BritRail Pass

Old Feb 28th, 2018, 07:10 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2017
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BritRail Pass

I will be in Great Britain for 2 weeks this spring. I plan on traveling to Edinburgh, Cardiff, Bath, and York via train.
Would a flexible Brit Rail pass work best for me?
If so, is buying it in advance the best option? Should I reserve seats?
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Old Feb 28th, 2018, 08:51 PM
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If you know when (date/time) each trip will be -- or can reasonably make those decisions soon -- it will be cheaper to pre-purchase point to point tickets. The farther ahead you can book tix the cheaper they are.

If you need flexibility and don't want to pre-purchase your tickets then a Britrail pass would be useful -- expensive but cheaper than last minute walk up fares.
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Old Feb 28th, 2018, 10:13 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Visit www.nationalrail.co.uk to check fares for about 6-12 weeks from now for the journeys you're likely to want to make. That will give you an idea of the types and likely costs of tickets. That site is a portal to the companies that actually operate the trains, rather than an agent with their own add-on fees.
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Old Mar 1st, 2018, 04:19 AM
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janisj says it all - if want flexibility to hop anytrain just about anytime the pass for that itinerary would no doubt be cheaper than full- walk-up fares. Seat reservations are always optional on British trains TMK - for lots on British trains and fares check National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables as Paddie in London says - check www.seat61.com for explicit advice on booking your own discounted tickets - general info on BritRail Passes and trains also www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts. Check for frequent specials on passes that pop up from time to time like a free day, etc. Not sold at British stations as Brits cannot use them. If 60 or over BritRail Pass has a discount for them in first class, which on British long-disance trains like you are taking is much much nicer than Standard class.
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Old Mar 1st, 2018, 11:47 AM
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Again should you book in advance if doing the pass - yes you have to as again not sold at British stations so order your own from American agents online (such as ones I gave in above post) - there is one place in London - the Visit Britain tourist office in central London but that is only a last resort if in Britain and undecided until you get there -prices used to be higher than if purchased abroad thugh not sure of that now. You can make seat reservations when buying pass but then you'll pay $10-15 per reservation-just make you own reservations at National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables if possible with just a pass or at stations in Britain.
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Old Mar 1st, 2018, 01:14 PM
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See: https://www.seat61.com/UK-train-trav...tRail%20passes
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Old Mar 1st, 2018, 01:26 PM
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We've used RailPasses 3 times and loved the flexibility. So you have to decide if that is worth the extra cost, because a Pass is more than arranging a ticket ahead. For our purposes, as we were mostly doing day trips, having flexibility in return-to-London times was a deciding factor. If you are using trains for point to point travel, you may rather plan better and save money. Both methods have advantages.
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Old Mar 1st, 2018, 02:38 PM
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All BritRail Passes regardless who sells them are 20% off in the off-peak winter period which I believes ended yesterday but not sure. It is not something only Seat 61 does and if you click on the BritRail Pass price list you are taken to that infamous rip-ff site (according to Fodorgarchs) RailEurope in U.S. All passes regardless who and where sells them must sell TMK passes at the same price -discounting not allowed though you can give away a guidebook like Rick Steves I think does and handlng fees and postage fees can be added on though most do not if the price is $300 total or more or abouts. Man in Seat 61 like all RailEurope agents gets a % cut for steering the business RE's way - so you can help Mark Smith's excellent European rail site - by far the best around right now in terms of sheer practical info, etc. - give his site the commission by clicking on to rail sales thru his site!'

As you are booking thru RailEurope there may be mailing and handling fees - depends on what their minimum limit is for free delivery.

If I were OP I'd price discounted tickets if they do not want flexibility but just a guaranteed seat on a certain train at a certain time and will not have to change and suffer cancellation fees - many have no refund I think for cheapest tickets. But early bird gets the worm as discounted tickets sold in tiers of availability and can sell out weeks/months early or may be available rather late but rarely the deepest discounted ones the closer the train gets.

Discounted tickets come in first class too and at times not much more say Fodorites and first class is much nicer than first class (see www.seat61.com for descriptions of each class) especially since on long-distance 'cross country' trains first class gets usually loads of complimentary food -including booze- and drinks at their seats. 2nd class has to go to the tiny buffet ('buffy') area and pay top dollar for less than premium fare.

You can bring any food and drink aboard - unless rare instance of a big football (soccer) game in a destination city when such trains and the football hooligans on it can be declared alcohol-free just for that occasion.
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