by Matthew · 


(Providing a return time means I will take account of the time restrictions and stations of the found return journey, for better or worse.)

How is this possible?

The railway’s national fares database is a very complicated affair, built up over many years and dealing with an extraordinary array of restrictions and conditions. This means that it is easily possible for two or more tickets to act identically to one through ticket, but be substantially cheaper.

The post on split ticketing in the RailUK Fares & Ticketing Guide is very informative. Note there that using multiple tickets is explicitly permitted by Section 19 of the National Rail Conditions of Carriage.

Most importantly, if you buy multiple tickets (and aren’t using zonal/ season tickets), be sure that the train you catch stops at the station or stations where you switch tickets. Otherwise your tickets will not be valid.

Other than that, you can catch exactly the same trains, changing and stopping at exactly the same places, as you would have done with a through ticket. You don’t have to get off the train when you switch tickets :)

How does this site work?

When you enter some journey details, it queries all the possible fares along the journey, works out which tickets are valid at those times due to off-peak restrictions and other factors, and then applies Dijkstra’s algorithm to find the cheapest way through. You may then have to guide it to your own best solution, by pointing out routes that you don’t want to take, or peak restrictions you might need.

What doesn’t this site do?

Useful links