The Trainline rides to profit on strong sales

Michael Bow
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Rail ticket website boosted pre-tax profits by one third last year as an increasing number of train passengers shunned station ticket offices in favour of buying fares online, company accounts revealed yesterday.

The business, which is owned by private equity group Exponent Private Equity, said bargain-savvy train travellers helped propel turnover to £106m from £96m for the year ending March 2012.

The site, which offers price comparisons of tickets and lets customers book online, helped its parent company reach pre-tax profits of £38.5m– a 33 per cent increase on the year previously.

“Customers have migrated from stations to online as a means of finding the best available fares,” it said. was snapped up by Exponent for £163m in 2006 from a consortium of heavyweight rail players, including Virgin, Stagecoach and National Express. The firm operates sales under a licence provided by the Association of train Operating Companies, a consortium of 24 rail operators.

Rail ticket sales across the UK shot up last year, reaching £1.3bn of total sales versus £1.1bn in 2011.