What is 'split ticketing'?

Split ticketing means buying two or more tickets instead of one to cover a single journey.

It may sound complicated, but it's a smart way to save serious money on rail fares. Here at TrainTickets.com we make it quick, simple and easy to buy split tickets that will help keep more cash in your pocket.

Here's an example of how split ticketing works: rather than buying a single ticket to cover a trip journey from London to Glasgow, you might buy three - one from London Euston to Milton Keynes Central, one from Milton Keynes Central to Coventry and another from Coventry to Glasgow Central.

This wouldn't mean switching trains three times. In fact, in this instance you'd be on the same service throughout your journey.

You'd also cut the cost of your journey by almost £60, and would be able to buy all the tickets required for your trip in a single, straightforward transaction.

How does split ticketing work?

Split ticketing works because UK rail fares are so complicated. An array of different companies run rail services across the country, setting their own prices and operating according to their own, as well as national, rules.

When you buy a train ticket - particularly if it covers a long journey that takes place partly in peak time - you'll effectively pay a premium for 'simplifying' the complex collection of fees and charges that apply to various parts of your trip.

Consider this example concerning peak time travel. You wish to travel from Bristol Temple Meads to Leamington Spa, leaving Bristol at around 6pm and arriving in Leamington Spa sometime around 8.20pm.

In this case, if you buy a single ticket to cover your journey you'll be charged a peak time fare. That's even though peak hours on most train lines end by 7pm, and therefore only really apply to around half the time you'll be on the train.

If you bought split tickets for the same journey, you'd end up with more pieces of paper in your pocket - but you would only pay a peak hours price for the first part of your journey.

If you bought three tickets (one from Bristol to Didcot Parkway, one from Didcot Parkway to Oxford and one from Oxford to Leamington Spa), you could save over 20% on a normal Advance ticket.

Split ticketing also helps to cut costs by searching for obscure Advance ticket offers that might otherwise remain unknown to you, and allows you to bundle such deals together to make impressive savings.

How many train tickets will I need to cover my journey?

That depends entirely on where - and when - you are going.

Even if you're travelling to a destination you've visited previously, you might find that the ticket splits suggested on this occasion are different from those you've been recommended before.

This is because train operators regularly alter routes and service times, releasing cheap Advance tickets on a rolling basis. All of this could affect your journey, and therefore which ticket splits offer the best value for money at this particular time.

None of this need concern you, but it's a very good reason to search for and buy split tickets through a reputable website such as TrainTickets.com, rather than try working out a split route and buying split tickets on your own.

When you purchase your split tickets with us, you can be confident they'll work properly for your journey as well as offer the cheapest deal. For example, we'll always make sure you have sufficient connection time allowed within your journey should you need to change trains.

What's more, we make the process of buying split tickets quick, simple and easy. Once we've worked out the cheapest way for you to split your journey, you can buy all the tickets you need through TrainTickets.com in a single transaction, with no hidden charges or fees added on at the last moment.

Will I have to get off the train, or move seats, if I buy split tickets?

Again, that depends on where you're going. Some train journeys involve catching connections whether or not you decide to buy split tickets, so of course in such cases you will still need to change trains.

In many instances, though, you can buy split tickets for a train journey that is covered by a single train service. This means there'll be no need to get off the train at any point.

All you'll have to do is ensure that you show a ticket that covers the correct portion of your journey if you are asked to do so - so if you have multiple tickets in your wallet, it's a good idea to sort them into the correct order once you've boarded your train.

Will I be able to reserve a seat if I buy split train tickets?

Yes, you can still reserve seats on the train if you buy split tickets - but it can be more complicated than usual, even if you are staying on the same service.

If your journey has several splits, it might be that your reserved seat will change at some point even if you remain on the same train - although when we reserve seats for you here at TrainTickets.com, we will always try to avoid this.

Of course it's up to you to decide whether you sit in any or all of the reserved seat(s) you might book, or look for an unreserved seat you'll be able to stay in the whole time you are on board your train.

If you'll be changing trains during your journey you can book seats on the various services you will be travelling on, provided the train operators running those services allow seat reservations.

Is split ticketing legal?


Buying multiple tickets for a single journey is permitted under Section 19 of the National Rail Conditions of Carriage, provided that you travel to all the stations covered by your split tickets and provided your train(s) actually stop there.

When you buy split tickets here at TrainTickets.com, you can be confident they are completely compliant with these rules.

What if my train(s) are delayed?

If you have bought split tickets for a journey that involves changing trains, a delay to one of your services should not prove a significant problem.

If you missed your second train because of a delay to your first, you should be able to catch a later train provided it is operated by the same company and as long as you allowed the minimum connection time between trains one and two when your split tickets were purchased.

When you buy split tickets through TrainTickets.com, you won't need to worry about this. We will always ensure any splits in your journey work within the rules concerning connection times.

However, if you are unlucky enough to miss your connection because of a delay to the previous service you were travelling on it's a good idea to speak to a member of station staff. Get your onward ticket validated for use on the next available train before you hop on board, and matters should then be straightforward if you're asked to show your ticket during your journey.

Avoid paying extra

Watch out for booking fees and credit card charges that might be levied by some websites selling split tickets.

Here at TrainTickets.com, we charge neither. If you'd like to know more about how we make money, you can find out here.