Most recent change of TrainTickets

Edit made on November 09, 2022 by ColinWright at 11:24:48

Deleted text in red / Inserted text in green

Train tickets in the UK are a real adventure. Here is an
outline of some of the things you are likely to want to know.

! Ticket types

*Anytime* _
*Off-Peak* _
*Super Off-Peak*
There are "Off-Peak", "Anytime", "Advance" and other, minor
variations. If you buy your ticket at a station then simply
say when you'll expect to travel and they will advise as to
the right ticket. You can save a lot of money by buying
tickets in advance, and occasionally by doing weird things
like buying tickets from A to B and B to C instead of simply
from A to C. However, if you're only taking one journey then
the savings probably aren't worth it.


a "Return" is _
much, /much/ better value than _
two singles.
But not absolutely always.
that buying two single tickets instead of a return ticket
is often terrible value for money. A return ticket where the outward
half is valid on the day you buy it and the return half can be used
any time in the next month will typically cost only very slightly
more (10p?) than a single ticket. So in particular if you arrive at
Manchester airport buying a return ticket to Stone is almost certainly
a better idea than buying a single ticket and then buying another one
on your way back. Just make sure you don't get a _day_ return where the
return half has to be used on the day you buy it!

[[[>40 In part this can explain why splitting your tickets can
save you money. If your journey starts from station A before
09:00 and calls at station B at 10:00, then the A->C ticket
will count as "Peak", so getting A->B Peak and then B->C as
an "Off-Peak" ticket, you can see how savings might be possible.

In truth, it's significantly more bizarre than that. If you're
brave, you could try asking Colin Wright about it, but some will
*strongly* recommend
recommend *most*strongly* that
you not do that. ]]]
even think about doing that.
you are travelling on a weekday (and if you're coming from
overseas, you probably aren't arriving on Saturday morning),
you may want to seriously consider waiting until 9am or 09:30
before taking a train. The prices can drop massively after
those times as it goes from "Anytime" to "Off-Peak".

"Super Off Peak" is not necessarily valid on Saturday mornings.
It depends on which train company you are travelling with and where you are going.

! Buying your ticket

You can buy your tickets in advance and collect them from the
counter or ticket machine on arrival. Here's a link:


You can also use that site simply to investigate train times,
and then buy your tickets when you arrive. Note that, as the
name suggests, "Advance" tickets probably won't be available
on the day.

[[[< *Also*note* _ *the*final* _ *destination* ]]]
When checking the train tables on NationalRail, make sure to
note the final destination of the trains you have to take, as
this helps in identifying the correct train when changing.

Sometimes when purchasing your tickets online you are given
the option of printing your own tickets - thus you have them
in hand - or of having them on your phone. Some quick checking
suggests that the major train companies offer apps, but there
is little to no consistency about whether they will then let
you have your ticket on the app. We recommend that you *not*
rely on this being possible, although it should become clear
when you buy your ticket if it is, indeed, an option.

Going onwards after the MathsJam, train tickets can be bought
in the train or from the ticket machine at Stone.

!* Keep your ticket !* _
!* until you've left !* _
!* the station !*
Increasingly train stations have a barrier inside the station at
which you have to present the tickets to leave, so don't throw
them away beforehand. Not all stations have such barriers -
there is no such barrier at Stone, but there are at Stafford,
Stoke-on-Trent, Crewe, and Manchester Piccadilly, for example.

Next: Travelling by train

! Reservations

!* Advance tickets !* _
!* are only valid !* _
!* on the specific !* _
!* train. !*
Most trains during the day have seats, and reservations
are not necessary unless you're travelling on an "Advance"
ticket, in which case you must be on a/the specific train
for which the ticket is valid.

There are some services that are sufficiently busy that
reservations are recommended. Reservations can usually be
made at the time of purchase if tickets are purchased in
advance, and are compulsory for "Advance" class tickets.

Next: Travelling by train

! More obscure options

If you're in a group (of 3-9 people) then "groupsave" can
save you money. And if there are more than 9 of you, you
can of course act like multiple smaller groups for the
purposes of groupsave ticket purchasing. However, groupsave
forces you to all travel together. If you get a return groupsave
ticket you must all take the same train on the way back. And be getting off
at the same stop.

There is a thing called "The Key" at least in some parts
of the UK which is a credit card sized object that can be
loaded with virtual train tickets. If you live overseas
it's probably not worth getting one of these.

Here are two links to read:


It appears that these tickets are not available on
West Midlands Trains, and it is West Midlands Trains that
call at Stone station.

Next: Travelling by train