Early Birds 'To Buy Rail Tickets for as Little as [Pounds Sterling]1'

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE MURPHY

AIRLINE-STYLE rail fares that are cheaper the earlier you book are on the way for the railways.

Cheap saver tickets bought on the day are set to be scrapped, forcing families to book earlier or pay more. But early-bird bookers could get even better bargains than now, with longdistance fares at as little as [pounds sterling]1.

The sweeping shake-up is aimed at revitalising rail travel by offering giveaway prices for families planning trips in advance while pushing up the cost to business people who need to travel on the same day.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling is flatly opposed to abolishing cheap tickets altogether but thinks the current system of saver returns is outdated. Saver fares have been held down by law since the Tories privatised the railways, while other fares have risen sharply over the past decade.

But even the train operators agree they need to keep some form of cheap tickets to prevent trains running empty at offpeaktimes, which would cause worse financial losses. …