Did you know that you could save money by planning well ahead and booking an Advance train ticket? Plus, we'd recommend booking travel before you get to the station, as this will limit your time spent there. For safe, contactless travel, choose a digital ticket where possible.

We'll fill you in on all the details about Advance tickets, including rules and restrictions, and show you how to find Advance tickets for your preferred train company and route. Check out 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? Book your train tickets in advance on our app and secure your place on board your chosen service with an Advance ticket. Read on for more information.

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. Perfect for those who like to plan their journeys well ahead of time, Advance tickets are the best way to be organised when it comes to travel.

Why book train tickets in advance?

Booking train tickets in advance on our app can help you save time at the station. Digital tickets offer you contactless travel as you scan them directly from your phone, so there’s no need to touch ticket machines either.

Although not all train services will let you reserve a seat, you'll stand a better chance of getting one when booking in advance.

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.

Can I buy Advance Return tickets?

No, Advance tickets are only sold as Single 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.


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.

How to find cheap Advance train tickets

If you’re after cheap Advance tickets, check out our top tips below and see how much you could save on your train journey. Want to bag yourself the latest offers on UK train travel? Visit our train deals and discounts page to search for all the available deals in the UK.

Travel Off-Peak

When buying your Advance ticket, make sure you book an Off-Peak time. Tickets are usually cheaper during quieter times on weekdays and weekends than during Peak times. Use our Journey Planner at the top of the page to start your search and we’ll highlight the cheapest Off-Peak tickets for you. Learn more about Off-Peak train tickets.

Sign up for Ticket Alert

Sign up for our handy Advance Ticket Alert, which can help you 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.

Learn more about our Advance Train Ticket Alert tool.

Look out for Advance tickets on the day

Occasionally, Advance tickets are still available on the same day of travel, and you can use our app to get your hands on these. 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.

Learn more about last-minute train tickets.

Get a Railcard

Even more music for your ears, you can get extra discounts on Advance train tickets if you've got an applicable Railcard. Children, those aged 16-17 and 16-25, 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.

Learn more about Railcards.

Frequently Asked Questions

Want to learn more about Advance tickets? Read our answers to some of our customers’ frequently asked questions on this topic.

Is it cheaper to buy a train ticket in advance?

Yes. Advance train tickets are usually the cheapest way to travel by train, and generally go on sale 12 weeks before your date of travel. You’ll need to travel on the train you're booked on, but you’ll get a cheaper price by foregoing flexible travel times.

Where can I use an Advance ticket?

Advance tickets can be used for direct routes only. However, if your Advance train ticket route specifies ‘and connections’, then you’re allowed to get off your train only to connect via another train.

Trainline top tip: Avoid breaking your journey with Advance tickets to steer clear of additional charges!

Can I get an earlier train with an Advance ticket?

Advance train 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, but they can be exchanged for a new ticket on a different service on either the same day or another date, subject to a fee. Please note that you won't be able to change your route.

Can I change an Advance ticket to another date or time? 

Yes, you can exchange an Advance ticket for a new time or date on the same route, subject to a fee.


Other train ticket types in the UK

If an Advance train ticket is not the one you’re looking for, why not check out the other ticket types available in the UK. Simply tap the one you’re interested in and we’ll show you all its features, including how to get the cheapest fares.

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