
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J-W

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I wondered about sleepers actually. Thanks for that - looks like singles actually go as cheap as £19. Can you get a discount for going in a group of two? And can these be all booked online? Could be a good option.

As for if I don't go on a sleeper - I don't have a preference to going via virgin or east coast - I've just been using centraltrains.co.uk. Haven't looked into splitting yet, don't really know where to start with such a long journey.

EDIT Wow, if I really can get singles for the sleeper for £19 and singles to London for £7, that'd be great. How do I go about finding the fare prices for the sleeper, do I need to phone?
 
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Yew

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http://www.travelpass.buytickets.scotrail.co.uk/BargainBerths/Default.aspx

Had a quick look, and only the £29 (one of) and £39 fares are available, and using megatrain you would have a few hours in london to kill, (maybe go to a restaraunt?) So unfortunately Its not looking much cheaper, but it is cool to go on a sleeper train :)

There are no bargain berths on the return though, so it would have to be a conventional train back.
 

sonic2009

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You mention no overnight stops, would you be happy to travel from Leicester at 0150 and wait at Sheffield between 0247 and 0345 & Manchester Piccadilly between 0440 and 0546 if the journey was cheap?
 
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J-W

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Thanks Yew, couldn't find that link, that's useful.

Yeah, I like the idea of a sleeper train - 9 hours on trains can be a bit much, so it'd be nice to sleep through the most of it (and get to the destination in the morning). Shame there are none on the return.

I'll dwell on it. Are there any general tips for a general train? It often seems you can split up large journeys to make them cheaper, but this is pretty time consuming to check.
 

bb21

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The OP has a Y-P Railcard. (I know as he is a friend :))

Book the sleeper for the way from London Euston down to Inverness online and act quick.

There are plenty of deals from Leicester to London, of which megatrain is one, and all of them will be under £10. There is no rush in booking these for now yet.

For the trip back, book these two tickets below on East Coast website if the times suit.

Inverness - Edinburgh, Advance £7.20 with Railcard. Leaving Inverness at 1045, arriving Edinburgh at 1419. Alternatively the same price is available for the one an hour earlier, leaving Inverness at 0941 and arriving Edinburgh at 1320.

Edinburgh - Leicester, Advance £18.80 with Railcard. Leaving Edinburgh at 1430, arriving Leicester at 2020.
(For this fare, search Edinburgh - Leicester via Newark North Gate.)
 

J-W

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Wow, that's great, cheers!

Need to ask friend about sleeper first, but that sounds good. Would we be able to share a cabin? It looks like there is a £29 and two £49 left - are these the same service, just only a few cheap prices left?

I assume that if we don't opt for the sleeper, we can always do the mirror suggestion for the outward journey, which is pretty cheap.

Again, thanks a lot for the help.
 

yorkie

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If you book 2 berths at the same time then you can indeed share the same cabin (would be bonkers if you couldn't!)
 

bb21

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Another option for outbound:

Leicester - Manchester Piccadilly via Birmingham New Street. £12.20 with Railcard. Book with East Midlands Trains. Leaving Leicester at 1116, arriving Manchester at 1359. A few other journeys are also at the same price.

Manchester Piccadilly - Edinburgh. £12.85 with Railcard. Book with TPE. Click on the special link for students to get this on half-price offer. Leaving Manchester Piccadilly at 1416, arriving Edinburgh at 1739.

Edinburgh - Inverness. £13.95 with Railcard. Leaving Edinburgh at 1936, arriving Inverness at 2315. Book with East Coast using the link from earlier.
 

J-W

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Ok, got the £29 and £49 sleeper tickets. The way there is sorted, I'll get to London with megatrain later.

It looks as though the £26 return from Inverness to Leicester is pretty unbeatable, so I'll go ahead and book that.

Once again, thanks for the help! :D

EDIT

Oh, one last question before I go.

For the return journey, it looks like when I put in two passengers, the 10:45 Inverness -> Edinburgh is £27.90, not 2x£7.20=£14.40.

I don't understand this - is it just being awkward and I'll need to book twice? Or is it that there really is only one available (surely not)? Are there booking fees? So should I just buy all 4 parts individually?
 
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bb21

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Oh, one last question before I go.

For the return journey, it looks like when I put in two passengers, the 10:45 Inverness -> Edinburgh is £27.90, not 2x£7.20=£14.40.

I don't understand this - is it just being awkward and I'll need to book twice? Or is it that there really is only one available (surely not)? Are there booking fees? So should I just buy all 4 parts individually?
If there is only one ticket left in the quota at one price level, both tickets will be sold from the next price level, which seems to be £13.95, so best to book for two people separately.

There is no booking fee charged by East Coast.
 

Yew

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For more information on the sleeper, it might be useful to look here http://www.seat61.com/CaledonianSleepers.htm

Your Bargain Berths order confirmation should have came through as an email, you will receive another email soon telling you your berth numbers, this needs to be printed off as its your e-ticket. When I last used bargain berths I printed the e-ticket off twice and gave a copy to the person I was travelling with, just in case I lost mine :)
 

J-W

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Booked it all now.

Prices increased a little for the way back before I booked it, and could only get one ticket at cheap price for some legs, but in the end, it averaged at £46.25 outward (to London then the sleeper) and £38.30 on return (via Edinburgh, Newcastle, Newark), so £84.55 each.

Am really excited about the sleeper! Thanks again so much for all the help and suggestions!
 

reb0118

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Booked it all now...........Am really excited about the sleeper!
You should enjoy the sleeper but if it's your first time you may not get much sleep. This is usually a mixture of excitement & getting used to a strange environment. Some tips include getting a good pair of eye shades (although the window blinds are quite good) & ear plugs if you are susceptible to noise. Hopefully you will get a compartment in the centre of the coach for a smoother ride.

With regard to alcohol prior to sleeping - this can be a double edged sword. Too much & you will sleep - but it is the sleep of a zombie and you will not wake up refreshed. There is also the problem of getting up in the night for the toilet - but you'll know your own body best.

You will have access to the lounge car for a snack/nightcap prior to turning in although this can be restricted to First Class passengers if it is very busy.

All in all you will enjoy the journey there's nothing like going to bed as you speed through the Midlands and waking up as the train slogs up Druimachdair Summit - the window blinds should definitely be open for that!

Have a great trip.
 

J-W

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Thanks reb!

Yeah, I already made sure to remind myself to buy earplugs - knew this may be an issue.

In terms of food and alcohol - I'm assuming that we can bring on our own? And, from what I can gather, breakfast is only available to 1st class (or, at least, only free to those in 1st class)? I assume if breakfast isn't included, it'd be far better to get some in Inverness than to pay for it on the train, if that is even possible for those not in 1st class.
 

stuart

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Yes, you can bring what you like to eat/drink onboard. However, as mentioned earlier, I've personally never found alcohol helpful.

While waiting for the sleeper, my top tip is the bar/lounge of the IBIS hotel, just over the road on the west side of Euston.

You're only likely to get tea/coffee and a biscuit in the morning. If the "continental breakfast" is the same as in first class (minus the bacon roll!) then it's probably not worth paying for. There are plenty of places to eat in Inverness, but my top breakfast recommendation is the restaurant in Debenhams, which overlooks the station.

Give me a wave as you go past Carrbridge!
 

reb0118

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Thanks reb!
You're welcome :)

In terms of food and alcohol - I'm assuming that we can bring on our own?
Yes of course, but you must consume this in your own compartment as only food & drink purchased in the lounge car can be consumed there. The lounge car is worth a wee shot though - it is a good place to meet your fellow travellers in a convivial setting. The price of the drinks are not too dear for a train either! ;)

I assume if breakfast isn't included, it'd be far better to get some in Inverness than to pay for it on the train, if that is even possible for those not in 1st class.
I think it is possible to order a breakfast in standard, however I have never done so, I'm sure it said you could on the info leaflet to be found on your berth - a steward once told me it was not possible so I would ask on the night. I'm sure the breakfasts are ordered on the night by the chief steward and delivered to the train at Preston - that's why there were no hot breakfasts when the train was diverted via the ECM. You will get a hot drink of your choice, & if the Scottish crew are working the train, a few pieces of shortbread to assuage your hunger before finding a greasy spoon in Inverness.

If you are interested in the Highland Main Line (HLG) then pick up a copy of Michael Pearson's "Iron Roads to the Highlands" and you will be able to identify the features seen from your window.

"Think of breakfast at Kingussie,
Think of of high Drumochter pass,
Think of Highland breezes singing
Through the bracken and the grass,
Scabious blue and yellow daisy,
Tender fern beside the train
Rowdy Tummel falling, brawling
Seen and lost and glimpsed again." (Anon)
 
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