I am thrilled to be attending a course next week in Yorkshire on how to write historical fiction. I am even more thrilled at the discount I got from booking my train ticket in advance.
By buying four weeks ahead, I paid a quarter of what they would charge me on the day for a Manchester to London Euston return. Instead of blowing £81.40, I’ve nailed my journey for a mere £22.00. All from the www.nationalrail.co.uk website. I’ll be looking very smugly at the poor sods who have paid full price. Pity I’m not travelling at peak time because that costs a whacking £166.00 and I would really have been quids in.
With such a huge price difference – for the same journey – you have to ask what the train companies are up to. Stinging commuters, obviously. It’s the same principle as fleecing parents forced to take holidays out of term-time. I appreciate you need to make up the losses on the low season with higher prices at more popular times. But at this mark-up? It’s really not fair.
Until someone fixes it though, I’m happy to travel at a civilised hour and pay less. Besides, I need all the spare cash I have to sustain me on the way. I travelled by Eurostar to Paris the other weekend and spent £4.80 for a measly sandwich, some water and a bag of crisps in M&S which I thought was outrageous. Especially when I topped it up with a magazine at £3.99. That’s cracking on for half my bargain train ticket!
I’ll be eating a packed lunch then (or not at all) as I travel to the course’s venue at Ted Hughes’ old place up near Hebden Bridge. It’s a bit further on from Manchester, so why haven’t I booked the whole journey up and back? The official reason is because we decided to turn the previous weekend into a Northern Break and Mr Minted handled the outward journey. The real reason is that I’m lazy and didn’t bother. But having spotted it will only cost me £3.00 and not £9.50, I might get up the energy.
So book ahead for your Christmas travel now, unless of course you live on the Southern misery line. Govia staff are striking on both Christmas and New Year’s Eve so it’ll be Shanks’ pony on those days – possibly more reliable and totally free.