Travelling by train can be fun, it’s faster than the bus or car and it is also much more environmentally friendly than driving. But train tickets can be a more expensive option, 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. You can often reduce costs if you avoid the morning (before 9.30am) or evening rush (between 4.30-6.30pm), 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
You can reduce costs with these insider tips.
If you get the train to school, college, uni or work it could be worth buying a weekly or monthly travel pass. It might seem like a lot at the time but it'll be cheaper in the long run! 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 buying train tickets, simply show them your Young Scot NEC and you'll be able to get 1/3 off most train fares in Scotland and 50% off all weekly or monthly tickets. Alternatively, when buying a ticket on the ScotRail website, you now have the option to select 'Scottish Youth' under the Rail Card drop-down menu. If you haven't got a Young Scot card, give our InfoLine a call on 0808 801 0338.
If you travel regularly to England or Wales, or you’re over 18 you can still get discounts on train travel with a 16-25 Railcard. This young person’s railcard is for 16-25 year olds and full time students. It costs £30 a year and 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 (BTP) 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.
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 the BTP website 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.