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Best Way to Travel Birmingham-London multiple times?

Best Way to Travel Birmingham-London multiple times?

Old Sep 3rd, 2011, 10:18 PM
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Best Way to Travel Birmingham-London multiple times?

I'm going to be in Birmingham for a month, and I'm going to need to take 2-3 trips to London (1 night stays each). I'm taking a National Express bus down from London to Birmingham with my luggage because that seems to be the easiest way (I can't haul my luggage around very much because of a recent injury), and I'll do the same when I'm leaving Birmingham to fly out of London for back home.

But my question is, for my other trips to London, what's the best way? I am definitely cost sensitive but I'd prefer the train to bus because it's faster. I have an international student ID so that might give me a discount.

I've looked into this somewhat but the options seem dizzying, so I thought I'd check with my fodors.com friends!
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Old Sep 4th, 2011, 12:03 AM
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There's no one best way. It all depends on how often you're going to do this journey, and what time of day you're travelling.

But:

1. A 16-25 Railcard (eligibility at http://www.16-25railcard.co.uk/are-y...le/eligibility and not limited to the under 27s if you're a mature student) gives you a third off ANY off-peak fare (typically: leaving after 0930, but the "off peak" window varies by operator). They're £28, so they're only any use if you're planning a total of £84 spending on UK train travel in the next 12 months. The cheapest return train ticket on this route is £15, so if you're eligible for this price, and you're planning only three return Bham-London trips, the Card's not worthwhile.

2. There are three operators: Chiltern to Marylebone and Virgin and London Midland to Euston. Normally, Chiltern's cheapest, London Mid a bit pricier (and slower than Chiltern) and Virgin fastest and dearest. "Advance" fares are usually the cheapest, and can be bought on this route up to the previous day, either online or at a station. 16-26 Railcard discounts are additional: a £10 Advance far will cost a Railcard holder £6.66.

The cheapest Advance return on this route is £15 gross. Unusually for Britain, that fare is available with Chiltern on peak hour journeys.

3. It's almost certain that a Season ticket (unlimited travel on the route during the stated period) makes no sense for you.

4. Check with the London Mid and Chiltern websites for any special offers
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Old Sep 4th, 2011, 03:42 AM
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Chiltern advertise £15 fares from Birmingham to London which always makes me mad as we get on at Leamington Spa (further down the line) and it costs MORE !!
If you can unravel the train fare nightmare, then many congratulations.
Look at National Express fares (coach) as they can be amazingly cheap and not much slower sometimes than the train.
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Old Sep 5th, 2011, 10:10 PM
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Thank you both very much - I really appreciate it. I'll post back when I figure out what works for me.
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 12:01 AM
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It may be a bit late, but Chiltern (aka Deutsche Bundesbahn) finally started their long delayed speed up of this line yesterday. The details above might be different by the time you try to buy a ticket

You may not find Chiltern offering such low fares for much longer. Or London Mid might bring its fares down to provide an edge.

That's the free market for you.
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