Guest column: How to beat the train fare hike

There are great savings to be had buying train tickets in advance
There are great savings to be had buying train tickets in advance

Earlier this month, fares on Northern Rail were increased by an average of 4.7 per cent.

However, because of the peculiarity of railway fares, some journeys can be made for even less than before the January increase.

There are real bargains to be had using advance tickets bought on line from train companies.

Advance fares can be purchased for shorter journeys now, such as Lea Road to Sheffield or Meadowhall for £8 return.

For advance travel from Lea Road go to http://bit.ly/2DbQx5k

If you don’t want to buy your ticket in advance there are still ways to reduce the fare.

For example Lea Road to Meadowhall day return is £15.50 or £13.10 after 9.30am.

Instead of asking for a ticket to Meadowhall you should ask for a ticket to Penistone.

The fare will be £14.20 or £12 after 9.30am.

The same applies for travel to Sheffield or Chapeltown.

You don’t have to go as far as Penistone, breaking your journey at any station on the way is permitted.

Going to Doncaster? Your journey can be really cheap if you travel out by 98 bus buying a return ticket for £6.20.

With this ticket you can return by train using your bus ticket and the return rail fare is £11.90.

The first 98 bus departs from the bus station at 5.55am (starts 5.46am from Miller Road as 106) and arrives at Doncaster in time to catch any of the trains going in all directions from around 7am.

The last train coming back does not leave until 8.33pm.

Railcards are excellent value for money and generally offer one third off fares.

There are railcards for 16-25 year olds, seniors, disabled, two folks travelling together and,s the best value of all, a family railcard.

Using a railcard, I travelled to Welwyn Garden City for under £10.

One-year railcards can be bought at staffed stations but better value are three-year railcards bought on line at https://www.railcard.co.uk

Since last month, trains now run hourly for most of Sunday both to Lincoln and Sheffield.

These trains are proving very popular.

In May the Lincoln to Sheffield service is to be extended daily to Meadowhall, Barnsley, Wakefield and Leeds.

The May timetable changes will be the biggest change to railway timetables in more than 50 years and I will detail changes for Gainsbough in my next column.

Invaluable for bus and rail travel is the Gainsborough Travel Guide produced by Stagecoach East Midlands and published by North Notts and Lincs Community Rail Partnership.

They are available from the Guildhall, Old Hall, library and Town Council at Richmond Park.

It can also be downloaded at http://bit.ly/2kjXBAq