Advantages Easy to drive system. Rapid delivery. Well designed site
Disadvantages Nothing special, more functional than anything
|Layout & Design|
|How fast is this website?|
|Quality of the Content|
|Range of Services / Products|
I’m not a frequent user of trains; in fact the last time was in the infamous Petrol Crisis of 2000. However in the week ahead I (and 120,000 others over 3 days) am going to see Robbie Williams “sing and dance” in Milton Keynes.The dilemma was how were we (four of us) going to get there? ticket.
Or catch the train!So I browsed over to www.thetrainline.com. I had used the site before, but I had never actually made a purchase.
The site is simple from the front end, with options leading off to buy tickets, sign up, (you must be a registered member to buy tickets), see the latest rail news (always useful in today’s rail travel climate) and log in if you are a corporate user (presumably if you buy tickets on behalf of your company)Going in to buy a ticket, you enter a start and finish destination. You can add the name of a train station to go through, or avoid. You can specify that the site only searches for direct journeys (avoiding a dreaded change) or if you know that a change of train is inevitable, then you can find a ticket which will allow extra time to change trains. Finally before you search for the tickets available you must say which type you want. This can be a return, open return or one way. Oh, you must also specify the number of people in your party, a date and rough time of travel, and expected return date and time, if known. (If unsure look for an open return)
There are a huge amount of tickets which you can search for, such as cheap day return, standard return, apex return, railcard related tickets and so on. I only needed 4 cheap day returns, so my task was straightforward. Handily an excellent FAQ and help guide is included on the site if you need anything clarifying!Once you are happy with the details entered then just search. Quickly the site will display what tickets are available, along with the times, and details of changes if necessary.
If the journey you’ve searched for is going to be a regular thing, you can add it as a favourite journey in your site profile. A useful touch which will save a few moments if you’ll do the same journey again in the future.The results of searches are laid out in a clear and easy to read format, and if you want an earlier or later train than those on screen then just click back or forward using the buttons on screen.
When you find a ticket and price that pleases you, then just select it to buy it. Payment is accepted by all major debit and credit cards, and delivery by 1st Class mail is included in the straight price you see from the searches, and generally the ticket prices are a little cheaper than if you’d gone to the train station to buy!My tickets were dispatched the next day, as I received them within 48 hours of placing the order. An email confirming my order was sent, however I did not get an email advising me of despatch, which is unusual for a web retailer.
A final point – some train stations partake in a scheme whereby you can order your tickets from thetrainline, and collect them at the station, by using a pin number issued to you. This will shave a quid or two off you bill, and is useful if you use the trains a lot, and if your departure station offers the facility. Sounds good in theory and I’m sure it’ll catch on!Overall my first time experience of this company was fine, but nothing exciting. I will use them again when I next need some train tickets. Is it possible to get excited about train tickets, even if they are to get you to a gig??!! I doubt it.
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