Types of Train Tickets | UK Train Tickets Explained | Trainline (2023)

  • Advance train tickets
  • Anytime train tickets
  • Flexi Season Tickets
  • Off-Peak train tickets
  • First Class train tickets
  • Return train tickets

Buying train tickets in the UK can be a little confusing at times. If you've ever been stuck at aticket machine or online purchase screen, wondering which ticket option is best for you, then don't worry, you're not alone.

That's why we’re stepping in to help sort out the Advance tickets from the Anytimes, the Peaks from the Off-Peaks, and in general, the wheat from the chaff. So, the next time you buy train tickets, you can do it knowing you’re getting the best possible ticket for you!

Ticket types in the UK

Want to know the differences between all of the UK train tickets? Have a look through our handy overview of each ticket type below. Before long, we’re sure you’ll be clued up and ready to save money on your travels.

Advance train tickets

We all know how expensive travel can be, but you could secure great deals on your long-distance rail journeys by booking in advance. Advance train tickets are, of course, tickets that you can buy before the date of travel. They're Single tickets sold for both Standard and First Class seats, usually made available 12 weeks before departure.

You can mix and match Single fares for the cheapest possible return journey. Just be aware that Advance train ticketsaren't flexible. In other words, once you buy your Advance tickets, you’re usually tied to the exact trains and dates shown.

As a bonus, you can use your Railcard for further discounts. So, if you have a student, senior, child’s or disabled person’s Railcard you can look forward to even cheaper train tickets to a range of wonderful destinations.

Learn more about Advance train tickets

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Anytime train tickets

Perfect for when your schedule isn’t quite set in stone, Anytime train tickets are flexible train tickets that let you take full control of exactly when you’ll be making your journey.

Anytime tickets are split into four types — Anytime Day Single, Anytime Day Return, Anytime Single and Anytime Return. These tickets let you travel either on a specified date or multiple dates. You can book Anytime train tickets in advance, right up to the same day of travel.

Learn more aboutAnytime train tickets

Flexi Season Tickets

If you’re commuting to work only two or three times a week, a Flexi Season Ticket is the perfect option for you. Benefits of buying a Flexi Season Ticket include:

  • Unlimited travel between two stations
  • Flexibility to travel when you need within 28 days
  • Travel at any time of day
  • No need to get a Smartcard if barcode tickets are available on your route

Find out more about Flexi Season Tickets.

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Off-Peak train tickets

Off-Peak tickets are an excellent option for passengers who can be flexible with their travel. Journeys are restricted to certain time slots, normally avoiding the busier morning and evening commuting periods.

If you're a bargain hunter, this is the ticket for you. Weekends and bank holidays give you the chance to buy Super Off-Peak tickets for many of your favourite destinations. You can even use a Railcard for an extra 1/3 off the price, or enjoy First Class seating for less by booking an Off-Peak train!

Find out more aboutOff-Peak and Super Off-Peak train tickets

First Class train tickets

The ultimate way to travel. Arrive in style with a First Class train ticket. There are so many perks in store for those who upgrade, from extra-wide seats with extended legroom, to complimentary snacks and drinks. And, although not all services offer all of these perks, you may even get access to free WiFi, plug-in points and hot meals, as well as First Class lounges at certain stations.

Onboard, you’ll often have a table with space for your laptop, making on-the-go work a breeze, while the quiet atmosphere makes for a relaxing experience whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure. So, use your time productively or kick back and relax with our First Class train tickets.

Learn more aboutFirst Class train tickets

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Return train tickets

Return tickets combine your two train journeys, outward and return, into a single ticket. You can either choose to depart and return on specific dates or opt for an Open Return ticket, which gives you more flexibility on travel dates. Day Return tickets require you to travel back on the same day, and First Class Return tickets allow you to sit in the First Class carriage for both your outward and return journey.

Find out more aboutReturn train tickets

Season Tickets

Ideal for commuters, Season Tickets offer unlimited travel between two given stations on a weekly, monthly or annual basis. You can even specify a custom duration for a Season Ticket if none of those periods fit your schedule. Using a Season Ticket can save you over 1/3 compared to buying peak daily return tickets 5 days a week. All you'll need to get started is a valid Photocard.

Use our Season Ticket Calculator to see how much you could save.

Cheap train tickets

Our top tips for securing cheaper train tickets include keeping an eye on when Advance tickets are released and booking as far ahead as you possibly can. Alternatively, you can sometimes secure a cheaper fare by booking two single journey tickets rather than a return ticket.

Find out more about how to get cheap train tickets

GroupSave train tickets

GroupSave is a type of train ticket discount for those travelling in groups of three to nine people. They're ideal if you want to travel with friends or family (excluding child tickets), as they could help you get as much as 34% off the cost of your fares. Score!

Find out more about GroupSave train tickets

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Last-minute train tickets

Ever found yourself scrambling for a last-minute train ticket and wondered if you’re paying over the odds? Well, worry not! With our nifty money-saving tools there’s no need to fret about ticket prices, even if it’s at the last possible moment. Use our Journey Planner to search for tickets, and we’ll always highlight the cheapest fares for the time you’ve selected. Alternatively, with the Trainline app, you can save money right up the last second by using our advance purchase on the day feature.

Learn more about last-minute train tickets.

Find out more about train travel in the UK

Once you’re clued up on UK train ticket types, why not check out our guides to train travel around the UK? We’ll tell you how to book and collect your train tickets and provide general information about the British train network. Whether you need info on train companies, popular routes, tips for getting cheaper tickets or how to travel to Europe from Britain by rail, we’ve left no stone unturned.

Trains in Wales

(Video) How to Save Hundreds of Pounds on UK Train Tickets


How many types of tickets are there? ›

11 event ticket types (and why you should use them)

How can I choose my train ticket class? ›

To select the train from the train list, click on the type of class available in the selected train. To book tickets, click on "Book Now" link under availability option. If you wish to select other train, click on class link of that train.

What is the difference between standard and First Class on UK trains? ›

The seats in First Class have more space, extra leg room and are generally wider than Standard Class seats. The carriages are quieter, calmer and generally more comfortable than Standard Class.

What are the different ticket status? ›

What is a ticket status? Ticket status is each stage a ticket goes through in its life cycle. The statuses that can be assigned to the ticket are New, Open, Answered, Resolved or Postponed.

What are four types of fares? ›

Unrestricted, flexible, full fare, or walk-up fare

This is because you can refund or change these tickets as necessary. They can also be purchased on the same day you travel.

What is the most common ticket? ›

The most common traffic tickets in the U.S.
  • Speeding.
  • Texting while driving.
  • Running a red light or disobeying a sign.
  • Driving under the influence.
  • Resources.

What is the ticket type? ›

Ticket type is a ticket classification with its own price, quantity, restrictions, etc. (i.e. Balcony seats or Orchestra seats). Ticket types apply to all performances by default but can be disabled on a performance-by-performance basis.

What are the three fare types? ›

Understand that when a client comes to you with a fare you cannot match, it is due to one of these 3 airline fare types—Published, Private, or Opaque.

How do I know my train type? ›

The first digit of the train number indicates the type of train:
  1. 0: for special trains (e.g., summer specials, holiday specials, etc.)
  2. 1: for all long-distance trains, including the Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Jan Sadharan, Sampark Kranti, Garib Rath, Duronto, and other classes.

What does SL 1A 2A 3A 2S CC mean? ›

Such class of accommodation is abbreviated as below: 1A= First AC, 2A=2 Tier AC Sleer, 3A= 3 tier AC sleeper, CC= Chair Car, FC=First Class, SL= Sleeper Class, 2S= Second Class seat.

Is it better to purchase your ticket at the station or on the train? ›

To secure the best available fare, passengers should purchase tickets prior to boarding the train.

What is the best way to buy train tickets in England? ›

The easiest way to do this is by visiting redspottedhanky.com an impartial and independent ticket retailer for all train operating companies and train journeys in the UK. You won't be charged any credit or debit card fees when you buy your train ticket.

Is first class on British Rail worth it? ›

The premium for first-class over standard train tickets is often (though not always) well worth the added expense. First-class brings greater space, comfort, and quiet, as well as seat-side service with complimentary snack and beverage service and appropriate meals on longer journeys.

Is 1st class train worth it UK? ›

First class cabins tend to have more comfortable seats which are reclinable, larger and have extra legroom. These features will be a godsend if you are making a long journey and travelling on a route where it can occasionally be difficult to find a seat during peak times.

What is regular ticket? ›

Normal tickets are tickets without any special details. There are no extra's included or any special details to the ticket itself (standard price / paper ticket / etc.).

What do ticket numbers mean? ›

Ticket Number means the preassigned unique number or combination of letters and numbers which or barcode that identifies that particular ticket as one within a particular game or drawing.

What is an economy class ticket? ›

When you purchase an "economy flight" ticket, it means you are sitting in the main cabin, not first or business class. Seats are smaller and packed more closely together, and in-flight services are limited.

What are the different types of fare formats? ›

Types of fare structure
  • Flat fare.
  • Zone-based fare.
  • Transfer fare.
  • Distance-based fare.
  • Subscription fare.
  • Variable fares.

What is a basic fare? ›

Flickr/Andrew Curie. A base fare is the price of airline ticket before fees, taxes, and any surcharges are added. In most cases, a traveler's base fare will be lower than the final ticket price.

What is a dirty ticket? ›

DToW is terminology used in Telstra to indicate that incorrect information has been entered into the ToW or where the field tech hasn't been able to complete the ToW as originally designed / planned.

What is an all round ticket? ›

Also known as “return air tickets,” round-trip tickets are flights from and back to the same location of origin. A one-way ticket, on the other hand, only allows you to fly to your destination, not back from it.

What's in a good ticket? ›

With some ground rules established, let's investigate the factors that make for a great ticket.
  • A User Story. ...
  • Clearly Defined Goals & Scope. ...
  • Accurate Estimates. ...
  • Understanding of Priority. ...
  • Knowledge of Blockers. ...
  • Screenshots. ...
  • Documented Designs. ...
  • Contact Information.
Jan 9, 2016

What does S class ticket mean? ›

S - Economy/Coach. T - Economy/Coach Discounted. U - Shuttle Service (no reservation needed/seat guaranteed) V - Economy/Coach Discounted.

What is ticket method? ›

A ticketing system works by first creating a document, or "ticket," that records the interactions on a support or service case. The ticket is shared between both the rep and the customer and logs their communication to one continuous thread. Both parties can refer back to the thread at any point in time.

What's the difference between e-ticket and tickets? ›

What is the Difference between e-Tickets and i-Tickets? While e-Tickets are paperless electronic tickets, Internet Tickets aka i-Tickets are a version of paper tickets.

How can I tell if my United ticket is basic economy? ›

How can I tell if my United ticket is Basic Economy? United Basic Economy tickets will be notated upon booking, and are marked as the “most restrictive” fare. Most often, these tickets are fare class N.

What is the fare structure? ›

Fare structure refers to the types of fares charged, the most common of which are: Flat fare (same fare irrespective of distance travelled on a particular route) Graduated fare (fare increases with distance travelled on a particular route)

What does multi ticket fare mean? ›

A multi-city flight combines flights between several cities into one reservation, saving you the time of booking several one-way tickets between each location. Often, it's cheaper than booking a series of one-way tickets.

What is the most common type of train? ›

That's because boxcars are the gold standard of the rail freight world, making up the majority of many trains. Boxcars feature a solid roof and sliding doors in the center of each side, making it easy to load and unload palletized goods and other bulk items. Common boxcar freight includes: Consumer packaged goods.

How do I know if my train is local or express? ›

When looking at the subway map you will see that some stops have black dots and others have white dots. Black dots are "local" stations and the only trains that stop here are trains that make every stop on the line. White dots are "express" stations and all trains on a line stop here.

Which is better 2A or 3A? ›

-2A is a first class air-conditioned coach, while 3A is a second class air-conditioned coach. -2A typically has fewer seats per row than 3A, so there is more space per passenger. -2A passengers generally have access to better amenities than 3A passengers, such as power outlets and reading lights.

What is S1 S2 S3 s4 in train? ›

SL : Sleeper class - Coaches are numbered S1, S2, S3 etc. SH : High-capacity (81 berths) sleeper class - Coaches are numbered N1, N2. 2S : Second class Sitting or Normal Chair-car - Coaches are numbered D1, D2, D3. SLR : SLR stands for Seating cum Luggage Rake.

What is SL vs 3A in train? ›

Sleeper is just Sleeper while 3A is not just Sleeper, it has AC also. U have 72 berth's in Sleeper class. Where as in 3ac u only have 64 berth's. Latest LHBs have 72.

Do I have to buy a ticket before I get on a train? ›

1. To avoid being issued a Penalty Fare, you must purchase a valid ticket to your destination for the class of travel you wish to use before starting your journey. 2. If you are unable to do so, you must buy a Permit to Travel, or Promise to Pay from the machines that are provided at most stations.

Do train tickets get more expensive closer to departure date? ›

They're normally cheaper than the on-the-day price, but as it gets closer to the date of travel the price tends to go up.

Is it cheaper to buy train tickets before the day? ›

Advance purchase tickets are cheaper rail fares which are sold prior to the day of travel, and, in some cases on the day of departure.

Are British rail passes worth it? ›

There are many benefits to purchasing a BritRail Pass, such as: Free Child places. More economical than buying individual tickets. Freedom to travel anywhere within you pass boundaries.

Is it cheaper to buy train tickets in advance UK? ›

Advance tickets are usually the cheapest way to travel by train, and generally go on sale 12 weeks before your date of travel. You have to travel on the train you're booked on, but you get a much cheaper price by foregoing flexible travel times. Full details on Advance tickets can be found here.

How do I get cheap train tickets uk? ›

  1. Book Early to Get Cheap Tickets. ...
  2. Travel at Off-Peak Rather Than Peak Times. ...
  3. Compare the Price of Single and Return Tickets. ...
  4. Save Money When Travelling as a Group by Booking Together. ...
  5. Be Flexible About When You Travel. ...
  6. Use a 16-25 or 26-30 Railcard, Even When You're Older. ...
  7. Avoid Paying Booking and Credit Card Fees.

Do you get free food on First Class trains? ›

First Class tickets offer you compliementary food and drink (including an alchoholic tipple from 11:30am (when available).

Can you just sit in First Class on a train? ›

Standard-class passengers are not allowed to stand in first-class corridors and vestibules. The official line is that you can travel in the first-class section (which includes standing areas) only with a first-class ticket.

Which train class is best for travel? ›

Travel in Sleeper Class is suitable for those on a tight budget, or those who don't mind roughing it or who want to experience the "real" India. If comfort is more of a concern, then travel in 3AC is a better option. For those who require space and/or privacy, 2AC or 1AC is recommended.

Do you get food on first class trains UK? ›

First Class carriages offer comfort and space, often with larger tables and reclining seats and sometimes with complimentary food and drink, newspapers and other perks.

What is the difference between standard and first class train tickets in the UK? ›

The seats in First Class have more space, extra leg room and are generally wider than Standard Class seats. The carriages are quieter, calmer and generally more comfortable than Standard Class.

What is the difference between standard and first class on Trainline? ›

In First Class, you'll get wider and plusher seats, more legroom and sometimes a more formal atmosphere. Most First Class passengers are travelling for business, so they spend their time working while on the train.

How many types are there in train? ›

Indian Railways: 29 Types of Trains. Indian Railways is one of the most popular and busiest modes of transportation in India and connects numerous cities, towns, states, districts, and regions.

What is ticket category? ›

Ticket categories are support topics that are presented to users so they can more easily choose the area with which they need help.

What is ticket classification? ›

Support ticket classification or tagging is the practice of attaching labels to tickets based on the ticket content and use case. These tags or classifications can then be used to analyze tickets at large and build mathematical representations of what happens in support.

What is a basic ticket? ›

Flickr/Andrew Curie. A base fare is the price of airline ticket before fees, taxes, and any surcharges are added. In most cases, a traveler's base fare will be lower than the final ticket price.

What does Tatkal ticket mean? ›

Tatkal Booking: Introduced in 1997, tatkal literally means 'immediately'. It enables a passenger to book a ticket one day in advance of the actual date of the journey.

What are the different kinds of train and what are they used for? ›

In order to achieve this humongous feat, Indian Railways operates various types of trains that include high-speed, fully air-conditioned premium trains, point-to-point superfast trains, mountain railways (declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site), metro trains for fast urban transport, and even slow, cost-effective ...

What are Category 5 tickets? ›

Primarily located on the upper tier, Category 5 tickets run from close to the halfway line on one side of the pitch to the other, so whether you're after seats on the sidelines, behind the goal, or in the corners, these have you covered.

What is Category 3 ticket? ›

Category 3 seats are located behind the goals (blue on the seating map), and are the most affordable tickets available at the 2022 FIFA World Cup for non-Qatari residents. These Four-Stadium Ticket Series packages allow you to get a true taste of the 2022 FIFA World Cup by attending 4 matches at 4 different stadiums.

What is Category 4 ticket? ›

Category 4 is a seating area within the stadium separate to the Category 1, Category 2 and Category 3 seating areas. This category is reserved exclusively for residents of Qatar* for online sales on FIFA.com/tickets. Obstructed View Tickets are seats that have a restricted view of the pitch of up to 50%.

Why is ticket categorization important? ›

Your agents would be confused and lost if they did not categorize these tickets based on their type. So putting customer A's ticket into one category and customer B's ticket in another is what help desk ticket categories are.


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