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Train Travel in the UK and Ireland

Michigan
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Train Travel in the UK and Ireland

My sister and I are hoping to go to both the UK and Ireland in the next year or so. We would like to do this by train versus renting a car as not comfortable driving there. We can book the travel in advance so what suggestions might you have for us to coordinate our entire trip using trains i.e. what company to get passes from, is it even possible to travel within all of the countries (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland) by train, etc...? Thanks so much for any advice you can give us.

Stirling, United...
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1. Re: Train Travel in the UK and Ireland

You can book fares for England/Wales/Scotland online at eastcoast.co.uk - the cheap Advance fares are released about 12 weeks before. You can actually book any train company's tickets from any company, but eastcoast has a reputation for being easier for non-UK residents to use. Resellers such as trainline.com charge extras. For Northern Ireland (Belfast) you can buy through train and ferry tickets, but not I think online - you'd need to use one of the train company call centres. For Republic of Ireland (Dublin) you'd probably need to buy in Belfast or use a rail travel agent.

You can get through rail and ferry timetables from bahn.de

Timetables and route maps for the UK from nationalrail.co.uk

Charlotte, NC
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2. Re: Train Travel in the UK and Ireland

Good website for planning UK & Ireland with many links to help you:

http://www.seat61.com/

Be patient - at times quite slow website.

From the website: "t's a well-kept secret... You can buy an combined train & ferry ticket between Belfast and any station in Britain, in either direction, via either Stranraer or Holyhead & Dublin"

http://www.seat61.com/NorthernIreland.htm check all the links.

Stirling, United...
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3. Re: Train Travel in the UK and Ireland

Updated info from National Rail

London to Dublin and Belfast by 'railandsail': You can buy combined 'railandsail' tickets from London or any National Rail station to Dublin, Belfast or any station in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland via most ferry routes. London to Dublin costs just £29 one way, with unlimited availability. For fares, see www.sailrail.co.uk. You can buy tickets at most UK railway stations or by calling 08450 755 755 (08:00-20:00 Mondays-Fridays, 0900-1700 Saturdays and Sundays).

Train times and fares within the Republic of Ireland: www.irishrail.ie

Train times and fares within Northern Ireland: www.nirailways.co.uk

London, UK
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4. Re: Train Travel in the UK and Ireland

I suggest a starting point would be to look at www.nationalrail.co.uk which covers all the train operators in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). Your biggest decision is going to be how flexible you want to be. Boblinks is quite correct that by booking in advance low fares can be obtained particularly on some long distance journeys. Howevever, it wold mean being tied to speific trains.

However you could investigate whether a Britrail pass might be suitable for you. One of the (few) advantages of the rail system in Britain over some European countries is that very few trains actually require reservations.

The rail network in Ireland, both the Republic and Northern Ireland, is more skelletal than on this side of the Irih Sea. However on both sides of the border, and across it, there is quite a good network of buses.

Edinburgh, United...
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5. Re: Train Travel in the UK and Ireland

It is possible to buy rail and sail tickets from Great Britain at www.stenaline.co.uk

I'd recommend that you buy a train pass. There are several available, such as the BritRail Pass (only available in North America). You may be able to buy an Inter Rail pass covering both Great Britain and Ireland.

Charlotte, NC
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6. Re: Train Travel in the UK and Ireland

Here is a link. Good value only when the cost of point-to-point tickets is higher than the pass; so make your itinerary & compare.

www.railpassdeals.com/brit_tickets.html

Llandudno, United...
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7. Re: Train Travel in the UK and Ireland

Pricing your tickets on point to point basis is a good one, but if you are familiar with the UK train system you would know that it is not

a real option, prices are not constant and by the time you actually buy your tickets the prices are usually totally different.

London, UK
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8. Re: Train Travel in the UK and Ireland

A rail pass in Britain can have very real advantages - in Britain, unlike some European networks, the pass would be accepted without suppements or a requirement to pay for a seat reseation on virtually all trains. Although there are some considerable savings to be made by advance purchase of point to point tickets these promotional fares are not available over most of the network and require considerable adance planning.

Denver, Colorado
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9. Re: Train Travel in the UK and Ireland

I would second the idea of looking into the Britrail pass.

A couple of tips:

1) If you and your sister will be travelling together, look into the Saver pass.

2) Assuming that you will not be travelling by train every day, consider the Flexipass. Use your 'days' for the long-distance trips, and buy shorter distance ones as needed.

3) If you are not staying in London the night of your arrival or the night before your departure, and if you are staying at a place with service from London Paddington, or London Victoria, note that the BR Pass does include travel on either the HEX or the GEX, It's probably not worth using a 'travel day' for.

FYI - I've been using BR passes since 1967, and will continue to do so. BUT - I'm a 'train-nut,' Use of a pass as opposed to individual tickets does require planning in order to minimize cost.

Example:

Last year I was staying three nights in Exeter. Was arriving at LHR from Budapest, and then returning to the US from LHR. I got a BR England only Senior 4-day consecutive pass. ($261)

Day 1: HEX from LHR to Paddington and then train from Paddington to Exeter.

Day 2: Day trip from Exeter to Derby to meet up with a friend.

Day 3: Idle.

Day 4: Train to Paddington and then HEX to LHR.

Figuring that I couldn't buy tickets in advance for day 1 because of the vagaries or air travel, and the difficulties in getting to Paddington by other means than the HEX, this wa a winner. Day 4 might have been a toss-up if I'd been able to catch a low-cost ticket from Exeter to Paddington, but would still have needed to use the HEX to check in on time for my flight back to Denver. Total for those two days (at best) would have been $272, So I got my trip to Derby 'for free.' Also the Senior pass is 1st class only, so I got that too.

.

belfast
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10. Re: Train Travel in the UK and Ireland

northern ireland railways (NIR) travel Gt Victoria St Station Belfast ask mgr mr keith. enjoy my country bon chance!