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Trainline problems

I'm researching train schedules and prices for my trip this summer to England. I can't decide whether I'm crazy or whether Trainline is the most frustrating website to use. The first few days I tried it, I really enjoyed the "Best fares for your journey" link that shows up in the upper right-hand corner and lets you look at five days at once to compare prices. Sometimes it's there on the screen when I put a new search in and sometimes it's not. Has anyone else noticed this, or is that option only available for certain cities?

Second question: is it just my imagination, or does Trainline randomly change the prices with no rhyme or reason? I'm looking as far out as I can (almost 12 weeks) and it seems to me like I see the cheapest available tickets, but then I'll look again in a few hours or the next day and those prices are gone. I'll look again in a day or so and the cheap prices are back. I know this because I've been taking notes on which days of the week had the cheapest prices for each day trip I'm considering.

Posted by
325 posts

Does NationalRail have a feature that lets you look at multiple days at once on a chart to see which day is the cheapest so you don't have to choose every day of the week to see when it's best to travel?

Posted by
233 posts

As stated use http://www.nationalrail.co.uk through which you'll buy your tickets direct from the train companies. You will pay service fees in addition to the cost of the train fares when purchasing from Trainline.

The National Rail website does not have a feature that lets you look at fare across several days, BUT I think you will find its not necessarily that one day is cheaper than another, but rather the time of the day you intend to travel -- peak, off peak, or any-time, etc.

Posted by
31471 posts

Bill,

I'd suggest sending the Trainline people an E-mail at their "Contact Us" link on the website. I've found them very responsive in the past, and they will absolutely help you get the problem sorted. I suspect the problem will be easily resolved.

You could also try clearing the Cache & Cookies from your computer, as something may have been corrupted.

Posted by
2128 posts

tell us when and where you're travelling to and we may be able to help

Posted by
1063 posts

The Trainline are a third party reseller and charge extra fees, always use national rail website or the train operating companies (if you know it), if your not sure which TOC it is, the national rail site will tell you and forward you to the site when you want to buy tickets.

Posted by
325 posts

Thanks for all the replies. My question is not about whether or not I should purchase tickets from Trainline. It's about trying to use their "Best fares for your journey" feature, which seems to be inconsistent. I'll try contacting them to see if I get a response.

I'm looking at roundtrip day trips from London to Bath, York and Oxford. I won't be traveling until early July, so I can't see advance prices for my real dates yet, but I've been looking at early to mid-June just to do research. The best advance ticket prices I've found so far have been:

London-Bath: 29.00 GBP
London-York: 25.60 GBP
London-Oxford: 10.80 GBP

My travel days would be Thursday-Monday as possibilities. I'm totally flexible and would choose each day according to when a given ticket was cheapest (and of course if there were any closures in the specific city I needed to avoid). Those prices listed above are sometimes there on Trainline (or the specific train website, I check those as well), and sometimes not. I don't believe the prices are disappearing because the advance tickets have sold out already, because Trainline doesn't list those as "limited availability".

Posted by
4689 posts

Fares really do come and go sometimes. For example there were promotional £5 Advance fares available between London and Oxford up until last Friday via GWR.

London to York is complex because of the various operators and again they have specials that come and go.

London to Bath is simpler because although in theory there is a cheaper but slower route from Waterloo there are only 3 trains a day. There are specials too - again one expired last Friday that was £10 single.

You might benefit from registering with GWR, Virgin EC and Grand Central to get details of any of their offers being sent to you.

Posted by
233 posts

Another reason to look at National Rail and the train operating companies is that they often publish fares only found and available on the company website. For example I was able to get a fare directly from Virgin Eastcoast 24 week out for £14.50 for York to London. That fare was not available anywhere else.