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Seat reservation not required?

  • 30 October 2023
  • 4 replies
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No Seat Reservation required? this is the most common thing i saw whilst i trying to reserve my seat from london to Oxford, from London to Bristol and Bath and from Interlaken to geneve. Hence is it mean that, i not need to reserve the seat but i am allow to board the train ? 

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Best answer by thibcabe 30 October 2023, 11:02

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Yes trains without mandatory reservations are the most popular type in Europe : 90% I'd say.

Either you can make a reservation for free/a small charge or you don't bother. In the Netherlands and Belgium reservations do not exist at all. Regional trains work the same way.

You are always allowed to board but may have to swap seats along the way or stand for a bit (unlikely). In the very very unlikely event that the train is overcrowded staff may ask people without reservations to leave the train. I've only heard it happen on ICEs between Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany + trains through the Gotthard Base Tunnel (security measure).

Anyway trains run often in these countries so people just take the next one if that's the case.

About the UK : seat reservations are optional and free. They are recommended on busy mainlines like London - Edinburgh for example. You can make them on gwr.com if you want : 

This can be done at any point and you can change plans at all times. Since they're free make one for peace of mind.

They're not a thing at all in Switzerland (except Glacier/Bernina Express). People won't understand what you're talking about haha. Hop on and sit wherever you want. As a tip : train ends are generally less busy as people are lazy and board in the middle. :)

I have search gwr.com for seat reservation. Unfortunately, I didn't find any global pass as an option for my rail pass selection. However, i still require paying if i wan to reserve a seat. 

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Did you follow the procedure in the link above ? Did you find the Make a seat/bike reservation box ? When it asks for a ticket type choose whichever one you want : Anytime Single, etc. There is no Interrail/Eurail distinction (there's no need to) and all types work.

You may be too early for December and January too. Most people book a seat on the day or the day before.

Userlevel 7
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On the lines you mention no use/need for seat reservations. It’s not that long. Register the train in the app, and board and find a free seat. Show the QR-code when inspected. Just like you do on any bus/tram/metro elsewhere in the world.

Travel off-peak on those routes in the UK and you’ll have plenty of space.

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