Rovers and Rangers

Now hold on, don’t run away, the title of this article refers to reasonably priced ways of travelling, nothing to do with soccer!

Rovers and Rangers are reasonably priced, reasonably flexible, and, if you are intending to do a lot of travel in a specific area, they offer very good value for money, especially when compared to ordinary single/return fares.

You can get various regional ones, UK national ones and a few line specific ones.

There’s a list of them, including prices and validity on the National Rail website

There’s some examples not shown – for instance in the West Midlands you can get a “day tripper” which isn’t advertised on National Rail, but is on the Network West Midlands site. It gives unlimited travel on all trains, trams and buses in the West Midlands zonal area (Birmingham and Black Country basically) and costs £6.70 per day (adult fare).

If you want to head slightly further afield, the West Midlands Day Ranger gives unlimited rail travel only around the West Midlands, plus routes as far out as Northampton, Stratford, Hereford and Crewe for £26.50

If you’re looking at spending a few days away there’s various tickets that give unlimited travel in various areas of the country. Fancy a holiday in Wales but not sure which area? Get an “Explore Wales” ticket. It gives 4 days unlimited travel in an 8 day period for just £99 adult fare – restricted to travel after 9.30 weekdays. The coverage includes the Welsh Marches line through Leominster and Shrewsbury. So you could, for example, visit North, Mid, South and West Wales for a night each, and cover most of the Welsh lines for under £100!

There’s a similar ticket for Scotland, the “Spirit of Scotland Travelpass” – it cost £179 and covers Glasgow subways, CalMac ferries, some coaches and buses, and gives you 8 days travel over a period of 15 days. Perfect for seeing the Highlands and taking in all of Scotland’s stunning scenery.

And if you’re really serious, there’s two “All Line Rovers” available – for 7 and 14 days, that cover all the UK mainline rail network. Again, if you are intending to do a lot of travel in a short space of time, they are very good value for money.

The cheapest comes in at £510 standard class – and just £336 if you have a railcard!

Considering the standard walk up single fare from Penzance to Wick is £259 you can save an awful lot of money if you have some short notice long distance journeys to do. It has various restrictions, but does include seats on the UK’s only two sleeper services – to Cornwall and Penzance (extra charge for compartments, but the seats aren’t too bad for a single night).

Or go the whole hog and get the First Class 14 day all line rover – £1179 or with a railcard it’s a big discount down to £778! That’s incredibly good value considering you could cover most lines in the UK in that period though you wouldn’t have much time to stop and visit anywhere else.

Do check the restrictions carefully, often they are not valid until after 9.30 weekdays, and don’t include London Underground lines, Eurostar, Heathrow Express and so on. And they are not always well advertised – often booking office staff don’t know about them! Some while ago I managed to hold up the queue at Birmingham Moor Street station for 5 minutes whilst the ticket office staff searched the list for the West Midland Day Ranger, they reckon they had never sold one before.

You can look up the ticket codes at BR Fares.com and take them with you when purchasing the ticket.

And getting to the area of validity of your Rover/Ranger is easy enough – you can get a ticket to the station on the boundary of that area, even if the train you’re on isn’t stopping at that particular station.

Happy Exploring!

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