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UK - making reservations with a Britrail pass

Three questions about using Britrail passes: 1. Things I have read seem to indicate that reservations are not required when using a Britrail pass. You just show up, get on the train you want and show your pass to the conductor. Is that accurate? 2. If #1 is actually true, it seems that for some routes reservations are recommended. Any thoughts on whether reservations would be a good idea for a Sunday morning train between London & Edinburgh? 3. Can reservations be made at any station? We are staying near Paddington, but trains to Edinburgh leave from Euston and Kings Cross. Can I make reservations for those trains at Paddington, or do I have to schlep to Euston or Kings Cross? Many thanks for any advice!

Posted by
26383 posts

1. Generally true. There are some exceptions, such as football match specials, pullmans, and sleeper trains which are all reservation only because they are so crowded or serve a specific reservation type market, or because the number of sleepers is fewer than the number of potential customers. Generally that won't apply to you. 1a>>> Make sure if using a Britrail pass to have it validated at a station before you board your first train. If using a flex pass where you have so many days within a longer period to put the date in the date boxes before you board your first train each day. Failure to do either can result in the pass being invalidated and loss of travel is likely to result. Be prepared to show your passport each time you show your pass but it will not be asked for each time. 2. I would. They;'re free, so why not? 3. Yes, yes, no. BTW - if you have Britrail passes why would you take the slower West Coast route from Euston when the East Coast route from Kings Cross is straight, faster, quicker, and easier?

Posted by
351 posts

Thanks, Nigel - this helps a ton. As for your question "3. Yes, yes, no. BTW - if you have Britrail passes why would you take the slower West Coast route from Euston when the East Coast route from Kings Cross is straight, faster, quicker, and easier?" Because... um... because... because we don't know what we're doing? :-) I will note your expert opinion that we want the fast train out of Kings Cross.

Posted by
26383 posts

also 3b
Unless you expecting to use the Euston to Edinburgh First Scot Rail Sleeper. If so, there is no sleeper on Saturday nights, and you MUST reserve well in advance.

Posted by
351 posts

No sleeper - we're thinking we'd like to see the scenery. Which means it will pour down rain the whole day.

Posted by
135 posts

Not to hijack this thread, but regarding question #3; we too have britrail passes, and also want to make reservations- can they be made at a travel agency, or must we go to a rail station to make those reservations? Thanks!

Posted by
26383 posts

Sit on the right hand side going north on East Coast towards York and Edinburgh.

Posted by
351 posts

I bought the passes today. Decided on the 4 days out of 2 months, 2nd class. Thanks for the tip on what side of the train to sit on for the Edinburgh trip!

Posted by
351 posts

Tony - that's an interesting question about the travel agency. I don't know the answer. Is the travel agent more convenient than the train station for your purposes? The train station is very convenient for us.

Posted by
135 posts

We'll be using the tube in london for a few days, didn't plan on getting to any rail stations during those days. Not a big deal, we'll just stop in at a centrally located station, make the reservations for all our travel though the countryside, and get on with our day! In Italy, travel agents can book reservations for rail pass holders, that's why I asked.