There is usually a good rail service between main towns. Main Inter-city trains can be fast. London to York - fastest time 1 hr 47 min, London to Edinburgh - 4 hours. If you wish to do much travel in Britain by rail, you can buy different 'passes' giving unlimited travel.
BritRail Passes for overseas visitors
Prices vary according to period and area covered. Cheaper prices for young people 16 - 25, and over 60. Adults and over 60's can take one child free. Extra children half price. Different types of pass cover different periods - e.g. 4, 8 or 15 days. The pass gives free travel, but there may be restrictions regarding times and particular services. If you wish to do much travelling, they can be a real money saver.
Different types of pass can cover:
- All of Britain
- All of Britain and all parts of Ireland plus one round ferry trip
- All of Britain, plus one round trip on Eurostar (Channel Tunnel) to Paris
- South East England
- Also London underground and buses (see under 'Travel in London')
NB. These passes CANNOT be bought in Britain!
More details in the booklet 'TOURIST TICKETS AND DISCOUNT CARDS' published by the British Tourist Authority.
Other types of 'Rover' tickets giving unlimited travel in certain areas, can be bought at UK railway stations. Details available at railway stations, and Tourist Information Offices.
Most main railway lines start in London, so to travel through London often means that you have to change stations. This is best done on the 'underground' trains system. If you have booked a 'through ticket', underground travel between two London stations is often included free. However, there are times when it may be cheaper to buy two separate tickets for each part of the journey. The situation is more complicated now, because British Rail has been 'privatised' and different companies operate different train services.
On Sundays, there are less trains, and some smaller towns may not have a train service on Sundays.
Online train timetables
Railtrack Ltd now offer an online timetable enquiry service. You enter the start and finish stations for your journey, date and time of travel, and are quickly given a list of train times. Prices are not given.
When travelling at weekends, or busy holiday times on popular routes, it is sensible to reserve a train seat in advance.
The Trainline.com is often the simplest and cheapest way of ordering rail tickets if you have access to the internet and are based in the UK.
UK Traveline Maps and travel information about all buses, long-distance coaches and trains.
Other train sites
There are many small tourist railway lines around Britain operating old steam engines.
If you are travelling by train through Europe to reach Britain, or just wish to travel around Europe, there are many Multi-country rail passes which can save money. Check out this site, or ask your travel agent. There are many discounts, including for students and young people, or for a second person in a party of two. Travel Europe. STA Book before you set out.
This is a good site explaining different youth discounts, bonuses, and railpasses for rail travel in Europe. Their site also gives advice on rail travel, European subway maps and prices, and more. They supply railpasses to the North American market.
There is a Discount CoachCard, giving a discount of up to 30% off adult fares for National Express and Scottish Citylink Services. It is available to young people and students 16-25, those over 60, and also mature students. For prices see National Express web site.
National Express also offer a Tourist Trail Pass, with a range of options available, from any 2 days unlimited travel within 3 consecutive days for £49 (£39 with a Discount Coachcard) through to any 15 days unlimited travel within 60 consecutive days for £160 (£205 with a Discount Coachcard. To buy a Tourist Trail Pass in the UK you must have must already have a Discount Coachcard, however Tourist Trail Passes bought overseas do not require a Discount Coachcard. You can buy Tourist Trail Passes at any of 2000 National Express Agents around the country, or from:
National Express, 52 Grosvenor Gardens, Victoria, LONDON
or Victoria Bus Station, Buckingham Palace Road, London.
In many areas of the country, it is possible to buy 'rover tickets' giving unlimited travel for a day or a period on buses in the area.
On Sundays, there are less bus services, and some smaller places may not have a Sunday bus service.
Thought for the day:
Jesus said 'I am the way, I am the truth. I give life. No one can come to my Father unless I take him there. John chapter 15 verse 6