Thursday, 11 March 2010

How does that work, then?

072 Avon Valley Railway

I never cease to be amazed at how we organise the pricing of train fares in Britain.

We have just booked our train fares home at the end of the TGO Challenge. Amazingly, we managed to secure seats from Montrose to Huntington for just £14.00 each. That's a trip of about 440 miles. That's about 3.1 pence per mile. We only have to change once; at Peterborough. And the journey is all in a civilized time period as well.

We were also offered the same train and same seats, in fact, for £135.00. Guess which offer we took up?

However on the trip up to our start point we need to travel by train to London Kings Cross for the cheapest fare available: £21.00 . That's a trip of about 65 miles. That's about 32 pence per mile.

That's ten times the price per mile!

So - How does that work, then?


  1. 3.1p per mile? That's surely less than your sock-costs-per-mile for the Challenge?

  2. I gave up trying to work it out and just pay for the cheapest fare I can find.

    I gave up after a trip to the Lakes. From Aberdeen it was cheaper (including a train change at Edinburgh) than the train from Edinburgh. Doh!

    The word 'munctive' just about sums it up.

  3. 3.1p a mile suggests they're probably using imported coal.

  4. Nope, I gave up trying to understand the logic. Used to cost me £7.70 to get to work, and yet Leeds to Ilkley is £3.30, and its the same distance. Apparently, going over county lines ups the price.

    As for 440 mile journey at £14, that is a snap and a half. I really must look up train fares *before* I go away :)

  5. I to have a £14 back to London train fare.

    Travelling the 7 or so miles from home to Euston is costing £6


  6. That's just crazy, Alan. I pay over 30€ (35 if I remember correctly) to go from Tampere to Helsinki, a 150 km trip of around 90 minutes. While that's roughly 23 cents (Euro) and might seem cheap, the service is bad, often late or even doesn't work at all - after all, snow and ice is something we usually never have in Finland.

  7. Alan, that's a good deal by any standards. At that price it would even be worth traveling to places you had no interest in visiting.

    I use the railways regularly, local and further afield; have done for years. I'm no more clued up on how the fare structures work now than I was pre-privatisation; in fact, if anything, I've lost ground. The staff at our local station - pretty knowledgeable and very helpful - will advise where they can but they tell me that they have less information available to them than the average punter searching online.

  8. Gayle: That is true! (But you remembered, didn't you?) :-)

    Laura: Munctive, indeed.

    Des: True - not like the old steam coal from the Valleys... I bet their not tappoing the wheels, either. It'll end in tears.

    Michael - I've just come back from "It's Grim Up North" - used half a rank of diesel - so that's £35. Still - it got me away from the "UpNorth"!

    George: You get the prize - amazing offer, eh?

    Hendrik: When was the last time trains ran on time in Finland?

    Hawthorns: So true! It's not even worth trying to get advice in Huntingdon - they just stare blankly at you and quote you the full fare.


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