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Booking cheap train tickets

Trying to book cheap train tickets can sometimes be a little confusing. That’s why we at takethetrain.co.uk have put together this handy guide to help you.

book in advance

The earlier you book the more likely you are to find cheap tickets still available. You can buy Advance fares a maximum of 12 weeks ahead but if you can’t book this far in advance, some cheap train tickets can still be available up to 18:00 the day before travel. Never any harm in double checking.

Advance fares vary in price from train to train & day to day, so hunt around for the cheapest train. Obviously, lunchtime is usually cheaper than weekday mornings.

Please note advance fares are only valid on the train you've booked, no refunds, only limited changes to travel plans allowed... If you want flexibility, you'll need an Off-Peak or Anytime fare instead.

split your tickets

Another way to book cheap train tickets is simply to buy several short journeys rather than one long one. Instead of buying a costly ticket for the whole journey you may find cheap train fares by splitting it up into say 3 tickets. As long as the train is calling at the stations that you have booked, it is perfectly acceptable for you to have three tickets for the journey rather than one main one.

use a railcard

If you are elligible for a railcard this is a brilliant way for you to book cheap train tickets. There are many different railcards that you can buy, you pay an annual fee and you can then use it to get great discounts on many train fares.

For further information please see the Railcards section.

buy a season ticket or a carnet

If you are travelling on the same route often this is another way that you can save money. Season tickets are available from most operators. You can buy them to travel for periods as small as a week or as long as a year.

Carnets are also available from most operators. You buy a “booklet” of tickets in advance and then you can use them to travel anytime within a given time frame, normally up to three months but this varies with each operator.

For very long journeys, an All Line Rail Rover Ticket can work out a lot cheaper than buying individual tickets and gives the added bonus of unlimited travel anywhere on the National Rail Network. They are available for periods of 7 or 14 days. Please check operators terms and conditions when buying these tickets.

Railcard Information

Most Railcards are easy to buy online, and you can use Railcards on takethetrain.co.uk to save even more money on your train tickets. There are many different types available, so find out if there's one for you and start saving money now. A Railcard costs £30 or less for a year, and you can find full details of the different types available at the Railcard website. There are often some great discounts and offers available for each Railcard type, so do check the site to find out more!

Railcards typically give you 34% off most fares (First Class fares are not always included) and the Family & Friends Railcard gives you 60% off child fares (already half price), as well as 34% off adult fares. Use your Railcard at MyTrainTicket to save even more money on your train travel - just select the Railcard type in the journey planner.

Railcards can save you money - you may even cover the cost of purchase on your first ticket, depending on how far you're going!

The following Railcards are available, and all are accepted for use on takethetrain.co.uk

About Ferdy

I've been living in Birmingham for roughly two years now and think it's great, but nothing beats the freedom of travelling around the country. I have to confess, I'm a bit of a train lover. It really is the best way to get to where you're going and see some of the country at the same time – just find your lowest train fare, hop on, sit back and relax.

As I work for takethetrain.co.uk, I'm pretty well placed to give you the inside track on the best deals for cheap train tickets too. Check my Facebook wall every now and then and I'll let you in on the cheapest fares and good deals when I spot them on our website.

As I have a love for train travel, it really bothers me when I hear about people paying too much for tickets – a view that's shared by my employer! We feel pretty passionate about making the whole process a lot less complicated, so we've agreed not to charge any commission (at all) on tickets, always offer you the cheapest train ticket to get to your destination and to be the most open and transparent ticket website out there!

Rail Operators

Want cheap train tickets to Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Liverpool, Manchester or Birmingham?

Through takethetrain.co.uk you can book cheap train tickets, on all of the below operators, for travel all over the country:

Arriva Trains Wales

Operate services to all major train stations in Wales, including Cardiff Central, Cardiff Queen Street, Newport and Swansea, as well as stations in England such as Birmingham and Manchester.


Connecting London with rail destinations in Essex and Southend-on-Sea, C2C Rail Limited operates services from Fenchurch Street station in London's West End to seaside destinations along the River Thames.

Chiltern Railways

Operates trains between London, Birmingham, High Wycombe and Aylesbury.


Part of the Arriva group, they cover around 1,400 miles and call at over 100 stations from Aberdeen to Penzance.

Docklands Light Railway

Managed by Transport for London (TfL), connecting the Docklands with many London stations including Arsenal, Stratford and London City Airport.

East Coast

Connecting London with Inverness and Aberdeen. This operator covers many stations along the way including York, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

East Midlands Trains

Running frequent trains to London and stations throughout the East Midlands, including Leicester, Derby, Sheffield, Nottingham and Lincoln.

First Capital Connect

Part of First Group, they operate trains between London, Brighton, Bedford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King's Lynn.

First Great Western

First Great Western operates high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, covering London, South Wales, the West of England and Devon and Cornwall.

First Hull Trains

Established in 2000 First Hull Trains operates long distance train services between London and Hull.

First TransPennine Express

FTPE runs inter-city train services on three main routes across the North of England. Linking Liverpool and Manchester with Leeds, York and the North East, with Sheffield and Doncaster, and with the Lake District and beyond.

Gatwick Express

Running non-stop it is the fastest way to get from Gatwick Airport to London Victoria.

Grand Central

Grand Central is a private rail operator providing services connecting London to Sunderland and West Riding.

Heathrow Connect

Direct rail service between central London and Terminal 4, it offers connections to the London Underground network at Ealing Broadway and London Paddington.

Heathrow Express

Departing London Paddington every 15 minutes, Heathrow Express offers a direct service to Heathrow Airport.

London Midland

Operates train services through the heart of England from London in the south, to Birmingham in the Midlands and Liverpool in the north west.

London Overground

Managed by Transport for London it travels through 20 of London's 33 boroughs.

London Underground

Connecting many different tube stations across London, it is often the quickest and easiest way to travel through the Capital.


Running almost 800 trains per day Merseyrail operate trains on the Wirral and Northern Lines.

National Express East Anglia

Serving passengers in the East of England out of London Liverpool Street train station.

Northern Rail

Operates local and long distance commuter rail services across Northern England, calling at over 500 stations.


Providing services throughout Scotland and reaching across the Scottish border to Newcastle and Carlisle in the north of England.

South West Trains

The South West Trains network includes routes through Hampshire, Surrey, Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Devon, Somerset, and Greater London.


Running trains into London from Kent and East Sussex, Southeastern serve 179 stations.


Providing services to and from London across the counties of East and West Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Hampshire.

Stansted Express

Stansted Express provides a quick and easy access route for travellers in London to reach Stansted Airport.

Virgin Trains

Operating for more than 12 years Virgin cover a vast network of stations from London Euston, including Birmingham, Manchester, Holyhead and Glasgow.

Free delivery available via Ticket on Departure network. Fees may apply for other delivery services.

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