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Trains: how badly have I messed up?

I noticed that I could have gotten advanced train tickets or a Britrail Pass. I know at least Britrail passes would have been sent to me before my trip and I can't buy them there. I leave on Monday to fly to London from the USA. I will be spending time at Bath, Chipping Campdan, Edinburg and York after then and plan on taking the train to these destinations (and eventually back to Heathrow from York). If I make advance reservations today, can I pick up my tickets at the station, or it is just too late?

Posted by
206 posts

Hi Raivie,

You might want to try a local travel agent in whichever city you live. They can sell you a BritRail pass, and I think they can print them there in the office. Someone else with first hand experience may chime in, but in the meantime, that's what I would try.

If you do end up buying point to point tickets directly from the train companies, you can collect the tickets on departure from machines at whichever station you designate.

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks, I will try that with a travel agent. As my first option.

Can I print out the tickets at the stations if I make the advance point-to-point reservations (taking advantage of the discount) here in the USA before I leave?

Posted by
4521 posts

Some companies have print-at-home tickets; one of relevance to you is East Coast, as that would be the Edinburgh->York->London route. Others would be collectable at stations from the machines / offices.

You are 48 years to late to get to Chipping Campden by rail but I guess you have other means of the last leg of getting there.

Posted by
12134 posts

Check to see if Advance fares are still available for your dates of travel. You can use the National Rail website to do this and it will direct you to the appropriate site ( like East Coast trains) for the actual purchase. We bought all our tickets in advance for our trip up to Scotland and back. You collect the tickets from a machine at the station using a code they provide at purchase, along with the actual credit card used for the purchase ( don't forget that card!). It was very quick and easy.

Edit: I see from another post that you will be traveling with your wife. Look at the "two together" prices and compare with the Advance fares. You need to purchase a Two Together Railcard to use those fares, but they still may be much less.

Posted by
12 posts

My travel agent does not print the rail passes, but said I could get one at the airport (Heathrow) for a fairly small fee. I was under the impression you could not buy the passes in Europe.

I will take a taxi from Moreton-in-Marsh to Chipping Campden, BTW.

Posted by
16847 posts

Not many agents in the US print railpasses in person; most get them delivered from Rail Europe. I'm not aware of anywhere to buy BritRail Passes in Britain. I would use the National Rail site now to lock in any longer train rides that you're committed to, if they have an advance discount. They will offer either print at home or pick up in station options. Some discounts are also sold up to 24 hours ahead in train stations. The Two Together Card is also something you can buy there. See more notes at http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/britain-rail-passes#ticket-tips.

Posted by
823 posts

I purchased my “point to point” rail tickets online and used my printed/emailed confirmation sheet to get my paper ticket in place. (I also found the web sites to be very good at explaining all this in the FAQ sections.) No hassles at all…

A couple things to consider:

If your itinerary is rigid you will be better off with point to point tickets but if you desire a flexible itinerary then pay extra for a rail pass.

Credit cards issued by American banks often fail the automated authentication and verification scheme employed by the British/Scottish Rail web sites and a call to the central booking office may be required.

If you have “Chip & Pin” (look for a gold thumbnail-sized chip on the card) credit/debit cards from the US, be sure to get your pin BEFORE you leave. The pin may be required to process the transaction while in Europe.

Have a good and safe trip.