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Fan spent £33 on flights up north for trip to League Two game to avoid £389 train journey

One fan spent £33 on two flights and some shorter train/tram rides up north for a trip to a League Two game to avoid a £389 train journey.

A Doncaster Rovers fan who was quoted £389 to travel to an away fixture to Barrow and back by train which saved hundreds of pounds by instead getting a tram, two planes and two local trains instead.

Lifelong supporter Jack Peat, who lives in London, wanted to watch his team play a fourth tier fixture in Cumbria on Tuesday the 13th of September.

But, after finding that the most direct trains would cost him almost £400 for an open return, he set out to find a cheaper alternative.

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Documenting the 12-hour, 500-mile adventure in an interesting Twitter thread, he told followers how his journey, via Dublin, cost him just £33.

He told ITV News: “I took this journey because I love Doncaster Rovers and to highlight how nuts train fares are at the moment.

“You shouldn’t be able to go to Dublin and back just to see a game, and that be cheaper than going straight there on the train. That’s the complete madness of it all.

“A tram, two trains and two flights costs less than one train journey – it’s absurd.”

Peat, originally from Yorkshire, left his home at 6.45am with a tram journey from Beckenham to East Croydon in London.

He then got a train to Gatwick Airport, where he managed to get a flight to Dublin for just £10 and a flight back to Manchester for another £9 – stopping for a few pints of Guinness in between.

Another train took him to Barrow, where he was greeted by the Doncaster Rovers manager and players, who had been told and followed his trip.

He said: “It was a completely nuts, bizarre moment.

“I said to the players ‘I’ve been following you all my life from the depths of the Conference to the heights of the Championship and now somewhere in between.’

“I took time out of my day just to see Doncaster in Barrow on a Tuesday night and I think that resonated with them. I hoped I inspired them, but they went on to lose so I suppose not.”

“I talked to the players, gave them a bit of a pep talk and told them about my journey,” Peat said after returning from his jaunt, and sleeping. “They gave me a round of applause then I went back and watched the game. I was dumbfounded by this point. I thought I’d be this lone ranger stood on the terraces watching us lose 2-0.”

“If there were train fares for the same price as my flight, I’d be the first person on that train,” said Peat. “I love train travel, people are right to highlight the environmental benefits. Austria have what they call a climate ticket, offering very cheap train fares. Germany have had a three-month trial where train tickets are capped at nine euros.”

“The point of the trip was to highlight the problem,” said Peat. “You cannot berate people for taking the most affordable forms of transport, especially in this day and age. I realised it was a chance to highlight the absurdity, that you can fly to Europe and back for far cheaper than if you wanted to do the journey by train.

“There’s a football fan element to it too. I’ve long believed football fans are being fleeced, at the gate, buying food and drink in the ground, when they’re travelling to the game. It’s something we all love and consider an institution. But this is happening across the spectrum, at every level. People are finding it hard to follow their clubs anymore. That’s going to become even more apparent given the times we’re living in.

“Go and look at the price of a replica kit. Look at the price of a pie and a coffee in a stadium. Look at what we have to pay on the gate to watch League Two. When you’re travelling as far as Barrow, look at the price of the train fare to get there. Combine them all, and it’s eye-watering.”

 

The game finished 2-0 to Barrow, but Mr Peat said it was “a fun adventure”. He travelled home via train on a single ticket costing more than double his £33 outward journey.

He took “an easier” train back from Barrow to London Euston, costing £64.20.

Anytime train fares are the most expensive category due to passengers’ ability to use them on any train service, at peak and off-peak times.

Advance fees, attached to a certain departure time, work out cheaper – at the time of writing an Advance single ticket from London Euston to Barrow-in-Furness, with one change, costs from £34 when booked a month ahead; rising to £51.70 when booked two weeks ahead of travel.

Nevertheless, Peat’s elaborate route via Dublin cost at least £1 less, though he will have generated more carbon in the process if he also had took that into consideration with Atmosfair’s carbon-offset calculator, claiming Mr Peat would have generated around 685kg CO2 by taking the two flights, rather than the 15.79kg CO2 produced by a typical London to Barrow train journey.

HIS TWITTER THREAD:

This is how fans reacted to the fan who spent £33 on flights up north for the trip to a League Two game to avoid a potential £389 train journey…

@PepperPot71: Rail fares are nuts. I had a job interview in Cornwall a few years ago and could get a return flight from Leeds to Newquay for a fraction of the cost of the equivalent train journey. Yet in other countries you can travel huge distances by rail without needing a second mortgage.

@GrantFellows2: Trains need boycotting, when you can get a plane journey cheaper something needs changing.

@BritstoMotoGP: We financially aren’t rich but certainly have a fair chunk of spending money each month. We still cannot afford to use trains. Yet when you look at train tickets it has the front to tell you how much carbon you have saved.

@TheDowg: The rail companies and the governments should be embarrassed by this. But they won’t give a toss. Most ridiculous rail set up in Europe. Best of luck.

@GrecianStu: I once chatted to some Oldham fans in Exeter who had done something similar – flown from Manchester to Exeter via Dublin on the morning of the game. It’s crazy that it’s cheaper.

@Matt_H_T: This all reminds of the student flying home from Sheffield to Essex via Berlin a few years back, for much the same reasons. Nothing ever changes, sadly. Good luck, enjoy the match.

@TravellingTom: I rate this so much

@SpainGary: Insane how expensive rail travel can be in the UK and how cheap flights are. They lost 2-0 BTW.

@earendarczyk: Unbelievable than flying twice is cheaper than taking the train.

@SaintsFCPodcast: State of rail in this country 🤦‍♂️ Meanwhile in Germany it’s €9 for a monthly rail pass.

@nowthenalbi: This chap used a tram, a couple of planes and a train to get to Barrow from S. London to watch @drfc_official, spending under £30 vs £390 for the more direct train route… impressive!

@jack_roberts_44: There’s some proper whoopers in the replies like ‘oh but if you’d have got it on this site it would’ve only cost you £160’ like that isn’t multiple work shifts for me 😭 completely missing the point he’s trying to make. Can’t knock the ingenuity 🤷🏼‍♂️

@IanM1871: Great to see this support for the airline industry, too many railway journeys are insanely priced. All those strikes are for what, if the train companies derail themselves, and the workers end up hitting the buffers?

@kay_sldm: Lol. Talk about beating the cost of a living crisis. Fair play to the guy. I defo wouldn’t be doing that. Comfort >>>> cost. Although £400 for train journeys to travel WITHIN the U.K. is very very cheeky.

@ALS_Fanzine: Brilliant work mate 👏

@MissLauraMarcus: Fabulous thread! I feel trapped due to sky-high rail fares. I’m here for this wonderful illustration of how ridiculous it’s become.

@KevinLMaps: This football fan can go to an away match for cheaper, by taking *multiple* flights, than by train. If the UK (and other countries I could name) is serious about reducing carbon emissions, this shows where work is to be done.

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