Monday, July 16, 2018
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Switching your car for the train could potentially save you hundreds of pounds each year. With a range of season tickets and rail cards available, the train can often be a cheaper alternative to driving.
Some great reasons to take the train:
Lose weight and get fit
Walking to and from the train station can contribute towards the 30 active minutes we need to do each day in order to avoid putting on weight and stay fit and healthy.
How far is your nearest train station from home? If you are not keen on walking both ways could you take the bus one way or perhaps cycle in the summer months, leaving your bike at the station?
Working exercise into your daily commute can actually save you time in the long run rather than having to fit additional time to exercise into your day.
Free up your time
If you think there aren't enough hours in the day, commute by train and give yourself back some 'me time'.
Whether it’s reading a book or listening to a podcast, checking emails, doing coursework, writing a shopping list or just watching the world go by, travelling by train allows you get things done or to sit back and relax while someone else does the 'driving'.
Reduce your stress levels
Unpleasant driving conditions caused by traffic congestion, bad weather and careless drivers can add up to stress. Swap the car for the train and you could start and end your day more relaxed.
Help look after the environment
Did you know that a Bishop Line train, for example, can hold approximately 100 seated passengers?
This means that just one train journey has the potential to remove 100 single occupancy vehicles from the road.
Using the train instead of the car can help to reduce your carbon footprint and also contribute to a much cleaner, greener environment by limiting the number of cars on the road.
If you live or work close to the station, the train can often be a faster and more direct alternative to driving. The train doesn't have to wait in traffic and many stations are located in the centre of towns and cities, close to other transport links.
Travel at your own convenience
With a set timetable and live departure information available, planning your journey around your schedule has never been easier. With a season ticket or pre-booked tickets you only need to be at the station a few minutes prior to departure and you always know the planned time of your arrival.
Tips for train travel
So you've decided you want to travel by train. Where do you start?
We have information about how to travel by train, how to find your nearest station and what facilities you can expect at each station along your route within the Tees Valley.
To find your nearest station, you can use this handy tool [external link] from the trainline.
If you want to find out about facilities, destinations, estimated journey times, town centre maps and onward travel for various stations around the Tees Valley visit our partner website Connect Tees Valley. Here you will find timetables for the major rail operators as well as downloadable station information leaflets for:
and an overall Tees Valley Train map.
Travelling by train is a direct and convenient way to get around. By planning your journey in advance and taking advantage of available discounts you could find that train travel is far cheaper than you thought.
Follow our top tips to help you get started:
1. Plan your journey
It’s best to plan your journey before you set off. All you need to know is where you’re travelling from and to, and what ticket you need.
Where are you going?
Visit Northern Rail’s Journey Planner [external link] to find your local station and plan your journey.
Which ticket do you need?
There are many types of tickets and fares available. You can make good savings (more than 50% in some cases) by buying tickets in advance or by buying season tickets, such as weekly, monthly or annual passes.
Buying a return ticket in advance can also be cheaper than buying two one-way tickets. You can also save money by travelling outside specified peak commuting times. If you can be more flexible in terms of what time you travel this is something to bear in mind.
To find out more about tickets and fares please visit our train fares and tickets page.
Get live updates
Trains run frequently, depending on the time of day and day of the week, but delays can happen. It’s best to check before you travel.
2. Getting on the train
Many stations have electronic screens and/or audio announcements to let you know when your train is due and at which platform it will arrive. If you have bought your ticket in advance you can go through the gate onto the platform by using your ticket.
If you have bought a ticket online that has been delivered to your smartphone this can be scanned at the gate and shown to the conductor on the train.
If you are running late you still need to buy a ticket before getting on a train. If the station has a ticket office or a ticket machine, you must buy your ticket before boarding the train. If there isn't a ticket office or machine, you can purchase your ticket from the conductor when you board the train.
3. Getting off the train
Many trains are fitted with an audio announcement system so the conductor will provide travel updates and let you know which station you are arriving at.
When you are approaching your destination, make sure to have all your belongings with you and head to the exit doors when you’re ready. There is no bell to signify that you want to get off the train, but the train will automatically stop at every station on the route so there is no need to worry about getting left behind.
You will need to press the button to open the doors as these do not open automatically.
Planning your journey as a disabled passenger
With a little planning and preparation, travelling by train is a realistic option for many disabled people.
Stations across South Durham and the Tees Valley are operated by a number of different companies. Find out what procedures and facilities are in place to help disabled customers before you travel.
Finding out what assistance is available
When travelling by train, it may be advisable to book assistance before you travel. Station staff will then be available to help you on and off the train when necessary.
For more information about assisted travel and travelling with a disability and for useful contacts, please visit the specific companies pages in our area, including:
- Northern Travel Assistance [external link
- National Rail information for disabled passengers [external link]
- Transpennine Express assisted travel information [external link]
- Grand Central Rail assisted travel information [external link]
- Cross Country Trains assisted travel information [external link]
- Virgin East Coast Trains assisted travel information [external link]
Disabled Persons Railcard
If you have a disability that makes travelling by train difficult, you may qualify for the Disabled Persons Railcard. The Disabled Persons Railcard allows you 1/3 off most rail fares throughout the UK.
For more information and costs please visit the Disabled Persons Railcard website [external link]
Different types of train tickets and where to buy them
It is a legal requirement to have a valid ticket or pass before you start your journey. Depending on how often you travel and the type of ticket you need, there are a number of different ways you can purchase your ticket:
Where to buy your train ticket:
At the station
Ticket vending machines sell a range of tickets for popular destinations for immediate use.
At the ticket office
You can buy the full range of tickets from staffed ticket offices. This includes weekly, monthly and annual season tickets.
From the conductor
If the station has no ticket machine or ticket office, or the ticket office is closed, you can buy your ticket from the conductor on the train.
Advance, off-peak and standard any time single and return tickets can be purchased directly from the train operator’s website or at sites such as, National Rail Enquiries or thetrainline.co.uk [external sites].
On your smartphone
Selected tickets can now be bought through mobile ticketing, providing a quick, easy and convenient way to buy your ticket while on the move. Simply scan the ticket on your phone at the barrier and get on the train.
Planning ahead and using the train more often will often save you money.
Other sites like Split Tickets, Train Split, Rail Easy and My Train Ticket [external sites] also offer split tickets. This is a way of buying tickets for rail journeys across the UK which could save you money. The overall journey is split into different stages with a separate ticket for each, though there is no need to get off the train. This won't be effective on all journeys but if your journey starts at peak time and ends off-peak you could save.
We've put together some examples of types of tickets and rail cards commonly available for rail travel:
Use a single ticket for a one-way journey
For two trips - one outward and one return. Buying a return ticket is usually cheaper than buying two singles (one to your destination and one back)
One return train ticket, plus a second for half the price when two adults travel together and return the same day*
Unlimited travel between two stations for one week
Unlimited travel between two stations for a four week period
Unlimited travel between two stations for a whole year
Discounted travel rates for all people aged 16-25 and people who are 25+ and in full-time education
Discounted travel rates for families of up to 4 adults and 4 children aged between 5 - 15
Save 1/3 on journeys when two named people, over the age of 16, travel together.
Discounted travel rates for eligible disabled people and adult travel companion
Discounted travel for any person over 60 years old
*Only available on selected routes operated by Northern Rail.
Onward travel by bus
If you're travelling by train to Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Darlington or Durham then you can buy a rail PLUSBUS ticket [external link] with a valid train ticket.
The PLUSBUS ticket gives you unlimited bus travel around the whole urban area of the town at the start and end of your train journey. Day tickets and season tickets are available for frequent commuters. Rail card holders get 33% off day ticket prices.
Combined bus & rail cards
If you're travelling by train to/from many stations, including Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Darlington or Durham then you can buy a rail PLUSBUS ticket [external link]. These tickets allow you to travel in the area you are going to/from at a discounted price.
Travelling further afield?
If you're planning a day out in the region, you can purchase a Ranger and Rover ticket [external link]. These tickets give you the freedom to explore all over the North by train.
Tees Valley train map & station maps
See how your town is connected to other towns in the Tees Valley, interchanges and train operators on the Tees Valley train map [external link].
Details of local stations including how to get there, times to destinations and facilities can be found on the Connect Tees Valley website [external site].
To plan your rail journey, or for up to date departure information, please visit our partner site, Connect Tees Valley [external link].
For the Bishop Line, up to date train times can be found using Northern Rail’s journey planner [external link].
Connect Tees Valley has links to timetables for all the major rail operators.
For all other journeys in the United Kingdom visit National Rail's timetables [external link].
Train stations that have staff are helpful places to gather more information regarding timetables, fares and even specific rail cards.
If you have questions regarding train travel, this is the best place to go for help.
If you’re still looking for more information, the Let's Go Tees Valley team are here to help. Please contact us with your questions.
All train operators sell tickets for any journey within the UK. Here are some of the local operators should you need to contact them about your journey or passenger experience:
Tees Valley train operators include:
Catch the train between Bishop Auckland and Darlington
South Durham has excellent access to the Tees Valley via the Bishop Line rail network. The Bishop Line is comprised of six stations, including:
- Bishop Auckland
- Newton Aycliffe
- Darlington North Road
- Darlington (Bank Top)
And with an hourly daytime service on weekdays and Saturdays, the Bishop Line provides an alternative to car travel between these stations.
If you hold a Durham County Council issued concessionary pass for elderly and disabled people you can travel for half fare on Bishop Line rail services. This is valid for journeys from Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Newton Aycliffe and Heighington stations to stations along the line as far as Middlesbrough.
Find out more about the Bishop Line as a travel option
For more information or how to get involved please visit the Bishop Line [external link]