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silly train question

Old Jun 22nd, 2011, 01:43 PM
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silly train question

I'm a click away from my first train ticket purchase (within the UK) but I can't quite figure out the seat selection. It seems a little random and not every site has the ability to update this before purchasing. With traveling as a family, I'd like to ensure that we are at least paired up with the kids. Am I missing something? Can that be changed after purchase?

I've started from nationalrail.co.uk and then gone to raileasy, eastcoast, and one other one that I can't remember. This is for travel a month out so I'd think there would be some options.

Any tips for this novice appreciated.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2011, 07:07 PM
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I have been travelling to the UK regularly for 15 years or so, making many train journeys, and can't remember ever being given the option of selecting specific seats. You do get options like the table seats or airline seats, quiet carriages, things like.

It seems to me that, if you're booking as a group, they are going to seat you together, if that is possible. Especially if 2 of the tickets are for children.

If you are not comfortable trusting them to do that, suggest you make the booking by phone.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2011, 07:26 PM
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try also www.thetrainline.co.uk
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Old Jun 22nd, 2011, 08:28 PM
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It'll vary, service by service, whether you even need a reservation. I've always assumed the "default" mode is that you buy your ticket, and just find a seat when you get on the train: I suppose there may be more "reservation required" services these days, but as far as I'm aware, only the Eurostar offers the opportunity of picking a specific seat or group of seats, airline-style.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2011, 09:33 PM
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If anything there are fewer trains these days where seat reservation is even possible.

Most of the time, it's totally irrelevant. You get on a train, see it's covered in "seat reserved" signs, read them and find the passenger should have joined three stations back, but hasn't. Or (in my case) see they're all reserved from Oxford to London, but discover no-one with a seat reservation gets on at Oxford.

As a rough rule of thumb: except on trains leaving London in the evening rush hour (and the handful of "reservation required" trains, like those to Scotland just before the new year), don't worry. If they're not the seats you'd really want, just take seats you want when you get on the train.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2011, 10:09 PM
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Firstly, the reservation system WILL automatically put you all together. Select 'table' as an option and it may well seat you all round a table for 4. Worse case, two bays of 2 seats, one behind the other.

Secondly, if you don't like the seats that have been reserved for you, ignore them and find others unreserved that suit you. 70% of the train will be unreserved, you can sit where you like. I'm booked from London to Lancaster next week, and I've been given a solo seat in 1st class even though I requested seats at a table, so I shall simply be looking for a free unreserved table bay and sitting in that instead!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2011, 07:44 AM
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IMO do like Man in seat 61 did - go first class as my decades of traveling on British trains has shown me there is a vast difference between classes on British trains - 2nd class is often IME stuffed to the gills and often quite littered whilst first class is plush - do yourself a favor and go first class IMO.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2011, 08:13 AM
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Yes,on the some of the busier routes, second class is often "crowded to the gills". Unfortunately buying First Class tickets for a family will increase the price considerably more than advance fares making it unaffordable for many. If one can afford a First Class ticket, then go for it.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2011, 10:31 AM
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Like £711 vs £166 for the 4 of us. I think I'll slum with the masses. That way I can better appreciate 1st class (some day).

Thanks for all the advice on the unreserved seats.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2011, 11:21 AM
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Well yes if that is the difference I would too. Curious as to what your exact train trip is? anyway check out these fine sites for great info on British trains if doing much railing around also check out the railpasses if you are not a UK resident - www.seat61.com (Man in seat 61 who posts above - his superb site); www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2011, 11:28 AM
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Honestly indy_dad, I can afford First Class, but I usually "slum with the masses" too. It's not all that bad.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2011, 11:36 AM
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would you rather ride w/ PQ or w/ historytraveler?

(Rhetorical question)
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Old Jun 23rd, 2011, 12:22 PM
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Derby to Edinburgh w/ return (Thu/Sun)
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Old Jun 24th, 2011, 07:16 AM
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would you rather ride w/ PQ or w/ historytraveler?

(Rhetorical question)>

ah snide janis once again! but snide janis could also have pithily writ

"would you rather ridew/ Man in Seat 61 (he talks about booking a first class ticket above) or w/ historytraveler?

Or janis could have snidely said:

"would you rather be on the train with PQ, Man in Seat 61 and historytraveler or in a private chauffered driven hired car with janis?"
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Old Jun 24th, 2011, 10:51 AM
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Actually, I may have ridden w/ Seat61 many times and not known even it. I used to live about 10 miles from him and we would have used the same station(s) to get into London - which I did uncountable times.
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Old Jun 24th, 2011, 11:07 AM
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Actually, I may have ridden w/ Seat61 many times and not known even it. I used to live about 10 miles from him and we would have used the same station(s) to get into London - which I did uncountable times.>

but only one thing - you janis dear would have been in standard class and Man in Seat 61, who said in another thread something like 'I am an aficionado of first class'! Or are you also a proponent of first class on trains?
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Old Jun 25th, 2011, 10:47 PM
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Well, it turned out even sillier than I thought. I could reserve seats and they were together (table for outbound, row for return). The seat numbers (not airline style) were what through me off. Good to know that it was a bonus not a requirement though. Thanks again for the tips and I'll let you know how it turns out (end of July).

I'll keep an eye out for 1st class next time.
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Old Jun 27th, 2011, 10:47 AM
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On the train - at least on the East Coast - formerly InterCity train line with the best trains - check out first class - and you will I think why some folks think there is a vast difference - and not because seats in 2nd class are not comfy just the much more congestion there. Have a good trip!
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Old Jun 28th, 2011, 01:37 PM
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Actually, I may have ridden w/ Seat61 many times and not known even it.>

No Man in Seat 61 would never ridden in third class! Supposed there was still a 3rd class when you were running to London and back?
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