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  09 February 2016:

Train Company Saturday services Sunday services Monday to Friday services Latest time of reservation Notes
Abellio Greater Anglia 23 April 

24 April

29 April
Up to 23:59 the day before travel.

Arriva Trains Wales 30 April
1 May
29 April

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 22 April
Caledonian Sleeper These can be booked 12 months in advance.
Chiltern Railways

30 April

1 May
29 April  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

30 April

1 May
29 April

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

30 April

1 May
29 April
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

23 April
24 April
29 April
Up to 23:59 the day before travel.

East Midlands Trains

London route

23 April
24 April 29 April
Up to 23:59 the day before travel.

First TransPennine Express

30 April

 24April
29 April

 

Up to 23:59 the day before travel.

 

North West services are only open until 31 March

Grand Central

30 April

1 May
29 April
Up to 4 hours before departing origin point.
Great Western Railway 23 April
24 April 29 April
 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.


Hull Trains 23 April
24 April
29 April

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

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

 
London Midland 23 April
24 April
29 April
 Further information will be added when available.
Northern Rail

30 April

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

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

30 April
01 May
06 May 
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

30 April
01 May
06 May 
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

30 April
01 May
06 May 
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 16 April
17 April
22 April
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.
Virgin Trains 23 April
24 April
28April

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

23 April

24 April
29 April

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.