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mystifying UK train reservation system

I've been monitoring three different train journeys in the UK for over 5 months. Inputting possible journey dates during any 12 week period, there is no discernible pattern in pricing. It seems there's no way to know when reservations open or how the system will price a ticket. For example, between today and September 27th, a single Edinburgh to Oban is 59,40 except for 8 days in September (6th thru 13th) when it's 20,50. Is there some greater rationale or policy for pricing that I've missed? I don't know if there will be price reductions occurring on other dates or if this is firmly set for the period.

Can someone shed some light on this?

Posted by
6078 posts

Are you using the National Rail website, or something else?

Posted by
27 posts

Whether I go to National Rail Enquiries, Trainline, loco2, or ScotRail, the pricing doesn't vary.

Posted by
1868 posts

An Anytime ticket from Edinburgh to Oban is £45. That’s the price you pay on the day at the ticket office or if you buy that type of ticket now online. Anytime tickets never sell out.

The cheaper pre-booked Advance tickets can be as low as £15.50 but they are limited in availability and do sell out. For example, I see an Advance ticket for £23.70 on 19 August but on many other days they are already sold out.

Due to engineering works on the Glasgow to Oban section reservable tickets (Advance) are only on sale up to 13 September. Beyond that date simply wait until they go on sale. Details on this webpage

https://www.scotrail.co.uk/tickets/advance

Only buy tickets from Scotrail – nowhere else will have cheaper tickets.

Posted by
10050 posts

I agree with Ramblin on. Buy your tickets directly from the train operator. They won't be cheaper anywhere else.

Posted by
85 posts

We will be taking the train from Oban to Edinburgh on October 3. I have been checking the website daily for Advance tickets. Any idea when the tickets will open up and is there an easier way to check than going to the website daily?
Thanks

Posted by
11271 posts

Our UK posters always say the Advance tickets become available "about 11 weeks out," but that it does vary and there's no strict rule. So, it does seem that you have to keep checking. Remember that if you can't buy them, no one else can, and unless it's a holiday or something, it's unlikely that all of the Advance tickets will sell out the day they're released.

Posted by
27 posts

I've always purchased tickets from the train operator. I have set up alerts on different sites but still check as I found, even though the alert was set up/confirmed, that I didn't receive an alert for a particular journey. In my tracking, I found cheaper tickets can occur 3 weeks out, 11 weeks, 7 weeks..pretty much all over. I've not seen cheap tickets at 12 weeks, though.