Wednesday, 11 November 2009
Please watch in HD and fullscreen for best clarity.
The train ticketing system in the UK is extremely complicated to understand.
Here in this tutorial I will demonstrate how easy it can be to track down the cheapest prices for your journey from Derby to London in First Class. You can use this method for any train journey of course and you don’t have to travel First Class.
You may be asking yourself why not just do the whole thing on the Trainline website, well the simple reason is they charge a £1 booking fee, plus an extra £3.50 for credit card payments and also a charge to have the tickets posted to you. So for this reason I think its best to use their site as a tool and then go and book the tickets in person. This avoids all those extra charges and you get the tickets in your hand rather than them getting held up by the postal strikes.
Why go First Class?
Once you have tried first class you won’t want to go Standard Class again, on a longer journey such as Derby to London (1 Hour 31 Min or more) it makes the journey a lot more relaxing. Travelling by first class often costs only an extra £5, or sometimes such as in my example video only £1 extra.
So what do you get in First Class on East Midland Trains?
1) Extra roomy seats to work or relax
2) Free newspapers
3) Free cups of tea/Coffee (served in a proper cup)
4) Free bottled water
5) Free snack cake
6) Mains socket for a laptop or mobile phone charging.
7) First Class menu with waitress service to your seat. (Food is not free)
8) Better clientele, so no noisy children kicking the back of your seat!
9) Reserved seats
Its worth pointing out that if you travel on a weekend or bank holiday then you do not get items 2 to 5 above which is why I have recommended weekday travel to get the most out the first class experience.
You never know who you may see in First Class, last time we went first class Jimmy Carr was in the same carrage!
At weekend or bank holidays there are sometimes engineering works and other disruptions from time to time so its worth checking before you commit to buying tickets. East Midlands Trains have a dedicated page which lists any alterations to train services, usually for planned engineering works:
In order to achieve the lowest possible prices for your journey you need to be flexible in your travel times. For example if you go into this with set times in your mind of when you want to travel then you will pay a lot more.
Using the dates in my tutorial if you were to decide that you want the following travel times 27th November leaving Derby at 07.05 arriving in London at 8.57 First class ticket is £115 and 1st December leaving London at 18.55 arriving in Derby at 20.46 First class ticket is £62
So thats a total of £177 return, This goes to prove that you need to be willing to adjust your travel times about to maximise the savings.
Book well ahead
Contractually Network Rail must have the timetable set 12 weeks in advance,
Booking as early as possible gives you the best chance of being able to buy the
cheapest ticket for the journey you want to make. I have found in practice that you can still get real cheap tickets even just a few weeks before you want to travel as in this tutorial example.
When you get onto the 1st class coach and look for your seats you will notice a scrolling green message above your seats saying "Reserved Derby to London".
When you book your tickets you can choose if you want to be facing in the direction of travel and if you want a table with 4 seats or two.
Save more money by using the 2 for 1 London tickets.
There is a great website that you can use that allows you 2FOR1 entry to over 100 top London attractions, restaurants, theatres, exhibitions and more, when you travel by train to London:
In August barriers were installed at both Derby and St Pancras. When you get to St Pancras you put the ticket in the barrier and it will take the ticket from you so you will need to keep your inward bound tickets as proof when you use the 2 for 1 system.
St Pancras London
St Pancras station is where your journey will end, from here you can get on an underground train to anywhere or even the Eurostar to Paris.
Music Credits :
Fountains of Life by Champius
Licensed under Creative Commons
The Photograph of East Midland Trains at start is by Stephen Craven and licensed under Creative Commons.
The small timelapse video journey along London Road/Midland Road to the Railway station was filmed on 8th November 2009 at 14.57
Another reason for making this tutorial was so I could learn how to get to grips with Camtasia studio to capture my actions on screen. I will be making tutorials soon on how to make any sound into an iPhone ringtone and some Sony Vegas 9 stuff too.
If you found my tutorial on how to get the cheapest first class train tickets of use then please rate and comment. Do you have any handy tips?