London to Oxford -- train fare?

Old Feb 1st, 2005, 08:34 AM
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London to Oxford -- train fare?

We are trying to plan a day trip from London to Oxford. I have seen information on the Oxford Tube (which is apparently really a bus). Their web site does post prices.

However, for the train, I am able to find schedules, but it seems that the web site wants me to create an account and proceed with booking tickets before it will tell me the price.

I think we want to take the train because it appears to save a lot of time. But I would like to have some idea how much it costs. Can anyone point me to a site that displays train fares without booking? I realize I probably could cancel out before actually buying tickets, but I find it annoying to have to go through such hoops in order just to see how much a ticket would cost.

Or does anyone know about how much a round-trip same-day fare would be from London to Oxford?
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 08:52 AM
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www.nationalrail.co.uk . Click on journey planner.

The adult fare on the Oxford Tube is £10 single, £12 return.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 09:02 AM
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Whatever you find out for rail fares - and you should be able to get this easily by visiting www.nationalrail.co.uk - there will be a plethora of fares with a byzantine set of conditions - anyway compare to the BritRail London Plus Pass, sold to non Brits only it gives you 2 days of unlimited rail travel in an 8 day period for $69 in second class and $99 in first class. Now if just going to Oxford and back this may not be the cheapest - especially if you want to buy advance purchase non-refundable tickets online thru UK - but if you want flexibility the pass can be used on ANY train ANYTIME - a type of ticket you'd pay top dollar for in the UK. Plus if you're coming into Gatwick Airport you can use the pass on the Gatwick Express, using another day of travel - this may make it cost effective as Gatwick trains may cost $20 or more. If you have three or more folks on the London Plus pass, they only pay 50% of what the first two pay. Children? Those 5-15 go free with each paying adult. I've bought these passes from BETS (800-441-9413), who are UK rail experts and will answer all your questions. They work thru RailEurope but don't charge RE's $15 mailing fee. If you're doing more than 1 day trip than the pass becomes more of a steal. There's also a 4-day and 7-day version (4 days out of 8 $129 p.p.; 8 days out of 15 just $169 - or $22 a day - about 12-13 pounds a day - absolute bargain in light of UK fares! Pass is good throughout southeast UK - from Exeter, Salisbury, Worcester, Northampton, Cambridge, Harwich and all of Kent. Some rail lines of UK's many differently operated lines don't participate butmost do.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 09:09 AM
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Sounds like the bus is by far cheapest option if that is the only travel outside of London you'll be doing! And they go so frequently i don't think you'd have to book.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 09:11 AM
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another after thought - as for the London Plus Pass, travel before 2/28/05 or between Nov 1 and 2/28/06 and the off-peak rate slashes 25% off the pass price - meaning 2 days out of 8 would be about $52 only - still not as cheap as bus but great for folks doing more than one day trip.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 09:41 AM
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Whatever you're doing, you're using the wrong website. The site Rom recommends needs no accounts creating, or any such nonsense.

And it's a myth that there are a bewdildering number of train fares. The straightforward, walk up to the ticket machines and buy a ticket five mins before travelling, price is £16 return on or after 9.30. As this is a busy commuter route, that ticket isn't valid on return journeys between around 1700 and 1815.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 10:30 AM
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No this route is not as bewildering as some i've seen that really have a laundry list of fares - this one you only have to wade thru three types of return fares, each with their own restrictions. The cheapest 'cheap day return' is 16.9 pounds and you have to take the train indicated - no flexibility - youmust predetermine how long you'll be in Oxford and perhaps rush to make the train. Benefits of an open ticket are much more costly. There is not one fare but several. the cheap day says can't be used on Mon-Fri peak trains but doesn't say when those trains are - you have to plug in a time to find out. Anyway at 17 pounds this is about $30 for the highly restricted fare - the benefits of the pass is that you only need show up at the station and can take any train - with the cheap day return you must peg yourself in. But i agree with Flanneruk that the fare structure on this line is fairly straight forward and they may have ironed out the myriad of fares i used to see on other lines - hopefully. Privitization has been generally a disaster for UK rail - bring back BritishRail!
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 10:39 AM
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Thanks for the nationalrail site, and the other information. I don't remember where I was before, but I think it was from an Oxford site with a "how to get here" link -- obviously paid placement!

The schedules say that every other train requires a change. Does anyone know more about what that involves? It only adds a few minutes to the schedule, so I can't imagine actually getting off and on trains.

It would save about £20 for the two of us to take the Oxford Tube, but time is a premium. The main object of this Oxford trip is for my DH to visit the Mini Cooper plant, and we could only get the tour the same afternoon that we have a 7:15 curtain in London. So I think we'd better take the train in the interests of time.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 10:52 AM
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The change of trains is likely in Reading. You will be taking an express train to Reading, changing to a local, as opposed to taking a local all the way. Although Reading is a busy station, changing trains is easy, especially without luggage.

If you click on "view details" in the journey planner, it will show how much time you have for the change.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 12:52 PM
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I'm studying abroad in Oxford and go into London frequently. I have never taken the train just because it is almost as long to get there via train as coach, and it is more expensive. I use Oxford Espress, which is the rival of Oxford Tube. I have had bad experiences both times I have been on Oxford Tube.

If you are interested, google Oxford Espress. They run buses normally every 10-15 minutes. The ride is very comfortable, takes 1 hour 45 minutes from the first stop in London to last one in Oxford. I recommend it.

For trains, nationalrail.co.uk is in fact the main one. You can try thetrainline.com as well.

Good luck, and please let me know if you need any other Oxford advice.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 03:34 PM
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JoeTro,

Thank you for the recommendation. If time weren't such a factor, I would definitely consider the Oxford Espress, and it's good to know about. However, I'm afraid it would be cutting it too close on a Friday afternoon, when we have to get back to London and hopefully get a bite to eat before 7:00, when we should be at the theatre.

The train takes just about an hour, and the bus schedule says 100 minutes, but more in rush hour. I would imagine Friday afternoon traffic could be pretty heavy.

I do have a couple of other questions about Oxford, but I think I will post them under a different subject, since they aren't specifically about the train.
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Old Feb 5th, 2005, 08:54 AM
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nonnafelice:
Could you tell me more about the Mini Cooper plant in Oxford? My GF(Gentleman Friend) had a Mini years ago and he still talks about what a great car it was!!
He and I are coming to Wiltshire in May to visit Salisbury and Bath and I know he would love to stop off and visit the Plant.
You can e-mail me or respond here. Thank you!!
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Old Feb 5th, 2005, 09:08 AM
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I was going to recommend the bus until I saw from your latest post that you will be leaving Oxford on a Friday in the late afternoon.
It can take eons of time just to get out of the city in a Friday rush hour. Slow and frustrating! I would allow two and a half hours to get to London if you chose the bus, so in this case the train is much better.
A reply to the question about the Mini plant in Oxford. It's much smaller than it used to be and now owned by BMW, and I have known people to go on privately arranged tours of the plant. However the British Motor Heritage museum at Gaydon just off the M40 has a collection of the old style Mini Coopers plus historic exhibits as the last ever Morris Minor, gas turbine Rover,first Mini plus a bevvy of 1970's joke cars like the Austin Allegro, Vanden Plas Princess etc!
Lots of fun to be had there.
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Old Feb 5th, 2005, 09:26 AM
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Henneth:
Thanks so much for the info on the Heritage Museum. I drive an old BMW and my GF also used to own a Morris Minor! What fun, and he thought the trip would all be museums and cathedrals!
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Old Feb 5th, 2005, 06:33 PM
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Hi, Minnette,

Here is an article with information about the tour:

http://www.motoringfile.com/2004/04/...ini_plant_tour

There are two tours a day, and each one takes a maximum of 30 people. Apparently they are very popular and you need to reserve well in advance. The email address is: [email protected]
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Old Feb 5th, 2005, 11:46 PM
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Just go to the Paddington Station, if I remember the train left about every hour and there were no connections. I just did this myself in September. Round trip, if I remember correctly was around 38 Euros, but I'm not 100% positive, but it was in that price range. It was well worth it. By the way, no need to make the reservation in advance, we just bought our ticket that morning right before going. Have fun!
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Old Feb 6th, 2005, 12:15 AM
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When I've travelled from London to Oxford, I also use the Oxford Tube, but I buy my tickets well ahead of time on www.megabus.com. If you buy them a week ahead, you pay only GBP2 return, plus .50 processing. You will have to print your receipt, or take note of your reservation, though.
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Old Feb 6th, 2005, 04:12 AM
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sydney_jacko - I just went to that site and it certainly does look like you can take the bus round trip London to Oxford for £2.5. That sounds too good to be true! How come it's sooo much cheaper if you buy your tickets ahead of time? Is it still the same Oxford Tube? How come this is the first time I've heard about it? Is it new? My daughter currently is living in London and takes the Oxford tube to Oxford frequently and pays £7, I'm just wondering why more people aren't talking about it unless there is some kind of catch. Thanks for any info.
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Old Feb 6th, 2005, 05:09 AM
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Megabus is owned by the company that owned Oxford Tube, but is a separate service that only runs a few times per day, unlike Tube or Express which run every 12-15 minutes usually. I think Megabus runs maybe 5-7 times per day. In addition, I think it only makes 1 drop off point in London that may not be very convenient for those who use it. That's why maybe it's not talked about as much.
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Old Feb 6th, 2005, 05:57 AM
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Re the train fares:
I wrote about this in another thread, but I did find that you can also get a round trip train ticket much more cheaply if you purchase in advance -- and like the bus service, with more limited times available.

We were able to book a return trip (London - Oxford) on the train for £10 each -- a lot more than the bus fare, of course, but well worth it for the time savings. This is the so-called Apex fare.
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