Splitting Rail Journeys- Saving Money

This is a trick I have utilised in Australia, the Uk and USA.

This weekend I needed to travel from Penzance in the south of England to Manchester in the North west. A distance of 639km / 397 miles. The cheapest ticket was 169 Pounds in Standard (Economy) Class. This is around $US269.

So I split the journey up and booked three tickets:

  • Penzance to Exeter ( 21a km / 13a miles). I found a fare for 12 pounds on First Great Western trains
  • Exeter to Bristol (12s km / 76 miles) The cheapest ticket was 24 pounds in Economy but I found a First Class ticket for 19 pounds. Go figure! Also with First Great Western
  • Bristol to Manchester    (297km / 184.5 miles). Crosscountry had a fare for 35.90 pounds

The total cost is 66.90 pounds total (106 US Dollars). Yes I have to change trains twice but for 103 pound ($US163) saving, I did. I was in First Class for one part of the ride! There have been times when I have done the same technique but ended up on the same train for the whole journey-albiet in different seats.

This practice is called Splitting Your Ticket and there is a whole industry that has sprung up in some parts of the world to facilitate it.

In Australia,  Great Southern Rail operate a service from Melbourne to Adelaide. For part of the service, Vline (who used to run a separate service) contract Great Southern to carry their passengers. On the particular day I needed to travel,  the train was “Full” from Melbourne to Adelaide. I booked from Melbourne to Nhill, a town about half way, on the Vline website and then from Nhill to Adelaide on Great Southern Rail’s site. In this situation, I got on the train. I did have seat reservations in two different carriages, however which meant technically at Nhill station, I needed to walk down two carriages. The staff kindly did some quick rearranging and I stayed in the same seat for the whole trip. As a bonus, I also found I made a seven dollar saving over the regular fare!

The only place this can work effectively in the USA is on the east coast of the USA between Boston and Washington DC. There are much more limited savings breaking up trips but they can be found.

It does not work in India or New Zealand and I have not tried this in China or Europe.

Happy Splitting!

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Useful Links

Money Saving Expert: Cheap Train Tickets -split (UK)



Red Spotted Hanky (Uk rail tickets)

Split Your Ticket (Uk Rail tickets)

Virgin Trains ((Uk Rail tickets)) – I find cheaper and better than trainline

Amtrak (US Rail Tickets)

Great Southern Rail (Australian Train journeys)

Vline (Australian Train journeys -SouthEast)

Countrylink  (Australian Train journeys -East Coast)



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