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Industrial action 1-9 December
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Most train companies have an optimal time to buy tickets, with many offering cheaper fares for booking in advance - the further ahead, the better. But when is the best time to take advantage of these money-saving options?

Which time/day is the cheapest to buy train tickets?

Whilst there is no specific time or day that is cheaper to buy tickets across the board, generally the further in advance you purchase your tickets, the cheaper they will be. Northern’s Advanced tickets are available up to 6 weeks in advance, so as soon as you know your travel date and destination, it makes sense to start searching for tickets, in order to grab a bargain. 

Types of cheap train tickets

Advance tickets

Allowing you to save up to 65%, and purchasable up to 6 weeks before you travel, Advance tickets are the perfect choice if you know your schedule. You can still find last-minute bargains up to 5 minutes before you travel.

Off-peak tickets

Designed for travelling outside the busy commuter rush hour, Off-peak tickets can be purchased up to and including the day you wish to travel. However, the best deals may only be available on certain days and routes and we’ll let you know if any of these apply when you book your ticket.

Commuter rush hour is on weekdays between 16.01 and 18.29

Save on the Day tickets

There’s no need to book in advance with Save on the Day deals. Available right up until 5 minutes before you wish to travel, these are a great option if you need to jump on a train with little prior notice.

Duo tickets

If you are travelling with a friend, book your tickets together and save 25% on your fares with the Duo ticket.

Season tickets

Northern also offers a range of travel cards and season tickets, designed to keep the cost of train travel as low as possible.

When do train ticket prices go up?

Rail fare price hikes are usually introduced annually in January; however, since 2020, these rises have been postponed until March. In 2022, train passengers faced the highest rise in nine years, with fares across England and Wales increasing by up to 3.8%. However, with rail companies determined to keep prices as low as possible, this is still way below the inflation rate.


The best time to buy a ticket for a Northern service is 6 weeks before you plan to travel; however, if you are using a long-distance train operator, 12 weeks is the optimal time to buy your ticket.

Generally, it’s cheaper to buy your ticket as far in advance as possible, although with Northern’s Save on the Day tickets you can book up to 5 minutes before you plan to travel.

Northern App

Streamline your journey and get tickets straight to your phone. Making your journey contact-free.

Northern App

Streamline your journey and get tickets straight to your phone. Making your journey contact-free.