Saving money on train travel

The cost of rail fares is one that increases every year, yet is an expense that many cannot avoid. There are lots of ways to save money on train fares, like split ticketing, which many people are unaware of. Never pay full price again with these easy money saving ideas.

Buy a railcard

If you are a regular traveller and are spending over £90 a year on train fares, it might be worth buying a railcard where you can get up to third off. There are a range of cards available to buy however don’t just assume you can use it for every journey. Check each card’s terms and conditions before purchasing to find out if this can save you money. As well as saving money on train fares, some railcards also save you money with special discounts and offers with partner companies on days out, theatre tickets and more.

  • 16-25 railcard – As the name suggests, this railcard is specifically for the 16-25 year olds but it is also available for over 25’s that are still in full time education, making it an ideal purchase for students. This card will save you a third off standard anytime, off-peak, standard advanced and first time advanced. Find out more here.
  • Two Together railcard – If you are over 16 and regularly travel with a specific person such as your partner, best friend or family member, this card could be for you. Saving you both a third on fares when you travel together, this card can be used on standard and first class anytime, off-peak and advance fares. The only time this card can’t be used is when you travel in morning peak times.
    Find out more here.
  • Family and Friends railcard – This card will save you a third off rail fares for up to four adults and 60% off for up to four children aged 5 and 15. This is especially handy for families who travel by train for days out and visiting friends and family. Two adults can be named on this card which means when one cardholder isn’t using it, the other one can. Find out more here.
  • Senior railcard – For those aged 60 or over that spend over £90 a year on train travel, the amount you save in just a couple of trips could cover the cost of the card. Ideal if you regularly make trips to visit grandchildren, or like to take days out. You will save a third on standard and first class anytime, off-peak and advance fares. Find out more here.
  • Disabled Persons railcard – If travelling by train is difficult due to a disability, you could qualify for a disabled person’s railcard. This entitles you to a third off most rail fares and even gets an adult travelling with you a third off too! Find out more here.
  • Network railcard – If you regularly travel within the network railcard area, why not take advantage of a third off. Three adults travelling with you can also receive the same discount plus if you travel with up to four children, you will also save 60% on each child fare. Find out more here.

For full terms & conditions and to buy a railcard, visit

Split ticketing

Splitting tickets is a money saving tip that many people do not know about. You may think if you are buying a ticket between one station and another, you are buying the cheapest option. That’s not always the case. If you travel on one train between destination A and B and the train stops in multiple locations, it may work out cheaper to buy a ticket between destination A and one of the stops and then that stop and destination B. You can stay on the train without changing as long as you have a ticket that covers you for each part of your journey.

split tickets route

For example, if you want to travel from London Kings Cross to Leeds, which is a direct route, an advance single ticket will cost you £81.50. One of the stops on this journey is Peterborough, so if you book an advance single from London Kings Cross to Peterborough and then an advance single from Peterborough to Leeds, all together it will cost £46.50 saving you £35. Just remember to make sure it’s the same train that you are buying each ticket for and you won’t even have to leave the train. There are greater savings than this to be had so make sure you always check whether you can split your ticket.

Split ticketing is also a good idea when only part of your journey is in peak times. Don’t pay the peak price for the whole journey, instead pay for only the part of the journey that is.

Use the Money Saving Expert’s Tickety Split tool to plan your journey.

Book in advance

Booking your tickets in advance will save you money on your train tickets but they can sell out fast, especially on popular commuter routes. If you know when you want to travel enough in advance, its best to book your tickets about 12 weeks before as this is generally when seats get released. Don’t worry if you haven’t booked in advance, many train companies allow you to book advance tickets up until the last minute. With some companies you can even buy advanced tickets on the day of travel, but for most it is the day before. Book advance tickets with any of the following merchants to save money on your journey and earn cashback.

Season tickets

If you are making the same journey on a regular basis, it will most likely work out cheaper to buy a season ticket. You can buy these weekly, monthly or yearly and they are cheaper than buying a ticket for the same journey 5 days a week.


If your train has been delayed by over 30 minutes then you could be entitled to a part or full refund by the train operator. As a general rule, most operators won’t pay out for delays unless the delays were their fault, however, you should still try as some will still pay regardless of the blame.

If you do want to make a claim you will need to get a claim form from the train operator. Make sure you keep hold of your tickets as you will need to send these off as proof. There is also a time limit for which you can apply so make sure you keep within this.

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