When I read Rick's book, it sounds like the Britrail consecutive or Flexipass train pass would be cheapest for several connections throughout Great Britain (I.e., London-Bath-Keswick-Edinburgh-London). But when I go to the Point-to-Point site, it looks like buying the Point-to-Point advance tickets are cheaper. Is this correct? Has anyone else noticed this? Thanks
We have airline style ticket pricing for trains, so if you can book early then you can get the cheapest fares. There are different kinds of ticket, the cheapest being 'Advance', which are only valid on the specific train they are booked for, and are not refundable or exchangeable. A couple of slightly more flexible 'Off-peak' and 'Super Off-peak' tickets have time restrictions, and are more expensive, then there are 'Anytime' tickets, which as the name suggests can be used at any time but are the most expensive of all. Tickets can be researched and purchased on nationalrail.co.uk but special offers may only appear on individual train operating company websites (which you can identify from information on nationalrail.co.uk). Work out the daily cost of the rail pass for each day you will actually be using it, then check point-to-point ticket prices to see which is better value for you. Partly it depends on whether you can live with a fixed schedule, or if you need the flexibility you get with a pass and/or tickets bought on the day of travel. I would expect you to be able to save money over a pass if you can manage with 'Advance' tickets, but perhaps not if you bought 'Anytime' tickets. Much depends on exactly what journeys you plan to take.
I love much of Rick's advice, but he's still beating the drum of rail passes, and as you've discovered, it's no longer so simple. Follow Kevin's excellent advice to look at the National Rail site to find the specific operators, then look at their websites to see the best prices available. Then, take into account the flexibility vs price ratio of advance tickets vs passes. Yes, it's a lot of work, but unfortunately, there's no other way to get the best deal for your individual trip and your needs. If you need more help, look at the Man in Seat 61's Britain page: http://tinyurl.com/cg3psj8