Help & Support

If you have a question about train tickets, we’re here to help. Take a look at the most common questions and answers below and, if you can’t find an answer to your question, please contact us.

Coronavirus – ticket refund and amendment rules, and general travel advice

Our online self-service portal for refunds is now ready to use. In almost all cases, you will be able to process your refund online, without needing to contact us.

If your train tickets cannot be refunded through our online refunds portal, please do not call our contact centre. Please read the guidance below, then email Our dedicated in-house refunds team will help you. We are processing your requests as quickly as possible but, owing to the very high refund volumes, this may currently take up to four weeks. Please be patient.

More details are below.

Can I get my Advance train tickets refunded?

At long last, yes! We have been lobbying the Train Operators and the Department for Transport hard behind the scenes to get this agreed to and it looks like they listened to us and our feedback about what you were saying.

Please see the Advance tickets section below for the process to follow to refund your tickets.

Can I get a fee-free refund for Off-Peak or Anytime tickets?

Yes. There are no fees to pay.

Refunds and amendments process

Please refer to the revised refund and amendment rules at the top of this page as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Advance tickets

Advance tickets are normally not refundable, but this has now been changed. You do not need to rebook anything, and there is no fee. To refund your Advance tickets they must:

  • have been purchased before 23rd March
  • be for travel on or after 23rd March
  • be unused
  • additionally, we must have been informed of your wish to refund them before the first reservable train departed

These rules are stipulated by the train operators and the Department for Transport – all retailers, whether independent (like us) or train operator, should be applying these same rules.

If you have eTickets (the ones with a barcode) or have not yet collected them from a ticket machine please use our online refunds portal.

If your tickets have been posted to you, or you have collected them from a ticket machine at a station, DO NOT SEND THEM TO US. Instead, please cut each ticket in half, and send an image of this to us at ALWAYS INCLUDE YOUR BOOKING REFERENCE (e.g. WEB0001234567) WHEN YOU EMAIL US. We will then do the rest.

Off-Peak, Super Off-Peak and Anytime tickets

Off-Peak, Super Off-Peak and Anytime train tickets are refundable, providing that the ticket has not been used for travel. You will need to apply for a refund no later than 56 days (normally 28 but has been extended) after the last valid date of your ticket. To get your refund, just do one of the following, depending on how you decided to get your tickets delivered:

If you have eTickets (the ones with a barcode) or have not yet collected them from a ticket machine please use our online refunds portal.

If your tickets have been posted to you, or you have collected them from a ticket machine at a station, DO NOT SEND THEM TO US. Instead, please cut each ticket in half, and send an image of this to us at ALWAYS INCLUDE YOUR BOOKING REFERENCE (e.g. WEB0001234567) WHEN YOU EMAIL US. We will then do the rest.

If you have used the outbound portion, but not the return portion, of an Off-Peak, Super Off-Peak or Anytime return ticket then you may still be entitled to a refund for the return portion of your ticket. The amount we refund for an unused return portion may not be half of the price – sometimes a return ticket is only 10p or £1.00 more than a single ticket ticket, and it is this difference that we will refund.

The outbound portion of a return ticket is not valid for a refund unless it is accompanied by the unused return portion.

How do I get a refund if I no longer use my original payment card / it has expired?

If you no longer have the original payment card that you used to book tickets, please make this clear on your refund form (or in your email), but do not include details of your replacement card. We will contact you by telephone when we process the refund and take your new card details at that time. This helps to keep your personal and financial information secure as there is no written record of your card details.

Can I get a refund if my train is delayed or cancelled?

If your train is cancelled and you decide not to travel, or you start your journey but decide to abandon it without reaching your destination because of severe delays, then you are entitled to a full refund, no matter what ticket type you hold (this includes Advance tickets). Just follow the refund steps above and we will process your refund.

If you are delayed in arriving at your destination, then you are not entitled to a refund but may be entitled to Delay Repay compensation. This is not the same as a refund and is paid to you by the train operator that first caused your delay. You will need to contact that train operator in order to obtain Delay Repay compensation. We cannot pay it out. Typically you will need to be at least either 15 minutes or 30 minutes late to claim Delay Repay compensation from the train operators (it varies by train operator).

General questions

I haven’t received my confirmation email after I booked my ticket. What should I do?

When you have completed your order you will see a confirmation page on the website with the title ‘Thank you for your order, your booking has been confirmed.’

Within a few minutes a confirmation email will be sent to you – this contains all the same details as the confirmation page.

If you have not received the confirmation email within 30 minutes of booking (please check your junk folder and ensure you are logged in to the email account which you used when you booked) contact customer services, quoting your booking reference or your contact details, and our team will find your booking and re-send the confirmation email (it can be sent to a different email address if you are having problems with a particular email account).

Do I need my email confirmation to travel?

No, you don’t need this – it’s just for advice. To travel, you must have your train tickets, and your railcard if you used one, with you – these are proof of your right to travel.

If you board a train with only a booking confirmation, and without any tickets, you will be charged for a new set of full fare train tickets by the train operator.

Can I book tickets for more than one journey in a single transaction?

Yes – you can buy tickets for different journeys in the same transaction. To do this, click on the ‘Add journey’ link at the bottom of the basket. This will take you back to the journey planner to start another journey.

My promotional code won’t work. What should I do?

Before contacting us, please check that there are no extra spaces either side of the promotional code if you have copied and pasted it in from somewhere else. Where possible, please type the code in manually.

If you are still experiencing difficulty, please contact our customer services team.

How do I log in?

You are not required to log in or register to purchase your train tickets with – we know how frustrating it is to have to remember passwords, or set up accounts!

If you’re buying from us regularly though, you’ll find it quicker to set up an account. There’s a link on the payment page to do this, and it will only take a few minutes to do, but will make future purchases quicker.

How do I know which train operating companies I am travelling with?

Click on the “info” link next to any train time on the ‘Train times and tickets’ page.

A pop up window will be displayed, showing the details of your train journey and showing the train operator – if your journey involves a change of train you may be travelling with more than one train operator.

What is an ‘overtaken train’?

An overtaken train is a train service that is slower than others on the same journey. This might be because it stops at more stations, or because it goes on a different route between your origin and destination.

On some routes the slower train services are often cheaper. So, if you’re not in a hurry, then this may be the best option for you.

Does offer a business account facility?

Yes, we do. This provides access to the same great value train tickets and also includes reporting, user account management and financial controls. To find out more visit our business account pages.

Buying tickets

Can I purchase a ticket online just before my train? What’s the minimum time I need to allow?

Providing you choose to collect your tickets from a self-service ticket collection machine, they will be available for collection after a minimum of 15 minutes from booking completion. Where possible, we recommend you allow more time to collect your tickets, especially at peak times.

Can I purchase train tickets for someone else?

Yes, you can. Please remember though, that, if you select collection from a self-service ticket machine, the person collecting the tickets will need to have with them the card that was used to make the booking, in order to collect the tickets. The sales receipt will also show the last 4 digits of the payment card.

Is there a minimum order value?

No, there’s no minimum order value on Some train tickets are as little as £1 (or even less), and we’re quite happy to sell you those.

Do I get a receipt with my train tickets?

Yes. If your train tickets are delivered by First Class or Royal Mail Special DeliveryTM Next Day, a receipt will be enclosed with your tickets. If you collect your tickets from a self-service ticket machine at a station, a receipt will be given with the tickets.

Is VAT charged on train tickets?

No – VAT is not charged on train tickets.

What cards can I pay with on the website?

You can pay for your train tickets with any of the following payment cards:

  • Visa Credit
  • Visa Debit
  • Visa Electron
  • MasterCard
  • MasterCard Debit
  • Maestro
  • American Express

We do not accept Diners Club, Discover or JCB cards.

It is also possible to pay with PayPal instead of entering card details on our site.

You do not have to be a UK registered customer to purchase train tickets. We only deliver tickets to UK (including Channel Islands and Isle of Man) addresses though; if you are from outside the UK you will need to collect your tickets from a ticket machine, or print them at home (where this is available).

Is there a booking fee for buying train tickets from

No, there is no booking fee.

Is there a fee for using credit cards?

There are no additional card fees when paying with a credit or debit card.


What Railcards can be used to buy train tickets on accepts all the National Rail railcards to get discounted train tickets. These are:

  • 16-25 Railcard
  • Disabled Railcard
  • Family & Friends Railcard
  • Network Gold Card
  • Network Railcard
  • New Deal Railcard
  • HM Forces Railcard
  • Senior Railcard
  • Two Together Railcard

You can find out more about the discounts available with each railcard in our Use a Railcard page.

Can I use different railcards in the same booking?

Yes you can use up to three different railcards in the same booking.

I’ve selected a railcard, but the ticket price is not being discounted – what’s going wrong?

This could be for one of several reasons:

  • The railcard has a minimum value that applies, and the cost of your ticket is below this – so no discount is applied
  • The railcard that you’re using does not give discounts on certain ticket types (e.g. 16-25 Railcards do not give discounts on First Class tickets) or at certain times of the day (e.g. a Network Railcard does not give discounts on tickets at peak times)
  • The railcard that you’re using does not give discounts for the journey that you’re planning – for example, a Network Railcard only gives discounts on journeys in London and the South East.


What is an Open Return?

An Open Return is a train ticket that allows you to be more flexible in your travel arrangements.

They are usually valid for one month for your return journey, and you can travel back on any train and are not restricted to the one you selected when you booked your ticket.

  • Anytime Return tickets are fully flexible and there is no restriction on when you can make your return journey, within the one month limit
  • Off-Peak Return and Super Off-Peak Return tickets are still very flexible, but you must travel back on an Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak service within the one month limit. Generally, this means you can travel on any train at weekends and Public Holidays, as Off-Peak and super Off-Peak restrictions only apply on weekdays.

Can I purchase a London Travelcard with my ticket?

Yes. If you’re travelling to London, London Day Travelcards will be listed on the ‘Travel Options’ page. Choose between Anytime and Off-Peak Travelcards for different zones. Please note that these are valid for one day only – so, if you’re staying in London for a few days, they will be for the day of your arrival only.

What’s the difference between Advance, Off-Peak, Super Off-Peak and Anytime train tickets?
Please see our ticket types pages for detailed information about ticket types, including when they are valid for travel and the amount of flexibility they provide.

What is an Off-Peak (online only) ticket?

These are special tickets that are only available:

  • as singles
  • on Avanti West Coast services
  • when purchased as the return portion of a return journey – you cannot buy one by itself
  • online – you cannot buy these at stations.

These tickets are very useful when you know at what time you need to make your outward journey, but are not sure at what time you will be making your return journey – for example, if you don’t know when a meeting ends, or want some flexibility in case a flight is late or you decide to stay longer.
In this case you can buy a cheap Advance ticket for your outward journey (which restricts you to a specific train), and buy the Off-Peak (online only) single for your return journey. The Off-Peak (online only) single is half the price of an Off-Peak Return. If you bought a normal Off-Peak single, this would only be £1 less than the Off-Peak Return.

Off-Peak Single (online only) tickets are flexible tickets only valid at specific Off-Peak times of day and your journey must be on Off-Peak trains on the date displayed on your ticket.

This ticket can only be purchased online and is not available at the station. This ticket can only be bought as part of a return journey and in conjunction with either an Advance ticket or Anytime tickets. If you try to buy two online Off-Peak single tickets as part of a return, we will sell you an Off-Peak Return instead (as this is more flexible and is the same price).

Why can I see two tickets with the same name and different prices?

It is possible on some journeys to have two or more possible routes (e.g. one avoiding London and one via London). For these journeys, you might see two or more tickets with the same name and different prices. The price difference will reflect differences in the journey such as distance and duration.

What are the benefits of travelling First Class?

The majority of train companies provide First Class carriages. On longer distance journeys there may be some extras included in your First Class ticket, such as free newspapers, free WiFi, free refreshments and access to the First Class Lounge at certain stations.

First Class travel can also cost a lot less than you think if you buy a First Class Advance ticket it may be cheaper than a flexible Standard Class ticket.

Can children travel for free?

Children under the age of 5 travel for free on trains in the UK, but this does not include a reservation and children under 5 are expected to sit on your knee during busy times. If you would like to make a reservation, please purchase a child ticket.


Can I reserve a seat for my train journey?

If the journey you’re making has a reservable train service on it then will automatically reserve seats for you free of charge.

Generally speaking all long-distance train services, and many medium-distance ones, are reservable. Short-distance services are usually not.

Proof of your reserved seat will be in the form of a coupon showing the carriage and seat reserved, and the train service and date this applies. If you are booking a journey with multiple legs in it, then you will receive multiple coupons.

On the train, reserved seats will be marked with a paper or electronic reserved seat marker.

If a seat cannot be reserved at the time of booking, it will be for one of the following reasons:

  • the train service you are travelling on does not have reservable seats (usually shorter routes)
  • the train operator has not made seat reservations available on this service on this date, even though they are usually available (this might be because of engineering works / altered timetable)
  • seats that are reservable have all been booked.

Will reservations for more than one person be grouped together?

We request from the reservation system that seats are grouped together for multiple travellers.
Sometime it might look like your seats are not grouped together, even though they are – for instance, seats around a table.

When the train is busy, it may simply not be possible to group passengers together because most seats have been booked already. However, you may be able to sit together in a carriage that does not have seat reservations (one carriage is usually left without any reservations in longer distance trains).

Will my reservation preferences be met?

We will try and match your preferences to the seats available, but it is not always possible to do so – seat reservations are subject to availability and we cannot guarantee that your preferences can be met. Seats with tables especially are often in limited supply and it may not be possible to get one.

Are seat reservations guaranteed?

We cannot guarantee seat reservations as depends upon the National Reservation System to obtain seat reservations for customers, which the train operators then use to print out the reservation cards that are attached to seat backs.

Your ticket is still valid without a seat reservation, and you can sit in any vacant unreserved seat for the appropriate class of travel for your journey.

I forgot to take my Railcard with me on the train. Can I get a refund?

I’m afraid not. The Railcard terms and conditions state that you must carry your railcard with you at all times if travelling with a Railcard discounted ticket. If you do not have the Railcard with you at the time your ticket is inspected, you will be liable to pay for a new ticket for that journey at the full, undiscounted rate. Even if you can provide a copy of the Railcard at a later date, you will not be entitled to a refund for the new tickets.

Ticket collection and delivery

How do I collect tickets from a station?

If you opt to collect your tickets from a station (sometimes called “Ticket on Departure”) then you will be provided with an eight digit “Customer Reference” (in a format such as X8LKRT7W) and you will need both that and the card you paid with to collect your tickets from the station.

It is usually quickest to collect your tickets from a ticket machine, rather than from the booking office (if there is one).

To do this:

  • choose the “collect pre-paid tickets” option on the screen
  • insert your card into the card reader (you will not be charged)
  • remove your card, then type in the 8 digit Customer Reference on the screen
  • select the journeys you want to print (it’s usually best to select “all”)
  • your tickets will be printed and dispensed; check that the correct number of coupons has been printed – as well as your tickets there may be seat reservations or other supplements, and there will always be a collection receipt printed last

If you have any problems please contact station staff or call us.

I’m having problems with collecting tickets

If you have problems collecting tickets from the machine, please go to the booking office (if there is one). With your booking confirmation print-out (or just the Customer Reference) and the credit or debit card that you used to make your booking, station staff should be able to issue your tickets.

If there is no booking office, please call our customer services team on 03301 289 227*, before your train’s departure time.

*Calls are charged at the standard geographic rate.

How soon after booking can I collect my tickets?

Please allow 15 minutes after booking online for your train tickets to be available for collection from self-service ticket machines.

Please also ensure that you have left sufficient time to collect your tickets before your train departs – during peak hours there may be a queue.

Can I collect my tickets from any station?

You can collect your tickets from any station that has ticket collection facilities – it does not have to be from the station you’re travelling from or the station you chose when you booked your tickets.
Over 1,000 stations have ticket collection facilities now.

The station I am travelling from does not have a self-service ticket collection machine

You can still collect your train tickets from any other station that does have this facility. If there is no nearby station with this facility then you may be best off having your tickets posted or printing them yourself (if that option is available).

Why isn’t my station on the self-service ticket collection machine list?

Not all stations have collection facilities. If you think that a station is not on the list but should be because you know it has ticket collection facilities, please contact us and we will look into the issue – we rely on information from the train operators for this and sometimes this is out of date.

Can I collect my train tickets with a different payment card? What do I do if I have received a new debit / credit card since I booked my train tickets?

You will need to use the credit / debit card you paid with to collect your tickets. If your card has been replaced since you purchased your tickets, and you have opted to collect the tickets from a self-service ticket machine, please contact us before you travel.

Why isn’t First Class post offered as a delivery option?

If you are booking less than 5 working days before your outward journey, you will not be offered the option of First Class Post for delivery of your train tickets. A working day is defined as Mondays to Fridays, excepting Bank Holidays. This is to ensure there is sufficient time for your train tickets to be printed. In most cases though we will print and post your train tickets on the following day and they will arrive with the next delivery.

If you are buying train tickets worth more than £250 in total, First Class Post will not be available as a delivery option, no matter how far ahead you are booking; the only delivery option offered will be Royal Mail Special DeliveryTM Next Day (which has greater insurance cover than First Class Post).
In either case you can opt to collect your tickets from a ticket machine or print them at home (if that is available) instead.

Why haven’t I been offered Next Day Special Delivery?

You may be booking your train tickets too close to your outward travel date. This option is only available if there are two clear working days before you travel.

What should I do if I’m travelling soon and my tickets haven’t arrived?

If you have not received your tickets after five working days, please contact us. You must ensure that the delivery address is correct and that you will be able to receive or collect your ticket from this address insufficient time for your journey. Failure to provide a valid delivery address as listed on will result in you purchasing new tickets in order to travel.

Can I print my tickets at home?

Yes you can, though this is only available on some routes and for some operators, and only for Advance tickets. The routes are:

All CrossCountry services:

  • Penzance – Plymouth – Exeter – Bristol – Birmingham – Derby – Sheffield – Leeds – York – Newcastle – Edinburgh – Glasgow Central / Dundee – Aberdeen
  • Bournemouth – Southampton – Winchester – Reading – Oxford – Leamington Spa – Coventry – Birmingham International – Birmingham New Street – Wolverhampton – Stoke-on-Trent – Manchester
  • Birmingham New Street – Leicester – Peterborough – Ely – Cambridge – Stansted Airport
  • Nottingham – Derby – Birmingham New Street – Cheltenham Spa – Newport – Cardiff Central

All Grand Central services:

  • Sunderland – Hartlepool – Northallerton – York – London Kings Cross
  • Bradford Interchange – Halifax – Wakefield Kirkgate – Doncaster – London Kings Cross

Some Avanti West Coast services:

  • Manchester Piccadilly – London Euston
  • Liverpool Lime Street – London Euston
  • Birmingham New Street – Birmingham International – Coventry – London Euston

A small number of Great Western Railway services:

  • Reading – Exeter
  • Reading – Bath Spa
  • Reading – Bristol Temple Meads

We are working with operators to extend this to more routes.

How do I print self print tickets?

Your train ticket is a PDF attached to an email. One self-print ticket will be provided for each passenger.

Please print this off on clean white A4 paper; please do not fold this across the barcode as scanners may have difficulty reading it.

The tickets include all the details of your travel, including reservations if applicable.

What do I need when I travel with my self print ticket?

You will need to bring the ID you selected when booking your ticket; without this the train operator may decide that this is not genuine and ask you to pay for new tickets.