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Guest Sam Crawley

Train tickets in Advance

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Hello all, I'm looking into train tickets from London, and currently it's too early to book. According to National Rail the tickets come up 9 or 12 weeks before travel. I'm actually going down on the Tuesday to meet family, but just want to work this out. Do they put a batch of the whole week's tickets on sale on Sunday or Monday, or do they release them day by day exactly 9 or 12 weeks before (depending on which train company)? And why does this crap have to be so complicated?!

So.. Glasto is Wed 24th June. 12 weeks before = Wed 1st April?

So do you try to book at midnight (00:01) on the Wednesday? And presumably cheapest fares are 1 way, so return (single) needs to be booked 5 days later?

I've also signed up for the email alert on thetrainline, supposed to let you know when the cheap tickets com up for sale. Incidentally this has a book window table by company, which seems to imply they release a week at a time, as they're all around the 15th May now, which is more like 11 weeks away.

Edited by Sam Crawley

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what i'd do is keep checking every day from 12 weeks before that tuesday. i don't *think* they put them out exactly 12 weeks to the minute of the day coz i've tried buying tickets on the exact date before and it didn't work. i've no idea how they run these things...

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I think generally it means they go on sale when they go on sale. Which may be anywhere between 9 and 12 weeks in advance..

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From the National Rail Enquiries correspondent...

The tickets are released in a batch for the week rather than a day-by-day, with the Train Operators usually updating the dates on a Friday. FGW usually aren't bad at keeping to 12 weeks in advance (the table here shows how far in advance tickets are available for.

Special events can throw a spanner into this works in terms of planning, and how many trains / seats they'll have available, so until this gets finalised by the operators & network rail this can delay the release, although this is more common for weekends rather than weekdays.

I can't be sure, but (personally) I expect that tickets will be available from Friday 10 April (Good Friday). Possibly the 3rd, but I'm not sure. And don't stay up till 00:01, rail reservation systems update at about 3-4am.

Also, don't expect there to be cheap tickets available for routes to/from/via Castle Cary from Wednesday onwards. There's high demand, so the Operators don't need to try and entice customers in with cheap fares. Travel in off peak hours if you can (after 0930 from London, or not via London at all depending where you're travelling from). Look around t'internet for rules & guides on split ticketing if you want to try and save some money (Pewsey is your friend though;)). Get a 16-25 railcard if you're entitled to one though, 1/3 off straight away.

Any other rail questions, feel free to PM me or message me on Twitter @al_green

Al.

Edited by Al the CAT

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Err, no! ^_^

Sadly there are no cheap ('Advance') tickets for the regular festival days. It's the same price to buy a ticket when you go to catch your train. The only way round that is split singles, and that can be dicey on the return.

Edit: Al explains more fully, above!

Edited by paulo999

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Thanks for informative reply, Al. So there will be advanced cheapo tickets for the main festival days or not? Presumably if they can get away with not providing them they won't (grrr). I was assuming it would be two singles on specific trains for cheapest fares - I've got some amazing deals on other routes booking way in advance (London to Edinburgh for a tenner etc). I wonder how much the full fare on the day walk up ticket costs - 300 quid or something I'd imagine!!

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So there will be advanced cheapo tickets for the main festival days or not? Presumably if they can get away with not providing them they won't (grrr).

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For those looking to book train tickets down, I've received an alert that the tickets for Glasto week are starting to come available now, although there don't seem to be cheap tickets yet.

I'm actually going down to Exeter as am hooking up with family, but presume they're all released as a batch. Will let you know when I spot the cheapos (12 quid one way etc) appearing..

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Looking at Wed to Monday a couple of weeks before Glasto dates I can find 10.50 GBP going out (Paddington to Castle Cary) but I can only find 23.50 coming back (cf 56 quid off peak return fare).

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Also, don't expect there to be cheap tickets available for routes to/from/via Castle Cary from Wednesday onwards.

I can tell you for certain that will definitely NOT be any cheap tickets available - I've been informed this by one of the rail companies, who were asking eFestivals to help make their scam all the more profitable.

With my normal subtlety I told 'em where to shove it. :rolleyes:

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Yep, I remember this from last year. Some company did a special "sign up and we'll tell you as soon as the special fares are available."

There were no special fares.

Unless you want to do the complication of timed singles, you can just buy an off peak ticket on the day of travel. There really isn't any point trying to "get in early".

Go to station off peak. Buy ticket. Catch train.

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I'd previously always got a lift, and it was my first time public-transporting it last year.

I booked my tickets on-line (cheaper as 2 x separate journeys), for specific trains. When I collected tickets from Paddington, and went to try to get the specified train, was told I hadn't actually got a booking for that train (no seat number on ticket, so no seat booked for specified train although time of train was printed on ticket). Many others were the same. The only people allowed on that train were those who had a seat number.

Anyway, all the peeps who thought they'd booked but hadn't, plus all the people that turned up and just bought a ticket to travel there and then were herded around the station, told to sit here in a flock. Then there in a flock. Then herded to a platform. Then herded to another platform. After a couple of hours of this we were then all allowed to bundle onto a train (hurrah!). Much more herding the other end too - horrid snake queuing system (which took an hour) at Castle Cary for the buses to the site. And the buses took ages too (at least another hour).

I was dreading the journey home so much that it did keep clouding my mind. Luckily the lovely Luscious Lucy helped me out and I got a lift to Sussex and got the train back to London from there - rather a round trip but so so much nicer than waiting and queuing and being herded. Thanks again Lucy! ;)

Sorry for the essay, but I wish I'd known all this last year before getting my tickets, so I'm just sharing information! :angry:

I think I'm going to try the coach this year...

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why would they offer cheap tickets for a guaranteed capacity train?

i don't get it :angry:

I go by National Express for all three years of my attendance

i have already booked my ticket £42 London return directly to the festival entrance

if you take the train you have to queue/ wait for a bus to the train station

then queue/ wait for a train

on the coach .... you have a seat on a coach leaving at a set time (approximately)

ok there was a debacle leaving in 2007, but the other three journeys were easy and on time

Edited by venuss

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Glad to be of help ... get on the National Express web site

They don't give promo code for this event because it's going to be capacity ... and i've tried loads of them and none worked ;)

i'm on the 9.30am from heathrow wedn 24th

if you're on that one, let me know, i'll be there early early so that i can bag the front seat :angry:

the other option is victoria

PS Luscious Lucy was camped next to me

Ah, thank you Venuss, you've set my mind at ease - I'll book a coach ticket! :P
Edited by venuss

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i'm on the 9.30am from heathrow wedn 24th

if you're on that one, let me know, i'll be there early early so that i can bag the front seat ;)

the other option is victoria

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The way Paddington is run for festy departures is practical (from the rail co's point of view), but it's a little cheeky. If you look like a festival goer, there will be every suggestion that you can't board a standard train, that your ticket maybe isn't valid, whatever. And yet there is no such rule.

They want you on the festival specials.

It worked fine for me in 2007 (about 10.45am Wednesday). We were in the festival pen for about 20 minutes, and then whoosh straight on, and because they organised the flow to perfection, everyone was guaranteed a seat. And the festival specials are a good laugh... brilliant atmosphere, and a (swiftly depleted) bar with lots of cold beer and cider!

But... The coach is - if we ignore the 2007 Seetickets cock up - the most consistently hassle free and reliable way. The lanes mean that the car parks can take most of the day to clear, and the train is indeed a bit hassly with there being two first come first served queues... one for the shuttle, next for the train (and vice versa).

And coaches are *good* for the festival. Capacity at Castle Cary is pretty much unexpandable, but there's still room for lots more coaches in and out of the festival bus station.

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And the festival specials are a good laugh... brilliant atmosphere, and a (swiftly depleted) bar with lots of cold beer and cider!

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:angry: beer? :) cider? ;)

I didn't get any beer or cider.... waaaaaaaahhhhhhhhHHH.

Thanks for the coach review Paulo - you and Venuss have made up my mind on this. :D

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I *loathe* coach travel myself :P but having read all the various car/train/coach trauma stories over the years, I think coaches win for consistency! :)

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