Flexible train tickets to be available across East Coast route

Train passengers using the East Coast Main Line will have more flexible ticketing options from Sunday.

Operator London North Eastern Railway (LNER) said it will expand its trial of single leg pricing to cover its entire network.

That means single fares across the East Coast route between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh will be around half the price of a return, allowing passengers to mix and match different types of tickets to get better value.

Britain’s outdated train ticketing system means many return fares are only £1 more than single fares.

That means passengers often cannot save money if cheaper Advance tickets for specific services are only available for one direction of their return journey.

LNER began trialling single leg pricing in 2020 between London King’s Cross and Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

It will be available across its network for tickets bought from Sunday for travel from June 11.

LNER managing director David Horne said: “The expansion of single leg pricing will mean almost all of our customers will benefit from simpler fares and have the power to mix and match to get the best value fares.

“We believe that making fares simpler, smarter and fairer will encourage more people to choose rail, making a green and sustainable travel choice.

“Alongside our successful innovations from our legendary customer service to our industry leading digital products, LNER remains at the forefront of transforming rail.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “The expansion of single leg pricing on LNER is the latest example of this Government getting on and delivering tangible reforms that will benefit rail passengers, delivering simpler, more flexible tickets that are better value.

“Passengers will get the best value ticket for their journey safe in the knowledge a single ticket will be around half the price of a return.”

Andy Bagnall, chief executive of industry body Rail Partners, called for the trial to be extended beyond LNER.

He said: “It is great news for customers that LNER’s trial of single leg-pricing is expanding.

“The industry has been calling for this important step in simplifying fares for many years.

“We’d like to see people travelling across the whole network benefit from fares and ticketing reform.

“Other operators need to be rapidly afforded similar opportunities to trial this type of change.”

Mr Harper revealed in February that LNER will trial a system through which fares on some services will fluctuate depending on demand.

The Department for Transport took over control of LNER’s operations in June 2018 following the failure of the Virgin Trains East Coast franchise.