Travelling by train can be fun, it’s often faster than going by coach or car and you can watch a film, read a book or have a picnic on the way. It is also much more environmentally friendly than driving. But train tickets can be expensive, so read on to find out how to get a bargain.
Buying Train Tickets
If you buy your ticket the same day you travel you are likely to pay the highest price, so it pays to plan ahead! Train companies issue a limited number of cheap tickets, so get in there early to get the best prices. You can usually book tickets up to 12 weeks before you want to travel.
Different times, different routes and different train companies will charge different prices. Yes it’s confusing! You can often reduce costs if you avoid the morning or evening rush, or take a slower train. To hunt down the bargain prices, look at the National Rail website to see a table of all times and prices, or ask your local rail office to find you the cheapest fare. Some companies also offer discounted fares when you book online.
Travel passes and Railcards
Travelling by train can cost a bomb! But you can reduce costs with these insider tips.
If you get the train to school, college, uni or work it could be worth forking out for a weekly or monthly travel pass. It might seem like a lot at the time but you’ll save a fortune! Talk to your local travel centre to find out the best deals.
If you’re 16, 17 or 18 and have a Young Scot card you can get discounts on train travel. When you turn 16 you will be sent a voucher for a free Scottish Youth Railcard. Go to your local rail ticket office with your voucher and Young Scot card and they will exchange your voucher for your Railcard. The Scottish Youth Railcard will give you 1/3 off most train fares in Scotland and 50% off all weekly or monthly tickets. Unfortunately you can’t get discount on all trains or for all train tickets as certain restrictions apply, visit Transport Scotland for to find out more. Remember you will need to carry both your Railcard and your Young Scot card with you when you travel.
If you travel regularly to England or Wales, or you’re over 18 you can still get discounts on train travel with a Young Person’s Railcard. The Young Person’s Railcard is for 16-25 year olds and full time students. It costs £26 a year but it’s worth it if you travel regularly by train. You get 1/3 off all train fares across Britain and discounts on days out, hotels and restaurants. You can apply online, or pick up an application form in your local rail travel office. Remember to carry your ticket and your Railcard when you travel.
Staying Safe on the Train
British Transport Police is the national police force for the railways, providing a policing service to rail operators, their staff and passengers throughout Scotland England and Wales. Every day, they police the journeys of over six million passengers in the UK. They believe travelling is about more than just getting there. It’s about ensuring safety and security all the way.
Out of 18,425 passenger journeys on the railway in Scotland last year; there was only ONE crime. As the odds show – the chances of you becoming a victim are pretty remote but by taking a few simple precautions they’ll drop even further. The British Transport Police have put together some tips to make sure you stay safe on the trains:
Store your luggage securely and keep an eye on it.
Don’t leave phones, laptops, ipods etc at your seat unattended.
If you see an incident or encounter problems inform a member of staff or BTP right away.
Visit BTP for more information about your local area and the journey you are making. You can also get in touch with your local team by e-mail.
All intercity train services and most other mainline services are wheelchair accessible. Access to the train is provided by a ramp kept either at the station or on the train. If you need help getting on or off the train, then National Rail will be able to assist. You will need to book assistance in advance, preferably 24 hours in advance.
Taking your bike on the train
Taking your bike on the train in the UK is free, but this does not mean that it's easy. Different train operators have different policies, and may have restrictions on what times you can travel with your bike. Spaces are limited, so if you’re planning a trip it would be best to phone your train provider in advance and reserve a space for your bike. Luckily ScotRail is making it easier to cycle and travel. They have invested in better bike storage on many trains and are operating the Scotrail Cycle Rescue service, to help you out if you cannot complete your journey by bike.
The Eurostar is pretty cool. The Eurostar has high speed trains which travel through the Channel Tunnel, miles under the sea, transporting people between England and France. They go all the way from London to Paris and Brussels, and then on to loads more destinations.
Fair enough Scotland is nowhere near London, but national trains will take you as far as St. Pancras where you will be able to connect to the Eurostar. Getting the Eurostar over to Europe is much more environmentally friendly than flying, but it might a little while longer. If you making a city break you can often get discounts if you buy your train travel and hotel with Eurostar.