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Old 13th August 2012, 17:06   #5
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1.1.3 Advance Tickets

Advance fares are only available as single tickets. They are quota-controlled, only available on certain trains, and must be purchased before the day of travel. A booking system that has the facility to make reservations (e.g. a train company website) must be used to check validity of advance fares on individual trains. Note that they are not generally available for purchase more than 12 weeks in advance of the date of travel.

When travelling on an advance fare you must travel on the booked train(s) for the full journey between the origin and destination on the ticket. If you do not comply with this requirement, your Advance fare no longer has any value, and can be neither refunded, upgraded nor excessed. You will instead be required to buy a new ticket for your journey. The tickets available to you depend on the circumstances as follows:
  • If your advance ticket is dated for the same day as you are travelling, and you have complied with the train company or route restriction shown on the ticket (see Section
    You may purchase the cheapest Anytime or Off-Peak single (or, at your option, return) fare available for your journey that would have been available at the station booking office prior to boarding the train.
  • If your advance ticket is dated for a different day, or you are travelling on the wrong train company or route
    You may only purchase the Anytime Single fare for the journey. Train Company or Route Restrictions
Advance tickets always have a restriction as to the train company or route they can be used on. This is printed on the ticket under Route - however from a passenger's point of view, in normal circumstances the information is superfluous since Advance tickets are only valid on specific booked trains! It is primarily intended for booking office clerks and computer booking systems (to indicate which trains they may book the passenger onto, assuming those trains also have advance quota available).

Two cases where the train company or route restriction is relevant to the passenger however, are in determining appropriate connecting trains for multi-leg journeys, and in determining which trains may be used in the event of delays that result in the booked train being missed. Thus we will introduce it here.

The route or train company restriction for an Advance ticket generally appears in one of the following three forms:
    The ticket may only be used on trains operated by the Train Operating Company (TOC) indicated.
    The train(s) used in the journey must pass through the station indicated. It is not necessary for the train to stop at the station, only to pass through. There may also be two stations indicated, in which case the train(s) must pass through both.
    The ticket may be used on trains operated by the TOC indicated, as well as on appropriate connecting trains shown on a valid travel itinerary. Multi-Leg Journeys with Connecting Trains

As stated above, advance tickets are only valid on the booked train. When there is only one leg to the journey, i.e. the whole journey is made on one train, the meaning of booked train is clear and unambiguous. However sometimes a journey on an advance ticket also involves one or more connecting trains.

A common question is:
I have a TOC & CONNECTIONS ticket. What are the rules about the train I can catch as my connection?
The general rule is that if a reservation has been issued for the connecting trains, then they are also counted as booked trains. They have to be used, and the Advance ticket is not valid if any other train is used.

If on the other hand no reservation has been issued for the connecting train (because it doesn't offer reservations), then you are free to use an alternative connecting train, provided both these conditions are met:
  • you still allow the minimum connection time for the relevant station when changing between trains. (The Minimum Connection Times for all stations may be viewed at - type in the station required, select "Station Info Only" and click on Search. When making a cross-London journey by Underground, the minimum connection time is the sum of the times for the arrival and departure stations, plus the cross-London transfer time.)
  • the alternative connecting train does not offer reservations either. (This can be checked by looking up the relevant departure or arrival at - any train that has neither a diamond symbol nor R symbol beneath it is not reservable.)
For a more detailed technical explanation of the issues surrounding reservations on connecting trains, see Section below. Delays while travelling

In normal circumstances, Advance tickets are only valid on the booked train(s). However if delays occur while travelling, either
  • on the rail journey, or,
  • only in the case where the Advance ticket is a through ticket covering the entire journey, on a connecting journey by other means of public transport (e.g. Underground, bus or ferry),
you will be allowed to complete your journey on later trains.
However the train company or route restriction shown under Route on the ticket still applies, e.g. for a ticket routed TOC ONLY you must wait for the next train operated by the train company indicated, even if this increases the length of the delay further.

Another common question is:
I am combining tickets; am I covered in the event of a delay?
As long as you have allowed the minimum connection time at the station where you are combining tickets, then this is treated as a valid through journey and the same conditions apply as above, i.e. in the event of a delay you may take later trains in compliance with the route or train company restriction shown on your ticket.
This section attempts to cover all basic validity issues that passengers encounter with Advance tickets. For further reading, the Advance Fares Frequently Asked Questions document attached to this post might prove interesting. This is reproduced with permission from The Manual (the official source of retail information for rail industry staff). It also includes information regarding discounted fares, excess and upgrades that is covered in more detail in Section 6 and Section 4 respectively. Advance Price Tiers
Advance fares for a given journey are typically available at a range of fixed price tiers. As the cheaper tiers "sell out" (i.e. have their quota used up; see Section 1.2) the more expensive tiers will be sold. The number of tiers available can vary greatly depending on the journey and train company concerned, e.g. Sheffield to London has 17 different advance price tiers in standard class, whereas Holyhead to Liverpool has only a single tier.

Each price tier is technically a different ticket type, although these days they all have the same name: "ADVANCE". Before the 2008 fares simplification exercise they usually all had different names, specific to each train company, indicating the price tier they belonged to (e.g. Advance Single A/B/C, Value Advance Single A/B/C etc.). This distinction is not particularly important now but as background information, it may help in understanding how advance quotas work.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Advance Tickets FAQs 2017.pdf (96.9 KB, 173 views)

Last edited by yorkie; 30th June 2014 at 10:50.
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