Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Blue-top boating booked ... and playing the train fares game

For a week next month I shall be helping friends move their blue-top boat Kew from Stourport to Braunston. To that end I have bought my rail tickets - most of them anyway.


Not only am I saving money by buying the tickets in advance, I am also saving a considerable amount by breaking the journeys into discrete legs.

The quoted fare from Wymondham to Kidderminster is £41.50 (advance) but I'm doing it for just £20.00 over the same route. How? By splitting it into Wymondham to Liverpool Street (£8.00); Euston to Birmingham New Street (£6.00); and Birmingham Moor Street to Kidderminster (£6.00 "anytime" fare - not yet bought).

I shall be taking my folding bike, so will cycle from Liverpool Street to Euston and Kidderminster to Stourport. Coming home I'll cycle from Braunston to Long Buckby and get the train to Euston (£6.00 advance); cycle to Liverpool Street; and then get the train to Wymondham (£8.00 advance). Total for the homeward journey: £14.00, saving £7.20 on the quoted "one hop" fare.

One more ridiculous anomaly: if I wanted to go by train from Long Buckby to Milton Keynes and bought the cheapest ticket for that journey it would cost me £11.20. However I could get a ticket to Euston for only £6.00 and get off at MK. I pity visitors from overseas who are not used to this malarkey. I'm sure they wouldn't understand how it is that it costs twice as much to go half the distance. I don't.


I'm looking forward to steering Kew again. It has an air-cooled Lister engine and a large wooden rudder - it is a converted butty. Now, what do I need to pack? Bike, windlass ...

7 comments:

Jim said...

Well done Halfie, but I hope all your connections work and you don't have to change your plans otherwise you'll need to pay again.

Advance tickets aren't valid for break of journey so a ticket to Euston wouldn't be accepted at MK, assuming anyone checks them there.

Halfie said...

Jim, I know there's a risk associated with advance tickets but, so far, it's always worked for me. If something did go wrong, and I had to pay a walk-on fare now and again, well, I've still gained overall.

Neil Corbett said...

I was going to say the same as Jim! Be careful of the Euston ticket, I believe they are subsidised to get people to go to London (or other big centres) and spend their money there :-)
Kath (nb Herbie)

Halfie said...

Kath, I'm not actually planning to hop off the train at MK, it's just something I spotted. I would have thought that big centres would be enough of a draw in themselves not to need to subsidise visitors. But, hey, I'll take the benefit anyway!

Brian and Diana on NB Harnser http://nbharnser.blogspot.com said...

You should also take your Turfor, Lump hammer and masonry chisels in case there are any tight bridge holes on route :-)

Halfie said...

Brian, the skipper is very experienced (but he did get stuck in a bridge hole on the South Stratford a couple of years ago!)

Val Poore said...

Speechless, Halfie. I am totally speechless. No wonder I find it such a nightmare trying to travel anywhere by train in the UK for a reasonable price. How are you supposed to know all of this? Barring the Euston ticket. Your discrete tickets just make sense! But how would someone like me know this with you?