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Answers to your most common questions

Split ticketing or buying separate tickets for individual legs of a journey instead of a conventional ‘through’ ticket because it works out cheaper may be a little known quirk of the UK rail fares system but it’s completely legal to use a combination of tickets under condition 19 of the National Rail Conditions of Carriage on the condition that the trains you travel on stop at all the places where the tickets are split.

Why do split ticketing fare anomalies occur?

Split ticketing fare anomalies normally occur because the prices for different sections of a route are set by different train companies. For this reason you will normally find the biggest savings on journeys going across the country, particularly on routes operated by CrossCountry Trains. That said split ticketing savings are available on direct trains, although less common, and on trains in and out of London too so it’s always worth a look.

If split ticketing is legal, why isn’t it more publicised ?

The train companies (TOCs) have long been aware of the savings from splitting tickets but none of them offer it as an option on their websites. This is probably because they have calculated that it would lose them millions in revenue if ‘split tickets’ became more generally available. Prior to the launch of travellers in the know who wanted split tickets would have to spend hours trawling through hundreds of fares and then book each leg separately. The new site puts money back into the pockets of the consumer by taking this insider knowledge and making it easy and available to the man in the street, who will now not need to work out anything themselves.

How can I make split ticketing work for me?

If you want to buy split tickets, the journey planner at is your best bet. Unlike rival apps it handles return journeys as well as singles and can handle multiple splits on a journey. Similarly it’s the only place online that finds splits and also automatically books the correct combination of tickets for you ensuring you don’t make a mistake, which could lead to a costly penalty fare. The ticket office at the station may be able to assist in splitting your train tickets but isn’t obliged to and given the complexity of the rail network the staff may not even be aware of the best combination of tickets.

More and more people are becoming aware of the fact that split tickets or split ticketing can make rail travel cheaper on many routes but there’s still some confusion over what they are and the way that they work. So what are the important things to know? First and foremost split tickets work in exactly the same way a conventional ‘through’ ticket, it’s simply a case of having more tickets for the same journey as this often works out cheaper. Split tickets can be booked in conjunction with a railcard to get even cheaper fares for a journey.

Split ticketing savings are available for both advance and flexible tickets so it’s always worth checking your route, especially if you’re travelling the same day or at very short notice. Split tickets won’t be available on every route but where they are, the savings can be very significant. An off peak single ticket for a London to Leicester journey purchased on the day of travel will normally set you back around £58.00 for instance but splitting it at Bedford and Kettering will reduce the price by £10.70 to £47.30.

If split tickets are bought through a specialist site like, you may find that seats are reserved for you in different parts of the train for different parts of the journey even if you’re actually staying on the same train the whole time. Provided you’re not sitting somewhere that has been reserved for somebody else, though, there’s no need to leave the comfort of your seat for the duration of the journey and you certainly don’t have to get on and off the train at the splitting points.

To make it easier to find split ticketing savings, independent 3rd party rail retailer has teamed up with rail buff Nick Brown to create, the only website that finds splitting points and automatically books the correct combination of tickets in a single transaction.

Split fares have always existed but until now only those in the know have been able to benefit from them. Thanks to the new site, split rail fares are now available to the general public too. As one of Raileasy’s directors, Mike Richardson said, ‘The idea is to take insider knowledge and make it available to the general traveller so they don’t have to work anything out.’

There’s been a lot in the news about how much you can be able to save on rail travel by splitting train tickets but does it find cheaper fares than conventional through on every route?

The short answer is no, but given the existence of sites like, which is finding split ticket savings on 60% of journeys with an average additional saving of 30% compared to any other train booking site, it’s always worth taking a look. So what are some scenarios where you might find savings?

Travelling in and out of London

Contrary to popular belief, there can be savings on many journeys going in and out of London although they generally aren’t as spectacular as those that can be found on other routes. For example with split ticketing you can get a Wellingborough-London anytime day return for £49.80, saving £46.20.

Cross country routes

Journeys going across the country, particularly those operated by train company CrossCountry tend to have the biggest savings. As an example, a Plymouth to Derby off peak single ticket would normally set you back around £129.50 for instance but with 5 splits the price drops dramatically to just £79.80. In this case, it’s a direct service so there’s no need even to get off the train.

Journeys at peak times

Unsurprisingly some of the largest savings can be found on flexible anytime tickets for journeys taking place at peak times of day. Mike Richardson a Director of Raileasy, the partner site of said ‘If your journey starts at a peak time and ends off-peak – particularly if going cross country and using more than one different train operator – you could win from split ticketing.’

Train Journeys in Scotland

In April 2013 Scotland’s Transport Minister announced that the "decades-old fare anomalies of split-ticketing" would end in Scotland at least. Despite all of the fanfare there are still many Scottish routes where you can significantly reduce your fare with split ticketing. A Glasgow-Dundee off peak return, for instance, will normally set you back £37.40 but with a split at Perth, the price drops to a more affordable £24.00, saving £13.40 or 35.83%

Booking in advance

Even without any additional split ticketing savings, booking train tickets in advance can be up to 80% cheaper than the cost of buying train tickets on the day of departure. The cheapest tickets are generally released in limited quantities about 12 weeks in advance of the day of travel and are sold on a first come first served basis.

Given the complexity of the UK rail fares system, finding a cheap train tickets can often feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. To give you a helping hand we’ve put together some of our top money saving tips…

Book in advance and you can save up to 80% on the usual cost of day of departure tickets, provided you don’t mind limiting yourself to travelling on a specific train. Advance train tickets are released up to 12 weeks in advance of the date of travel and sold on a first come served basis so you need to get in there quickly to get the cheapest fares. That said, advance fares are often available until 6pm the night before travel so even if you’ve left it late, you may still be able to get a good deal.

Anyone who’s serious about saving money should get clued up about split ticketing. Split ticketing savings are found on 60% of journeys and save consumers an additional average of 30% if a split is found. You’ll find split savings on both fixed time advance fares and more flexible off peak and anytime fares.

Complicated though it sounds, thanks to the CheapTrainTickets site, which works out where to split the tickets and books them for you Splitting train tickets or breaking a journey down into smaller bits with an individual ticket for each part of the journey. It’s an easy way to get cheaper train ticket with very little effort.

Any savings gained from split ticketing can be combined with a railcard discount to give you an additional third off the cost of your train fares. Railcards are available for travellers aged 16-25, over 60, disabled passengers, two people who travel together regularly, members of HM forces and those on Jobseekers allowance. Savings can be made on both cheap advance train tickets and more flexible fares. A railcard costs around £30 and lasts for a year so you need to be spending £90 a year or more to benefit from the saving.

If you’re happy to travel for longer for less, try searching for slower/overtaken trains along the same line or comparing alternative routes, for instance travelling via or avoiding London. It’s often a good way to bag a bargain.

Splitting your train tickets into individual legs rather than buying a more conventional ‘through’ ticket can make rail travel much more affordable but how does it work out if your travel plans go pear shaped and you find that you need to travel on a different day or even want to cancel your journey altogether?

If you were delayed by a train company

Provided that you arrived at your departure station on time, if you were then delayed or missed a connection you'll probably be entitled to compensation from the train company that caused the delay. The amount you'll get varies according to the train company and the length of delay. No fee of any sort is payable.

To make a claim for a delay, cancellation or missed connection, you need to contact the train company directly. We're not able to issue the compensation - only the train company can do that. This is often called "Delay Repay", but they'll normally explain the procedure on their website, but if in doubt you can ring National Rail Enquiries on 03457 48 49 50.

If you want to cancel for other reasons

Tickets can be booked up to twelve weeks in advance of the dates of travel giving you four months in which to actually make the journey. Unsurprisingly your refund options will be different depending on the type of tickets you originally purchased.

Fixed time advance type tickets are non-refundable if you’re not going to be making the journey at all but they can be amended by rebooking the journey for different dates or times BEFORE THE ORIGINAL DEPATURE TIME and providing proof of repurchase as long as the departure and destination stations both remain the same. If you wait until after the original departure time for any reason, industry rules do not allow us to change advance tickets - regrettably your ticket will have no value.

Flexible tickets (off-peak and anytime, sometimes known as "walk-up" fares) can be refunded regardless of whether the journey is rebooked. You have up to 28 days after the ticket's expiry date to claim the refund.

In order to gain a refund from the retailer all the tickets must be wholly unused and returned to the point of purchase as they cannot claim back the money to refund you until they have the tickets back in their possession.

Cancellation Fees

One of the biggest downsides to splitting tickets at the station or manually on a train company site is undoubtedly the fact that cancellation or amendments fees will be applied per ticket. As a consequence you may very well find yourself having to fork out for two admin fees or more if you split the journey in several places, possibly cancelling out the saving you made from splitting your fare in the first place. You can get round this of course by only purchasing tickets on the date when you definitely know that you will be travelling but it does mean that you’ll miss out on the possibility of saving through split advance fares.

In contrast if tickets have been booked through the CheapTrainTickets site and you’re cancelling or amending, the standard industry admin fee of £10 will apply but will only be charged per booking reference rather than per ticket, no matter how many tickets you’re actually getting refunded.

As rail fares become more and more unaffordable for the average traveller, it’s no wonder that split ticketing is increasingly being promoted as an easy way to travel for less. Based on their growing database of real life searches the founders of ticket splitting website, the first website offering the facility to book split tickets automatically, are finding that split ticket savings are available on 60% of searched journeys and that provides an additional average saving of 30% compared to other train ticket websites.

Under the terms of the National Rail Conditions of Travel section 14, it’s perfectly fine and completely legal to use a combination of tickets rather than a more conventional ‘through’ ticket as long as the train(s) you are travelling call at all the points where you split your ticket.

Most people already understand the basics of split tickets and that’s all very well and good, but are split tickets still valid if you want to take an earlier or later train?

In short it really all depends on the ticket type. If you’re travelling on a fixed time advance type ticket you’re limited to travelling on the services you’ve booked and if you want to travel at a different time, you’ll need to rebook the journey. If your train tickets are flexible, however, you aren’t limited to travelling on a specified service as long as you abide by any peak period restrictions, if you have off peak tickets that is, and you make sure that the alternative train services you use also call at your splitting points.

If you’re taking a different train because the train on your first leg has been delayed, it’s a different kettle of fish and taking a later train isn’t a problem. Even if you’ve purchased fixed time tickets, as long as the tickets were booked with the correct minimum connection times, just as with ordinary unsplit advance tickets you will be entitled to board a later train service as long as it’s operated by the same train company you were originally meant to be travelling with.

If you’ve booked split tickets in one transaction through an accredited site like, there’s no need to worry about the minimum connection times as the site will automatically take this into account when generating the itinerary. If you do get delayed though, it’s always best practice to get your ticket endorsed by a member of the train or station staff if you can just to avoid any confusion later on in the journey.

When it comes to split ticketing, where you have multiple train tickets for the legs of your journey rather than a single, more conventional ‘through’ ticket it’s not surprising that some of the most frequently raised queries relate to seat reservations.

Several UK train companies including South Western Railway, London Northwestern Railway and Northern don’t actually issue numbered seat reservations to anybody on any of their train services and may only offer a counted place seat coupon instead. Similarly at times when the train is likely to be crowded many of the train companies that do offer seat reservations may choose to declassify the train so that it’s not possible to reserve seats.

That said whilst seat reservations can never be guaranteed, wherever availability permits websites like we will always attempt to assign seat reservations at the time of booking, taking into account any seating preferences specified during the booking process. If seats are successfully reserved all the details will be shown on the confirmation email and separate seat reservation tickets stating the time of the train will be printed alongside the travel tickets

In instances where you’re travelling on a direct train but you’ve been issued with multiple tickets as it’s cheaper to split the tickets at points where the train calls along your route, there’s always a risk that you may be allocated seats in a different part of the train for different sections of the trip rather than one, although we’ll do our best to avoid this if at all possible

The problem is all down to limitations in the seat booking system and if you find yourself in this situation rather than playing musical chairs, it’s perfectly fine to disregard the seat reservations you’ve been given and sit elsewhere as long as you don’t occupy a seat that has been reserved for another passenger. Technically the guard may ask you to move to the seat that’s reserved for you but in practice this happens very rarely.

Train services will usually have an unreserved carriage for people who purchase their train tickets on the day and so it may be easier to find a seat there for the entire journey. Alternatively the ticket office at the station may be able to offer a through reservation provided you produce a valid combination of tickets for the whole journey.

Advice for finding cheaper train fares often focuses on booking up to 12 weeks before the date of travel and travelling at times when trains aren’t busy. Advance train tickets can indeed be up to 80% cheaper than the cost of tickets bought on the day, but they simply aren’t practical for most business travellers who can’t be flexible with travel times and may be travelling at very short notice. So what can business travellers do to reduce their costs?

In a sentence, split their train tickets! Split ticketing savings can be found both fixed time advance fares as well as walk up anytime and off peak fares and so are ideal for business travellers. What’s more, if you’re already a rail commuter and hold a season ticket, you can book split tickets in conjunction with a gold card to lower the price of your journey even further.

So what do we mean by splitting train fares? Split ticketing is the term used when someone uses a combination of two or more tickets for a train journey - a ticket from your departure station to an intermediate station where the train stops and a separate ticket from the intermediate station to your destination station – instead of a more conventional through ticket.

Split ticketing might mean buying two single tickets rather than a return if it’s cheaper. Similarly if you’re making a longer journey starting in the peak time period but part of the journey falls into the off peak period, it will often work out cheaper to split the ticket so that you don’t pay a more expensive peak time fare for your entire journey.

Split tickets are available on lots of key business routes. For instance a standard class anytime return London to Manchester anytime return would normally set you back £329.00 but when the fare is split it can cost as little as £226.40 saving your company £102.60 . Alternatively if you need to get work done during the journey a split ticket may make it feasible to upgrade and travel in first class.

Splitting tickets used to involve hours trawling through fares and train times to find out stopping patterns. Even if you did find a split you’d then need to go away and book each leg separately, running the risk of making a mistake and potentially incurring a penalty fare. Thanks to sites like, this is a thing of the past. The site automatically searches for splits and books the correct tickets automatically and will only offer splits for stations where your chosen train is scheduled to stop.

If you prefer you can of course split tickets yourself or buy them at the station but be warned, split tickets aren’t routinely offered by ticket offices unless you specifically request them and ticket machines cannot sell them either.

We will offer you E-Tickets for all routes and ticket types that allow us to. E-Tickets are delivered in PDF form and can be displayed on any electronic device or printed onto paper. We also support saving tickets to Google Wallet and Apple Wallet.

For some routes (e.g. involving the London tube, or travel on Scotrail services), E-Ticket delivery is not possible. We offer Ticket on Departure (ToD) for these bookings, and you will need to pick up the tickets at a ticket machine before travel.

We are unable to sell the following products:

  • Season tickets
  • Carnets
  • Cycle reservations
  • Sleeper cabins (we sell seated sleepers)
  • Tickets in exchange for warrants
  • Tickets including admission
  • Privilege tickets for Railway Staff
  • Rail station car parking
  • Cycle storage at stations
  • Rovers and Rangers
  • Supplement-based flat fares
Your journey is governed by the National Rail Conditions of Travel. Click here for a copy.


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