Travel News

Walk a mile to save £34 on an Edinburgh-London rail ticket

Simon Calder’s Travel

As the latest bout of industrial action by train drivers gets under way, The Independent has uncovered an extraordinary rail fare anomaly – whereby a one-mile walk can save passengers £34, while some travellers may be paying over twice as much as they need.

Members of the Aslef union will be walking out on Friday 5 April at Avanti West Coast and others. On Saturday 6 April, the East Coast operator LNER will be one of the targets of the strikers; only a limited service will run on the link from Edinburgh, Newcastle and York to London King’s Cross.

As a result, many Scottish travellers are seeking alternative routes from Edinburgh to London. But some risk paying much more than they need due to the bizarre fares structure between the Scottish and English capitals.

Anyone searching for a Saturday morning train from Edinburgh Waverley to London King’s Cross on the LNER website is told that the cheapest fare is £200 one way. The state-owned train operator quotes only the “Anytime” fare, even though Saturday is an off-peak day.

The traveller will need to broaden the search to “London Terminals” to become aware of a direct train on Avanti West Coast from Edinburgh to London Euston, for which the fare is £125.

Yet even this is far more than passengers need to pay. The Avanti West Coast train stops at Haymarket station, just over one mile west of Edinburgh Waverley station. Passengers for London who board here pay only £91, saving £34 on the fare from the Scottish capital’s main station.

Stranger still, with that same £91 ticket they could instead board a train in the other direction, to Edinburgh Waverley, and connect to any of the London King’s Cross services currently showing as costing £200. Other passengers on the same train could be paying more than twice as much as they need.

Such an extreme anomaly on one of the UK’s key intercity links arises from the absurdities “baked in” during privatisation three decades ago – together with a pilot scheme on LNER of abolishing off-peak tickets on certain key journeys.

Earlier this year the state-run company said: “We’re piloting the removal of the complicated and outdated off-peak and super off-peak fares.”

As a result, LNER sells only Anytime, Advance and “70min Flex” tickets from Edinburgh, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Newcastle to London.

The 70min Flex is a variety…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Independent Travel…