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Booking rail tickets

Booking rail tickets

Postby octocruiser » 08 Jul 2014 10:36

We only do two or three train journeys a year but they are long ones and up to now have booked online using RedSpottedHanky and of course our Senior Railcards bought for half price using our Tesco loyalty points. ;)

RSH give you the opportunity to state your preferences for seating but you don't know the actual seats until the tickets arrive. They don't charge a booking fee or for postage and our tickets have always arrived the next day and we have been satisfied with the allocated seats.

However, for our last journey they made a bit of a hash of allocating seats and although we rang and they changed them (twice) a little grumpily we still finished up with seats that were not really what we would have chosen. This seemed to be because you cannot speak to someone who can actually see the seating plans and they say when you ring that they can only pass your request on.

Last night we made arrangements for another visit up North, this time to see the new baby so I checked out times and prices on line and printed off the seat plans for Cross country trains. By then the phone lines were closed, so at 8 am this morning I rang direct to Cross Country and was able to speak to a charming young lady who was able to consult actual availability and immediately offered table seats in Coach F, the quiet coach, just what we wanted.

They charge £1 for postage and say delivery can take from 5-7 days. I am perfectly happy with that - and as long as they arrive OK and the seats are confirmed as promised this is how I shall be doing our future bookings.

How do you book rail tickets ?

Cheers Kath
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Booking rail tickets

Postby grannyM » 08 Jul 2014 11:54

Glad to hear you've managed to book exactly what you wanted this time Kath.

It's been a while since I booked any rail tickets. It was usually to London and I was always checking the website well beforehand waiting for the advanced fare time slot to appear. Like yourself I always found it better to speak to someone rather than book online but again, like yourself, sometimes I knew more about that than the person I spoke to.

Hope you have a good journey and have a lovely time when you meet Harrison. :D
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Postby octocruiser » 08 Jul 2014 15:08

grannyM wrote:Glad to hear you've managed to book exactly what you wanted this time Kath.

It's been a while since I booked any rail tickets. It was usually to London and I was always checking the website well beforehand waiting for the advanced fare time slot to appear. Like yourself I always found it better to speak to someone rather than book online but again, like yourself, sometimes I knew more about that than the person I spoke to.

Hope you have a good journey and have a lovely time when you meet Harrison. :D


Yes, we are going a bit earlier than we had been planning and I had checked the prices for the later dates when there was plenty of choice for best advance prices. As it happened there was only one train a day left at the lowest price when we sorted out our dates with our daughter last night.

But just under £50 for the two of us (that's single, we are getting a lift back) from Cheltenham to Durham, about a 4 hr journey is not too bad, is it ?

By the way, Harrison is Jill's new baby, ours is a little girl, Olivia Isla.

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Cheers. Kath
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Re: Booking rail tickets

Postby Peka » 08 Jul 2014 15:09

My mum is my preferred agent when it comes to book train tickets :lol: I get so confused by trains and buses :oops: Not that I use either trains or buses much. Only to go London which is I have just about mastered a travelcard... and can even almost get around now, without following like a sheep :lol:


I think she shops around to find the best price often ending up on the trainline site.


By the way, Harrison is Jill's new baby, ours is a little girl, Olivia Isla.

Joan's ;)

love the names Olivia Isla! :P
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Re: Booking rail tickets

Postby Meg50 » 08 Jul 2014 15:34

thetrainline charge commission, National rail doesn't
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Booking rail tickets

Postby sparkiethecruiser » 08 Jul 2014 17:36

we used to use the trainline and sometimes still do but this time for our london trip we booked direct with virgin as they offered us a better price (was only couple of quid but still). I have heard of the spotted hanky people but never used them until recently trainline was always cheaper but not always now since they started charging comission thats a new thing btw
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Postby sevenseascoaster » 08 Jul 2014 19:17

octocruiser wrote:We only do two or three train journeys a year but they are long ones and up to now have booked online using RedSpottedHanky and of course our Senior Railcards bought for half price using our Tesco loyalty points. ;)

RSH give you the opportunity to state your preferences for seating but you don't know the actual seats until the tickets arrive. They don't charge a booking fee or for postage and our tickets have always arrived the next day and we have been satisfied with the allocated seats.

However, for our last journey they made a bit of a hash of allocating seats and although we rang and they changed them (twice) a little grumpily we still finished up with seats that were not really what we would have chosen. This seemed to be because you cannot speak to someone who can actually see the seating plans and they say when you ring that they can only pass your request on.

Last night we made arrangements for another visit up North, this time to see the new baby so I checked out times and prices on line and printed off the seat plans for Cross country trains. By then the phone lines were closed, so at 8 am this morning I rang direct to Cross Country and was able to speak to a charming young lady who was able to consult actual availability and immediately offered table seats in Coach F, the quiet coach, just what we wanted.

They charge £1 for postage and say delivery can take from 5-7 days. I am perfectly happy with that - and as long as they arrive OK and the seats are confirmed as promised this is how I shall be doing our future bookings.

How do you book rail tickets ?

Cheers Kath


Thanks Kath that's really useful info, shall pass it on to some friends who are just about to book.

Have a great time, the baby looks so sweet and a really beautiful name, love it.
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Re: Booking rail tickets

Postby Hannah » 08 Jul 2014 19:24

I to love the names! Enjoy your visit. My son lives in Durham City!
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Re: Booking rail tickets

Postby rdw123 » 08 Jul 2014 19:51

I too have usually used Red Spotted Hanky for our train tickets. This time though I booked through Holiday Extras. They were a lot cheaper than RSH and the tickets were flexible so not limited to one train or one day in case of delays. We are flying from Gatwick in October so booked an overnight hotel through them as well. We paid £76 for hotel with breakfast at North terminal so no shuttle bus to catch and £84 for 2 flexible tickets Peterborough-Gatwick return. Cheapest flexible ones I could find myself were £150!! They may be worth a look if you need accommodation at airports or cruise terminals.
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Booking rail tickets

Postby octocruiser » 08 Jul 2014 20:18

sparkiethecruiser wrote:we used to use the trainline and sometimes still do but this time for our london trip we booked direct with virgin as they offered us a better price (was only couple of quid but still). I have heard of the spotted hanky people but never used them until recently trainline was always cheaper but not always now since they started charging comission thats a new thing btw


On various occasions I have searched around and found that all the prices for the same journey on the same day and time are pretty well the same, there may be differences in the peripherals such as postage , booking fee, speed of delivery but there is little or no difference in the actual price of the ticket. I looked at 4 sites last night and they were identical.

I went to RSH originally as I had been recommended and from time to time have picked up the odd £5 credit which can be added to your account and used next time you buy a ticket. But to us it is very important where we sit and to be able to choose specific seats and have them confirmed at the time of booking. I think that is worth a bob or two extra and my theory is that you are more likely to get this direct from the operator.

Agents seem to get an allocation of seats and they are unable to access the seat plans to see which ones are still available.

Of course, the Senior railcard is a bonus , and of coure there are numerous other railcards for different types of traveller.

The senior one currently costs £30 each and saves one third off each ticket you buy. For some time there has been the chance to get them with Tesco vouchers and you need just £15 face value of vouchers for each one, which is great. :lol: all you have to do is make sure you carry your railcard with you.

Cheers Kath
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