Yes, you read that correctly. The UK now has a rail route on which tickets cost more than £1,000. A first-class return ticket to Kyle of Lochalsh in the Highlands from Newquay in Cornwall bought at the station on the day of travel costs £1,002.
The ridiculous fare offered by the CrossCountry train company was discovered by rail expert Barry Doe during a survey of ticket prices. Just to put that fare into perspective, you could fly anywhere in the world for less than that.
Doe’s research also shows that some standard-class tickets bought on the day of travel have risen in price by 100% since the mid-1990s. A London to Manchester return was £33 in 1995, but is now £66.10.
But don’t worry, you can avoid paying these extortionate fares. It just takes a little planning. If you buy your tickets in advance you’ll get them a lot cheaper, even if you only buy them online or over the phone a couple of hours before you travel.
To get the best bargains at busy travel times such as Christmas, buy your tickets as soon as you know your plans. I always buy my train tickets home on the first day they are released – three months in advance. This means my return trip from London to York is costing me £20 this Christmas.
For more tips on how to cut the cost of train travel see: Seven tips for cheaper rail travel.