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.

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, 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 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.,,,