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Did you know that you could save money by planning well ahead and booking an Advance train ticket? We’ll fill you in on all the details about these tickets, including rules and restrictions, and show you how to find Advance tickets for your preferred train company and route. Find all the info below, from basic advice on how to buy tickets to frequently asked questions.

Advance train tickets explained

Know exactly when and where you need to travel? Secure your place onboard your chosen service with an Advance ticket. If you need some info about these tickets, read on for our top tips!

What is an Advance train ticket?

Advance train tickets are fares that go on sale well before the day of travel. They're only available as Single tickets for A to B rail journeys and are non-refundable. They're also non-flexible, meaning you'll need to be fairly confident that you can catch your train. Perfect for those who like to plan their journeys out well ahead of time, Advance tickets are the best way to be organised when it comes to travel.

 

Why book train tickets in advance?

Not all train services will let you reserve a seat, but you'll stand a better chance of getting one when booking in advance. Reserving a seat is a must for those longer journeys (like London to Edinburgh) where standing up would be a nightmare.

Advance train tickets may also be available for First Class travel, meaning you can enjoy all the perks of a higher standard of train travel at a good price.

 

When do Advance train tickets become available?

Typically, train companies release their Advance tickets 12 weeks before the departure date, although some go on sale as far as 24 weeks in Advance! Only a limited number of tickets will be available, so be quick to secure yours as the fare can rise as the date of travel gets nearer.

You can also check the Advance train ticket release dates for certain UK train companies on our Ticket Alert page.

Can I buy Advance Return tickets?

No, you can't buy Advance Return tickets. However, you can buy an Advance Single train ticket for both directions, meaning you can mix and match Single tickets for the cheapest possible return journey to your chosen destination.

 

 

Where can I use an Advance ticket?

If your Advance train ticket route specifies ‘and connections’, then you’re allowed to get off your train only to connect via another train. But generally, Advance tickets are for direct routes only. Trainline top tip: Avoid breaking your journey with Advanced tickets to steer clear of additional charges! 

How to find cheap Advance train tickets

Sign up for our handy Advance Ticket Alerts, which can help you to plan your journeys further in advance and find tickets available at lower prices. Our clever tool will send you an email as soon as Advance tickets become available for your preferred route.

Occasionally, Advance tickets are still available on the same day of travel, and you can use our app to get your hands on these through our Advance Purchase On The Day service, an easy way to snap up last-minute tickets. Just bear in mind that we highlight the cheapest option for the day, so Advance tickets may not always be the best choice on some days.

Even more music for your ears, you can get extra discounts on Advance train tickets if you've got an applicable Railcard. Children, 16-25s (students), Disabled Persons and Seniors can all use their Railcards to get 1/3 off most Standard and First Class tickets. The Two Together and Family & Friends Railcards are also applicable on certain routes, although not always for First Class travel.

Where can I use an Advance ticket?

If your Advance train ticket route specifies ‘and connections’, then you’re allowed to get off your train only to connect via another train. But generally, Advance tickets are for direct routes only. Trainline top tip: Avoid breaking your journey with Advanced tickets to steer clear of additional charges! 

Can I get an earlier train with an Advance ticket?

Advance rail tickets aren't flexible, so you must catch the train specified on your ticket. If you catch an earlier train, you may have to pay additional fees, so please check with ticket staff at the station.

Can I get an Advance train ticket refund?

Advance Single tickets can't be refunded by train companies, but they can be exchanged for a new ticket on a different service on either the same day or another date (at a £10.00 fee). Please note that you won't be able to change your route.

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Need a different kind of ticket? Check out the other options available on our UK train ticket types page, or head over to our help section for more in-depth FAQs.