Train to York

We are 4 adults, 2 couples, traveling Heathrow to York. We arrive June 2,2013
at 9 am. What is most economical way to travel. train or rental car? How much do we plan for fuel?

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

Elida, with only just over a week to go, all of the cheapest train tickets have sold out. The most economical I can find this morning for travel on 2nd June are Advance single fares at around £48 each. An Advance ticket is only valid on the specific train it is purchased for and cannot be refunded. See www.eastcoast.co.uk By road it's around 220 miles from Heathrow to York. How much to plan for fuel is a complicated question, but let's assume you get a medium sized car with a petrol engine and automatic transmission, so that should average perhaps 45 miles per gallon on a motorway journey like that. There are 4.55 litres per Imperial gallon, a litre of petrol costs an average of £1.33 at the moment, so that is £6 per gallon. A 220 mile trip would take an average of 4.88 gallons which would cost just under £30. Change the variables to suit you. A diesel engined medium sized car with manual transmission should give you 55 to 65 miles per gallon and diesel is around £1.39 a litre on average (May figures from the Automobile Association).

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
773 posts

I think Kevin ran the train search for a single person. Put 4 people in and the groupsave discount kicks in for a total of £128 - although you need to get to Kings Cross. There is a coach service leaving from Heathrow at 10:30 costing £135 - timing a bit tight. There is a change needed at Victoria Coach Station. If you made your own way to Victoria, coaches from there are £111.

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

I think Kevin ran the train search for a single person. Put 4 people in and the groupsave discount kicks in for a total of £128 - although you need to get to Kings Cross. Yes, good point. And it's also worth noting that you only see that group discount if you use www.eastcoast.co.uk - on www.nationalrail.co.uk the total price for 4 adults is shown as £194. Other thoughts. Heathrow to Kings Cross is easy on the Underground. It's the Piccadilly Line all the way (so no changes to make with luggage) and should take just under an hour. If you are coming back to London later in your visit then you'll want Oyster cards for the Underground, and you can read all about those here - http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14825.aspx - or in dozens of threads in this forum. Don't buy single tickets on the Underground, it's much cheaper with Oyster topped up with cash in advance (and you can get the balance refunded before you leave the UK).

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8641 posts

Allow up to one hour to clear immigration/passport control and another hour to get to King's Cross/St Pancras on the Piccadilly Line. There are at least three trains/hour from King's Cross to York. Buy your tickets at King's Cross, get the Group Save discount, and jump on the next available train.

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

Buy your tickets at King's Cross, get the Group Save discount, and jump on the next available train. Tim, Advance fares are not available on the day of travel, and the group discount is only offered on Advance tickets. The walkup fare on the day would probably be £196 for the group of 4, for Super Off Peak singles.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8641 posts

Kevin, Thanks for correcting me. Elida, If you want to save money by booking advance fare tickets now to get the Group Save discount, then allow at least four hours between your plane's scheduled arrival at LHR and your departure from King's Cross. That will give you some wiggle room if your plane is late.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8741 posts

Groupsave tickets are slightly less simple than you might think. They come in GS-4 and GS-3 flavours, where in a group of 4 the price is that of 2, so 2 effectively travel "free", and in a group of 3 the price is that of 2, so effectively travels "free". The confusion comes in that each Train Operating Company (TOC) sets their own Groupsave rules and decides on which flows, if any, qualify. So blanket rules can be difficult. Who said that tickets in the UK are easy? Not me. Most TOCs offer Groupsave 3s and Groupsave 4s, but not all. Many offer them off-peak only, and only on walk-up fares. They usually have a minimum mileage restriction, so are not available for short runs. Most TOCs don't offer them on Advance tickets which are already very highly discounted. Moral? Check and double-check.

Posted by Elida
Houston, Texas
7 posts

Thank you so much for everyone's help. I am going to try to book a group rate, if I run into problems, I hope I can get help from all of you. Thank you, thank you

Posted by Elida
Houston, Texas
7 posts

Nigel, you are not kidding,securing a train ticket is NOT easy. I quit last night because I got tired and I am tired again and do not have reservations. I have looked for group rate but I think on EastCoast or National rail, you need to be 10 people traveling. Am I not looking in the right place. I would appreciate help. Thank you

Posted by Elida
Houston, Texas
7 posts

Oh, I mistyped the date. We are arriving on June 21 not June 2 ! We arrive at 9am.

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

Hi Elida, thanks for the PM in which you say you can find a rate of £280 for the 4 of you. Let me see if I can step through the process. Using the journey planner on www.eastcoast.co.uk this morning and checking for departures on 21 June I click the 'One way' option, specify London and York in the 'From' and 'To' boxes, choose the date 21 June and departing after 11.00. I specify 4 for the number of passengers, uncheck the 'First Class' box and then click on 'Search'. The next page that appears has a box near the top left, with the heading 'Outward Journey'. In that I can see a number of smaller boxes showing the fares that are available, and I click on the one that says '£38.60 to £293 single'. Further down that side of the page there is a list of departures headed 'Services', so if I click on the one at 11.00 I can now see a cost of £128 for the whole party, and a green button marked 'Book now'. For comparison, if I do the same but specify just one passenger, it gives me a fare of £47.55. Multiply that by 4 and you get a total of £190.20, so you can see that by specifying 4 passengers the website has automatically given the group discount. Note that this is for Advance tickets, which in this example would only be valid on the 11.00 and could not be refunded. If I chose £194 in the Outward Journey box then it shows me the more flexible Super Off-peak price, at £194 for the whole party on that same 11.00 train. It's still early and I've only just had my first cup of tea, so I may have missed something. See if you can follow these steps to get the same result.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
773 posts

"I have looked for group rate but I think on EastCoast or National rail, you need to be 10 people traveling." That is the easy to make mistake - 'groupsave' is not the same as 'group rate'! Also as Nigel has remarked groupsave works differently with each company. Some don't offer it at all. Most offer it on non-advance tickets. East Coast is unusual in only offering it on advanced tickets. Most if not all will withdraw it on days where demand is expected to be heavy (eg Bank Holiday, summer Saturday to the coast, sporting event). Some booking engines list groupsave as a separate type of ticket. Others just discount the price if you put in the 'right' number of travellers.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8641 posts

As Kevin and Marco have indicated, the East Coast site will automatically give you the GroupSave rate. Do not enter your address in the area reserved for UK residents. You need to click on the "International Address" field which is very small and can be hard to find. You'll get a new page where you can enter your address.

Posted by Elida
Houston, Texas
7 posts

I finally found a discount rate for group of 4 for 236 pounds. We arrive at Heathrow at 9am . We are allowing 4 hours to get to Kings Cross. so looked at leaving Kings Cross at 1430. Do you all think this is best fare or should I keep looking?

Posted by Elida
Houston, Texas
7 posts

Hello everyone, I have finally booked my train trip to York . Thank you everyone for helping us. When I first started looking the fare quoted was 354 pounds and today I booked at 187 pounds for 4 adults. We appreciate all your help