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.

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. Only one booking fee is applied, even if there are tickets for multiple journeys in your basket.

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

We charge a £1.00 booking fee for all transactions unless otherwise stated. If you book multiple journeys in one transaction you will only be charged the fee once.

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.

Refunds and amendments

If you have not used your ticket, or part of your ticket, you may be entitled to a refund. Please select your ticket type from the below list to find out if you are entitled to a refund:

If you have already submitted a ticket for a refund and would like an update on the status of your refund, or if you have a general enquiry about refunds, please email

If your tickets have been collected, posted out to you or you require a refund on part of your order please print and complete this form. Please be sure to enclose any tickets along with the completed form. recommends that you use an insured method of postage in order to send your refund request; we cannot process a refund unless we receive the original tickets. Please post your refund request to: Refunds, 150 Minories, London, EC3N 1LS.

Off-Peak, Super Off-Peak and Anytime tickets

Off-Peak, Super Off-Peak and Anytime train tickets are refundable, less an admin fee*, providing that the ticket has not been used for travel. If you have used the outbound portion of an Off-Peak, Super Off-Peak or Anytime Day Return, or 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. Please note that a return portion may not always represent a refundable amount; this is because the difference between the price of a single ticket and a return ticket may not be greater than the admin fee* which is applied to each refund.

As per National Rail Conditions of Carriage, the outbound portion of a return ticket is not valid for a refund unless it is accompanied by the unused return portion.

* charge an admin fee of £10 per order refunded. If you are refunding Advance tickets, your tickets will also be subject to the fees outlined in the Advance tickets section.

Advance tickets

An Advance ticket can be sold up to 12 weeks before travel at a reduced price and is not available for purchase on the day of travel. Advance tickets are not refundable. However, it is possible to amend the time and date of travel and obtain a refund against the cheaper ticket(s). Following the rules below, please make a new booking and then claim a refund against the cheapest priced ticket:

  • Book for the same origin and destination station
  • Be sure to book before the departure of the first reserved train printed on your original ticket (no amendment can be processed if the replacement tickets were purchased after the travel time).
  • Be sure that your new time and date of reserved travel is with the same train operating company or companies.
  • You may change the class of travel on your booking, and whether a Railcard is applied.

Before rebooking, please consider that the train company which operates the route will charge an industry standard fee of £10 per ticket amended (not per booking). The £10 fee per ticket is applied to the cheaper ticket, i.e. if your new replacement ticket is cheaper than your original, any refundable amount would be processed against the cheaper ticket, less fees.

Once you have placed your new booking, please submit your original unwanted tickets, along with a completed copy of the refund form, to Refunds, 150 Minories, London, EC3N 1LS.

If you have not rebooked through, you may still qualify for an Advance Amendment. To do this please submit your original tickets, a copy of the refund form, and confirmation of your new booking. Any confirmation documentation must detail your replacement journey.

What if my train is delayed or cancelled?

If your train is cancelled, you are entitled to a full refund if you did not travel using your ticket on a later service. In such circumstances please follow the steps for How do I apply for a refund? You will also need to get confirmation from the train operating company you travelled with that your train was cancelled via email and include this with your refund application. If no confirmation is included, your refund may not be approved depending on the type of ticket, and an admin fee will be applied.

If your train is cancelled you may also be entitled to delay repay – please contact the train company you travelled with to seek compensation.

How do I apply for a refund?

If you have booked tickets to collect at the station and wish to refund ALL of the tickets please email and include the following information: Your booking number, the reason for refund, Replacement booking reference (if applicable) and the billing address used for the original transaction. Emails must originate from the same email address as used for booking. If you only wish to refund part of your booking, your tickets were posted out to yourself or you have already collected your tickets please print and complete this form. Please be sure to enclose any tickets along with the completed form. recommends that you use an insured method of postage in order to send your refund request; we cannot process a refund unless we receive the original tickets. Please post your refund request to: Refunds
150 Minories
United Kingdom

If you no longer have the original payment card that you used to book tickets, please make this clear on your refund form 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.

Please note that eligible refunds take up to 21 days to be processed. You will normally be required to pay a administration fee of £10 for the refund of part or all of your booking. Refunds based on Advance ticket amendments are charged differently – see the Advance tickets section above.

The refund amount will normally take into account any use you have made of the ticket and, in some circumstances, no refund will be paid.

Please send your completed application and unused postal tickets to:

  • Refunds, 150 Minories, London, EC3N 1LS

Please ensure that your tickets are appropriately insured against loss in the post as we can only process refund applications when we receive the tickets. recommends Royal Mail Special DeliveryTM Next Day service, with which you can insure your tickets to cover their face value. See and choose Special DeliveryTM Next Day, then click on prices.

Please note that tickets bought from must be returned to for a refund. You should not apply for refunds at stations. In cases where our tickets are mistakenly accepted for refund by station staff, they have to be forwarded to offices and this can lead to significant delays. If your refund application is received by after the expiry of your tickets, it will not be possible to process your refund.

We will notify you by email within 3 weeks of receipt of your refund application to confirm whether your refund application has been approved by the central authority, or to indicate if there has been a delay. Once we have processed the repayment onto your card, it can take up to 5 days to appear on your account.

If you have any questions, please contact our dedicated customer service team. For more general train travel information please visit