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Wednesday, 8 August, 2001, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Tube? It's cheaper by rocket!
It's cheaper to buy a car for the round trip from London to Newcastle than pay the peak train fare, according to a motoring magazine. But that's not the only unlikely travel deal.

Pick up a nice little runner at the car auctions, tax it, insure it and fill it up with enough petrol to get you from London to Newcastle and back and you'll still have enough change left out of 200 to buy a Magic Tree air freshener.

A Ford Sierra
Cheaper than the train?
Attempt to buy two peak time train tickets for the same 635-mile journey and you could be forking out 314, according to Auto Express magazine.

Though trundling up the motorway for five hours in a second-hand Sierra is arguably less salubrious than letting the train take the strain for a mere three hours and 20 minutes (delays, cancellations and leaves on the line permitting), the 114 saving may tempt some.

Taken to its logical (or perhaps illogical) conclusion, the car versus train argument can be extended to compare the prices of a whole range of vehicles.


Tube v Rocket

London's underground railway network is not one of the cheapest subway systems in the world.

Dennis Tito
"I don't have the Tube fare ... I'll have to hitch hike"
A ticket for travel in the city centre, between Covent Garden and Leicester Square on the Piccadilly Line, will set you back 1.50.

Since the stops are a mere 300 metres apart, that equates to 8.04 per mile.

Space travel has proved to be one of the more expensive human endeavours.

When space tourist Dennis Tito blasted off for the International Space Station, he had had to shell out a massive 14m for the pleasure.

However, given that the 60-year-old financier travelled around the world hundreds of times during his six-day holiday, he was paying a bargain 5.61 per mile.


Mersey Ferry v QE II

In Liverpool and need to get across to Birkenhead? The Mersey Ferry (as well as being an inspiration for a Gerry and the Pacemakers song) is just the ticket.

Mersey Ferry
"Where's my cabin?"
The trip across the river from the Liver Building to Seacombe is just a shade more than 1km with a single fare set at 1.00. That's 1.76 per mile.

The day of the great ocean liners might be over thanks to cheap air travel, but many still yearn for games of shovelboard on the deck and dinner at the captain's table.

An "inside" cabin on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth II costs as little as 1,463 for a voyage from Southampton to New York. That means the transatlantic trip comes in at a little over 42p per mile.


Heathrow Express v Concorde

Getting to and from the airport can often be the most arduous part of your journey. The Heathrow Express, with its designer carriages, is supposed to make the trip to the terminal less trying.

Stranded tourists load suitcases into a van
"Are you sure we shouldn't take the train?"
The 15-minute ride will set you back 12, but since Paddington station is only a little more than 15km from the airport terminals, you pay 1.28 per mile.

Since the Heathrow Express is one of the UK's most expensive train services, it is only fitting it should be compared with one of the most costly airliners - the supersonic Concorde.

Before the Concorde fleet was grounded last year, a one-way ticket from London to New York cost a trifle less than 3,500. Though a price tag to leave many holidaymakers speechless, the faster-than-sound trip still comes in at less than 1 per mile.

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