Do advert savings add up: Trainline

When an advert promises you a better deal, can you trust it? From posters to papers, TV to tube,  I’ll be looking behind the slogans to see if there are savings. This week The Trainline.

There’s so much information out there that it’s easy to be overwhelmed, and even easier to be cynical. I don’t want to be cynical, but since I’m writing about money and consumer issues every day at work and then here on the blog, it’s easy for me to spot something that doesn’t ring true.

I saw this advert in the tube the other week. The promises you will “Save an average of 43% on train tickets with our app”. The clear message is that it’s the app that saves you money, and they have cheaper rail fares than anyone else.

Well it doesn’t and they don’t.

Pretty much any train website will save you money if you book in advance. That’s all it’s saying. There are no extra discounts for using the app or site.

>>Read my guide to saving money on train journeys 

If anything, the Trainline is one of the worst you can use due to its high booking and postage fees. It is the last train booking site that I would use to book a train ticket.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have uses. The app is free and easy to use. If you’re out and about and want to check train times or live departures it’s really good.

There’s also a very handy tool on their site which lets you register certain journeys you want to make. They’ll then email you as soon as tickets go on sale, helping you get the cheapest fare possible. I used this at Christmas, though I then booked elsewhere. Here’s my review.

My verdict? Bad ad!

3 thoughts on “Do advert savings add up: Trainline

  1. Pingback: 10 tricks for cheap trains | Be Clever With Your Cash
  2. The online train ticket booking sites do not cope with the situation where you already have a Travelcard (or Freedom Pass) which is valid for free travel over part of the journey you wish to make. You must go to a booking office to get a ticket in that case.

    1. Hi John,

      Yes it’s quite frustrating. I have a London Zone 1 – 4 Travelcard so I buy tickets starting at the last station in Zone 4 (if there is one). That helps!


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