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Best train travel Oxford to York

While it's been a challenge to find the best way to travel from Oxford to York by train, I have come almost to the point of saying let's walk!

Of course, we won't walk; for me the biggest stumbling block is having a few basic questions answered. Such as - are there direct trains from Oxford to York, or would it be easier to take the train back to London from Oxford and then by train onto York.
Any help would be immensely appreciated. We leave for London on September 21, onto Oxford continuing to York with a final destination of Edinburgh.

A grateful thank you,

I’m not sure where you’re looking or what day if the week you’re travelling but looking at today as an average weekday I note there is one direct train from Oxford to York an hour, at about quarter past each hour (I’ve only looked in the mornings so far but I’d imagine it continues throughout the day).

It’s via Cross Country trains. It’s not the quickest journey - takes more than four hours - but the shorter trips involve several changes. Your train will stop a number of times but there’s no need to change trains so it might be the best option for you. However it only seems to run on weekdays & Saturdays.

Check train journeys at, which will then send you to the train operator’s website to buy them. Tickets marked Advance with a capital A are cheapest, but tie you to that exact train.

The ones that do involve changes will either be a change at Birmingham (and possibly Reading) or - as you’ve suggested - via London. London is a hub for train services - a lot radiate out from there.

If you’re travelling on a Sunday there don’t seem to be direct services and it tends to be the worst day of the week for train travel so I wonder if that’s causing your issues.

You need to book tickets soon for a good price. On-the-day fares could set you back more than £100 each.

Posted by
5377 posts

The cheapest fare from Oxford to York is £20, but you are way too late to snag that. You could still pick up something around the £50 for late September, maybe a bit better depending on the day.

Posted by
2485 posts

I just checked for Tuesday 25th Sept. & see a direct train departs Oxford at 10.15am for York arrives 14.30 and they want £40.30. Looks good to me if you can find the same on your desired date. (This is a better option than going back into London).

As has been said - use to find your trains & fares (click Details for info). Pre-book as soon as possible specific trains for these longer journeys as pay on the day can be expensive. (Pay on the day is £103 to £132 each one way)!

Posted by
33294 posts

when do you want to travel? How many (any kids?) in the group? Any Railcards?

Posted by
73 posts

Thank you for all of your very helpful responses to my train ticket challenge. To answer a few of your questions - there are two of us travelling, no train card with the September 25th departure date. I am on the national rail website and have found, as James suggested a train for 10:15 a.m from Oxford to York.
For me the hesitation is, how can I be assured the ticket I chose is a direct train to York.

Thank you,

For me the hesitation is, how can I be assured the ticket I chose is
a direct train to York.

If you’re on the National Rail website you’ll see information including the number of changes. If it says zero changes, that means a direct change. There will be intermediate stations that it calls at, but you won’t need to change.

If it says 2 or 3 changes, that’s not a direct train and you’ll see a place to click for more information on where those changes are.

Britain’s trains can be complicated but the number of changes is normally the simple bit! I mentioned there was a direct train at about quarter past each hour, and James specifically mentioned the 10.15 on that particular date is direct. Is there more assurance you need?

You get on the train. It stops at a bunch of stations but after about four hours it gets into York. I believe it then goes all the way to Aberdeen!

Posted by
8889 posts

how can I be assured the ticket I chose is a direct train to York.

Because, when you look up that train on the National Rail site, under the Changes column, it says "0". Other trains show 1, 2 or even 3 in that column.

Also, when you click on "Details" it shows just one train.
You then click on "show calling points" you can also show all the intermediate stops and times. You can even see the platform numbers at Oxford and York:

Leaving From Platform To Arriving Platform Duration
10:15 Oxford [OXF] 4 York [YRK] 14:30 10 4h 15m
Calling points Arrives Departs
Banbury [BAN] 10:31 10:32
Leamington Spa [LMS] 10:49 10:50
Birmingham New Street [BHM] 11:18 11:30
Derby [DBY] 12:12 12:19
Chesterfield [CHD] 13:01 13:03
Sheffield [SHF] 13:17 13:21
Wakefield Westgate [WKF] 13:46 13:47
Leeds [LDS] 14:00 14:08

Posted by
33294 posts

The only surprise you may get is that if you are facing forward as you arrive at Birmingham New Street you will be facing backwards as you leave it. The train arrives going west at the "A" end of the platform, the Driver changes ends (actually is usually replaced in a shift change) and the train goes out the same way it came in before turning left to head towards Derby.

Posted by
2485 posts

You can, if you so wish, go direct to the website of the train operator:>

You then select your date and the price should be the same as that on - which is an easier site on which to find schedules & fares. Anyway, by using either site, you will able to select that specific train for your specific date & time and pay the relevant amount for 2 people on your debit card. Bring the same debit card with you along with the booking reference number. You then insert these into a fast ticket machine and out will come your tickets/ OR/ ask a member of staff at a ticket office. You do not have to wait for the day of departure to do this. This same process can be done for other longer rail journeys. (Short distance prices tend to stay the same so most people buy these on the day).

Please note that the final destination of the 10.15 from Oxford to York will be Glasgow (via Edinburgh). If you wish to change seats, you may do so as long as the seat is vacant. An electronic display above the seat will indicate if it is pre-booked mid journey.

A 2 together Railcard (£30) will get you third off the fares but is not valid before 9.30am on weekdays.