There's an old Irish joke that goes:
Paddy: "I've done it at last, I've cheated the Railways"
Mick: "Well, how did you do that then, Paddy?"
Paddy:" I'm going to Dublin and I've bought a return ticket"
Mick: "But, Paddy, that's not cheating the railways"
Paddy: "Ah, to be sure so it is - I'm not coming back!
(Apologies to any Irish readers - in my defence I am Welsh myself)
Rail fares have got a lot more complicated since then, and a lot more expensive so taking advantage of the system and finding a cheaper fare is now a challenge for me for anything other than local journeys. I've been invited to help Bernard take his narrowboat "Sunshine" from Foxton to Banbury next week (with a call at the Crick Boat Show). Foxton is easily reached by bus from Market Harborough but Hereford to Market Harborough by train involves a roundabout route via Birmingham and Leicester with a change of train at each and as I'm not coming back from there I'd be buying a single (always the worst deal) at a cost of £35.
Market Harborough, however, is on the X7 bus route from Northampton and Hereford to Northampton, which involves only one change of train, can be done on a West Midlands Day Ranger Ticket (yes, on the railways Northampton is in the west Midlands) for £16.80. Even better - next week London Midland Trains has a special offer allowing a return journey between all stations on their network for only a tenner! So, I'm buying a return to Northampton which, with a few quid for the bus will get me to Market Harborough for less than half the "official" price - although, of course, that is all it would cost on most European railway systems anyway.
Normal people just drive....