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Question on train travel from London to Bath

Question on train travel from London to Bath

Old Jul 17th, 2009, 09:49 PM
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Question on train travel from London to Bath

I will be booking a train from London Paddington to Bath Spa for travel in September. I understand that the earlier I reserve and pay for the ticket the less expensive it will be.

There seems to be two sites from which to buy tickets: National Rail and First Great Western. I assume they each sell tickets for the same train, correct?
Does it matter which site I use?
Also, it is my understanding that once a ticket is purchased from outside the U.K. it is necessary to go to Paddington station and access one of the ticket machines to retrieve the ticket. So, is it correct to assume that the ticket I purchase in July for travel in Sept. will be issued to me when I go to the station in September?

Thanks for your help.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 10:18 PM
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You can go to any train station to retrieve your ticket - you just need to use the same credit card you used to purchase it. So Paddington on the morning - or any other station that is convenient during your stay.

I've always had good luck w/ FGW - but do a trial booking on each site to see if there is a difference (stop before actually making the purchase)
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 01:19 AM
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National Rail doesn't sell tickets - it will redirect you to one of the companies that run the trains like FGW.

Generally it doesn't matter which train operating company website you use as they all show the same trains and generally the same prices. HOWEVER some TOCs have special offers if you book their trains through their websites.

Personally I'd use www.nationalexpresseastcoast.com as it shows all the possible prices for tickets - so you can see if you are seeing the cheap tickets for a particular service or are trying to book too early / too late
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 07:48 AM
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Thanks for your explanations. I will play around with the sites in seeking out cheap fares!
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 08:31 AM
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i am surprised that you can pick up the ticket ordered online at any train station. I tried to buy a London to Edinburgh Caledonia Sleeper at Kings Cross, where all daytime trains to Edinburg go from or most but the sleeper train departed from Euston - after reaching the ticket guichet at Kings X they told me i could only buy that ticket at Euston. Thankfully you can pick your online tickets up, according to janis, at any station.
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Old Jul 20th, 2009, 06:32 AM
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The chap at Kings Cross could & should have sold the Caledonian Sleeper ticket, he was probably either too lazy or too scared to do anything remotely complicated and unfamiliar to him like a sleeper booking!
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Old Jul 20th, 2009, 07:34 AM
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The National Express website is by far the best - it is set up slightly differently to the others, which maddeningly make you go back to the start of the booking process if your seating preference etc isn't available (eg if you pick 'airline' and there are only 'table' left).

It also doesn't make you pick the 'two singles may be cheaper' option - it'll just take you straight there if they are.

And it doesn't charge for posting out tickets (in the UK), if you prefer that.

And it accepts more card types than any other rail website.
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Old Jul 20th, 2009, 08:11 AM
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PQ: Maybe you just annoyed the bloke and he chose to not sell the ticket.
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Old Jul 20th, 2009, 08:19 AM
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No janis and this was a few years back - he was quite nice and just said you can only buy this ticket (actually a railpass reservation-sleeper supplement) at Euston - i was surprised because the train line that runs the sleeper uses Kings X

No your assumption that i probably annoyed the clerk IME is a poor one - the clerk was probably just too lazy like Man in Seat 61 says - now this was a few years ago and perhaps was policy then. Cheers, dear - we are meeting for tea at the big Giant, right? Tea for two - tea for me and tea for you?
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Old Jul 20th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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janisj, your best posting ever.
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Old Jul 20th, 2009, 10:07 AM
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jsmith - Bingo! LOL!
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Old Jul 21st, 2009, 01:47 PM
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PQ: Maybe you just annoyed the bloke and he chose to not sell the ticket.>

janis dear - are you basing this possibility on your experience at ticket windows, as it would seem?

Cheers love.
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