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So Confused by Rail and Tickets

I have never been to England and have absolutely no experience with trains anywhere, period.

I am a senior citizen and need to travel by train as follows:
October 11 --- from Heathrow airport to Bath
October 13 --- from Bath to Torquay
October 22 --- from Torquay to London

Would a pass or tickets be more appropriate?

Posted by
2405 posts

LHR to Bath, easiest to take the direct coach

For train tickets use for times and ticket prices. The site will then direct you to one of the train companies to buy your ticket.

Advance tickets are the cheapest, but you must travel on the pre-booked train and these tickets do sell out. Off-Peak and Anytime tickets you can buy at the station and never sell out. No cost saving buying these types of tickets now.

Bath to Torquay Advance tickets for your dates from £15.

Torquay to London Advance tickets for your dates from £43

To save even more on the Torquay to London journey you could buy 2 tickets

Off Peak ticket from Torquay to Exeter £7.90

Advance from Exeter to London Waterloo from £14

Posted by
24821 posts

That Torquay-London ticket could be very, very, expensive if bought closer to your travel date. I can't hit the website at the moment due to a technical issue, so I can't tell you exactly how high that ticket can go. Believe me, you don't want to find out.

Posted by
3943 posts

The basic resource for British train travel (and many other places) is who has a complex view of saving money on UK fares. It's always necessary to price the point-to-point tickets for comparison to a pass. But as Seat 61 will show, simply adjusting the time of day that you travel can have a large effect on cost.

Posted by
2276 posts

The advance ticket from Exeter to London Waterloo involves going with South Western Railway for that leg of the journey. Great Western Railway also operate from Exeter to London Paddington but although a faster route, their fares will be higher.

Posted by
31027 posts

Where will your London hotel be?

If I were doing the Torquay to London trip I would prefer GWR into Paddington. It will be faster with fewer stops along the way.

The split fare doesn't help in this case. There are some quite cheap fares through the day, and you can get on the train at Torquay and take a train which takes you all the way into Paddington without changing trains.

For example on the 22nd of October, in second class, the 07:55 service will get you into Paddington at 11:39 for £31.50 (3H44), or half an hour faster at 11:38, Paddington 14:54 (2:54pm) for £43.00 (3H16), or even faster at 15:00 (3pm), Paddington 18:08 (6:08 pm) for £31.50 (only 3H08).

There are numerous faster trains all day if you are happy to change trains at Newton Abbott or Exeter St Davids, so you could knock off half an hour or so, but I bet that it would be nice to settle into your seat and not have to change trains a few minutes after boarding? Those slightly faster trains are more expensive, too (£56.50 or £43.00).

Posted by
713 posts

Just to highlight and expand on this, about those "Advance" tickets:

Advance tickets are the cheapest, but you must travel on the
pre-booked train
and these tickets do sell out.

That means that you must travel on the train that departs at the time on your ticket. If, for instance, there are trains on your chosen route leaving at 9:15, 10:15, 11:15, 12:15, and your ticket is for the 10:15 departure? You can only travel on the 10:15 train. If you miss it, you have to buy another ticket. Period. No credit, no changing. It's like your unused ticket just went "poof" and might as well never have existed. "Advance" means that specific named type of ticket, not just any ticket you buy in advance. Confusing much? (It's not bad once you become familiar with the ticketing system but I found it confusing at first.)

So advance fares are great, but be careful when buying them, and give yourself time to get to the station on time on your day of travel.

I hope you have a good trip!