I have come across several web sites that claim one can save money on train tickets by "splitting", meaning buying ticket for intermediate destinations instead of the full trip. Eg London-Plymouth-Penzance rather than London-Plymouth. The Guardian even recommends splitting - http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/video/2013/apr/02/cut-cost-rail-tickets-video What are your experiences with splitting? Thanks
That video is a good tutorial on Advance tickets and has some great suggestions, as well as the part about split ticketing, so thanks for sharing it. I'm not sure that it's necessarily something I would recommend to someone experiencing our rather complex ticketing regime for the first time, but single train splits are fairly simple and risk free as long as you check that your intended train stops at the split station. It can get a lot more complex, requiring knowledge of permitted routes and what the railways refer to as 'Easements', which are restrictions on how particular tickets can be used. The comments under that video suggest a website that can help you to plan your split tickets, but it needs to be treated with caution - for off-peak trains between my local station and London it suggested a very slow route with Southern Railways, rather than the quicker direct route on South West Trains. It did a better job with peak hour trains and showed a substantial saving, although in the example I tried you would need to remember that not all London trains on the route stop at the suggested split station, which would make any split ticket invalid.
Other advanced techniques are using a 7-day season ticket somewhere en-route (so that the trains don't have stop at the split points) and the use of rover and ranger tickets. Aggressive splitting, even if correct will raise questions from poorly trained staff regarding validity.
It's a good thing I'm getting a year's headstart on planning all this stuff for a 2-3 week holiday. I'd simply hire a car, but I'm blind in my right eye, which could make adapting to UK driving a bit tricky. Besides, I enjoy riding the train. Thanks for your insights.
If you are planning far enough ahead, advances will probably end up cheaper than splitting walk-up tickets if you don't need the flexibility. There can be savings on splitting advances if the quota on tickets for the full journey has been exceeded already though. Note that the video is rather misleading in that the top price quoted for the London -> Penzance route only applies to two trains per day in each direction. All the others count as off-peak at about half the price.
yup - what they said