Buying tickets


Find the right ticket with the best price for your journey



Changing tickets

Depending on the type of ticket held you may be able to make changes to travel plans, or obtain a refund if you do not travel. For more details please look at our Changing and Cancelling tickets page. Please note that Advance tickets are not refundable. 

Railcards and other discounts

Railcards offer value for money if you travel by train, saving you at least 1/3 on rail fares. A selection of national Railcards as well as a number of local Railcards serving specific geographical areas.

In addition, a number of other discounts are available - take a look at our discounts page to find out more.

Rail and bus tickets

Add unlimited bus travel around your origin and/or destination town or city with PLUSBUS. It can be added to single or return train tickets, and, in many towns and cities, to season tickets as well. Take a look at our PLUSBUS pages to see which towns/cities are covered.

Many towns without railway stations can be reached using public transport from the nearest railhead station. Combined rail and bus tickets may be available on some of these links. Take a look at our pages for more information.

Ticket validity information

The ticket that you have selected may require you to travel at specific times of the day, days of the week or on a specific route.  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.

Your ticket is 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.

Routeing information

Your ticket may indicate a route or train company that you must use to complete your journey. In all other cases you are allowed to use any permitted route for the journey you are making – this is also the case where no route is shown. Permitted routes cover all the reasonable routes available for making the journey indicated, including all direct services and suitable connecting services. When you book your journey online, any ticket offered in connection with the timetable or itinerary produced by the journey planner will be accepted as a permitted route.

The full Routeing Guide can be found on the Association of Train Operating Companies website. This includes a list of maps of permitted routes and is intended as guidance, however, the full range of routes and options (especially for longer distance journeys) can be very complex and we would therefore encourage you to check any intended route using our Journey Planner to validate that it can be used with your ticket.

Crossing London

If your journey involves travelling through London to connect with another National Rail service, your ticket will usually include the cost of transfer on London Underground, Docklands Light Railway or Thameslink services between the relevant stations. To check if the cost of travel across London is included in your ticket, look for the ‘' symbol which will be shown in the tickets ‘Route' information, e.g. [‘' ANY PERMITTED]. Full information can be found on our Travelling to, from and via London page.

National Rail Conditions of Carriage

When you buy a ticket to travel on the National Rail network you enter into an agreement with the train companies whose trains you will be travelling on. This agreement is detailed in the National Rail Conditions of Carriage.

Click here for the Conditions applying up to and including Saturday 18 July 2015.

Click here for the Conditions applying from Sunday 19 July 2015.

Reference is made in the the National Rail Conditions of carriage applying from 19 July 2015 to a Code of Practice for meetings arranged in connection with duplicate Season Tickets. A copy of this can be found here.

Compensation / refund rights and Passenger's Charter

Each franchised train company has a Passenger's Charter which is a guide to the level of service you can expect to receive when using their stations and their train services. Below are a list of links that will take you straight to the individual Passenger's Charter details on each train company website.

Abellio Greater Anglia Arriva Trains Wales c2c        
Caledonian Sleeper            Chiltern Railways CrossCountry
East Midlands Railway Grand Central Great Northern
Great Western Railway Heathrow Connect Heathrow Express
Hull Trains Island Line London Midland
London Overground Merseyrail     Northern
ScotRail Southeastern Southern
South West Trains TfL Rail Thameslink
TransPennine Express Virgin Trains Virgin Trains East Coast

Further information about your rights to a refund or compensation in the event of delays is available here

Ticket Irregularities Code of Practice

Train companies carry out regular inspections, both on train and at stations, to make sure that customers are buying and using the correct tickets for the trains they are using.  If you do not have the right ticket for your journey when you had the opportunity to purchase one, you may be issued with a Penalty Fare or an Unpaid Fare Notice, or further action may be taken to examine the circumstances of the case. This can in some cases lead to prosecution.

When dealing with such ticket irregularities, Train Companies abide by the Ticket Irregularities Code of Practice.

Visitors to Britain

If you live abroad and plan to visit Britain, the BritRail Pass gives the freedom to travel on all National Rail services. Ask for details from your travel agent before leaving for Britain, or visit the BritRail website.

For timetable enquiries from overseas, you can contact National Rail Enquiries International on +44 (0)20 7278 5240 . Please note that this service is for information only purposes and international rates apply.

Last updated:   10 November 2020