Readers will have seen that I previously extolled the virtues of Avanti’s £94.50 off-peak excursion on the above route.
This is a flexible ticket. It’s available to ‘walk-up’ travellers prepared to avoid busy times. It provides a huge saving on the full £369.40 peak equivalent.
However I was alerted to an even better deal by rail fares expert Andy Brabin.
London to Manchester Trains – Bargain Flexible Fares £23.10 return! https://t.co/Pre7n0fDs1
— AndyBTravels (@AndyBTravels) May 10, 2021
Mr Brabin suggests that when you route from Manchester via Crewe and combine Tfwrail (Transport for Wales Rail Services) with London North Western, the price tumbles to £35 or £45 return depending on which off-peak train is used.
This is a flexible walk-up fare. Railcard discounts apply.
Yes it’s true the latter operates semi-fast services to London Euston and its trains may not offer the same comfort as Avanti’s Pendolinos.
But the overall journey is one hour more and I know that some of you are cost-conscious, or maybe the trip would be for a junior staffer.
So how to book? Brabin suggests using tfwrail.wales, but I find its site awkward. I also realise some of you have accounts with Trainline, which is simpler to use, albeit there’s a small fee.
- Go to trainline.com using its website, not the app.
- Select Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston and you must add “via Crewe”
- Enter outward date plus open return
- Select off-peak times such as late morning (for Monday-Friday trips)
- You will then be presented with the fastest trains with their higher fares.
- Below in tiny print you will see “Click here to see if slower routes with cheaper tickets are available”
- Click the link and lo and behold the £35 and £45 fares appear.
If you need to travel at peak times, then an Anytime return costs £120 which is also a massive saving on what Avanti charges.
Of course it’s not essential to book online. These are walk-up fares – just remember to tell the ticket agent exactly what you require otherwise you will be sold a £94.50 ticket.