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A Guide to Fares & Validities

Cheap Fare Finder

Our Cheap Fare Finder tool uses information supplied by the train companies into a centralised fares and reservations database.

Some tickets and fares may have limited availability or be valid only at certain times or days of the week and therefore National Rail Enquiries is unable to guarantee that such fares will be available at the time that you wish to travel.

"Cheap" and "Cheapest" Fare

The terms "Cheap" and "Cheapest" fares relate to the lowest priced, point-to-point fare the tool finds in the industry fares and reservation system, based on the information submitted by the customer. Other cheaper fares may be found by changing the information submitted (e.g. travelling on a different day or at a different time).

Ticket Validities

The ticket that you have selected may require you to travel at a specific time of day, or day of the week, or on a specific route (e.g. not travelling via London). Our Journey Planner will have already taken this into account with the selection that you have made and will only have shown tickets that are valid for the selected trains and/or services.

All 'Off-Peak', 'Super Off-Peak' and 'Advance' tickets are associated with a ‘Restriction Code' applied by the train companies and this can be viewed by clicking the link from the Journey Planner ticket terms and conditions page once you have made your selection.


Permitted Routes

The ticket that you have selected may require you to travel via a specific route. 

Our Journey Planner will have already taken the permitted route into account with the selection that you have made and will only show tickets that are valid for the selected trains. If you wish to travel via a specific route you can use the advanced options on the Journey Planner to select ‘travel via', ‘avoid', ‘include interchange' or ‘exclude interchange' so that the route and the required ticket(s) will be recalculated for you.


Please note that if no fare is shown, the route is not a permitted one and you will have to purchase more than one ticket if you want to make the selected journey.

All tickets are valid via any reasonable route unless specifically stated on the ticket.

Fulfilment of Tickets Selected for Purchase

We aim to display the full range of tickets available for the journey that you have selected. National Rail Enquiries does not retail train tickets and so when you are ready to purchase the ticket that you have selected we impartially offer all of the train companies and independent retailers that can complete the transaction.

On occasion, though, it may be the case that the retailer is unable to fulfil the transaction and this may be due to, but not limited to;

  • system limitations,
  • site functionality variations,
  • browser caching issues or,
  • products that can only be purchased from certain vendors.

If this happens, you may wish to go back and select another retailer or contact the retailer direct.

Certain online retailers may charge a booking fee. Where this is charged it will be in addition to the fares(s) quoted for the train tickets. Retailers should clearly display this charge before the transaction is completed. Retailers that do charge a booking fee usually only do so per transaction and not per ticket.

Refunding Tickets

Single and Return Tickets

If you decide not to use your ticket to make all or part of your intended journey then you can get a refund by returning your unused ticket to the ticket office or retailer (for tickets bought via websites, telesales or travel agents) within 28 days of the ticket expiry date. You may be required to pay an administration fee (not more that £10.00).

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.

If you purchase a Ticket and then choose not to travel, you may apply for a refund from the original retailer or Train Company from whom it was purchased, unless the terms and conditions of your Ticket (Advance Tickets for instance) indicate this is non-refundable for this reason.

If your journey is disrupted and you do not travel, you are entitled to a full refund without any administration fees, regardless of ticket type (Anytime, Off-Peak, Super Off-Peak or Advance). The retailer of your original ticket will not deduct the cost of any travel partly made in these circumstances.

Season Ticket Refunds

If you no longer need your Season Ticket, it can be returned to the retailer you bought it from to be refunded. This can be the ticket office you purchased it from, or another managed by the same retailer or Train Company. For Season Tickets purchased online or via telesales, the Season Ticket should be returned to that retailer.

You should be aware that the Season Ticket will need to be surrendered, so a refund should only be requested once you have completely finished using it.

Any refund is calculated from the date after the Season Ticket was returned to the retailer, and will be the difference between the price you paid and the cost of a ticket or tickets for the period for which you have actually used the ticket up to and including the date a refund is requested. There may also be an administration charge of no more that £10.00.

Because of the discounts on longer term Season Tickets, refunds are not made pro rata to the periods before/after surrender and annual Season Tickets have no refund value after approximately 10 months.

Range of Fares

Our Journey Planner uses information supplied by the train companies into a central fares and reservations database and will show the full range that can be retailed by any train company. On occasion, there may be other fares available which are not shown for several reasons and examples may include but not limited to:

  • Some tickets not primarily being railway products
  • Sleeper service journeys which may require supplements
  • Some tickets are issued with nominal destinations/origins which are not recognised by the Journey Planner (e.g. a tram or light rail station)
  • Some Train Companies and Third Party retailers offer special fares, promotions or methods of fulfilment that can only be bought direct through their own website

Please check with your train ticket provider before purchase.

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Last updated:   17 November 2021