A national rail sale offering 1 million half price tickets has begun today.
The initiative covers most rail companies including Southeastern, where single trips from central London to Margate will begin at £5.20.
Trains to other coastal resorts such as Whitstable alongside towns such as Canterbury are on offer.
These discounted tickets come with restrictions. They appear to only apply to Advance tickets rather than other types of ticket. I can’t see any on standard off peak tickets.
Having looked this morning I’m quite surprised that availability seems good, and from local stations too. A cursory check from Abbey Wood to Margate shows single tickets available every hour during one randomly chosen morning for £5.10.
This is probably the lowest fare seen on the route over decades.
I then checked Woolwich Arsenal on a weekend Saturday morning. Plenty of single tickets at £5.30 taking 1 hour 49 minutes.
Various other routes and destinations are available, and due to changing structures of the railway this sale now applies across most of the country as franchises are operated by the Department for Transport as attempts to create “Great British Rail” move ahead in a stumbling fashion.
So far the DfT and Treasury have seemed keen to wield the axe over rail as attempts to recover from the pandemic are undertaken with cuts widely seen.
This site has covered extremely long service gaps seen for some time now on the Greenwich line, and also how Southern are set to lose 46 trains next month to scrap which in turn could see Southeastern lose stock to plug some gaps.
Given that context, this action to bring back custom is extremely welcome. Now a real plan for the industry on the mod to long term is needed to increase passenger numbers, alleviating road congestion and provide a secure future for rail.