Travelling by train seems easy, especially when you’re slowly becoming a seasoned traveller. However, the British Rail system has more than its fair share of quirks, especially for someone who is travelling from outside of the country. Of course, everyone’s top tip is to book your train tickets in advance, but there are so many more things to keep in mind when you’re navigating the train tracks.
Leave yourself plenty of time
When you’re planning a journey to a train station, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get to the station, especially if you are departing from the first station the train is departing from. On the same note, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to collect your tickets if you’re not utilising the e-ticket service. Queues at the ticket barrier can get incredibly long, and you could risk missing your train if you don’t allow yourself plenty of time.
Don’t rely on onboard hospitality
It’s usually a good idea to stock up on food and drinks before going on a train journey. While there are usually some facilities onboard, these can be overpriced and don’t offer much variety. This is even true of first class, where hot meals and drinks are often offered as standard, but issues with supply chains and staffing can mean a lot of options are not available, or service is disrupted.
Be prepared for delays
The British rail system is probably best known for being late. In fact, according to The Guardian, more than half of all train services from Great Britain’s busiest stations were delayed or disrupted last year. It’s extremely common for rail replacement buses to be put on instead of trains, and often trains are cancelled and passengers are asked to disembark and continue their journey using another service. It helps to familiarise yourself with the delay repay compensation scheme, as you can end up entitled to up to your entire ticket fare in compensation!
Keep it cheap
There are so many ways to secure cheap tickets for the train in Britain, aside from the obvious booking well in advance. Firstly, it’s often cheaper to purchase two single tickets, rather than booking one return journey. You can also consider split ticketing your journey, meaning you buy several single tickets to stations along the route to your final destination, and it ends up being cheaper than buying one single ticket!
Finally, make sure you check out railcard options for yourself, your friends and your family. You can save up to a third on the cost of a full price train ticket when you make use of a railcard. Sometimes, you can even pass them onto friends and family to use for their amazing days out!
Hopefully, this guide has offered you some concise and sensible advice that you can utilise to navigate the British Rail system. Of course, there are so many other tips and tricks that can be sourced that will help you to understand your way around our train stations when you holiday in Britain.