Stephen Craven / East Midlands Trains at St Pancras / CC BY-SA 2.0

Fare Splitting – How to reduce the cost of train travel in the U.K.

Fare splitting, also known as split ticketing or ticket splitting, is a legal technique used in the UK to save money on train travel by purchasing multiple tickets for different segments of a journey instead of a single through ticket.

In Australia, fares are generally more reasonable as the rail systems are state-owned and run, while in the UK they are all privately operated. This difference in ownership structure contributes to the fare discrepancies between the two countries.

For example, instead of buying a direct London to Manchester ticket, you could split the journey at an intermediate station like Milton Keynes. By purchasing a London to Milton Keynes ticket and a separate Milton Keynes to Manchester ticket, the total cost can be significantly lower than the through fare.

To split fares legally, the train you are traveling on must stop at the stations where you change from one ticket to the next. You don’t necessarily have to get off the train, but it must make a scheduled stop at those intermediate points for your split tickets to be valid.

Fare splitting can save up to 90% on long journeys, with potential savings of £20-£50 or more on many routes. The key requirements are that your train calls at all the stations listed on your split tickets, and you have the correct combination of tickets covering each segment.

While train operators don’t advertise split ticketing options, many third-party websites do.

The algorithms different companies use to find split tickets are proprietary, so some offer better splits than others. It’s worth checking a few like TrainSplitTrainline, and SplitMyFare to find the cheapest option

Here are some helpful YouTube videos on fare splitting