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UK Trains: Stations, Fees and Times
Train Travel Between Cities in the UK
Students often travel by train around the UK. Full-time students between the ages of 16 and 25, receive a significant discount on train fares, which makes train travel a good option for quick getaways, bank holidays and weekend trips around the UK.
Foreign travellers in the UK sometimes choose to buy a British Rail Pass, which allows you to travel by train in the UK giving unlimited amount of travel times within a specific range of dates, or travel on specific days within a time period.
Booking your Train Ticket Online
If you are travelling within the UK, know that train services connect most towns, villages and cities. The major train lines are National Rail and Virgin Trains. Although you will be able buy your ticket from a machine or the ticket office before boarding, it is better to buy train tickets online before travelling, which should guarantee that you will find a ticket and probably also get you a better price.
For timetable information and to book train tickets online, use our train ticket search box. It is best to book as far in advance as possible, in order to find cheap train fares.
If you have a Youth Rail Card, specify that you would like a discounted train ticket in your search. Do not spend more money than you need to on a regular fare. Bring your Youth Rail Card with you on your journey in case you are asked for verification.
Rail travel is more expensive in the UK than in many other countries. If you are either between the ages of 16 and 25, or you are in full-time education, you can buy a Young Person's Railcard, which gives you over 30% off all of your National Rail travel.
You can buy your railcard, which is valid for 1 year, for around £24 at most stations, if you present a passport-sized photo and your passport (as proof of age and ID). You can also buy it online at www.16-25railcard.co.uk.
A 3 year railcard is also available where save yourself the £7 fee of renewing your card every year. If you want to buy the 3-year card, you must do it by the day before your 24th birthday.
Once you have your railcard and you want to book your train ticket online, make sure to specify that you would like a youth rail ticket as opposed to a regular ticket.
British Rail Passes
The BritRail Pass allows you travel anywhere in England, Wales and Scotland using the National Rail Network. Youth passes are available to travellers between the ages of 16 and 25 and offer a 20% discount on any pass.
BritRail Passes and Tickets are specially designed for international tourists visiting Britain. The passes cannot be purchased if you are a UK citizen or resident. If you are living in the UK and you want to see Britain by rail, your only BritRail option is to buy a point-to-point ticket. Point-to-Point tickets allow you to travel from your departure to your destination with unlimited stopovers and without restrictions on day, time or train. The point-to point ticket will be valid for 2 months from the date it is validated.
Therefore, if you want to travel more extensively throughout the UK, book your BritRail pass before you travel to the UK.
Train Travel from the UK to Europe
The UK is an island, not connected to Europe at any point. The Eurostar is the only way to go from the UK to Europe by train, as the Eurostar actually goes beneath the English Channel. It is the fastest and easiest way to get from London to Paris where the total journey from the centre of London to the heart of Paris is just under 2.5 hours!
If you are travelling from the UK to Europe, the Eurostar is currently your only rail option. The Eurostar runs from London to Paris, Lille, Calais and Brussels and from there you can connect with many other European destinations. It is fast and easy. The Eurostar train leaves from Victoria station in London every day of the week, multiple times a day.
Even though you are travelling by train, you will still need your passport and other travel documents. Before you travel, make sure you have a visa to your destination, should you need one. Order your tickets here today.
Train Travel around Europe
Once you have arrived in Europe from the UK (either by train, air, ferry, or bus), you have a few options for train travel. You can either travel within one specific European country, travel within a few countries within a region in Europe, or travel all over Europe. Different train passes are available depending on the nature of your travels and also on your nationality.
If you have residence in Europe or the Commonwealth of Independent States, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria or Tunisia, the InterRail pass is right for you. The InterRail Pass allows you to travel between 30 European countries, except for your country of residence.
- InterRail Global Pass: You can have unlimited travel between 30 European countries, except for you country of residence. Note that travel to and From Great Britain in not included in this pass. Although you can purchase Eurostar tickets at a discounted price if you have an InterRail Global Pass. This pass is the best option if you want to see many different places in Europe and you plan to be travelling for an extended period of time.
- InterRail One Country Pass: Allows you to travel extensively within one of 28 countries in Europe, except for your country of residence. You will be able to travel for either 3, 4, 6 or 8 days within a 30 day period.
If you do not have residence in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria or Tunisian then you have to go with a Eurail Pass, individual region or individual country passes. The Eurail Pass allows you to travel in a few different ways. You cannot purchase a Eurail Pass while you are in Europe.
- Eurail Pass: You can visit as many countries as you like without any travel restrictions or limits. You can choose a travel period of 15 days, 21 days, 1 month, 2 months or 3 months. This is the best option is you have a limited time in Europe and you want to see as many countries and cities as possible
- Eurail Flexi Pass: This pass allows you 10 or 15 travel days over a period of 2 months, which is ideal if you are looking to stay in a particular place for longer periods of time.
- European Select Pass:Those wishing to visit 3-5 adjoining European countries, this is the way to go.
- Eurail Regional Pass: This pass allows you to travel only within a certain region of Europe, specifically two bordering countries or more (i.e. the European East pass). Each of the 23 different regional passes have between 3-10 travel days available for travel taking place over a period of 30 or 60 days.
- Eurail One Country Pass: This pass offers travel for 17 countries including: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden. Passes vary in length (from 3 to 15 days) depending on your country of choice.
Save Money using your European Rail Passes
Once you have purchased a travel pass, keep in mind that you can get Eurostar tickets at a discounted rate. Additionally, you will be able to save money on Thalys and Artesia trains. For full details of bonuses accompanying your European Rail Pass, check your pass.
If you are travelling in a group of 2 or more people, you can save more money on InterRail or Eurail Passes if you purchase the passes together.
Whether you are going for the InterRail Pass or the Eurail Pass, if you are under the age of 26, you are eligible for a Youth Pass. The Youth Pass gives you a considerable discount on ticket prices. Travellers using a Youth Pass still enjoy the travel benefits of a regular adult pass, but are only allowed to travel in second class, whereas adult passes (travellers aged 26 and over) allow you to travel first class.
Validating your Pass
Make sure you validate your pass within 6 months of purchase. Do this by taking it to the ticket window on your first day of travel, before you get on the train. The attendant will mark your first day and your last day of travel. Your last day of travel will depend on the type of pass you have purchased. For example, if you have purchased a one-month InterRail Pass and you validate it on January 1, your InterRail Pass will be valid until February 1. If you forget to validate your pass, you may be fined by the train conductor. Train conductors come around to check for tickets once the train has started moving.
Also, make sure you write, in ink, all of your travel dates in the blank spaces provided. Always record your train journey on your pass before boarding the train. Again, if the conductor sees you on a journey, which has not been recorded on your pass, you will be subject to a fine.