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taking the britrail on my birthday

Late, of course, which I’d prefer not to be but seem to be unable to avoid lately, for the train from London (Euston Station) to my friend Marilyn’s lovely house in Lancaster, UK. I’m crying while in the que for the tickets, for reasons I can’t seem to figure out, except for the fact that it’s my birthday. The woman behind the desk completely ignores the fact that I am crying, for which I am grateful.
But my own dramas aside, I’ve learned several important lessons about taking the Britrail.

1. If you are taking the Britrail, please note that purchasing tickets in advance–even just a week in advance–saves you money. I did not pay attention to this.
2. If you can make a reservation, do so. My train was packed and I was quite lucky to get a seat–but I did have my backpack crammed between my legs as the luggage racks were quite full.
3. If you are a student or a youth, you can purchase a young person’s pass which saves you 1/3 off all train fares on Britrail. The pass costs about 20£, but it ended up saving me just a £ overall, but I do own this pass now. Always ask about discounts, and ask for the cheapest seat available.
4. Britrail does tons of track work on the weekends–thus my 3 hour train ride was expanded to a 5 1/2 hour train and two bus rides. Nightmarish: not a lovely way to celebrate my birthday.
5. Bring food, water, and a good book. I’ve read nearly 300 pages of War & Peace: a heavy but excellent literary addition to my book.
Don’t worry: my birthday did improve. Andrew and Marilyn spoiled me with a yuppie dinner, wine and drinks at a witching bar (where these witches went for their final drink before they were hanged) and then indulged in English sweets.
And now I’m 26, and much wiser about the trains.