Half price train tickets: what is the British Rail Sale, how to get cheap tickets, which routes are included?

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With train fares continuing to rise, travellers will be able to grab some routes at a discounted price for a short period of time

Families will be arriving home from Easter breaks with the next destination on their mind.

With the cost of living rising, staycations might be a bit more popular with Brits looking to escape for a few days.

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Now with the Great British Rail Sale, tickets on some popular routes will be slashed in price.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to grab some bargin tickets.

What is the Great British Rail Sale?

The Great British Rail Sale has been announced by the UK Government to help take pressure off those hit by the cost-of-living crisis.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has said that more than one million rail tickets will be reduced in price over April and May by as much as half.

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He added: “We’ve had two years of living life virtually. It is time to get real and visit our beautiful country.

“For the first time ever, operators across the rail industry are coming together to help passengers facing rising costs of living by offering up to 50% off more than a million tickets on journeys across Britain.

“There’s no better time to visit friends, family or just explore our great country, so book your tickets today.”

When does the Great British Rail Sale start?

The sale begins today (Tuesday 19 April).

Tickets included in the sale will be valid off-peak from April 25 until May 27.

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Which routes are included in the Great British Rail Sale?

Some popular routes are set to have their off-peak prices slashed.

Manchester to Newcastle will see some tickets be reduced down to just over £10, while some seats on the London to Edinburgh route will be marked down by 50%, going from £44 to £22.

Some will also be able to travel from London to Cardiff for only £25, while Portsmouth Harbour to Penzance wil see some seats reduced to £22.

Shorter routes will also be included, such as York to Leeds which will be reduced to £2.80 from £5.60.

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What has been said about the Great British Rail Sale?

Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, encouraged Brits to take advantage of the savings.

She said: “We want everyone to be able to benefit from travelling by train because it’s more than just a journey, it’s a way to connect everyone to the people, places and things they love.

“As part of the Great British Rail Sale customers will enjoy over one million discounted tickets, so they can explore some of the fantastic locations that are accessible by rail.”

While the savings are being welcomed, Labour’s shadow transport secretary said that Tory policy in the past decade is what has turned people away from railways, while also criticising the government for not introducing the sale during the half-term break.

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Louise Haigh said: “This temporary respite will be small comfort to passengers who had thousands taken out of their pockets from soaring fares since 2010.

“And the decision to end the sale just before half-term will mean many families face the same punishing costs over the holidays.

“Working people are facing the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades, and the Conservatives have chosen to hike up taxes and reject a windfall tax on the soaring profits of oil and gas giants.

How to book discounted tickets

According to the Government website about the Great Rail Sale, tickets can be purchased online from “participating retailers with the up to half-price rate applying to a huge range of off-peak tickets spreading the length and breadth of the country”.

Tickets are set to go on sale around 10am today (19 April) and you can look up whether you could save some money on National Rail’s website.

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