Rail user help

Shocked passenger BBC
Don’t get caught out like this customer in the BBC TV series ‘The Railway: Keeping Britain on Track’. Railfuture's online guide for rail users will help you find the cheapest train tickets in the minefield of the fares system.

If your journey is impacted by planned industrial action by the rail unions, you can claim a full refund or amend your ticket. Until 30 September 2022, holders of pre-booked advance rail tickets can change the date of time of their journey without the usual admin fee - contact the ticket retailer.

Top 10 money-saving tips

  1. Get a railcard. A new 'millennial' railcard for all 26-30 year olds, the 16/17 Saver railcard extending child fares to 16/17 year olds and a new 'Veteran' railcard for all who have served in the Armed Forces are now available.
  2. If you can commit to specific trains (just like travelling by air) book advance tickets as early as possible
  3. If you can't commit to a specific train travel off-peak
  4. Split tickets each covering part of your journey may be cheaper
  5. Register with your train operator for special offers
  6. If you spend more than £36 per month on off-peak rail travel in the West Midlands, East Anglia, London or the South East then a Gold Card will save you money.
  7. Rover, Ranger or season tickets may be cheaper for multiple journeys in an area
  8. Travelling further may be cheaper
  9. Check for cheaper operators and routes
  10. Always claim compensation under delay repay if your train is delayed
Travelling by rail can be cheaper than the cost of putting fossil fuel in a car, and is likely to be even cheaper when the cost of the car's depreciation, maintenance, finance and parking are taken into account. Rail is often quicker and more comfortable, and it is certainly safer and more environmentally friendly. These pages will help you to get the best out of rail travel and to deal with any problems which may arise:
Then sit back and enjoy the soundtrack of The Railway, a piece for solo piano called Le Chemin de Fer by composer Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888).

Many attractions have 2 for 1 offers available if you travel by train - see this Days Out guide.

If you work in London and are thinking of moving house, it is worth considering both the daily travel time and the combined cost of your mortgage payments and season ticket. The website Life after London has mapped season ticket prices and average mortgage costs in the area around every station in south-east England, whilst Emoov has mapped average house prices around major stations throughout the UK. Also bear in mind that train operators now offer flexi-seasons or carnet tickets which will save you money if you work from home one or two days each week.

When people tell you that rail travel is cheaper in Europe, don't believe them - this infographic shows how fares really compare for one-way journeys. Off-peak return journeys can be even cheaper.

If you can’t find the answer here, there is more information about British rail operators, tickets and fares on the National Rail website.

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