Buy and reserve cheaper train seats just 10 minutes before you travel

Rail passengers who have to take long journeys at short notice are benefiting as millions of cheaper train fares go on sale for longer - some up to just ten minutes before departure.

In a step first taken by CrossCountry, customers of Grand Central, Greater Anglia, Northern, TransPennine Express, Virgin Trains East Coast, Virgin Trains West Coast and guests of Caledonian Sleeper can now buy Advance tickets for many trains on the day of travel.  

The move underlines how the railway is working together, investing to drive improvements for customers now and for the long-term.

Advance tickets - great value fares for a limited number of seats on specific trains – can be bought as little as ten minutes before the train departs from some operators, helping people who have to make urgent train journeys for business or family reasons. 

Until now popular Advance tickets, sales of which have increased almost four-fold in the last ten years, have been available to buy generally only until midnight the day before travel. 

Jacqueline Starr, Managing Director of Customer Experience at the Rail Delivery Group - which brings train companies together to improve the railway - said:

“Not everyone can plan journeys in advance and now more people can buy cheaper tickets on the day, even on their way to the station. We want customers to get the best possible deal whenever they travel. With 97 per cent of your fare going back into running and improving the railway, investment is driving quicker improvement, more choice and greater freedom.”

Customers of long-distance services can also see online when there are only a few Advance tickets left, to ensure that people don’t miss out on the best price – as promised in an action plan for fares and ticketing agreed by the rail industry, government and consumer groups. Several other operators have introduced the feature. 

CrossCountry customers have clocked up more than one million journeys with Advance tickets bought on the day since 2015.

For more details about buying Advance tickets on the day check your train company’s website.

•          Advance Purchase on the Day is particularly suited to the nature of the long-distance sector, while best value for customers of other operators is offered by different types of tickets – such as off-peak fares.  

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