Ticket types

The advertisements covering fares would have you believe that there are just three types of tickets available, Anytime, Off-Peak and Advance. Whilst this is broadly true it hides much; for example there are several types of off-peak fares; some off-peak fares do not have time restrictions and off-peak can mean many things, after 08:33, after 08:45, after 09:30, not into London before 10:00, not into London before 12:00 and some tickets have afternoon time restrictions!

Whilst the ‘just three’ advertisements imply a revolution in fares in reality it is a large smoke screen as behind the scenes the fares types are exactly as they have always been. You may buy an off-peak fare to Birmingham but the code for this is SVR, short for the former Saver ticket.

So the main ticket types that can be bought are:

Anytime Off-Peak Advance
First Open Single Saver Single Single fares on specified trains
First Open Return Saver Return  
Standard Open Single Super Saver Single  
Standard Open Return Super Saver Return  
Standard Day Single Cheap Day Single  
Standard Day Return Cheap Day Return  

Not all fares are available between all stations.

Advance Tickets

If you are able to book in advance (usually up to 12 weeks before date of travel) then some very good deals are available on some routes. Travelling with CrossCountry you will find that these fares are generally not available until after 09:30. Let’s look at the pros and cons of these tickets.

These tickets can be very cheap, for example a single fare to London Paddington of £13:00 if bought through the First Great Western Website. Booking early will generally produce the best deals. First Great Western and East Coast Trains discount their normal Advance fares if bought on line from their own websites.

You are restricted to travelling on the specified trains, from the specified start point to the specified destination. If you have any doubts about being able to travel on the specified train to the specified destination, these tickets are not for you. To give an extreme example, buy an Advance ticket from Paddington to Exmouth and attempt to exit at Exeter and you render yourself liable to pay the full single fare from London to Exeter, a mere £120.50!

Season tickets

If you commute to work, say Exmouth to Exeter Central then consider buying a Season Ticket.

Tickets are available for periods of one week or for selected periods from one month to one year. There are also part time season tickets which are valid from 3 nominated days each week (e.g. Mondays. Wednesdays and Fridays) plus weekends.

Some sample prices as at January 2015:

Exmouth to Exeter Central:

Duration Valid 7 days   a week Valid 3   days plus weekends
7 day £24.70 Not available
I month £94.90 £64.60
3 months £284.60 £193.60
1 year £988.00 £672.00
5 months and 7 days £496.50 £337.70

Season ticket prices are regulated and therefore only change 1st January each year. Buying a ticket just before the year end is a common practice.

Group Save

First Great Western and South West Trains offer discounted travel for groups who are travelling together. GroupSave allows three to nine people to travel off-peak with a 34% discount off the adult fare.

Larger groups may be able to save money by making a Group Travel booking – please call 08457 000 125 for details.

Some dates aren’t available with GroupSave. For further information click on the links below-

First Great Western

South West Trains

Ranger & Rover tickets

These tickets allow unlimited travel in specified areas for a specified number of days. They are generally for off-peak travel only but there are some exceptions. In the South West the morning time restriction for Mondays to Fridays is ‘not before 09:00’ except for the Freedom of the South West Rover which is ‘not before 08:45’. The All Line Rail Rover has no local time restrictions but early arrival into a limited number of stations in some city areas is not permitted.

Ranger tickets are usually valid for 1 day, Rover tickets for longer periods

See this link for Ranger tickets valid in the South West.

See this link for Rover tickets valid in the South West.

Due to their complexity, two other tickets available but not covered on the above links are:

Dartmoor Sunday Rover (2014 information: 2015 edition should be available in May).

The Freedom Travelpass valid in the Bristol, Bath and Weston-Super-Mare areas

For details of Ranger and Rover tickets throughout Great Britain see this site

Buy local Ranger and Rover tickets by calling 08457 000 125 or visiting your nearest staffed station. Away from the South West you may find tickets which are in the e-ticket format and can only be bought on line and printed out at home.


It is possible to add bus journeys to a rail ticket for many destinations. See this link.


If you are traveling abroad using Eurostar from London St Pancras International then through tickets from Exeter may be purchased on line. See this link for all available destinations and ticket prices.


Comments are closed.