Newest Review: ... as an option, it's worth experimenting with getting part of the journey through Megatrain, and part through the usual provider, as t... more
Megatrain, Megaservice, Mega savings!
Member Name: tongueoftruth
Date: 17/05/10, updated on 20/03/12 (744 review reads)
Advantages: Well established company offering reduced-fare train travel
Disadvantages: None, other than lack of flexibility once booked
Need to travel? Want to save some wonga while you do it? Megatrain is the slight diversification of that famous budget coach travel company, Megabus.
Running low-cost train services on Virgin, East Midlands and South West routes, Megatrain have bounced into the train market as a genuine competitor to the usual service providers.
How does it work?
Well, you see the thing is, Megatrain do not have not bought any trains, or taken on running any services. The very clever little chaps have just acquired the right to sell tickets on some rail franchises' routes. These should be cheaper than the rail operators own fares, and can be considerably cheaper.
You book on-line or over the phone and their site will come up if googled. You have to book a specific time as well as location and there are some terms and conditions attached. For example, you must go from and to the precise locations on your ticket. You couldn't change your mind and get on or off a stop later, for example. But not many people want to muck about like that anyway. You don't get an actual ticket but an email with a reference number. Print this out and take it with you to get through the ticket barriers and for checking on the train.
There isn't national coverage (yet) but they do cover a surprisingly large percentage of England. If they don't have your location as an option, it's worth experimenting with getting part of the journey through Megatrain, and part through the usual provider, as that can still save you a lot of money.
They have big promotions of £1 tickets, but like all those promotions, availability was limited. Generally you'll still save a few bob. For example, on my last journey from London to Devon, I saved just over £20 on the fare national rail/sw trains were going to charge me.
One thing that has concerned me is that the terms also state that there will be a special Megatrain carriage that you must find and sit in. Not only did my imagination run riot with imagining extra rows of seats being forced into every angle (like cattle class cheap airlines) but when I went to the train I went up and down 3 times trying to find it. In the end I gave up and sat anywhere, and that turned out to be fine, there isn't always a separate carriage. And if there were, it would be a perfectly nice one apparently.
A student put me on to this, but it isn't restricted at all agewise - it's just a normal train service anyone can book.
Update: I see they are now offering routes to Europe too.
If it does your route you are a fool not to try Megatrain! Same trains, same service, same route, same everything...just a smaller price. It's the sort of thing it's easy to be suspicious of but rest assured this is a completely respectable and responsible company! You are throwing money away if you don't check it out.
Summary: I'll never travel long distance again without checking this out.