We all know that the system of rail fares is a mess. And long may it remain so: any rationalisation would just eliminate the bargains!
I get to Starcoss by train from Lancaster to Warrington then a bus to Anderton. Planning today's visit I knew the return leg was no problem. I already had a retutn ticket. It's done the journey with me twice already, but no one on Virgin Trains can be bothered to collect it.
But how to get to Warrington? A single ticket costs almost as much as a return and although I could get there on the bus for nothing it would take all day.
Then Hilary asked me if her unused (that's unused not uncollected) ticket to Manchester would help. On the face of it it's unlikely. Manchester and Warrington are in different directions from Lancaster and served by diffetent trains. But a few minutes research on the internet showed that a Lancaster to Manchester ticket is valid via Warrington, so I could use it. By way of double-checking I looked to see if a Lancaster to Warrington ticket was valid via Manchester. It is, but here's where the railways have been getting one over on me: the fare from Lancaster to Manchester is substantially cheaper than the fare to Warrington!
So in future I won't be buying an expensive ticket to Warrington. I'll just get a cheaper one to Manchester and go "via Warrington".
It's not often I can get one over on Beardy Branson!