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Online UK Train Tickets: Expects UK Address, Chip&PIN Card

Trying to buy UK train tickets online, I noticed that the GNER site wants a UK address and also says that the machine that will dispense the ticket on the day of travel expects a Chip&PIN credit card.

Has anyone successfully dealt with this by using their hotel address and picking up the tickets at a station counter, rather than from a machine?

Posted by
970 posts

On the GNER site I found a statement that addresses your credit card experience, Sierra. It said they know non-UK cards don't work and are working to fix that. I don't recall that the statement was dated, so who knows how long it's been posted there.

I emailed GNER about the Chip&PIN business, asking if I would I be required to enter a PIN if I inserted an American card into a FastTicket machine. The response (from TrainLine, curiously) said: "I can confirm that you will require the same card for collection that was used to pay for the tickets and the Fast Ticket reference number which generated at the end of booking. This is what is meant by chip and pin. If you face any concern then please contact the station staff."

That answer's got Chip&PIN wrong and doesn't satisfy me. What I was hoping to see was confirmation that a FastTicket machine will recognize an American card, bypass the PIN requirement and dispense the tickets.

Posted by
36 posts

They want a UK credit card address too.
I tried (using my hotel address) and got as far as the credit card. Since the billing card address is in the US, it didn't work.

Landed up ordering the tickets from BritRail and they shipped them to me in the US. Cost a lot more, but they are open tickets.

Posted by
3419 posts

Have you considered a BritRail pass? We use them all the time and they really save time and allow woderful flexibility! They are good on both the Gatwick and Heathrow Express, too. Depending on how long you will stay, you can get them for 8 days of travel out of 15 or 15 days of travel out of 30. You just have to purchase them in the US and get them validated at a major station (like Victoria) when you arrive!

Posted by
20 posts

You only need a "Chip & Pin" card to PAY for your tickets at a FastTicket machine. If you've already paid for your tickets online (and you can do this with just about any US credit card except a "Maestro"-designated card,) then you need to bring the card you've purchased the tickets with for ID. If you encounter problems, just go to the ticket agent nearby.

Posted by
970 posts

I'd only be buying two tickets -- Kings' Cross to York and York to Edinburgh, so I doubt the pass would be advantageous. I'll just get tickets after I get to London, a few days before the travel. Still ought to get some kind of discount. The plan is to fly from Edinburgh to Gatwick to catch the flight home.

Or, would, actually. I'm going to cancel the Scotland leg of this trip and spend all the time in London. I'll do Scotland later, probably not in October.

Posted by
505 posts

Having taken the train this past weekend, I can vouch that you can use a US credit card to pick up tickets from the FastTicket machines. The machines do have occasional glitches, but you can always go to the manned desk at the train station if something goes wrong and they can print out the ticket.

I know in the past that you could use US credit cards to buy tickets, but perhaps it's changed. You can buy tickets through any of the train company websites (though you get the best discounts via the website of the company you are travelling with), so it's worth trying Virgin or another company if the GNER site doesn't work with a US address.

Kate

Posted by
505 posts

One further point...

If you are using a pass, be aware that it will not guarantee you a seat. Often this isn't a problem as one car or more on cross country trains are generally designated at non-reserved cars. However, if there are railworks, floods, big cricket/football/rugby games or a big concert, the trains can be packed.

Thus, if travel plans coincide with a big sports event or concert, or holiday (different depending on the country/city), you should try and get a seat reservation if you need to take a particular train. Otherwise you could be standing in the aisle or between cars.

Also, the luggage spaces tend to fill up quickly, so if you are traveling with large or multiple pieces of luggage, you might want to avoid peak travel times.

Kate

Posted by
8700 posts

It was two years ago and I was traveling on Great Western trains rather than GNER trains, but my experience was the same as Kate's recent one. I used my US MasterCard to retrieve my tickets at a FastTicket machine at Paddington Station.

I think what is required now is to REGISTER using a UK address and postal code (like that of your hotel) and then changing the address when BOOKING AND PAYING so the billing information matches your credit card.

Posted by
20 posts

Tim is correct. I purchased online tickets from the GNER today, registering with my hotel's UK address and then adding my home address for the billing portion. A one way ticket from London to York cost just 10 pounds -- seems a great bargain.

Posted by
152 posts

I bought tickets at the GNER web sit 2 weeks ago, using my VISA card. I had registered a couple years ago. For my recent purchase there was no requirement for my personal or credit card addresses.

Try this link, then click on "Book now" in the panel offering 10% discount for on-line booking.

I also made a booking by phone, when I couldn't figure out the pricing scheme for a segment. No problem.

I'll pick them up at Fast-Ticket machines at the station.

Here's the link: http://www.gner.co.uk/GNER