You bought an advance train ticket? Silly Ewe…

Published on 5 May 2010 in , , , ,

Silly Ewe proclaimed the adverts at London Euston station some months ago. They featured a sheep who was buying their train ticket at the station, whilst the “Clever You” man was busy saving up to 43% by booking his tickets in advance! Yay for him!

Of course he’s saving because he’s bought his Advance ticket. As the National Rail site proclaims, these offer “Great value for money on many longer distance journeys”. Indeed we all know if we can pre-book our train times, we can get the best deals. We all know that! Advance tickets are the cheap and easy way! That’s the message! And it rocks!

Which is why I was highly amused to see this screen on the Virgin Trains website whilst searching for a ticket to take us to St Bees when we go up to walk the Coast to Coast later this year.

Train fares from London to St Bees

Yep, on three of the four journeys, the cheapest fare is the Off-Peak single – a walk on fare that I can buy on the day at the station.

Though the proposed journey takes in two companies, the issue seems to be somewhere at Virgin Trains – when I did a search for just going to London to Preston, the same issue occurred. I could pay £69.20 each off peak, or £94.00 advance. Quite why I’d want to pay more on the same train for a less flexible ticket, I’m at a loss to explain.

One thing I can say is that with scenarios like this, it’s no wonder people still get confused when booking train tickets.


  • Alex says:

    Surely you’ve still saved £70..? Advance ticket prices usually only have a certain amount of each one, the cheapest usually go quite quickly

  • Andrew Bowden says:

    I saved money and was happy to do so. But if an advance ticket is more expensive than a standard fair, then it defeats the whole point of the advance ticket! Advance tickets have restrictions, far more than an Off Peak return. And the reason you buy a more restricted ticket is because it’s cheaper.
    Or not as the case may be…

  • Alex says:

    Yeah, I agree the whole pricing structure is ridiculous, I counted 14 different types of tickets available when I was going between Exeter and London.. 14! They probabaly need to sort that out at some point..
    I found this post whilst searching for information about that ad campaign in a similar annoyed way..!