Just spent an hour booking a single rail journey! The following obstacles were negotiated:
Internet bookings no longer accept overseas credit cards - is the UK tourist industry entering terminal decline?
Sunday January 20th - rail strike on First Great Western, not taking bookings at all
Sunday January 20th - major work on Southwest Trains, 2 hour bus journey between Andover and Woking. Declined (it's a terribly slow service anyways)
Third alternative - Cross Country to Birmingham, Birmingham to London (two sides of a triangle). Booked.
Big surprise, Arriva Cross Country actually has helpful staff once you get past the voice activated "which station did you want to leave?" question.
Bigger surprise - the two sides of a triangle run may be longer but the price is the same!
Unknowns - will it work?