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Guide to tickets

Advance Train Tickets 

Advance tickets are great value Single (one-way) tickets but have limited availability, so they can sell out fast! To take advantage of these great value tickets you must book ahead. Advance tickets are released by train operators up to 12 weeks ahead of travel. Sometimes you can still get a last-minute bargain up to 6pm on the day before travel.

Just like flights, the earlier you book, the cheaper the train fares and the greater the value for money. Ticket types and prices are shown on our journey planner, so you can find Advance fares quickly and book your train tickets online.

Remember – Advance tickets are Singles but if you want to book tickets for a Return journey, just mix and match two cheap Single Advance tickets.

Advance tickets are only available to buy online and valid for the date and train you’ve booked. These tickets are non-refundable but can be amended before departure. Remember, Advance tickets are subject to availability – the cheapest Advance tickets sell out quickly!

You can find more information on amending your Advance rail ticket here

Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak Tickets 

Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak rail tickets are more flexible than Advance tickets. Off-Peak train tickets are perfect if you’re not restricted to travelling early in the morning, or do not need to arrive at a particular time.

Off-Peak tickets may 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. We’ll let you know any restrictions in the detailed ticket information before you make your booking.

Cheap Off-Peak train tickets can be purchased 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.

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.

More Ticket Types

There is an array of other train tickets which are available to buy from your train operating company directly. Some may also be available from your local railway station.

  • Railcards
  • Season tickets
  • Oyster cards
  • Sleepers
  • Ferries (except for Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde Esplanade)
  • Tickets in exchange for warrants
  • Railway staff tickets
  • Cycle or car parking reservations