TrainSplit.com works by breaking journeys down into smaller chunks. Buying separate tickets for different legs of your journey often works out cheaper than buying a single ticket, and there’s no requirement to keeping getting on and off. As long as your train stops at the stations where one ticket ends and another starts then it’s all perfectly legal and above board.
The only snag – a temporary one, we hope – is that the Trainsplit website is currently struggling to cope with demand. The rush follows a Sunday Times interview with the founders which resulted in a flood of eager travellers slowing down and even crashing the site.
Computer programmer Nick Brown and train lover Mike Richardson launched the site with business partner George Sikking last April – combining their interests to create a clever algorithm which finds the cheapest way of making a journey. They reckon rail companies overcharge passengers on 42 per cent of all tickets sold, and believe their neat trick can help passengers save an average 22 per cent on each journey.
They offer the example of a return ticket between Manchester and London which can be slashed from £270 to £179.50 by splitting the journey into five separate legs – a juicy saving of £90.50.
Nick created the algorithm using five databases containing timetables, fares and reservation information for the entire UK rail network. In theory any individual could set about working out their own split-ticketing arrangements, but it is likely to prove a time-consuming affair.
TrainSplit says it’s now working to upgrade its systems, so the service is well worth keeping in mind. In the meantime, if you’re experiencing problems with their website, there are alternatives. Splityourticket.co.uk offers a similar service, as does personal finance guru Martin Lewis on his moneysavingexpert.com website.