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Train reservations

HI, My wife and I have purchased Britrail passes for our upcoming trip. On some legs of the trip (Oxford to Conwy) we'd like to be sure of having a seat, so would like to make reservations. The cost was prohibitive on the National Rail website- is there a cheaper way to assure ourselves of getting reserved seats? Thanks.

Posted by
2846 posts

What was the cost on the National Rail website?

Somewhere ---maybe it was on this website---I read that the reservations for Britrail passholders are free if you make them at the station. so that is what we are planning (or hoping) to do. Can anyone confirm that?

Posted by
211 posts

Gosh, the only times I've gotten reservations they've cost a pound or were free and that's with a Britrail pass and without. Sometimes there aren't any more reservations available if it's too close to departure time but one carriage is usually available for all those without reservations.

Posted by
506 posts

We bought train tickets through the National Rail system about 6-8 wks ago for round trip London to York for week after next and we literally saved about 70%, and have seats all set too. Sorry if I am misunderstanding your situation I am new at this too. But the site put us with East Coast Rail, there are several companies in the system. And I had emailed Rick Steve's and they said in England we would be fine with second class seats.

Posted by
4736 posts

I suspect you were seeing the prices of tickets for travel, not reservations which are free, but not available online through ticket sellers if you already have a ticket / pass.

It may be possible to do this through Britrail, but they don't allow people inside the UK to access that part of the site. Otherwise it probably means doing it a station.

Posted by
135 posts

Thanks for the replies so far.

When I bought my Britrail pass, there were links to make reservations, before I purchased the rail passes, and some of the 'reservation fees' were 80 pounds. Rather steep.

I think I'll try and make reservations a couple of days in advance in Bath, or the day before when we arrive in Oxford. Only once in all our European travels have we had to stand, but that was a miserable couple of hours between Milano and Torino!

Posted by
4736 posts

An off peak single for this route is £89.10, which maybe confirms my guess that you were actually looking at ticket prices, not just reservations with a pass.

Posted by
1934 posts

You will be travelling on between Oxford & Birmingham. Here, you will change to an Arriva Trains Wales service. I suggest that you contact CC trains/Arriva Trains Wales & ask them.

On the Cross Country trains, electronic signs above the seats tell you which are reserved. Paper tabs are on the seat tops for the ATW services.

Firstly, though, go on & put in for your journey from Oxford to Conwy on the desired date & figure out what trains you plan to take.

PS. Prior to reaching Conwy, you must inform the conductor that you will be getting off at this station. (Tell him after Chester).

Posted by
16883 posts

With a BritRail Pass, seat reservations are free to make a day or more ahead at train stations in Britain, so do it when you arrive there. Reservations are not required on daytime trains, so if you don't have one, you can still board the train and find a spot, or stand if it's crowded.