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Britain by Train and BritRail Passes for the Clueless

Britain by Train and BritRail Passes for the Clueless

Old Jun 17th, 2010, 02:44 PM
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milliebest, I'm sure there probably is an easy way to do a £ sign on a US keyboard. But if you can't find it, copy this one (highlight, then Ctrl+C)& paste it into your comment (Ctrl+V)
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Old Jun 18th, 2010, 08:14 AM
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I have had a visitor for the week but I will soon be getting back to my travel plans.

Thanks,

Millie
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Old Jun 18th, 2010, 09:11 AM
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Thx Palenque - lots of useful info

Now seriously toying with flexipass + local bus for our trip
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Old Jun 23rd, 2010, 11:50 AM
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The highlight of North Wales to me was taking the steam train up Mount Snowdon, England's highest peak, and walking back down.

Snowdon Mountain Railway - A Majestic train journey to the Summit ...
Snowdon Mountain Railway - Snowdonia. One of the most spectacular days out in North Wales for Welsh holiday makers.
www.snowdonrailway.co.uk/

Times & Prices
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Watch our video footage
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Train times & prices for Snowdon Mountain Railway
Snowdon Mountain Railway - Snowdonia. One of the most spectacular days out in North ... During school holidays, or on fine weather days, the railway can be ...
www.snowdonrailway.co.uk/times_prices.php
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Old Jun 25th, 2010, 11:29 AM
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Tweeking the Mt Snowdon Day

If you take the train up and down or walk up and or down (a one-way train ticket is just a bit less than a return ticket IME) back to Llanberis, where the bus from Caernarfon drops you off - then you can get on the bus and go back to Conwy/Lladudno a different way than which you came (always a goal of mine!)

--take the bus down the rugged Llanberis Pass and all the way to Betws-y-Coed and the lush Conwy Valley - at Betws-y-Coed you can catch the scenic Conwy Valley train (railpasses valid) back to Conwy and Llandudno via the bucolic scenic Conwy Valley.

I enjoyed walking around Betws-y-Coed oogling the stone buildings in a verdant park-like setting.
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Old Jun 27th, 2010, 09:00 AM
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MORE ON MOUNT SNOWDON

If you are an avid rambler - British for hikers using the vast system of Public Footpaths - there are other ways to walk down from the Snowdon summit than then main beaten path along the train tracks.

And i decided to take a different route - aiming to end up at the youth hostel of Llanberis Pass to join the bus decribed in above post - bus to Betws-y-Coed.

So i looked at the map at the summit and took the trail that seemed to head to the pass, which you could see from the summit far below - along with two lakes where paths could be seen going by.

But somehow i missed the main trail i guess and ended up hopping from boulder to boulder with no trail in sight - just a cascade of boulders tumbling down to the lakes far below. It was slow going and constant fear of falling into crevices - finally however i reached the first lake and a broad path i followed to the youth hostel at the pass where the bus would stop. So if taking that route pay better attention than i did to staying on the proper trail.
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Old Jun 27th, 2010, 02:09 PM
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Ok so tomorrow, in the cool of the morning, I am going to book train tickets. From what I see, I don't need a rail pass. What am I missing? Both Rick and budget Europe quote the 8 day sr. flex pass @$555 and 4 day @379 and 3 day @305.

These are point to point prices:
Glasgow to Inverness - £(Thank you Ricardo) 10:30
Aviemore (Grantown on Spey) to Edinburgh -£10:30
Edinburgh to York-£16:50
York to Conwy - £17
Conwy to Bath - £16
Bath to Moreton in Marsh - £6
Moreton in Marsh to London - £26.90

I know I will be taking my changes with second class but I am a New York City transit traveller! Does a Brit rail pass make any sense?
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Old Jun 28th, 2010, 06:57 AM
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No to a pass if you do not require flexibility - i assume say the York to Conwy and Edinburgh to York tickets are online advance ones that are non-changeable non-refundable, etc. so i'd go with those and book them as early as possible. 2nd class will get you there, of course, but not nearly in the style of first class.
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Old Jun 29th, 2010, 07:57 AM
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BACK TO NORTH WALES BASE IN A BRITISH RAIL TRIP

CONWY VALLEY to the FFESTINIOG RAILWAY

A sweet day trip from Conwy or Lladudno base by train is to take a ride of the Conwy Valley scenic rail line (BritRail Passes 100% valid) that meanders thru bucolic countryside to the start of the really famous and unique Ffestiniog Railway.

The following web site tells of the railway and neat places along it, like Betws-y-Coed:

Llandudno and The Conwy Valley - North Wales UK - Talycafn ...
The Conwy Valley Railway line follows the same route southwards to Roman Bridge from where the longest single track railway tunnel in the United Kingdom ...
www.greatorme.org.uk/conwyvalley.html

At the end of the Conwy line is the starting point of the Ffestiniog Railway - to be covered next.

Rheilffordd Ffestiniog Railway / Welsh Highland Railway (C)
This is the website of the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways - two unique narrow gauge railways (both operated by the Ffestiniog Railway Company) with ...
www.festrail.co.uk/
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Old Jul 2nd, 2010, 09:44 AM
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FFESTINIOG RAILWAY - A DIFFERENT CREATURE

One of the fabled 'Great Little Trains of Wales,' along with the Mt Snowdon Train, the Ffestiniog Railway was built not for tourist but to move slate from the gritty slate-mining town of Ffestiniog down to the sea, at Porthmadog's port.
The trains are made up of vintage passenger cars pulled by a sturdy industrial type engine.
What make the trip awesome IMO is seeing the huge slag heaps - remnants of Ffestiniog's heyday as a slate-mining center - the train winds first thru these slap heaps and old derelcit mines.
And Ffestiniog itself - grity gritty Ffestiniog to me was something out of the 1950s - people down at their heels - old decrepeit stores and pubs, etc. A time warp for sure.

Anyway check out the official site for more on what you will see on the trip down to Porthmadog.

Coming from Conwy the main line train ends at Porthmadog, where the narrow-gauge train line down to the sea begins.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2010, 06:34 AM
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THE SETTLE TO CARLISLE RAILWAY

Just copying this nicely written informative item about the fabled Settle to Carlisle Railway that was recently posted on another thread - the railway is an alternative to taking the more mainline West Coast Main Line when coming south out of Scotland or northern England - a sideline well worth ferreting out - and thanks to volunteers saved from the Beeching scrap heap of history.

The Settle to Carlisle Railway
Posted by: bellini on Jul 23, 10 a

There’s something very beguiling about railway journeys, especially one that has ‘Friends’ who campaigned to keep the line open when threatened with closure in 1981. The Settle to Carlisle railway is included in the illustrious company of ‘Great Railway Journeys of the World’. The 72 miles of railway between Settle and Carlisle pass through the glorious Yorkshire Dales. The most magnificent section is probably the Ribblehead Viaduct, all 24 arches of fantastic Victorian engineering. Once over the viaduct the train plunges into the long Blea Moor tunnel emerging on to Dentdale, a perfect example of a glaciated valley.

The Friends of the Settle-Carlisle railway have continued to work hard: eight stations have been reopened, the number of trains has increased, station buildings have been refurbished, platforms raised, disused signal boxes have been restored and Victorian style lamps installed. Members look after the flower beds at stations too and they have made a very good job at Appleby station where we stopped off for a few hours.
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Old Apr 30th, 2012, 02:31 AM
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Dear PalenQ
Read quite a few of your posts with great interest. Will be travelling to UK in a weeks time. Had planned to get a BritRail pass. Could you please tell me how to get one. After I pay for it online how do I get the pass. Can it be collected on arrival in UK. Can the reservation of the trains be done from a station different from the departing station.
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Old Apr 30th, 2012, 12:40 PM
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Hey RK - surprised to see this thread ressurected from the dead - thank you!

Some answers - You must buy a paper BritRail Pass to my knowledge unless changed recently - they are not sold at British stations as Brits cannot use them - what is your home country? Anyway you have to buy it in your home country (well the British Visitors Centre in central London on or near Haymarket was selling them a few years back - but at a significantly higher price than those sold abroad - that was the only outlet I knew of in the UK - so if you live in India go to a travel agency or if in the U S I would highly recommend either www.budgeteuropetravel.com (Byron there is an expert who answers any questions - I have bought passes from him for years - great service or www.ricksteves.com - two agents that give a lot of service and can answer even obscure questions. You could also order online from www.britrail.com (I believe that is the site). Again I believe a paper pass that much be mailed - check for mailing fees - the two I suggest have none I believe.

As for reservations in U K they seem to mainly be free if done by 6pm or so the day before - if you have a first class pass as I always do then just forget about reservations as in decades of incessant riding of British trains I have yet not to see several empty seats in first class, which in Britain is much much MUCh nicer than standard class as they call 2nd class, which can be chock full and on long trips I would make a reservation - hopefully free as it was at least two years ago - I have not been back since.

Reservations probably can only be made from stations of the same of Britain's 28 or so separate rail franchise lines but not sure of this. Check www.nationalrail.co.uk for regular prices to compare to the pass and about reservations - a beauty of the pass is that it can be used on any train anytime - just hop on and those types of fully flexible tickets often cost a ton of money.

Cheers,
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Old May 26th, 2012, 04:52 PM
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This thread answers almost every question (thanks, PalenQ, for sharing your knowledge!). I still have a few more -- First, it sounds like it is not necessary to book trains in advance, but may be advantageous in terms of lower fares. Is that generally true? And second, as you know we Americans don't have chip and pin credit cards, which is often problematic when trying to extract tickets from kiosks in European train stations. If I book tickets in advance, is this likely to be a problem in the UK? or will any station also have a ticket window where I can pick up the tickets?
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Old May 28th, 2012, 10:00 AM
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ebg- thanks! First q - yes can always IME get on a train by buying a full fare walk up ticket - especially in first class but those typically cost a fortune if a longish train trip so yes even by buying a few hours early or especially IME the day
before costs can be slashed dramatically

I have never ordered an online ticket from www.nationalrail.co.uk or other national rail booking sites but many have and no one reports any difficulty retrieving them - worst would be to have to go to ticket window but I believe auto machines in UK still accept our anachornistic American plastic but not sure since I have not been there in a few years.
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Old Feb 21st, 2013, 07:13 PM
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I live in New Zealand and have led 5 walking tours to UK and doing another in 2014. We always travel by train or local bus. Needs a bit of research. For long train journeys, say 100 miles or more it is vastly cheaper to book a month or so ahead on www.nationalrail.co.uk. and collect the tickets on arrival. Tickets can be one third of price for walk up bookings. If you are not comfortable with collecting tickets from the machine the guys at the ticket window will help. The main snag is that these ADVANCE ticket can only be used on the train and time specified.
I have used Britrail passes many years ago but they now work out a lot dearer than buying individual tickets unless you intend some serious long haul journeys.
For shorter journeys OFFPEAK or ANYTIME tickets are economic but allow plenty of time to buy them especially at the busy London stations.
Also if you are aged 60 or more you can buy a SENIOR PASS (cost GBP26) which gets 33% discount on all tickets.
The London Underground is a separate system and the above comments do not apply.

Re bus travel, www.traveline.co.uk has fairly accurate bus timetables but you need to have a good idea of the local geography. You can get regional timetable books in many places such as the Lake District

I agree with an earlier post that train travel in UK is convenient and fun. You trundle along at close to 100 mph and see the scenery instead of the motorway tarmac. Cheers
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Old Feb 21st, 2013, 07:32 PM
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A further point - ADVANCE fares include a seat reservation and the seat is marked accordingly. On a couple of occasions I have had a debate with someone already in the seat but your fellow passengers will usually support you.
VIRGIN TRAINS seat reservation marking system is operated by satellite and had broken down on one trip which caused general confusion.
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Old Jan 20th, 2014, 09:00 AM
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Hi,
My sister and I will be traveling from London to Bath, Bath to Penzance and then Penzance back to London. I've checked trip prices with National Rail and I'm wondering if a BritRail pass would be as cheap or cheaper. We are both over 60 and would like to travel first class at least on the leg from Bath to Penzance. I found that the London-Penzance trip would be over 120 pounds in standard class. Would it be cost effective to purchase britrail passes, or would you recommend that we just get individual tickets for each trip?

I've never used a britrail pass before but it sounds so convenient and easy. Do you ever need to make a reservation or do you just hope that seats are available.

Thanks.
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Old Jan 20th, 2014, 11:13 AM
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if you refer to your previous post

http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/sw-england.cfm

you'll see that buying tickets online in advance is by far the cheapest option - no reason at all to buy an over priced britrail pass. As at today you can buy tickets for up to 13 April.

A senior railcard for £30 will save you a further 1/3
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Old Jan 20th, 2014, 11:27 AM
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Starla : Yes ---- definitely get senior rail cards. That will get you a very reduced fare. You download the forms at home and complete them and take them in person to the station when you collect your tickets.

But buy the tickets (at the senior fare) as soon as they are available. You don't need to have the senior rail card in hand to purchase the tickets, but you will when you pick them up.

(Next time maybe start a new thread of your own instead of tacking on to such an old one - much of the info on this one is still accurate but much is 6 years old -- plus new posts often get overlooked since folks don't notice the dates)
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