'Walk-on' fares for travelling any distance may make rail travel look prohibitively expensive - but there are some crazy bargains to be had, especially with a railcard. We've been doing our best to take advantage of them.
A trip back from Tenby yesterday at £3.95; a three-train odyssey from deepest Eskdale, in the North Yorks Moors, to Kings Cross (with a nostalgic walk up Roseberry Topping on the way) was a mere £7.95.
Take one Great Western train to Penzance, but buy separate tickets for the Exeter, Plymouth, and Penzance legs, and you can have a those last couple of hours in first class luxury through Cornwall for £3.95 until you sweep past St Michaels Mount (travel on to Lands End with a bus pass if you wish!) - skinflints can save another couple of quid by slumming it in second class.
For the north-west, a trip through Newport and up through the Marches gets you to Manchester more cheaply, comfortably, and probably better tempered than the orthodox Cross-Country route in a packed Voyager train. A separate ticket gets you to the Lakes for little more.
But one of the best bargains is the most local - and you don't have to buy in advance. Temple Meads to Severn Beach, £1.50 day return. Loads to look at on the way, too.
I'm not sure that we deserve all these age concessions. Chris Mullin mentions in his diaries how, after a late session in the House of Commons he, other MPs and a Lord or two would get the late bus from Victoria Street, along with one of the waiters who'd worked a late shift in the House. Only the waiter paid his own fare.