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How to guarantee seats?


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  • Keeps calm and carries on
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Hi,

I am new and finding this all very complicated, honestly wishing I had never bought the pass.

I have a mobile global first class pass and planning to travel next week.

I have read loads of previous questions and have been searching trips, adding them to My Trip and then to My Pass to show tickets.

Really appreciate some help to my questions-

1) I have read that although I have a ticket, it doesn’t guarantee a seat on the train, for trips with no reservations needed, do I now have to find out the train company and see if I can make reservations?

2) My pass shows a bar code for the day with several trips, does that ticket/bar code cover every trip for the day?

3) Do all trains have first class carriages? Trips without reservations, do I just look for seats in first class and if none available, go to 2nd class?

4) Some trips have a very short transfer to change trains, is there a way of finding out platform numbers before arriving so I don’t miss the train?

I am so confused and with only having a week before getting back again, I am planning trips every day with a tight schedule. The thought that there’s the possibility of no seats available and missing trains so I don’t arrive at my booked accommodation is very worrying.

5) I have paid for seat reservations where required, it says have paper copies, do I really have to print all these out and can’t just have these on my phone?  What if I book one when traveling, how do I print it out?

I am sorry for asking so much and really appreciate anyone taking the time to answer.

Thank you 

 

 

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Best answer by rvdborgt 11 April 2023, 09:24

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Userlevel 7
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  1. Check this thread and this page for info about where best to book reservations. If you still have questions then please mention route, date and departure time of trains you'd like to book.
  2. Yes it does. The barcode stays the same for the whole day, even when you add and delete trains.
  3. No, regional trains may not have 1st class for example. You can always sit in 2nd class if there's no 1st class or if you like it better there for some reason.
  4. Use a national app or the operator's app. Tell us which countries and people will tell you which app(s). The DB Navigator app is a good one anyway because it's quite good for most of Europe.
  5. Printing is rarely required anymore. I'd only print them for night trains.
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Thank you so much for your quick reply.

I had read ‘this thread’ which is where I saw reservations might be a good idea to guarantee seats.

’this page’ is really helpful, hadn’t found that.

Outbound trip - Traveling from Colchester on the 18th April at 10.30am (how do I make sure seat available?)

Then St Pancras to Brussels (Eurostar reserved so ok?)

19th April- Brussels to Luxembourg 9.38  (the link says reservations not possible/necessary?) will there be seats?

19th - Lux to Metz ville 15.39 (seats available?)

20th - Metz to Interlaken 08.42 (2 changes. Short transfer in Strasbourg) long journey on 3 trains, reservations needed?

Then a couple of days there going to Lauterbrunnen, not included in pass and still planning.

24th - Geneve to Lyon part dieu 11.30 (reservation needed?)

Lyon to Lille (res booked, printed not needed?)

25th - Lille to Colchester (Eurostar booked.  Greater Anglia reserve seat?)

 

The link says just hop on trains in Switzerland, will there be seats available? Not going on scenic ones.

Do I have to check times on National app for all trains and not rely on planner?
I have now got DB app, is the number below the train number the platform number?

 

Thank you, your help is really appreciated 

 

Userlevel 7
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from Colchester on the 18th April at 10.30am => book a reservation at a British ticket office or online via GWR, both free of charge.

St Pancras to Brussels (Eurostar reserved so ok?) => if you already have a reservation, then you're good to go.

19th April- Brussels to Luxembourg 9.38  (the link says reservations not possible/necessary?) will there be seats? => No reservation possible indeed, but don't worry, there will be seats.

19th - Lux to Metz ville 15.39 (seats available?) => No reservation possible. Don't worry about seats.

20th - Metz to Interlaken 08.42 (2 changes. Short transfer in Strasbourg) long journey on 3 trains, reservations needed? => No reservations possible until Basel. In Switzerland, reservations are not needed and IMO generally a waste of money.

24th - Geneve to Lyon part dieu 11.30 (reservation needed?) => No reservation possible.

Lyon to Lille (res booked, printed not needed?) => Print not needed. On screen is good enough.

25th - Lille to Colchester (Eurostar booked.  Greater Anglia reserve seat?) => Same as first leg.

Userlevel 7
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Do I have to check times on National app for all trains and not rely on planner?
I have now got DB app, is the number below the train number the platform number?

Could you post a screenshot?

In the journey details and the departure overviews, platform numbers are shown at the right hand side, next to the station names.

In France, you can use the SNCF Connect app. Departure platforms are usually announced 20 minutes in advance.

In Switzerland the SBB app.

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I have tried looking with the Colchester train and can see the platform no on the side.  The other one obviously isn’t showing yet.

Do I need to get all these apps on my phone?

created GWR account and followed instructions to make a seat reservation from Colchester and says seat reservation only in upcoming journeys.  But up the top in basket it has a price, is that just a price if I wanted to buy tickets?  Nothing happens if I click on basket to try to clear it

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For Great Britain, I've seen people advise www.realtimetrains.co.uk a lot. In any case, it does provide platforms. You can install the apps I mentioned, but of course also use the websites, e.g. sbb.ch and sncf-connect.com.

On the GWR site, if you see a price, then I suppose you clicked on "Buy tickets” instead of on Bookings > Make a seat/bike reservation. I can see the possibility to book a seat for next week:

Indeed I also see a price at the top right, no idea why they show that. In any case, they didn't charge me for previous seat reservations. (They don't even have my card details...)

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I was looking at 10.21 on 20th Strasbourg to Basel as it’s a short transfer for platforms, it shows the Basel platform but not Strasbourg so does that mean it isn’t confirmed yet?

At least I know what I am looking at on app for platforms now, thank you 

 

Yes didn’t click on buy tickets so must be there in case I want to as I have reserved seats?

Is the reference number on the GWR email enough to show reservation or so I need GWR app?

Userlevel 7
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I was looking at 10.21 on 20th Strasbourg to Basel as it’s a short transfer for platforms, it shows the Basel platform but not Strasbourg so does that mean it isn’t confirmed yet?

Correct. French railways (SNCF) usually only announce it 20 minutes in advance.

Yes didn’t click on buy tickets so must be there in case I want to as I have reserved seats?

You need to go via Bookings > Make a seat/bike reservation.

Is the reference number on the GWR email enough to show reservation or so I need GWR app?

You don't need an app for that. Reservation is optional, so the ticket inspector won't be interested in your reservation. The mail should also show coach and seat number. It only serves to show to any squatters, so you can have your seat :)

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Thought I had replied but it obviously didn’t send.

The email reservation I made on GWR doesn’t show a seat number, it just says use this reservation in conjunction with your ticket but it shows after coach and seat ***

I have emailed Greater Anglia asking how to reserve a seat with an Interrail pass but no reply yet.

 

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The email reservation I made on GWR doesn’t show a seat number, it just says use this reservation in conjunction with your ticket but it shows after coach and seat ***

That's strange. Sounds like something went wrong. Maybe you have a coach and seat number but they didn't get into your mail for some reason. You can also see your reservations in your GWR account, under Bookings. If you click on "View details” there, you should also see coach and seat number. Maybe it is shown there?

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Afraid not. GWR shows no seat number.

Just says you’re booked on this train - you can sit in any vacant seat for your class of travel 

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It is likely that the Greater Anglia train you are looking at does not have reservable seats.  From memory, their services are similar to the Dutch & Belgians - you can’t reserve seats on them.  You just get on, sit in an empty seat and you’re good.  If there are no empty seats you are also good . . . except that you can’t sit down.  You will still get to Colchester at the same time.

However, if you really, really, really want to have a seat (which is understandable) and don’t have a massive time constraint then just let the full train go and wait for the next one . . . and get on before everyone else turns up.  Since you are starting at the first station you are guaranteed to start with an empty train.

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It is likely that the Greater Anglia train you are looking at does not have reservable seats.

They have in their timetable info that reservation is possible, and that is probably also why you can book a reservation in the first place. So… either their timetable info is incorrect, or something went wrong when making the reservation.

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It is likely that the Greater Anglia train you are looking at does not have reservable seats.

They have in their timetable info that reservation is possible, and that is probably also why you can book a reservation in the first place. So… either their timetable info is incorrect, or something went wrong when making the reservation.

Put it this way - reservation is possible, but getting a specific reserved seat is not.  That’s the point I was making.  In this case the reservation doesn’t actually guarantee anything, other than that you can get on the train.  Since it doesn’t cost anything for the reservation there’s no loss in making it.

I got a train from Holyhead to Chester recently which had the same result - carriage ***, seat ***.  When I got on none of the seats in the carriage had any reservation information for them.

 

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It is likely that the Greater Anglia train you are looking at does not have reservable seats.

They have in their timetable info that reservation is possible, and that is probably also why you can book a reservation in the first place. So… either their timetable info is incorrect, or something went wrong when making the reservation.

Put it this way - reservation is possible, but getting a specific reserved seat is not.  That’s the point I was making.  In this case the reservation doesn’t actually guarantee anything, other than that you can get on the train.  Since it doesn’t cost anything for the reservation there’s no loss in making it.

I got a train from Holyhead to Chester recently which had the same result - carriage ***, seat ***.  When I got on none of the seats in the carriage had any reservation information for them.

 

The UK ticketing system uses seat reservations to restrict cheap advance tickets to specific trains. On trains that do not offer seat reservation they issue these “counted place reservations” with no carriage/seat numbers. They shouldn’t be issued to anyone else, a ticket office wouldn’t  but the GWR website is not set to filter these out.

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Hey Tessie

I would recommend getting earlier train from Colchester to Lon Liverpool St as you would need to be at St Pancras 60 mins before Eurostar Departure for check in, security screening and passport control unless your Eurostar leaves after 1400. You would also need to take underground which would involve  a walk from station concourse to Hammersmith&City or Metropolitan  Line and then travel for approx 10 mins to Kings Cross St Pancras Station and then walk from underground station to Eurostar Departures 

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Thank you Mishy for your advice.

I just searched Colchester to Brussels and added the journey suggested, I have changed it now, I don’t want to rush when I have no idea what I am doing with this Interrail pass.

Thank you everyone else for your replies and help.  I’m sure I’ll have more questions and it’s reassuring to have a helpful community.

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Btw if you want to save a little bit of money, take the Elizabeth Line between Liverpool St and Farringdon + a Thameslink train between Farringdon and St. Pancras. It won't take more than 15 min but still keep a margin for the Eurostar.

Those are included in Interrail (you'll need to speak to staff so they open the gates for you).

Otherwise take the Underground but you'll need to use an Oyster card or a contactless card :)

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Thank you for the suggestion.  How would I add these to my pass?

Liverpool St to Farringdon on planner just says Train, how do I know that is the Elizabeth line?

Farringdon to St. Pancras doesn’t come up on planner, do I have to put it in manually and would it need booking?

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Thank you for the suggestion.  How would I add these to my pass?

Liverpool St to Farringdon on planner just says Train, how do I know that is the Elizabeth line?

Farringdon to St. Pancras doesn’t come up on planner, do I have to put it in manually and would it need booking?

Because the Elizabeth line are the only mainline trains running on that line. All trains in the UK have unclear train naming or numbering in the app. As trains run every 3 minutes or so, I don’t really think it matters. Just add one.

In London everything is wel signalled and signposted, you can’t miss if you keep your eyes open.

Indeed, Thameslink doesn’t come up in the planner, add it manually then.

Thameslink doesn’t need reservation, it’s an intra-urban train. That would be madness if these needed reservation 😅. These trains run every three minutes on weekdays. Also add a random one, as it’s probably very difficult to say which train you’ll be exactly on.

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Indeed, Thameslink doesn’t come up in the planner, add it manually then.

They do provide timetable data (the DB planner has them) but it could be that the current download for the rail planner app doesn't have them for some reason. That also means that they could be included again with the next app update.

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Starting my trip tomorrow and hoping it all goes to plan. This is all so new to me.

Please can someone tell me where I catch the Elizabeth line to Farringdon when I arrive at Liverpool St?  Searched but still not sure, do I go down to underground or outside to entrance?

Also read that some staff don’t recognise the pass as a valid ticket and may not let you through gates for the Elizabeth line.  I really don’t need any delays getting to St Pancreas Eurostar, is there a link or something I can show if I did have any problems?

If I do get to Farringdon on the Elizabeth line, is it well signed to find the Thameslink train to St Pancreas?

Thank you in advance for any replies, I probably will end up jumping on the tube!

Userlevel 7
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Starting my trip tomorrow and hoping it all goes to plan. This is all so new to me.

Please can someone tell me where I catch the Elizabeth line to Farringdon when I arrive at Liverpool St?  Searched but still not sure, do I go down to underground or outside to entrance?

Also read that some staff don’t recognise the pass as a valid ticket and may not let you through gates for the Elizabeth line.  I really don’t need any delays getting to St Pancreas Eurostar, is there a link or something I can show if I did have any problems?

If I do get to Farringdon on the Elizabeth line, is it well signed to find the Thameslink train to St Pancreas?

Thank you in advance for any replies, I probably will end up jumping on the tube!

In big cities, like London I use the CityMapper app, it’s very detailed on which platform you can catch the trains/underground/overground/… it also states which exit you choose best and which section of the train you choose best for your destination.

(From Colchester to St. Pancras, the City Mapper app suggests going via Stratford, then Farringdon to St. Pancras.)

Haven’t been to London since the Elizabeth line opening. But I never had issues finding the the right platform or entrance. Guess you can acces it from both the tube stations/train station or the outside entrance. That’s the point of the whole line, better interconnection between a lot of stations intra London. You can just ask station staff or any fellow passenger for directions, they don’t bite and you won’t be the only one travelling.

I’ve found this official answer from Tfl Concerning interrail validity on the Elizabeth line: https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transparency/freedom-of-information/foi-request-detail?referenceId=FOI-1415-2223

Go for one or two, maybe three trains earlier from Colchester to London, if you’re unsure about the connections. The pass gives you that flexibility, extra time ánd ease of mind.

Take a deep breath, in and out. It’s sometimes a bit much to plan, but nothing to worry about. Relax, and don’t forget to enjoy the journey.

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