BritRail Flexipass

Feb 15th, 2005, 12:48 AM
  #1  
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BritRail Flexipass

Hi, we are a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids) planning to visit the UK end May early June. Since we love trains (we did Europe last year primarily on train) we are planning to the take the Britrail flexipass and the family card. Just wanted to confirm whether the pass works on all the train lines (there seem to be a mind boggling number) and whether one has to additionally get reservations or can we just jump on to trains as in the rest of Europe (except of course the night trains). Any help would be appreciated...Thanks
jkbasu is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 05:07 AM
  #2  
ira
 
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Hi jk,

Before buying a pass, enter your itinerary at www.railsaver.com; click "only if it saves me money".

ira is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 05:47 AM
  #3  
ron
 
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No, you don't need to get reservations in order to travel. You may want them at busy times in order to get seats.
ron is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 06:03 AM
  #4  
 
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Also - re ira's comment -- before you buy the passes decide where you want to visit. While touring by rail is lot easier than in most parts of the US, there are many parts of the UK where rail service is less than useful.

I enjoy trains too, but for many family itineraries, renting a car is both more convenient and less expensive than BritRail. One thing to consider about touring by rail - many stations do not have any sort of left luggage/lockers so you end up having to tote everything with you if you want to visit some city enroute to another destination.

If you know the places you want to go are well served by trains, then do what ira suggests and check the difference between Passes and point to point.
janis is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 07:20 AM
  #5  
 
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To answer one of your questions. The flex pass is good on most,if not all of the regular rail companies. It would not be good on special lines like the North Yorkshire steam train and others that are similar. I have done several train trips, mostly in the off season and have never made a reservation. You might want to do so since you are with family and run the risk of having to stand. I will not comment on the use of a car as you did not ask the question and I futher assume that you would have asked if you wanted information on car travel.
Roger is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 08:52 AM
  #6  
 
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I didn't recommend car travel - merely mentioned in passing that for a lot of itineraries, especially with more than 2 people, a car can be more convenient and less expensive.

My main point was to make sure they researched their options - itinerary, convenience, individual tickets, etc before forking over the money for often overpriced BritRail passes.
janis is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 09:26 AM
  #7  
 
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Hi Janis, I didn't mean to sound harsh. Certainly respect your knowledge and enjoy your comments. Keep it up!
Roger is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 10:21 AM
  #8  
 
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BritRail good on all the 28 or so privatized UK rail franchise train companies. Not good on steam or museum trains that are not really used for transportation - such as Mt Snowdon railway. BritRail - buy two adult passes and one kid for each adult 5-15 gets a FREE pass of equal value - if over 15 use the party Pass where the first two adults pay full price for their pass and then 3 to 9 others on the same pass pay 50& off. New last year was the BritEngland Pass - good in all of England but not Scotland or Wales. Bargain London Plus pass good for all of southeast England. BritRail BritEngland also good on Heathrow Express and Gatwick Express - London Plus not valid on heathro ex but on Gatwick.
Trains go everywhere virtually a tourist wants to go - very dense network with at least hourly departures on mainline. Reservations are not requuired on any train line to my knowledge. I've used BritRail passes for years and have always found empty seats. First class is however much more plush than second class - roomier lots more empty seats and on several train companies you get free food in first class - on Virgin long distance trains for example you get stuffed - free sandwiches, booze, drinks, coffee or tea, sausages, etc - really a lot - other companies maybe just coffee or tea and pastries - not promised in first class but often get it at your seat. If you have any questions about British rail travel i'd call BETS (800-441-9413) who i get my passes thru - they are a font on info and the staffers you talk to will have actually travelled Britain by rail for years themselves. They are a RailEurope agent but also won't charge RailEurope's $15 mailing fee. Ask BETS for their free European Planning & Rail Guide which has a lot of info on railing around Britain - suggested itineraries and places to go by train and a UK rail map. Anyway trains are getting better and better in Britain and all the main sights - York, Edinburgh, Inverness, the Lake District, Stratford, Bath, Oxford, Cambridge have great train service. Leave the driving on the other side of the road and hit the train in my opinion and with the Kids Free or 50% off Party Pass compares favorably economically with car rental. Taxis often are within a few feet of trains at stations to whisk you to your B&B or hotel.
PalQ is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 10:54 AM
  #9  
 
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There are a few overnight trains, not many but a few. You will need reservations if you use any of the overnighters, plus an extra fee for a sleeper cabin(s). Have taken the overnighter to Edinburgh so the kids could have that experience. Otherwise have never used reservations, only 1 other time I wished we had used them. On a Sunday evening train back from Bath to London. The train was packed in all cars. Everybody got on but not nearly enough seats. It was a long ride back to London while standing the whole way. As some people got off at various stops, some seats opened up. The kids & wife got seats then, but there were still plenty of passengers standing when we arrived at the station in London.
Bill_I is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 11:49 AM
  #10  
 
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Reservations are often free if done by 6 or 7pm the night before. In second class i've seen lots of full trains but rarely no empty seats in first class. For 4 people traveling together you may want to reserve in 2nd class to be able to sit together.
PalQ is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 07:52 PM
  #11  
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Thanks all, suggestions are invaluable. Most places that we plan to visit are covered by train so will stick to the train option. Thanks again
jkbasu is offline  
Apr 27th, 2005, 02:51 PM
  #12  
 
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ttt
Sally is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 12:59 PM
  #13  
 
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Until Sep 23 (or so not exactly sure of date) you get an extra day free with all BritRail passes - including England ones, but not LondonPlus or BritIreland. Applies to off-peak and party passes - can activate within six months of issue so could use as late as March 2006 (prices could go up Jan 1 2006 so this could be advantageous).
PalQ is offline  
Oct 7th, 2005, 10:14 AM
  #14  
 
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From Nov 1 thru Feb 28 all BritRail passes are 25% off - the off-peak special.
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