Booking train tickets in advance is essential for those Albionites who don’t have cars yet want to go to Albion away games for a reasonable price. Last season, for example, I met up with some TSLRites at King’s Cross ahead of their trip to Middlesbrough. I was simply planning on giving them some fanzines and heading back to bed. A small loan later, I was en route to the north east of England for a chicken parmo and a 1-0 defeat. The day return on the train cost well over £100. It was a needless expense. Especially as we had to run back to Middlesbrough train station as the people I was with all pre-booked tickets, and had to get on certain trains. Enough about that disaster - if you want to read more on that excursion, see this old blog post here.
Another pay on the day disaster I can recall was when we visited Sheffield Wednesday a couple of seasons back. We were supping so much good ale in the pub at the station, we managed to miss our pre-booked train by twenty seconds. Despite drunken excuses, the ticket inspector insisted on receiving a further £120 for two single tickets. It’s with pay on the day tales like this that gets most TSLRites frantically clicking on the Trainline website for bargain advance tickets.
For years, I've convinced myself that I'd miss the specific train so instead wasted my money on paying on the day. But this season I’d booked train tickets well in advance to avoid this pay on the day inflation. One booking in particular is now redundant: Barnsley away, as you lot probably know, is being rearranged because they had the cheek to advance in the FA Cup. After my £200 trip to Blackburn, I may well bunk off the rearrangement but the important point here is this: I now have a spare day trip return train journey to Barnsley on Saturday week. It’s made worse by the fact I and TSLR contributor Hayward’s Heath Ledger made exactly the same mistake last year. We had train tickets to Hull City away on the Saturday when Albion were playing in the FA Cup at Anfield the following night. I blame fixture lists this season - the Argus one doesn’t include potential FA Cup games and the official American Express calendar selfishly only lists Albion matches taking place at Falmer.
As a result, I’ve come up with the following three options for booking away day trains:
1. Book trains for away days when there is no potential cup match clash
2. Get a friend to book them, and then if there’s a clash you don’t have pay them back
3. Don’t go, and have a lovely time not watching the Albion
And if anyone’s after a 16 February trip to Barnsley, contact us through the usual channels.