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confused by all the train sites selling London to Portsmouth

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Brisbane, Australia
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confused by all the train sites selling London to Portsmouth

I am trying to buy a ticket on a train from London to Portsmouth. ( I can't seem to see the thread I started confusing Plymouth with Portsmouth.) Anyway, another question for the gurus/locals. I am so confused by all the ways one can buy a train ticket. It seems there are multiple sources , eg mytrainticket, directrail, thetrainline, perhaps there are more. I take it there is one train and lots of outlets selling the tickets. Is that right?

So - is there one better than the other or are they all much of a muchness?

I can see the bus is much cheaper but I want to persevere and go by train as I think that would be a more pleasant experience. I am finding this very frustrating perhaps because of this concept of many suppliers of the same ticket??

Many thanks for your thoughts.

Bingley, United...
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1. Re: confused by all the train sites selling London to Portsmouth

Try Megabus first as they sell discounted tickets on some trains to Portsmouth

Failing that use one if the train operating companies accessed from nationalrail.co.uk as they will all sell you the same ticket for the same price, if you have a problem with one then try another

None of the companies you mention operate trains in the UK

Cotswolds
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2. Re: confused by all the train sites selling London to Portsmouth

For Portsmouth there are actually two trains - one is a slow route from London Victoria via Gatwick run by Southern railway, the other is a faster direct one run by Southwest Trains. The slow route is cheaper.

You are right that there are multiple outfits selling the same tickets. Some charge a booking fee, some don't, but the underlying ticket price is the same.

Exceptions - if you buy a Southern ticket online from Southern you can often get a discount over buying it anywhere else

If you buy through Megabus (who sell TRAIN tickets between London and Portsmouth) the fare is discounted. You still travel on the faster South West train. Megatrain bookings open about 6 weeks ahead of travel. They don't do Sundays (on this route)

Southwest tickets themselves are never discounted on this route - they are the same on the day as in advance

And there are no seat reservations on this route with any of the companies

UK
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3. Re: confused by all the train sites selling London to Portsmouth

I can't seem to see the thread I started confusing Plymouth with Portsmouth.

=====

Well you certainly dont want to do THAT !! To find any message you posted, click on your name, you'll see a list of all of your posts.

If you go to the national rail website …nationalrail.co.uk/service/…search , find a ticket option you like, click the link, that will send you to the operator of that service. Buy from them.

And, just checking, I take it you really do mean LONDON to Portsmouth, and not Heathrow airport to Portsmouth? Thats a different question. Apologies if you do mean London.

Suffolk, UK
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4. Re: confused by all the train sites selling London to Portsmouth

Yes - they're all basically offering the same deals. We have a bizarre system in this country where the lines are centrally owned, but lots of different train companies run the trains, all with their own fare structures. The amount you pay will depend on the time of day that you travel and how far ahead you book. Sometimes, if more than one operator runs the same route, there may be price differences between them - usually the faster the train, the more you pay.

I've had a look at the route map (http://tinyurl.com/ppo4zam) and it seems to me that the only logical route to Portsmouth is with South West trains from Waterloo via Guildford. I think you could probably go a different way from Victoria via Gatwick Airport, but this looks to be considerably longer and slower.

Personally I tend to use thetrainline.com to plan routes and buy tickets because I'm used to it, but any of them will be fine.

Cotswolds
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5. Re: confused by all the train sites selling London to Portsmouth

Sorry - missed out that Megatrain and South West run from London Waterloo

<<Personally I tend to use thetrainline.com to plan routes and buy tickets because I'm used to it, but any of them will be fine.>>

Possibly - but you pay extra to use thetrainline whereas with most of the others you don't.

Edited: 5:35 am, June 10, 2013
Stirling, United...
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6. Re: confused by all the train sites selling London to Portsmouth

You are usually best (and certainly no worse) to buy the train ticket from the train operating company if possible, or from another train operator if the first operator's website doesn't like foreign payment cards.

Agents/resellers can charge additional fees and there is less support available if things go wrong eg you can't retrieve the ticket from the machine.

The railway ticketing system with its through ticketing and almost complete inter-availability of tickets actually works pretty well compared to airline ticketing.

Guildford, United...
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7. Re: confused by all the train sites selling London to Portsmouth

Unless you want to try and use magabus which is only valid on that particular train, you just go to Waterloo and buy a ticket on the day to Portsmouth. They wil be no cheaper in advance and there are no seat reservatios.

Trains every 30 minutes, on the hour and half hour. Try and avoid trains after about 4pm as they will be busy.

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8. Re: confused by all the train sites selling London to Portsmouth

Personally I tend to use thetrainline.com to plan routes and buy tickets because I'm used to it, but any of them will be fine.

----

Ignore that advice, trainline dump extra fees on your ticket price, plenty of other sites don't put on extra charges, avoid sites like the trainline unless you enjoy throwing money away, their website is no easier to use either. And they sell the same tickets available elsewhere, which their adverts conveniently forget to mention, they save you nothing you can't get elsewhere, except the trainline add fees on top

Gosport, United...
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9. Re: confused by all the train sites selling London to Portsmouth

I normally book online with Southern Rail...

http://www.southernrailway.com/

Until recently it wasn't too difficult with a bit of foresight to get returns from Pompey Harbour to London Victoria for a £tenner return (2 x £5 singles). You had to specify exactly which trains you were catching, and they generally excluded peak times. I could even get the same deal to Gatwick Airport.

But just lately the very good offers seem to have dried up.

Out of preference I prefer Southern compared to South West Trains.

New South Wales...
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10. Re: confused by all the train sites selling London to Portsmouth

I've been following this thread with interest as I'm also planning on going from London to Portsmouth. London does not seem to have one central station for country departures - seems it all depends on where you are going - is that right? I had decided to go by bus as it seems cheaper but is the train route more scenic?