Buying Advance tickets and reserving seats

When can I buy Advance Tickets and make seat reservations?

Below is a summary of the farthest travel dates in the future where it is possible to reserve seats today for those Train Companies offering seat reservations and Advance tickets .

Advance tickets are generally not available earlier than 12 weeks before the date of travel. 

Once train times are confirmed, Advance tickets will begin to appear in our Journey Planner. You will be able to find full details of availability and choose to buy them from your preferred retailer.

Advance tickets are sold in limited numbers, and so subject to availability.

Information about buying tickets

Changes to train times

Sometimes, there can be changes to train times at weekends and bank holidays to allow essential engineering work to be carried out. Trains may be retimed or re-routed. Occasionally the journey may involve travelling on a bus service.  We have a dedicated area of our website which gives details about future engineering work.

Train Companies aim to provide information about changes to train times twelve weeks in advance.

Until the changes to the timetable are confirmed it is not always possible to buy Advance tickets or to make seat reservations on train services that may be affected by engineering work

Advance ticket & reservation information last updated  27 May 2016:

Train Company Saturday services Sunday services Monday to Friday services Latest time of reservation Notes
Abellio Greater Anglia 13 August

14 August

19 August
Up to 23:59 the day before travel.
Not open 31 July, 14 August, London - Norwich route
Arriva Trains Wales 20 August
21 August
19 August

Up to 19:00 day before travel for some early morning trains.

Other services up to 4 hours before departure point of origin 

Ferry reservations to Ireland are open to 21 August
Caledonian Sleeper These can be booked 12 months in advance.
Chiltern Railways

20 August

21 August
19 August
Advance tickets are available up to 18:00 the day before travel.

CrossCountry

Between Nottingham and Cardiff via Birmingham, Birmingham and Stansted Airport via Leicester, Peterborough and Cambridge

20 August

21 August
19 August

Up to 21:00 the day before travel but some routes may close earlier.
 

CrossCountry

Between Scotland and South West, Newcastle and Southampton, Manchester and Bournemouth / Bristol

20 August

21 August
19 August
Up to10 minutes before customers board the train when booked through all CrossCountry channels and at a select number of online retailers / travel agents  

East Midlands Trains

Liverpool - Norwich route

20 August
21 August
19 August
Up to 23:59 the day before travel.

East Midlands Trains

London route

20 August
21 August
19 August
Up to 23:59 the day before travel.

Grand Central

20 August

21 August 19 August Up to 4 hours before departing origin point.
Great Western Railway 13 August
14 August
19 August
 75% of services up to 2 hours before before departing point of origin.

20% of services up to19:30 day before travel for early morning services

5% of services up to 5 hours before departing point of origin from some stations.

 

Sunday 17 July - London Paddington to Oxford / Hereford / Great Malvern  routes are not open for reservations.

Hull Trains 13 August
14 August
19 August

Up to 15:00 day before travel for early morning services.

Other services up to 4 hours before departing point of origin.

 
London Midland 13 August
14 August
19 August
Further information will be added when available.

Northern

Manchester Airport - Blackpool North

Manchester Airport - Preston / Windermere

Manchester Airport - Barrow-in-Furness

02 July

03 July

08 July

Advance tickets are available up to 23:59 the day before travel.
Northern do not offer seat reservations but have quota controlled advance purchase products.

Northern

All other reservable routes

 

13 August

14 August
19 August
Advance tickets are available up to 23:59 the day before travel.
Northern do not offer seat reservations but have quota controlled advance purchase products.
ScotRail 13 August
14 August
19 August

Up to 23:59 day before travel for some early morning trains.

Up to 2 hours before departing point of origin.

 


South West Trains

Waterloo - Weymouth route

20 August
21 August
19 August
Advance tickets are available up to 23:59 the day before travel.

South West Trains do not offer seat reservations but have quota controlled advance purchase products.

 

South West Trains

West of England route

20 August
21 August
19 August
Advance tickets are available up to 23:59 the day before travel

South West Trains do not offer seat reservations but have quota controlled advance purchase products.

 

South West Trains

Portsmouth route for fares to Isle of Wight

20 August
21 August
19 August
Advance tickets are available up to 23:59 the day before travel.

South West Trains do not offer seat reservations but have quota controlled advance purchase products

 

Southern 20 August 21 August
19 August
Advance tickets are available up to 23:59 the day before travel. Southern do not offer seat reservations but have quota controlled advance purchase products. Some routes may not be open for reservation due to possible industrial action.
TransPennine Express

20 August

21 August
19 August
Up to 23:59 the day before travel.  
Virgin Trains 13 August 14 August
18 August

Trains departing point of origin before 11:00 up to 23:59 the day before travel.

Trains departing point of origin after 11:00 up to 4 hours before departing point of origin.


Virgin Trains East Coast

20 August

21 August
19 August

Up to 23:59 day before travel for some early morning trains.

Up to 2 hours before departing point of origin.

Tickets are available further in advance for most weekday journeys between London and the stations north of York, including Newcastle and Edinburgh. Subject to exceptions, such as Bank Holiday periods.

Special Events

Please note: NO trains will operate on Christmas Day. On Boxing Day some Train Operating Companies will run a very limited service. 

The availability of Advance tickets could be affected by special events taking place along the route of the journey. Please check before travelling.