Buying rail tickets at a distance for overseas visitors

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TUC

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I want to buy two rail tickets from London to Thornaby for two friends who will be visiting England from the USA. However I won't be with them when they make the journey and so I'm trying to figure out the best way of buying the tickets for them.

They're travelling on 14 March so there isn't time to have the tickets sent to them by post. If I leave them to collect the tickets from Kings Cross the TVM may ask for the card that the tickets were bough with which they won't have if its my card. One option is to use East Coast's Print@Home facility for the London to Darlington leg as I understand from another thread that East Coast don't ask for the customer travelling to have the relevant payment card with them but I wanted to be sure first that there weren't any technical limitations such that the tickets can only be printed out from within the UK.

Does anyone know if Print@Home can be use from overseas? Also does anyone have any other suggestions for the way forward?
 
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dvboy

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Phone East Coast telesales and they may allow them to collect from a ticket office rather than a machine as they won't have the card?
 

lyesbkz

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Could you 'print' out the P@H tickets yourself to PDF documents and e-mail them to the passengers?

In fact, aren't the tickets supplied as PDF documents? If they are then you could just save them then e-mail them over.
 

island

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Print at Home won't be offered for a ticket to Thornaby as the journey is not all on East Coast.

The people travelling will have to buy the ticket with a card they will have possession of and collect on departure, unless you have enough Redspottedhanky vouchers to pay for the ticket in full.
 

island

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You'd have to get your tickets posted out to you. Tickets can't be collected with a virtual card.
 

GadgetMan

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As mentioned above, the easiest answer would be for them to pay on one of their cards.

If you have no other option but to pay for them and are willing to pay a walk up fare plus an admin fee then the SILK arrangement may be of use to you. But that is usually supposed to be used when people are stranded.

You have to physically go to your nearest ticket office and pay the walk up fare plus admin fee and your friends will be given the ticket at the railway station they are at.
 

Mike395

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In my opinion it's crazy that there is no system in this country for buying a ticket for somebody else, unless you are either travelling with them or have time to get them picked up and posted!

East Coast (and, I'm led to believe, Virgin will be doing so shortly) have got the right idea by allowing Print-At-Home tickets to be used by a nominated third party, but this needs to be rolled out nationally really - and (eventually - I realise this can't happen overnight, and not until all TOCs offer Print@Home) also for journeys across multiple operators.
 
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