Advance Tickets

Buying your tickets in advance can save you money

Planning ahead and buying your tickets in advance not only means you have less to worry about, but it can also save you money.

Advance tickets are not available on every train, and prices vary at different days and times – buy online and you can compare to find the best deals. Child and Railcard discounts are available, except for Network Railcards or Gold Cards.

Find out more about ways to buy your ticket

Things you need to know about Advance tickets:

  • Advance tickets go on sale up to 12 weeks before the date of travel
  • You can buy Advance tickets up to 23:59 the day before travel, subject to availability
  • Advance tickets are for single journeys, so you can mix prices, class of travel and ticket types to suit your needs
  • If you have a Railcard, you can save 34% on Advance tickets – but there’s no discount for Network Railcards or Gold Cards
  • Child discounts are also available, with or without a Railcard
  • Advance tickets are only valid on your booked train(s) and you must only travel between the origin and destination stations on your ticket
  • Advance tickets are not refundable, but if your journey plans change, you can make changes to your Advance ticket before you start your journey – changes will cost a minimum of £10
  • Availability of when Advance Purchase tickets are available until can be found here 
  • If you want to keep updated on any changes please sign up to National Rail's email list here:

Read the full conditions for Advance tickets. 

Temporary changes to how far in advance railway timetables will be confirmed
Network Rail has temporarily changed how far in advance train timetables can be confirmed following ongoing problems with industry planning processes. Train times and tickets are usually confirmed and available for you to plan and book you journeys up to 12 weeks before you travel. Now, train times will be confirmed and finalised up to 6 weeks before you travel. 

Network Rail are working hard to rectify this problem, but there is no quick fix and we anticipate the issue will continue for some time. 

We are sorry that this may affect your ability to plan ahead and we will keep you updated on our progress to resolve this issue which affects all train operators.

What this means when you buy advanced tickets
With only a small number of South Western Railway trains affected by this, we want you to continue planning your journeys and have put in place a series of measures to support this. You will still be able to purchase tickets including our discounted advance fares on longer journeys 12 weeks before you travel, but it is possible the train timetable could change. We expect final timetables to be confirmed six weeks before your train’s departure date.

What should you do if your Advance Purchase ticket is bought more than six weeks before you travel? 
If you purchase an Advance ticket more than six weeks before your journey, please ensure you check back with us at the 6 weeks mark to see if your train time, mode of travel (bus replacement instead of a train) and price may have altered. 

If you check back and your train time has changed significantly (moved by over 15 minutes either side of your ticket), then your tickets will be valid on the service immediately before or after your originally booked service without you having to make any changes to your ticket. 

Refunds are not normally available on advance purchase tickets, but if the change in journey times or mode of travel (a bus replacement service) means that you no longer wish to travel you may claim a full refund on the unused tickets from your original retailer.   

If the fare available 6 weeks before the departure date is less than the fare originally purchased for the same journey you may wish to purchase these tickets at the cheaper fare. A full refund of the original unused tickets with no admin fee will be available from the retailer where you made your original purchase.