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.

Customers please note, there will be no train service across the network on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Advance ticket & reservation information last updated 19 October 2017:

Train Company Saturday services Sunday services Monday to Friday services Latest time of reservation Notes
Arriva Trains Wales 6 January
7 January

5 January

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 24 December

 

 

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

6 January

7 January

5January

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

6 January

7 January

5 January

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

6 January

7 January

5 January

Up to 10 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

30 December
31 December
5 January
Up to 23:59 the day before travel.


East Midlands Trains

London route

30 December
31 December
5 January
Up to 23:59 the day before travel.

Grand Central

6 January

7 January

5 January
Up to 4 hours before departing origin point.
Great Western Railway

18 November

19 November

22 December
 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.

Reservations are not open on services to and from South Wales on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 November.

Reservations are not open for services between London and Plymouth / Penzance on Sunday 12 November
Greater Anglia

24 December

17 December

 

22 December


Up to 23:59 the day before travel.


Greater Anglia reservations are closed for journeys to and from Clacton-on-Sea and to and from Norwich Sunday 3 December. Closed on the Cambridge route on the following weekends: 11/12, 18/19, 25/26 November & 2/3 December.

 

Hull Trains 6 January
7 January
12 January

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

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

 
London Midland 16 December
17 December
22 December
Further information will be added when available.

 

Northern

 

13 January

14 January
16 January
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 30 December
31 December
5 January

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

Up to 2 hours before departing point of origin.


South Western Railway

Waterloo - Weymouth

2 December
17 November
15 December
Advance tickets are available up to 23:59 the day before travel.

South Western Railway do not offer seat reservations but have quota controlled advance purchase products. Approx 75% of services are open from Mon 14 to Fri 18 August and from Mon 21 to Thur 24 August.

 

 

 

 

South Western Railway

West of England

2 December

17 November

15 December
Advance tickets are available up to 23:59 the day before travel

South Western Railway do not offer seat reservations but have quota controlled advance purchase products. Approx 50% of services are open from Mon 14 to Fri 18 August and from Mon 21 to Thur 24 August.

 

 

 

South Western Railway

Portsmouth route

for fares to Isle of Wight

2 December
17 November

15 December
Advance tickets are available up to 23:59 the day before travel.

South Western Railway do not offer seat reservations but have quota controlled advance purchase products.

 

 

 

 

Southern 21 October
08 October
8 December
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. Closed Sunday 15 October.
TransPennine Express

13 January

14 January
19 January
Up to 23:59 the day before travel.
Virgin Trains 23 December
17 December
22 December

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

6 January

7 January

28 March

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. Currently Closed all weekends from 16 December 2017 Onwards. Friday 22 December 2017 - Sunday 14 January 2018 Inclusive.

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.