Train Fares a price oddity.

  Chronos the 2nd 17:12 PM 27 Nov 12

I have just had a phone call from Leeds hospital offering me the appointment I have been waiting on. she gave me a choice of a couple of dates and I am returning the phone call when I have checked train times etc.

My question is why does it cost more to buy a return ticket rather than two singles. I am travelling from Edinburgh and it is £94.20 return or £88.00 for two singles.

Now I might add that it has been quite sometime since I have been on a train and I believe that steam locomotion is obsolete but if anyone can advise on whether it is better to buy singles, and I assume I would need to buy one in Edinburgh and then the second in Leeds or should I just get the return, bear in mind that at the end of the day the NHS will be paying so I suppose the question is really academic.

  bremner 17:30 PM 27 Nov 12

You have more chance of finding a pregnant man than someone who can explain how any of the rail companies work out their fares.

I could give you countless examples such as yours and even more oddly on one occasions where it was cheaper to buy a first class ticket than 2nd class.

I even askked the guard on the train and her reply was " your guess is as good as mine"

  Chronos the 2nd 17:40 PM 27 Nov 12


I thought that might be the case, I have managed to get several other prices whilst researching as 09.08 is considered rush hour or peak so is actually £68.50 so I think it is just a case of going for the return ticket and at least I am covered.

  jellyhead 17:54 PM 27 Nov 12

If you happen to use two train companys for the journey, check the prices on both their sites as there can be difference between them.

  sidecar sid 18:18 PM 27 Nov 12

Try pricing two separate single fares. Edinburgh to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Berwick-upon-Tweed to Leeds.

  Woolwell 18:27 PM 27 Nov 12

Getting 2 single tickets at a cheaper price is quite common and you don't have to buy at the departure station. Sometimes it is even cheaper to buy a ticket to an enroute station and then a ticket from that to your destination. Train ticket pricing is a mystery.

I use Trainline best fare or their full site trainline. You can pick up the tickets at the station or have them sent by first class post. Before buying from them I sometimes check with the train company itself and occasionally get better results.

  Woolwell 18:29 PM 27 Nov 12

A Senior Railcard can quite quickly pay for itself in the discounts available.

  Chronos the 2nd 18:32 PM 27 Nov 12

Interesting points raised so far,but at the end of the day the NHS will be paying but getting the money back from them can be fraught with difficulties.

  spuds 19:00 PM 27 Nov 12

Since franchising came into being, the whole structure of the rail services have gone down hill, including rail fares. In the case of fares, there are a number of 'compare' companies that have come into the market place, whose adverts seems to suggest much lower fare than normal are available.

If its from Edinburgh to Leeds, then there might be a budget airline servicing that route. Perhaps worth a look?.

  Phil Ocifer 12:30 PM 28 Nov 12

Much has been discussed (on TV) about the vagaries of the rail network and several hardback editions (equating to a small rainforest) has been written attempting to explain the unexplainable.

(or should that be inexplicable?)

Pop over to Money Saving Expert dot Com where Martin will attempt to guide you through a few of the finer points.

(Here's the link - )

When you get to the page, copy and paste this

Hardcore tricks to beat the system

into a CTRL-F Search box. I believe it's about two-thirds down. Details on singles, returns, splitting tickets etc

If it applies, watch out for "Travelling Short" as it's illegal (especially if you get caught ha ha)

  spuds 12:56 PM 28 Nov 12

I don't know if Phil Ocifer remark on "Travelling Short", is anything to do with getting off at an earlier station that your ticket describes. But a neighbour of mine was actually 'fined' for getting off at the local station, instead of getting off five miles further down the line at the main rail station. That expected saving on time and money in not getting a bus to return home (near the local station), cost very dearly. Making a complaint made no difference to the rail company, he was in the wrong, so pay up!.


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