Book your Train Ticket with Omio

Omio is your one-stop destination to book train tickets for all UK train services. We display daily timetables well in advance, so you can book whatever UK train time you want, be that for the next day or next month. You can either print your ticket at the station or show it on your mobile device, either in the Omio app or your smartphone wallet. It’s easy to search for all the trains between specific stations on any given day and book them right there and then.

Peak and Off Peak Times Across Different Train Companies

The different UK train companies run on similar peak and off peak train times, but there is some variation. GWR, Avanti West Coast (previously Virgin Train) and Hull Trains have roughly the same peak and off peak times, from about 6:30 to 9:30 and 16:00 to 18:30. Off peak times are in-between and after these time windows. East Midlands Trains has peak times from about 7:00 to 9:30 and f15:30 to 19:00, while ScotRail’s peak times are from around 7:00 to 9:30 and 15:30 to 19:00.

Omio Woman Train. Source: Shutterstock

Train Ticket in Detail

All the information about your train journey is printed on your ticket. You can see whether it’s a single or return ticket, the type of ticket, rail information including your departure and arrival stations, and the route for which the ticket is valid. Your ticket number and cost are there too, as is the class you booked and any discounts applied or railcards used. You’ll also be able to see how long the ticket is valid.

Collecting Your Train Tickets

Once you’ve bought your train tickets on Omio, you’ll receive a booking confirmation email. Print this out and take it with you to the station. When you arrive, go straight to any Ticket Collection machine to print out your physical tickets. These machines are touchscreen-operated and available at all National Rail stations in the UK. Make sure to bring the same bank card you used to book your tickets, and you’ll need to enter the booking reference number from your confirmation email.

Nice To Know: Navigating Your Way Around Train Tickets

You won’t have to validate your ticket – you only need to be able to produce a valid ticket in either printed form or as an eTicket or mTicket. You can simply show this to train officials in your eWallet or Omio app. Remember that with Anytime and Super Off Peak tickets, you don’t book a specific train ticket and time. Instead, your ticket is valid for trains within a time period, so make sure it hasn’t expired if you’ve booked one of those types of tickets.

Omio Train. Source: Shutterstock

Timetable changes

Trains in the UK tend to stick to a fixed train timetable. If anything changes, train operators will draw your attention to this in their regularly published timetable updates., anywhere from one to three months in advance. It’s advisable also to check your train operator's timetable closer to your travel date to see if any changes are affecting your booking. Be aware that circumstances on the day can cause a delay, so keep an eye on the live timetable at the station.

Checking first and last train times

You can check the times of the first and last trains by looking at the railway timetable displayed on the Omio booking page. The timetable lists all trains for the day, so you can simply scroll from the beginning straight to the end – trains are automatically ordered by departure time. In general, however, train services in the UK run from about 5:00 to roughly 1:00. You won’t find any train services running 24/7 in the country, except for special airport shuttle trains and the London Underground Night Tube.

Popular UK train timetables

The most popular train timetables in the UK are the ones for routes connecting London with some of the major cities in the country's other main regions. Routes include those from London to Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Birmingham in the North of England, and to the hugely popular seaside resort city of Brighton. Another busy route connects England with Scotland, running from London to Edinburgh.

Omio Reading Train. Source: Shutterstock

Travel by train in the UK

There’s so much to experience in the UK, from its ancient Roman history evident in many historic sites, such as those in the Exeter and Bath areas, to mythical Stonehenge and the country's historical battlefields like Hastings and Edgehill. The Lake District is known for its beautiful scenery, while the Scottish Highlands offer wild and rugged countryside. London is, of course, one of the world’s most famous and cosmopolitan cities, and wherever you travel in the country you’ll find the famous British pubs and inns, serving traditional food and locally brewed beers on tap.

Train Time: FAQs

1. Do I have to print my ticket out?

  • No, it’s not necessary to have a printed ticket. Electronic and mobile tickets are accepted at all stations, and you can simply show them on your phone.

2. Are there ticket barriers at the station?

  • Some UK stations do not have ticket barriers, in which case you simply get on the train and show your ticket when prompted. If there is a ticket barrier, insert the Out part of your ticket to move through the barrier. Keep your ticket safe and when you get off the train at your destination, insert the Return part into the ticket barrier.

3. What type of train tickets are there?

  • Train tickets in the UK are: Anytime, Advance, Off Peak and Super Off Peak. The most flexible is Anytime, but it’s also the most expensive. Super Off Peak offers the best value for money.

4. Can you get on a train without a ticket?

  • You can’t get on a train in the UK without a valid ticket, and you can’t purchase a ticket on the train as in the past. It’s a case of buy first, then board.

5. How do I view real-time train time?

  • You can view real-time train time using the live train timetable on the Omio booking page, which is constantly refreshed with the latest incoming data. The National Rail website also keeps a live timetable.

6. How do I check if my train is on time?

  • The best way of checking if your train is on time or has been delayed is to call your departure station or the train service company with whom you’ve booked. If you’re already at the station, a live arrivals board will keep you updated.

7. How do I check which platform my train leaves from?

  • Once you’ve arrived at the station, you’ll see the live departures board, just like at an airport. Your platform number will flash up next to your train about 10 min before departure.

8. Can I see where my train is?

  • If you have an app on your phone, you’ll be able to track your train’s progress for most of the major UK train routes.

9. How do I check train times for the rest of Europe?

  • The easiest way to check for train times for the rest of Europe is to use the Omio website. You can book trains throughout Europe in the same way as you can for the UK.

10. When is the last train of the day?

  • The last train of the day is usually around 1:00, which is when most UK train services stop running. For the exact time of the last train on a specific route, you can always check the timetables on the Omio website.

11. What if my train is delayed?

  • If your train is delayed, you have the option of either catching the next one or getting a full refund. Depending on the length of the delay, you may also be entitled to some compensation.
  • If your train is cancelled, you’re entitled to a full refund. Simply return it to the outlet you purchased it from; you won’t be charged any admin fees.

 


Ticket Types
FAQs
Peak + Off Peak
Collect Train Tickets
Train Tickets Details
Railcard

In the UK, there are several ticket types you can choose from, which confuses even well-experienced travellers. This makes it a challenge to immediately decide on which type of train ticket you need to buy. Train fares vary depending on when you choose to travel and on the distance from A to B. If you reserve in advance, you're naturally more likely to get a better deal. It is possible to find much cheaper train tickets if you travel during off peak train times, use a rail card and book a few weeks in advance.

We, at Omio, want to make navigating your way around the UK as easy as possible - that's why we created this train ticket guide to define which tickets exist, to highlight the 'pros and cons' and to identify important parts of the train ticket. If you have the right information, you can buy the ideal ticket for your journey - without spending more money than you need to.


Train tickets in the UK are notoriously difficult to understand. If you needed an excuse to have a lie-in, then this is definitely a good excuse:

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What types of train tickets are there?

In the UK there are 4 types of train tickets, which vary in price depending on what time you travel and where you travel to. Below we reveal a breakdown of the 4 ticket types and each of their pros and cons. This way you can buy a train ticket that suits you best and is the right price.




Train Tickets Explained

Anytime:

These tickets offer the most flexibility as they are valid at any time on Peak and Off Peak services. They are useful tickets to buy if your plans tend to change.

Pros: Travel whenever you want, valid on any service, route or provider.
Cons: Usually more expensive due to its flexibility, but will remain at a fixed price.

Advance:

These tickets are cheaper because they are only valid on a specific service, at a specific time, during Peak and/or Off Peak times. If you have a seat reservation, you must carry the seat reservation ticket with you for your ticket to be valid.


Pros: Get much cheaper tickets booking 12 weeks in advance or even 1 hour beforehand.
Cons: Restricted to a certain train time, meaning you cannot take an earlier or later train if your plans change. They are non-refundable but can be amended for a fee.

Off Peak:

These tickets are valid on trains that depart outside of busy commuting hours. Passengers must travel outside of peak times, or on exact train time printed on the ticket. If you have a seat reservation, the ticket is only valid if you also carry the seat reservation ticket with you.

Pros: Cheaper tickets during 10:00-15:00 and again at 18:35.
Cons: Need to be aware of restrictions to avoid Peak travel hours for the train company - check before you travel.

Super Off Peak:

These tickets are always the cheapest option, but they carry the most time restrictions. This type of ticket is only offered by a some UK train companies. Travelling with a Super Off Peak requires the passenger to travel at very specific date, time and train. If you are flexible with your time so you can travel at around 10:00-13:00, then this ticket is for you.

Pros: These tickets are the cheapest available, great to keep costs down.
Cons: Limited availability and most restrictions; you must travel on the specific train you booked.


 

Train Ticket FAQs

Do I have to print my ticket out?

If you book with Omio, you do not need to print your ticket out at home. You will be sent an 8-digit-long ticket collection reference by email. At the 'Collect Tickets' machine in the station, have your debit/credit card (used to buy the tickets) handy. - Select 'Collect tickets" - Insert debit/credit card (to trace your booking, you will not be charged) - Type in your ticket collection reference number - Select 'Print Tickets'

Are there ticket barriers at the station?

When you arrive at the departure station for your journey, you need to put the ticket labelled 'Out" through the ticket barrier. Upon returning, insert the 'Return' part of your ticket, unless there are no barriers at the station. Always keep your ticket on you for the entire journey, as checks can be made by ticket controllers at any time.

What types of train tickets are there?

There are 4 main types of fares available: Anytime, Super Off Peak, Off Peak and Advance tickets. The cheaper it is, the more restrictions it will have. Book early to save money.

Should I get a season pass?

It depends how much you travel. If you are a frequent traveller to the same destination, you can get a weekly, monthly or annual pass. Check with the train provider for availability to find out if it's right for you. Remember you can buy a carnet or search for Super Off Peak tickets to save money, if you're flexible with your time.

Can you get on a train without a ticket?

In the past this used to be possible, now it is not. Always buy before boarding; you will most likely be fined a penalty fare (£20 at least) as well as 2 full-priced single fares. In the worst-case scenario you could even be prosecuted for fare evasion. The most convenient way is to book your ticket with us online via the Rail Planner App and collect your ticket at the station. This way, you can skip the queue!

Peak and Off Peak Times Across Different Train Companies


GWR:

Great Western Railway were previously called First Great Western. They operate in the south, providing commuter services to London via Reading. Occasionally, GWR allow you to book train tickets for weekday journeys up to 6 months in advance - good to plan future journeys.


Peak Times: starting from 06:30 to latest 09:30
Off Peak Times: 09:30 - 15:30 and after 18:34. Off Peak tickets valid until 04:29 the next day.


East Midland:
With East Midland Railways you buy an Anytime ticket up to 12 weeks in advance; they are set to a fixed price and do not tend to change. Once checked by the ticket controller, it is valid only on day of travel.


Peak Times: from 06:19 -10:06 arriving into London, going out of London from 05:45 - 9:00.
Off Peak Times: 10:06 - 16:26 and then after 19:00. Valid until 04:29 the next day.


Gatwick Express and Heathrow Express:
There are no Advance tickets available for the airport services. Although, if you travel to the airports often then you could buy a weekly ticket. Heathrow Express tickets are available with Omio, Heathrow Connect tickets must be bought at the station.

Peak Times: trains which arrive before 09:50 into London Victoria Station
Off Peak Times: trains which arrive from Gatwick Airport into London Victoria after 09:50 on weekdays, anytime on weekends.


Transpennine Express:
Advance tickets are available early; save up to 50% off an Advance ticket when booking up to 24 weeks in advance.

Peak Times: starting from 07:00 to 09:00
Off Peak Times: 09:00 - 16:00 and after 19:00. Valid until 04:29 the next day.


Virgin Train:
Advance Tickets are available up to 24 weeks in advance. Remember that peak times travelling to and from London can vary. An Off Peak ticket is not valid between 15:01 and 18:44 - so be sure to check your ticket validity (before you board the train) to avoid getting a fine. If you're travelling from the North, avoid trains departing before 09:26 if you have an Off Peak ticket.

Peak Times: starting from 06:44 to 09:26 (weekdays); for Southbound trains which arrive into London, peak times run until 10:08. In the afternoon, between earliest at 15:01 - 18:44 latest.
Off Peak Times: Weekends, certain early morning weekday services TO London are considered Off Peak (check route before purchase). Otherwise, the first Off Peak trains are usually between 09:00 and 09:51 (check provider) up until around 15:58 and then Off Peak tickets are valid after 18:37. Again, check your validity of your ticket - if you bought an Anytime ticket (Peak) or an Advance (Off Peak) ticket.


First Hull: Advance tickets can be changed for a £10 fee, although not refunded. for Anytime tickets, make sure you check with which provider you are allowed to travel, as some routes may be cheaper depending on the provider.

Peak Times: starting from 06:30 to 09:30
Off Peak Times: 09:30 - 15:30 and after 18:34.


ScotRail:

Scotrail has commuter tickets called a 'Flexipass' (contact them for more details) so you can travel a few days a week on a season pass. There are no Super Off Peak tickets available for Scotrail.

Peak Times: 07:00 - 09:30 then 15:30 - 19:15.
Off Peak Times: 09:30 - 15:50 then after 19:15.


Thameslink: These services vary on their times for Off Peak Tickets as they are operating in and out of the capital. Evening Peak Services do not apply for:
- Any southbound train
- Journeys starting south of East Croydon
- Journeys starting and finishing north of West Hamstead Thameslink
- Return leg of tickets with the destination of London Thameslink
- Return leg of tickets with the destination of London Thameslink or London Zones 1-6.
Peak Times: 07:00 - 09:30 then 16:30 - 19:01.
Off Peak Times: 09:30 - 16:29 then after 19:02.

 

Train Ticket In Detail

Number Description:
1. Class: Choose either First or Standard Class carriages for your journey.
2. Railcard: This part of the ticket shows you if any discount or railcards have been applied to reduce the price.
3. Ticket Type: Your ticket type shows if you have any of these four: Anytime, Advance, Super Off Peak or an Off Peak Ticket.
4. To/From Station: This shows where you are travelling to and your final destination.
5. Single/Return: This tells you if the ticket is a single or a return ticket.
6. Ticket Number: Your ticket number is a unique number which marks your ticket.
7. Price: The cost of your train ticket for that ticket; if it's a single ticket it will be the price for each ticket.
8. Validity: The validity signifies when your ticket is valid for e.g. a day or return within one calendar month.
9. Type: This part means if you have purchased a single or a return journey.
10. Route: Check the route you are allowed to take (e.g. via London or not) as certain ticket types may be restricted.

Collecting Your Train Tickets

Buy your tickets using the Omio App in just a few clicks, then collect them at the Ticket Collection machine in the station (the queue is much smaller).

    1. Pick up is simple: Select 'Collect Tickets' on the machine menu.
    2. Enter your 8-digit booking reference number. You will find it in your confirmation email.
    You will need the same card that you used to purchase your tickets.
    3. Several tickets may fall out; keep them all with you & you're ready to travel!

Nice To Know: Navigating Your Way Around Train Tickets


  • In the UK, you can validate your ticket by showing it to the ticket controller who will stamp it (or mark it with a pen). This means you can continue your journey as normal, but you cannot use that same ticket again.
  • You can upgrade to First Class with certain providers for as little as £5 with certain providers, such as Virgin Trains.
  • Remember that if you get on a ‘Peak’ time train or with the wrong provider, you may be charged the full price of the fare by the ticket controller. Check your ticket before travelling.
  • Upon collecting, you will receive an 'OUT' ticket, a 'RETURN' ticket, a receipt and tickets with seat reservations, if applicable. You should keep all of them safe until you complete your journey.
  • If you travel via another route than the one indicated on your ticket, you may be charged the cost of a full price of that ticket.

Get Cheaper Off Peak Tickets With A Railcard

You can combine a Railcard with your ticket (either Advance, Off Peak or Super Off Peak) to save more money to spend on other things during your travels. You can get up to 30% cheaper train tickets if you link your railcard to your ticket. If you travel frequently, consider getting one; take a look at the different railcards available in the UK and pick one that would suit your travel needs best.

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