Advance Booking in Trains

Dec 26th, 2012, 11:07 PM
  #1  
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Advance Booking in Trains

Hello All,

While I am taking your precious comments/suggestions in respect of my expected trip to UK in March, 2013 in another Topic, I have yet another travel related question here.

While I am checking the price of train travel to anywhere in UK, am unable to find any "Advance Ticket" for the freshly open dates, i.e. March 18, 19 or 20, 2013. Although until March 17, there are "Advance Tickets" available for all sectors. The only tickets available are "Off-peak" which are 3-4 times costlier than the "Advance" ones.

Please suggest if I should wait further for the "Advance Tickets" to be available in the coming days (as the booking for 18, 19 & 20 March has just opened) or should I take it like there are going to be no "Advance Tickets" in UK from March 18, 2013.

I tried to get an answer from the virtual contact person available at nationalrailway website however it was a waste of time only.

Need your comments urgently.

Thanks in advance,

Nakul
nakuls83 is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 12:14 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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The Advance tickets become available about 90 days in er... advance.

So no need to do anything yet. Set up a price alert with the website or check back in the new year and you'll see them for the dates you want.
sofarsogood is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 01:27 AM
  #3  
 
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Set up an alert when the Advance fare for your specific journey is released:
http://www.thetrainline.com/ticketalert/default.aspx
Alec is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 01:28 AM
  #4  
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Thanks dear, but my trip starts right from March 18 when I land at Heathrow and for that date as of now there is no such Advance Ticket available. I believe its only 81 days left now for March 18. I doubt if there is no advance booking facility given for dates in that week as the same is not available for 19th and 20th March also.
nakuls83 is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 01:34 AM
  #5  
 
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They just haven't been released yet. Only up to 17th March as of today.
Alec is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 02:36 AM
  #6  
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Thanks sofarsogood and Alec. I got a reply from the train officials and yes just now the advance tickets have opened till March 19.
Wish you a very happy new year
Nakul
nakuls83 is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 06:29 AM
  #7  
 
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The Advance tickets become available a MAXIMUM of 12 weeks before date of travel.

This could mean 11 weeks 6 days, 11 weeks 5 days...

... 8 weeks ...

... and the window for booking tends to only move forward a week at a time - and weekend travel may become available at a later date than that due to the needs of people who like digging holes.

Oh - you can't pick up tickets at Heathrow, so there's no point booking from there especially as, unless you know the system well, the first leg will be the Heathrow Express to Paddington
alanRow is offline  
Dec 27th, 2012, 07:20 AM
  #8  
 
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I tried to get an answer from the virtual contact person available at nationalrailway website however it was a waste of time only.>>

they are a bit busy at the moment dealing with the lines that are flooded and the consequent problems so the service is very patchy.

we waited for ages to speak to someone on the First Great Western assistance line, but got through almost immediately on Virgin.

for general information, www.seat61.com is very good.
annhig is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 08:20 PM
  #9  
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Thanks friends. AlanRow:- "you can't pick up tickets at Heathrow, so there's no point booking from there" - this sounds crazy. Is there no ticket vending machine at Heathrow?? Is it only advance ticket or any other off-peak/anytime tickets that can't be obtained from Heathrow?

So do u mean I should not book any tickets (other than heathrow express) for my travel Heathrow-Birmingham.

Yes, I am not aware of the system and your comments would be really useful.

Thanks in advance
nakuls83 is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 09:25 PM
  #10  
 
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You would pick up your London-Birmingham tickets at the London terminus for the line, and make separate arrangements for travel from Heathrow to there.

The fastest service from London to Birmingham is from Euston to Birmingham New Street, but that's a bit awkward to get to from Heathrow; you could take the tube from Heathrow, changing to the Northern Line at Leicester Square (not my favourite interchange, especially in the rush hour), or Heathrow Express (or Heathrow Connect) to Paddington and then tube to Euston Square (which gives you a few hundred yards to walk at street level to Euston Station).

Alternatively, you could take the Heathrow Express (or Heathrow Connect) to Paddington, then the tube (Bakerloo Line) a couple of stops to Marylebone for the Chiltern Railways service to Birmingham Snow Hill. That would probably take no longer overall, might be a bit cheaper, and certainly less stressful to get to from Heathrow. But I have no idea if that's convenient for where you need to get to in Birmingham.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 09:41 PM
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The fastest and cheapest ways to Bham from LHR all avoid central London.

Get the direct National Express bus (more or less hourly, taking 2.5 hrs), or the bus to Reading station, then the onward train, or the bus to High Wycombe then the onward train.

All are both faster and cheaper even than the most sensible route via central London (Piccadilly Line tube to Green Park, Victoria to Euston, then train). There is no routing involving the Heathrow Express that makes any kind of sense at all: they're all slow, unbelievably overpriced and involve several unpleasant changes.

For virtually all journeys within 100 miles of London, and on most commuter routes around most other big cities, Advance tickets aren't available at all.
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2013, 07:45 AM
  #12  
 
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For virtually all journeys within 100 miles of London, and on most commuter routes around most other big cities, Advance tickets aren't available at all.>>

Nakuls, that means [always supposing that you ignore flanner and decide to get the u/ground or oveground train into London, and then the train from Euston to B'jam] that you buy your ticket for LHR to euston at LHR, and then when you get to Euston, you buy your ticket to B'ham. there are loads of automatic ticket machines there so you should have no problems with queuing.

i'm not suggesting you should do this, just saying how it's done.
annhig is offline  
Jan 4th, 2013, 12:01 AM
  #13  
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Thanks Patrick, Flanner and Ann for providing these detailed comments. What I understand is that I should not buy an online ticket for my travel from LHR to Central London (via Underground) as I cannot get tickets from any vending machines. Second point, I can book online advance tickets for travel from Central London to B'ham via train and can obtain the original tickets by Vending machines available at London stations.
Hope this is what is being explained above. I also note that there are some different routes and modes of transport suggested by you, but as I am travelling for the first time, I would like to take a more familiar route.
Thanks again.
nakuls83 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2013, 01:30 AM
  #14  
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Please confirm if my above understanding is correct.
nakuls83 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2013, 02:48 AM
  #15  
 
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nakul - here's the website for buying your ticket in advance:

http://www.thetrainline.com/train-times/

there are two rail companies serving the euston to B'ham line - one is slower and cheaper than the other, but neither are very expensive.

they will give you various options for picking up your ticket.
annhig is offline  
Jan 8th, 2013, 03:10 AM
  #16  
 
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" I should not buy an online ticket for my travel from LHR to Central London (via Underground) as I cannot get tickets from any vending machines."

There are no vending machines for National Rail trains at Heathrow. Tickets for the tube (if that's what you want to do) can be got from vending machines or manned offices there.

"I can book online advance tickets for travel from Central London to B'ham via train and can obtain the original tickets by Vending machines available at London stations."
Correct. In fact you can get prebooked tickers from ANY National Rail vending machine. You need the card the booking was charged to.
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 8th, 2013, 03:54 AM
  #17  
 
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Especially if I were travelling first time, I would not dismiss flanner's suggestion to take the direct National Express bus straight from Heathrow airport to Birmingham.
I couldn't see any benefit in dragging myself and luggage all the way from Heathrow to Central London by tube, walking up and down interchanges and through either Euston or any other station to arrive later in Birmingham as if I had just followed the bus icon from Arrivals to the coach stop and got on the bus.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2013, 01:08 AM
  #18  
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Thanks Ahning, Flanner and Cowboy. I am really thinking seriously about travelling by bus as suggested.
nakuls83 is offline  

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