We use cookies to track usage and preferences. You can view our cookies policy here.

What are Off-Peak train times?

Looking to know what Off-Peak train times are? They can be tricky to navigate. Here's our guide to what Off-Peak means and more.
Posted by

Off-Peak train times are generally accepted as those outside of the traditional morning or evening rush hour. But how do you know when your ticket is valid? Put simply: When is Off-Peak?

What are Off-Peak train times?

On short hops and local journeys, Off-Peak train times usually start at 08:45, 09:00, 09:15 or 09:30 on weekdays. On longer-distance trips, especially on trains to London, restrictions can be more complicated. They can be based on when you arrive at your destination, rather than when you leave.

Do Off-Peak train times vary by company?

Yes, they do. For example, on Avanti West Coast and LNER, all peak times have been abolished on Fridays. This means that you can use an Off-Peak (or Super Off-Peak) ticket on their trains at any time on a Friday.

If you’re travelling on CrossCountry, Off-Peak usually starts at 09:30 on a weekday. Many companies also restrict Off-Peak train tickets during the evening rush hour.

When are Off-Peak train times?

It’d be impossible to list all Off-Peak train times, but let’s go through some of the most common examples. 


Travelling from Edinburgh, Berwick-upon-Tweed or Newcastle to London Kings Cross (or vice-versa)? Due to their so-called Simpler Fares Trial, there are no longer any Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak fares. You can find out more on our dedicated page

For other journeys with LNER, you’ll only find a Super Off-Peak or Anytime fare. The typical Super Off-Peak times are 09:06 to 14:59 and after 18:59 on Mondays to Thursdays from London Kings Cross. Heading south, you can arrive in London after 11:17. On Fridays to Sundays (and Bank Holidays) there aren’t any restrictions. 

On journeys that don’t involve London (such as Peterborough to Edinburgh), Off-Peak train times are simpler. They’re usually after 09:30 on weekdays and any time on weekends and Bank Holidays. 

Avanti West Coast 

Avanti West Coast Off-Peak times can vary depending on where you’re travelling to/from and how long your journey is. 

If you’re travelling from Lancaster (or north of there) to London (or vice-versa), then you can arrive in London after 10:05 and leave London after 09:05 Monday to Thursday with an Off-Peak ticket. There aren’t any restrictions on Fridays, weekends or Bank Holidays. This applies to the Off-Peak Single or Off-Peak Return

For journeys from Preston southwards (such as Manchester or Liverpool) to London, the restrictions are a little less generous. For example, the Off-Peak Single or Off-Peak Return are only valid to arrive in London after 11:29 Monday to Thursday. For journeys from London, they’re valid between 09:26 and 15:00 then after 18:45. 

If you’re travelling north of Rugby (such as from Crewe to Carlisle) then the Off-Peak Single and Off-Peak Return fares are valid after 04:15, so they effectively have no time restrictions. The only exception is for journeys north of Oxenholme Lake District to Glasgow, where these tickets are only valid after 09:00 on weekdays. 

When you book with Railsmartr, we’ll offer you the cheapest fare that’s valid for your journey – so don’t worry if it seems that you’re being given an Off-Peak ticket for what seems to be a peak time! 

Journeys within South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester 

If you’re using an Off-Peak Day Return and it’s fully within one of the areas above, then you can typically use these tickets after 09:29, before 16:00 and after 18:30 on weekdays. There aren’t any restrictions on weekends and Bank Holidays. 

For journeys between these areas (such as Hebden Bridge to Rochdale), the Off-Peak Day Return is typically valid after 09:29, but there aren’t any afternoon/evening restrictions. 


Until 28 June 2024, most trips in Scotland are Off-Peak all of the time! As part of a fares trial, ‘peak’ times have been abolished. You can read more in our dedicated guide to ScotRail Off-Peak fares

Are Bank Holidays Off-Peak?

Yes. The railway treats a Bank Holiday like a weekend (or more specifically, a Sunday) when it comes to train tickets. This means that you can use Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak tickets all day on Bank Holidays.

Don’t forget that the timetable will likely be different to a normal weekday too, so check ahead before you make your way to the station.

When are the Off-Peak train times on my route?

While we can’t list when every single ticket is valid, there’s an easy way for you to check. Every ticket comes with a ‘restriction code’ which tells us about any time and date restrictions that might apply. Let’s take a look at where to find this code on an eTicket:

eticket for a london to newcastle journey


Below all of your journey details, you’ll see a heading called ‘Ticket Details‘. This will tell you the restriction code that applies to your ticket. In this case, the restriction code is ‘1L’. By following the link on the ticket, we’ll reach this page:

ticket restriction code showing off peak train times for a newcastle to london journey


That’s a lot of information at once! Here’s what this page can tell us:

  • Which trains we’re not allowed to use on our outward and return journeys
  • That if we break our journey overnight on the outward journey, the same morning restrictions will apply (so we can’t set off again first thing in the morning on a Monday to Thursday!)
  • Other restriction codes that apply if you’re taking a particular operator
  • That the restrictions don’t apply at all on a Friday if we’re going to or from London Kings Cross or Stevenage
  • That restrictions will be lifted on certain dates, such as over Christmas.

So, how can we apply this to our ticket?

  • We’re travelling through London Kings Cross, so on Monday to Thursday afternoons, we can’t leave there between 15:00 and 18:59
  • We’re booked on the 18:58 train, so this wouldn’t be valid on a Monday to Thursday. However, we’re travelling on a Friday, so we’re all good!

Looking to check when your ticket is valid? Simply click here and select ‘Restriction Code’ before typing yours in.

Are Off-Peak train tickets refundable?

Yes! When you book with Railsmartr, all Off-Peak train tickets are refundable. Your journey doesn’t have to be disrupted, you can simply change your mind.

Many companies charge an admin fee if you try to refund them, which can sometimes wipe out most of the value of the ticket. That’s why we’d always recommend booking with us.

When are Super Off-Peak train times?

In most cases, Super Off-Peak train times on long-distance journeys are from around 10:00 to 15:00 and after 19:00 on weekdays. If you’re travelling out of London King’s Cross with LNER or London Euston with Avanti West Coast, then Super Off-Peak tickets are usually valid all day on Fridays, too.

The main exception to this rule is if you’re travelling with West Midlands Trains (or London Northwestern Railway as they’re known on some routes). Their Super Off-Peak tickets are very restrictive. Here’s what you need to know about West Midlands Trains Super Off-Peak tickets:

  • They’re usually only valid to arrive in London after 13:00. You also can’t leave your origin station between 16:00 and 19:00
  • When you’re leaving London, they’re valid after 10:30, before 15:59 and after 19:01
  • These restrictions apply on Mondays to Saturdays, so you can only travel at any time on Sundays or Bank Holidays.

If you’re travelling with South Western Railway, then you’ll also find similar restrictions. Their Super Off-Peak tickets are only valid to arrive in London after 14:01 (Monday to Saturday) and you can only return from London between 12:01 and 15:59 and after 19:01. Some operators in the South East also do Super Off-Peak tickets that are only valid on weekends and Bank Holidays, such as Great NorthernThameslink and Greater Anglia.

I’m still not sure if my ticket is valid!

We know that Off-Peak train times can be challenging to navigate. When you book with Railsmartr, we’ll only offer you tickets that are valid on the itinerary that you’re following. If we offer you an Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak ticket for your chosen trains, then it will be valid for your trip.

Best of all, we don’t charge any fees. Need to change your trip? No problem. You’ll only ever pay the difference in price, if there is one.

Alternatively, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about buying your ticket.