Can I get on earlier or later trains with split tickets?

As rail fares become more and more unaffordable for the average traveller, it’s no wonder that split ticketing is increasingly being promoted as an easy way to travel for less. Based on their growing database of real life searches the founders of ticket splitting website, the first website offering the facility to book split tickets automatically, are finding that split ticket savings are available on 60% of searched journeys and that provides an additional average saving of 30% compared to other train ticket websites.

Under the terms of the National Rail Conditions of Travel section 14, it’s perfectly fine and completely legal to use a combination of tickets rather than a more conventional ‘through’ ticket as long as the train(s) you are travelling call at all the points where you split your ticket.

Most people already understand the basics of split tickets and that’s all very well and good, but are split tickets still valid if you want to take an earlier or later train?

In short it really all depends on the ticket type. If you’re travelling on a fixed time advance type ticket you’re limited to travelling on the services you’ve booked and if you want to travel at a different time, you’ll need to rebook the journey. If your train tickets are flexible, however, you aren’t limited to travelling on a specified service as long as you abide by any peak period restrictions, if you have off peak tickets that is, and you make sure that the alternative train services you use also call at your splitting points.

If you’re taking a different train because the train on your first leg has been delayed, it’s a different kettle of fish and taking a later train isn’t a problem. Even if you’ve purchased fixed time tickets, as long as the tickets were booked with the correct minimum connection times, just as with ordinary unsplit advance tickets you will be entitled to board a later train service as long as it’s operated by the same train company you were originally meant to be travelling with.

If you’ve booked split tickets in one transaction through an accredited site like, there’s no need to worry about the minimum connection times as the site will automatically take this into account when generating the itinerary. If you do get delayed though, it’s always best practice to get your ticket endorsed by a member of the train or station staff if you can just to avoid any confusion later on in the journey.

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