Five ways to cut the price of your rail fare this summer: Advance tickets, ticket splitting, railcards, season tickets, price booking websites

 
Jessica Morris
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Using fare splitting tools is one way to trim the cost of your journey (Source: Getty)

Whether you're traversing the length and breadth of Britain this summer, or simply popping out for the day, rail fares can be exorbitant - so here are a few tips and tricks to help whittle down prices.

1. Get ahead

Anyone who's sure about their travel dates can snap up advanced tickets - at least 12 weeks in advance offers the best deals, because Network Rail is obliged to draw up train timetables 12 weeks before a journey.

If you don't have the time to stay on top of this, websites such as thetrainline.com send automatic alerts - while National Rail's future travel chart shows the furthest away date for advance tickets.

2. Ticket split

Another money-saving trick is ticket splitting, whereby passengers save money by buying multiple tickets for different legs of the same journey. Generally, you won't even have to get off the train, although sometimes you'll be required to change at a station.

There are a couple of websites which will automatically carve up your journey, thereby slashing its price. One is trainsplit.com while another is Money Saving Expert's handy train ticket splitting tool.

3. Go for gold

If you buy an annual season ticket or annual travelcard for a route which starts and/or ends in London or the South of England, then you could be qualify for an annual gold card offering discounts on leisure rail travel.

Some of the benefits include getting up to a third off pay-as-you-go oyster travel between zones one to six, as well as on travelcards.

Holders can also get a third off standard and first class tickets for themselves and up to three adults, 60 per cent off child fares for up to four children, and a one year railcard for them or a friend for just £10.

4. Price booking websites

Price booking websites factor in a journey's destination and the time of travel, meaning they're able to offer discounts for the less popular ones. There are even free services such as takethetrain.co.uk and redspottedhanky.com.

5. Delay repay

It isn't a way to get cheaper tickets, but if you're one of the many rail passengers who have been inconvenienced by delays or cancellations, this is the scheme which most train companies use to offer compensation.

CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains, Greater Anglia, Great Northern, Southeastern, Southern, Thameslink, Virgin Trains East Coast and Virgin Trains all operate delay repay.

Additionally websites such as delayrepaysniper.com make it easer to claim by sending out a nightly email with all of the information customers need to claim compensation.

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