IEP Train UK – Tickets
Tickets for UK Intercity Express Routes
Clearly there won’t be any opportunities to buy IEP train tickets for use on scheduled IEP routes until the first trains are introduced on the Great Western Mail Line in 2017.
When those first scheduled services start running, you’ll be able to find all the information you’ll need on tickets and fares right here, both for GWML routes and those covered on the East Coast Main Line.
That said, we may see some options for buying tickets to ride the IEP in advance of the first passenger services, perhaps on inaugural runs or as special offers limited to news reporters and other official bodies.
Of course – once the trains do start running – your options for buying tickets are almost certainly going to be exactly the same as they are now. There are plenty of ways to find and book rail journeys, either online or in person, and directly with the rail operators themselves or using one of the rail tickets resellers who often offer the best price fares (particularly if booking in advance).
IEP Tickets – GWML – London To Western UK – West To London
IEP services are due to start operation on the Great Western Main Line in 2017. Trains on these routes are operated by First Great Western.
There are a number of options for comparing fares for journeys within and to the western regions of the UK both now and once the IEP’s enter passenger service, though if you prefer to make a booking direct with the operator then you’re best off going direct to First Great Western’s website.
IEP Tickets – East Coast ECML – London To The North – North To London
We won’t be seeing IEP trains on East Coast routes from London to Northern towns and cities of the UK until 2018, and when we do it’ll be in carriages carrying the Virgin Trains livery.
As with the GWML, you’re not just limited to buying IEP tickets direct with Virgin. See below for other options, though remember that sometimes the best price tickets may actually be available direct from the operator.
Virgins’s farefinder tool is useful for making bookings at good prices.
Compare IEP Fares
If you’re looking to get the best prices for tickets by train from and to anywhere in the UK, you’ll be faced with what appears at first glance to be a bewildering array of choices. It’s not as complicated as it may look though, as long as you know the options and understand how they operate.
There are a handful of train ticket websites all clamouring to say they’ll have the best discounted fares, and you’ll need to do some legwork to compare prices between them. Take a look at the list of ticket sellers below for the options.
How To Get Cheap IEP Tickets
I think the word ‘cheap’ here is a bit of a misnomer. We all know that train fares are not particularly cheap, and even painfully expensive in some cases. But there are ways of getting good deals on tickets, all of which apply to travelling by train in general rather than the IEP specifically.
To find best priced tickets for any rail journeys there are three main considerations along with a number of different ways to actually find the cheapest deals for any specific trip. Riding the IEP will be no different, so let’s take a look at some aspects it’ll pay to take into account first – and they’re all tied in either with the type of traveller you are, how prepared you are to shop around, and how informed you are about the best ways to get the right deals.
Peak time travel is always more expensive. Try to plan your journey outside peak times (generally classified as before 9.30 and between 5pm and 7pm on weekdays).
Buying tickets as far as possible in advance is the best way to get the cheapest deals – you can normally book a ride up to 12 weeks in advance. It’s possible to get up to 80% saving on a normal fare by booking well ahead of the day you need to travel. You’ll need to be sure though, often these are non refundable if you need to change plans, or at least will cost you money to change.
Know The Ticket Types
We already mentioned that off peak travel is cheaper, but aside from off peak there are a number of different types of tickets.
Season tickets are obviously useful for anyone making regular (most likely daily or several times a week) journeys. It’s worth doing the maths, but season tickets will always work out cheaper in these circumstances. The big issue is getting hit with one big cost up front. Season tickets might be available for anywhere from a week onwards.
Group tickets can offer savings if you’re travelling in a party.
Buying a railcard can often result in good savings if you’re planning to make a number of trips.
Know The Concessions
Everyone knows that child fares are generally cheaper than adult, though it may not be so well known that this applies to other types of commuter too.
OAPs and students also have options for knocking the cost of train fares down through concessionary fares.
If you want to book a seat direct with the train operators, you can go straight to their websites. See the links to First Great Western and Virgin Trains above. But to get the best deals it’s often worth checking out the various resellers:
IEP Ticket Resellers
• Trainline – A well known operator, the Trainline promises cheap online train tickets with savings of up to 80%.
• TrainGenius – Also offering savings of up to 80% compared to making bookings on the actual day of travel.
• MyTrainTicket – Buy tickets for travel with all train operators on the UK’s rail networks. Useful best fare finder tool.
• Railsaver.co.uk – Great website with useful sections on saving money on tickets. Compare prices for trips from and to a wide number of destinations.
• Raileasy – Great website with useful sections on saving money on tickets. Compare prices for trips from and to a wide number of destinations.
• RedSpottedHanky – Great website with useful sections on saving money on tickets. Compare prices for trips from and to a wide number of destinations.
For details of IEP routes visit the dedicated routes page here on IEPTrain.co.uk.