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How to plan your journey

Hopefully you will already know some basic details about your journey :
Origin

Destination

Outward Journey date

Return Journey date (if applicable)
Preferred arrival or departure times

 

If you are unsure as to where the nearest railway station is, for either your origin or destination or both, then use the Station Finder

 

You can search journeys from either :
National Rail

Passenger Train Companies

Local railway station

 

Most online planners will offer the fastest or most direct journey
Most
Passenger Train Companies also offer copies of their timetables online

These timetables can either be customised simply based on the origin and destination stations or in a traditional format
However traditional timetables will show all calling points of all their services

Your local railway station will also have a variety of timetables, but these are normally only for their own services or those of Passenger Train Companies serving that station

 

If you can be flexible, then you are likely to be able to find cheaper tickets

However, you may need to book these in advance
See our summary of
ticket types to see which is suitable to meet your requirements

 

If you find the train is fully booked or seats cannot be reserved, then you may need to adjust your search to look for earlier or later services
Alternatively, you may be able to
split your journey with two or more tickets
Equally, this may also be cheaper

 

Finally, don’t take the first price that appears

 

Quite often cheaper fares can be found using the above techniques of splitting journeys
Remember : If you do
split a journey with two or more tickets, the you MUST maintain the minimum connection time for stations; especially in larger stations which you may be unfamiliar with

 

Advance tickets are typically available up to 12 weeks before travel

However, if you are planning your journey before Advance tickets are available then you may want to sign up to receive an email when Advance ticket types become available
Normally Advance tickets can only be used on specific train services
However if you arrive at John Lennon Airport or Manchester Airport you can travel on the next available First Transpennine Express service up to 3 hours after the departure time stated on your ticket, if no services depart within this time the next available service may be used
Passengers wishing to use this concession MUST have their tickets endorsed at the Ticket Office BEFORE boarding the train


If you are considering bus travel, then
PlusBus may be a suitable option
This includes travel in the town or city, and can be at the start, finish, or both ends of your journey

 

You are now read to proceed to How to buy tickets, our guide to all the options of buying tickets