Railwalking Advice & Ticket Tips

Woods

Safe Railwalking

If you’re taking a walk from the train, particularly in remote areas of the UK or from branch lines where trains are less frequent, it pays to be prepared. Here are some suggestions to keep you safe and on track (if you’ll excuse the pun) while you enjoy your walk.


  • Check your times. Use the National Rail Enquiries website or one of the many mobile apps available from your app store to find out about departures. Allow plenty of time to complete your walk between the trains you are intending to catch.

  • Tell someone about your journey. If you are walking on your own (or even if you are not!), let someone know which route you will be taking, and your expected return time.

  • Take a mobile. Ensure it is well-charged, and if possible take additional battery storage. Most mainline trains and an increasing number of branchline trains have charging sockets on board. However, don’t assume that there will be mobile signal where you are walking.

  • Go equipped. Take warm clothing, ideally in several layers, as well as plenty of water and food.

  • Maps, maps, maps! The walks we share all include maps, either from external websites or our own, but for the fine detail we recommend taking an Ordnance Survey Explorer map with you in either paper or electronic format. OS offer an excellent mobile app which, in combination with their Premium subscription, allow you to view maps on the move on your phone and see where you are on the map using GPS. For less than the cost of four paper maps, you can access mapping for the whole of the UK for a year, and in multiple formats including both OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps. If you know or suspect that mobile signal will be poor where you are walking, you download specific areas of mapping on the OS app in advance.

  • Consider techonlogy. You can download GPX files for many of our walks and import these to the OS app or other apps, so that you can follow the route on your phone as you walk. This makes getting lost a great deal harder! You’ll find instructions on the OS website, here, as to how to import GPX files onto the OS app. It’s really quite straightforward.

  • Request with zest. Be aware that many smaller stations in the remoter parts of the UK are request stops. If you intend to get off at a request stop, you will need to notify the guard on the train in plenty of time so that they can arrange for the train to stop for you. If you are boarding the train at a request stop, you should make yourself clearly visible on the platform (standing back from the platform) as the train approaches. If the driver cannot see you as the train approaches the platform, they may drive straight through the station! Here’s a list of request stops in the UK, why not collect them all and amaze your friends?

20181122_115805

Ticketing Tips

You’ve planned your walk, got your map, you’re ready to go. All you need now is your ticket. Which one to buy, and how to pay as little as possible for it?

Groupsave

Groupsave tickets offer 1/3 off adult prices when you travel together in a group of three to nine people- a great saving! Be aware, though, that not all train operating companies participate in Groupsave. Time restrictions may apply on weekdays, and on certain days (typically big sporting events or similar) even companies that usually participate in Groupsave may suspend the offer. To see which companies participate, and to check if Groupsave will be valid on the day you wish to travel, visit the the national rail Groupsave page.

Railcards

You may qualify for a railcard, which also usually offer 1/3 off. There is a growing range of railcards available for travel across the UK. Have a look at the national railcard website to see if there is a railcard for you. Many areas of the UK also have their own regional railcards. The only qualifying criteria for these is living in certain postcodes (and being able to provide evidence of your address). You can view the range of current regional railcards on this section of the national rail website.

Advance Purchase Tickets

For longer journeys, advance purchase tickets, which are available as discounted single journeys, offer considerable savings against standard fares. Limited numbers of advance tickets are usually available for each train, and generally become available 10-12 weeks before the date of travel. You can arrange for an alert to be emailed to you when advance tickets are available for your journey via The Trainline. This page also tells you the latest availability dates for advance fares from each train operating company.

Rangers and Rovers

Ranger and Rover tickets offer unlimited travel within a certain area for either the day (Ranger) or several days (Rover). Some Rangers and and Rovers include bus or ferry travel as well as the train. Both options will often be far cheaper than purchasing individual tickets for each journey, and allow great flexibility when travelling. Rover tickets usually work on the basis of x number of days validity within y period. So, for example a 3 in 7 day Rover would be valid for three days’ travel within a seven day period. With this type of Rover, you would not need to travel on three consecutive days, but to get full value you would need to travel for three days within the seven day validity period. There are a vast number of different Rangers and Rovers available, and you can view a full list of the options, arranged by train operating company, on the relevant national rail page.