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Aibu to not buy 2 year old dd a train ticket for a long journey?

(107 Posts)
Bigwheel Fri 02-Nov-12 21:32:52

I'm hoping to travel up to Scotland in the new year to visit my parents. The train journey will take about 8 hours in total. I will be travelling with my 2 year old and 5 year old by myself. Money is tight so I was please to discover I didn't have to buy my 2 year old a ticket. However I have since learnt that she doesn't automatically get a seat, she can only sit on one if it's not reserved. I have no idea if the train will be busy (crewe to edinborough, edinborough to Aberdeen) on a Thursday and returning Tuesday in early jan. it will cost about £30 more to buy my 2 year old a ticket, which is a lot to us. Aibu to hope that the train will be quiet and dd will get a seat or should I just accept that this trip is going to cost more than I thought?

RillaBlythe Fri 02-Nov-12 21:34:33

Do you have a family railcard? Reduces the price. I would expect it to b busy.

AtiaoftheJulii Fri 02-Nov-12 21:35:00

You can just sit the 2 year old on a coat in the gap between you and the 5 year old. Have done that many times.

Bigwheel Fri 02-Nov-12 21:35:54

I will be buying a family railcard before we go as it does make it a lot cheaper. The £30 extra is with a railcard.

maybenow Fri 02-Nov-12 21:36:18

it might be busy but if you book a pair of table seats on teh same side of the table then you can put the arm rest up and probably fit all three of you across the two seats.

hels71 Fri 02-Nov-12 21:36:49

even if you reserve a seat/buy a ticket there is no guarantee you will actually get the seat anyway......

TeamEdward Fri 02-Nov-12 21:37:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TidyDancer Fri 02-Nov-12 21:38:21

Tbh, I would suck it up and pay the extra. I have travelled by train on long journeys before and it's so hit and miss with how busy it is. On one trip between London and Durham, there was barely room for a flea to fart, but on the return journey three days later, I had the pick of about 30 empty seats.

I wouldn't risk it personally.

TidyDancer Fri 02-Nov-12 21:39:12

There should be a guarantee hels71. You can ask people to move from the seat if you reserve it if they are sitting in it when you board the train.

AlwaysHoldingOnToStarbug Fri 02-Nov-12 21:40:36

I've fitted 3 (me plus 2 smalls) on to 2 seats loads of times. Mind you, that's for an hours journey tops. But will she stay sitting on the seat anyway? My littlest sits on the seat, sits on me etc.

I wouldn't buy a seat but I always go for the cheapest option!

JumpJockey Fri 02-Nov-12 21:40:48

We did the train journey from East Anglia to Glasgow when dd1 was 2 and it was definitely worth having the extra seat, so when she needed a nap she could lie partly on my lap, partly on her own seat. Also meant we could book 3 seats round a table, and then when a fourth person was booked in to the other seat, they were quite happy to go elsewhere thus giving us extra space and the table to ourselves... Only works if the train isn't fully booked, but you'd have a better chance of it if you're three round a table rather than 3 on one side. On a long journey like that it's very handy to be able put bags, spare toys under the table and not panic that they'll get under someone else's feet.

WineGless Fri 02-Nov-12 21:43:25

I've done that journey many times with DC. You'll be fine in January- the only time we haven't been able to get seats was travelling in August which is also the festival and didn't think about that!
Usually no problem.
Just a tip - see how much it is to do each journey as a single as martins money tips says you can cut price of the ticket

Snazzyfeelingfestive Fri 02-Nov-12 21:47:32

I wouldn't buy a ticket in the circs you describe. Even if she's on your lap for some of the time, it would be unlikely it'd be the whole way. Doubt once she's seated people would be mean enough to say 'hey you, shift your kid, she's under 2 and I want that seat', at least partly because I bet it will mostly be people with their own kids who know about the 2yo rule, and they'll sympathise!

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 02-Nov-12 21:50:07

Depends how big and wriggly your children are. I wouldn't travel this distance without a booked seat for them both, as it's the only way to guarantee space and not having to have a crawly child on my lap the whole way. Plus remember you will have bags to accommodate too. And when we sit around a table, somehow the fourth seat doesn't seem the most attractive option for most passengers, and we get a bit more space too!

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 02-Nov-12 21:54:43

X-post with JumpJockey!

Bigwheel Fri 02-Nov-12 22:08:01

Thanks for the replies. Quite liking the idea of using the arm rests as a seat, or just squeezing us all onto 2 seats, but very tempted with the idea of having a whole table (hopefully) to ourselves. Designs, decisions. If I knew it would be quiet I def wouldn't buy a ticket but I guess there's no guarantee of that.....

redandwhitesprinkles Fri 02-Nov-12 22:08:15

I have pid for a ticket since my DS was about 9 months as it was a nightmare not to. I use a family railcard and it saves £££.

The problem with having the 2 year old in a non reserved seat is that train companies tend to bunch up reservations and leave other carriages non reserved. This is fine if you all get a non reserved seat but means it is unlikely there will be a spare seat near your 2 reserved seats.

RillaBlythe Fri 02-Nov-12 22:15:35

if I have reserved seats, sometimes I will get on & look for un reserved seats that suit me better - e.g. an empty table - because I know that my back up seats are still there.

Personally I have always bought a ticket for DD since she was 2 on a journey to Northumberland from London, where she spent 4 hours sitting on my pregnant lap. In my experience of travelling to Scotland (from London and Manchester) the train is always busy.

beanandspud Fri 02-Nov-12 22:19:23

I wouldn't risk it without a seat for everyone. I regularly travel by train and trains at that time of year are unpredictable - it could be heaving.

I went down to London recently and a lady with two young children hadn't booked a seat. I felt sorry for her and gave up my (reserved) seat so that she didn't need to move but a lot of people rely on having a seat to be able to work and might not be so sympathetic.

You take your chances but please don't post an 'AIBU that no one gave up their seats for us on a busy train'.

WineGless Fri 02-Nov-12 22:19:46

Just shows you, different people have had different experiences of the same trip. I've obviously landed lucky.
For piece of mind you might be better booking a seat. Have you tried red spotted hanky website?

Diege Fri 02-Nov-12 22:19:59

bigwheel like you my instinct would be not to buy the ticket, but I travel on the Crewe to Edinburgh train weekly (mon-weds) and it's heaving. I rarely get a seat, so knowing this (the aisles are often full with people standing) I think I might well be tempted to pay the extra.

WilsonFrickett Fri 02-Nov-12 22:21:58

Rilla is right (love the NN by the way). Buy the 2 tickets and worst case scenario she can sit between you. Get there early and scour the non-reserved seats in the hope of finding a free table and plonk all three of you down. You don't have to take up the reserved seats. And they do seem to put all the reservations together, so it's likely there will be people next to you on a reserved table.

That said, these are busy routes. If you are going first or last thing, or if it's the first working day back or something (and remember Scotland takes 2 Jan as a bank holiday) then you may be better off just booking the three seats.

isoldeone Fri 02-Nov-12 22:26:00

I was sat at a table with my parents on a train fr Glasgow to Brum . My 1 yr old at the time had finally nodded off in his car seat . The carriage was busy but a few double not reserved seats available nr to us . Our seats were reserved but the space occupied by my ds not. A lady came on at Crewe and wanted the seat and had a reservation. I had move then with ds , I was so gob smacked but she did have a right I suppose so with thunderous face moved myself bags and now awake ds. She wanted the table to do her paperwork and did not bat an eyelid the wholetime. I just would not do that if I was in her position. The rest of the carriage shot her evils as they knew I spent a lot of the journey trying to amuse ds - stop him
Annoying other passengers with noise . Beware the non kindness of some strangers!

WizzPopWizzBang Fri 02-Nov-12 22:28:05

Ive done two 5 hour train journeys this week with a three year old. I did not buy I a. Ticket and it was a nightmare as all the trains were busy. Luckily there were a lot of kind strangers who moved out of their reserved seat to give it to my son, all of who I am eternally greatful to.

If you can afford it buy her one, if not do try get you and your 5 year old seats next to each other. The seats are quite generous and you could easily fit a two year old between you.

RillaBlythe Fri 02-Nov-12 22:29:09

My PIL travelled back from Manchester to Lockerbie the other week - on a Saturday afternoon train. The train was so busy that the reservations were scrapped, & their reserved seats were occupied by two young people who refused to get out! My PIL are 70 & 88, btw. They had to upgrade themselves to first class to get a seat.

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