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Guide to train tickets

Navigating train tickets can be confusing. Let our guide to train tickets help you work out which is the best option for you!

Advance Train Tickets 

Advance train tickets are usually the cheapest kind of ticket that you can buy. They’re sold in ‘tiers’, which means that you start off with the cheapest tier and the price gradually increases over time. Sometimes though, it’s actually possible to buy one right up until your train departs! Ideal for a last-minute bargain.

Looking for cheaper train tickets? You can find Advance fares quickly using our journey planner and save up to 80% on some routes.

Advance train tickets are always sold as singles, so you’d need to buy two singles to make up a return journey.

Just remember that they’re only valid for the date and train you’ve booked. These tickets are non-refundable but can be amended before departure. Of course, it’s possible to get a refund if your train is cancelled or you’re affected by industrial action.

You can find out more with our guide to Advance train tickets.

Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak Tickets

Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak train tickets are more flexible than Advance tickets. They’re perfect if you’re happy to travel later in the morning, or do not need to arrive at a particular time.

They might carry restrictions meaning you’ll need travel at specific times of the day, on specific days of the week, or on a certain rail route. The travel restrictions will depend on the journey you are making. Don’t worry, we’ll let you know any restrictions in the detailed ticket information before you make your booking.

Cheap Off-Peak train tickets are available any time before travelling. Off-Peak Single tickets must be used on the date shown on your ticket. Off-Peak Return outward tickets are valid on the date shown on your ticket, but you can make the return journey on any day within one calendar month.

Super Off-Peak tickets are available on some journeys. Occasionally, your email confirmation may refer to this as an Off-Peak ticket – but Super Off-Peak tickets cannot be used on all trains. Please make a note of the train times that Super Off-Peak tickets are eligible for, before you travel.

Off-Peak tickets are refundable if you choose not to travel. More details on how to ask for refunds are available here. You can also find out more about Off-Peak ticket restrictions here.

Anytime Tickets 

If you need complete flexibility in your travel times, an Anytime ticket is perfect.

Anytime tickets have no restrictions on the time of day that you can travel. With Anytime Single tickets, you can travel on any train on the date of travel booked. You can also break up your journey at stations along your route.

Buying an Anytime Return train ticket gives you even more freedom! Outward journeys must be made within 5 days of the date shown on your ticket and return journeys within one calendar month. Because they allow you complete flexibility in terms of when you travel, Anytime tickets are more expensive than Advance or Off-Peak. However, if you buy train tickets online with Railsmartr, you can see all the ticket types available – so if you need to book a cheap train ticket you may choose to select Advance or Off-Peak rail ticket instead of an Anytime fare.

Anytime tickets are eligible for refunds. More details on how to ask for refunds are available here.

Other Train Tickets

Of course, there are other train tickets that you might like to buy. Not all of them are available to buy online just yet, but you might also like to buy a Rover or Ranger ticket for your journey.

Commuting between two stations regularly? A season ticket would be the ideal option for you. It’s even now possible to buy a flexi-season, which allows you to commute on certain days in a week.