Split train tickets are a much touted way to save money on rail travel in the UK, but can you really save up to £300 on your journey?
The answer is that it depends. This short guide will tell you everything you need to know about split ticketing so you can make an informed decision.
What Are Split Tickets?
Basically, it’s when you book two (or more) tickets for separate parts of journey rather than one ticket for the whole way. The reason why you might want to do this is that it can, under certain circumstances, work out to be far cheaper.
So for example, say you want to travel from London to Glasgow it can work out cheaper to buy one ticket to Wiggan and then a second ticket from Wiggan to Glasgow than it would be to buy one ticket from London to Wiggan direct.
Some split tickets requite changing trains but others do not. So it’s very important you pay attention to the train times on all your tickets.
Why Split Your Tickets?
Well besides the obvious reason that it’s cheaper you may also want to split your tikcets for any of the following reasons:
- Break up your journey
- Take advantage of off-peak or super-off peak fares for a portion of your journey
- Taking a non-permitted route
- No suitable through fare is possible
Is Split Ticketing Legal?
In a word: yes!
It is expressly permitted by Section 19 of the National Rail Conditions of Carriage.
However, there are a couple of restriction you need to be aware of:
- The train must stop at all stations you’ve bought a ticket from and not just pass through the station.
- Be aware of peak/off-peak times for your journey and that each tickets covers the fare type of that portion of the journey.
- Some journey’s require you to change trains and some don’t make sure you know what to do before you depart.
- If you have set journey times you must follow it for all portions of the journey. If you first train is late causing you to miss your connection (not unknown) you’ll likely have to pay a full price fare for any portion of the journey not covered by your original ticket.
Can I Use A RailCard With Split Tickets?
Yes! Since split tickets just count as multiple regular tickets you’re entitled to use any railcard that’s permissible for that journey.
Are Split Tickets The Cheapest Train Ticket Option?
While they can be a good deal, advance tickets, bought 12 weeks ahead of time usually offer even greater savings than split tickets. However, it can be worth your while checking both to make sure.