Eurail in the UK?

  • 19 November 2021
  • 12 replies
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Hi,

I’m thinking of purchasing a 3 month global continuous pass for next year which will be activated elsewhere before we get to the UK (where we expect to do a month) and used in Europe after too. 

Through my research I can’t find as much info on Eurail in England, Scotland and Ireland as other European countries - we’d love to be able to use the pass in the UK to get the most from it. 

Is there a reason there are less info/reviews from the UK or anything to be cautious of? I’d expect to have to hire a car in areas of Scotland and Ireland or join a tour in the more remote parts, but using trains as the main mode of transport would be ideal. 

Any personal experiences or advice would be great :)

Thanks!


12 replies

Userlevel 7
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No idea. The UK is great for travelling by train, so just do it :)

Userlevel 7
Badge +14

There are less informations about Interrail and Eurail in the UK because in the UK they wanna sell their own offer the BritPasses (and advertise them and provide most informations related to BritRailPasses)  :/ But Eurail and Interrail are valid and depending where you go quite a good choice :) For example in Scotland up to Fort William :)

I am currently traveling throughout the EU and UK. In the UK, you can use the Eurail pass in any of the multiple railroad companies. Nevertheless, some of those companies such as the Avanti West Coast, requires a seat reservation, which most of the time (as far as I have experienced) you have to get at the train station(s). The seat reservation is related to the type of trip you are taking. For example, from Liverpool to Glasgow, the trip has two legs, one regular train (Northern ) and one with a train that has 1st and second class seating (Avanti West Coast), so you may need a seat reservation. To get to each train terminal, have your Eurail Planner ready with your Eurail pass which shows the type of pass you have, the active periods of  the pass and you have to show it to the attendant who will let you thru the automated gate(s). Normally, there will be another train person also checking your seat ticket once the train after the train departs the station. So, the Eurail Pass is good in the UK (Ireland, Scotland, GB, Etc) but you need to find if you need a seat reservation or not. I figured out the easiest thing for me to do is when I get to a station, to go to the ticket office and ask. My traveling experience so far has been outstanding and I believe everyone is ready to help you if you ask. The Eurail pass is great only if you use it a lot and and if you practice using the Eurail Planner App which can be somewhat confusing at the beginning. Finally, due to the COVID-19 and it’s variants, be compliant with all the new restrictions (be sure you have your COVID vaccinations and booster) and the train services have become the enforcers,

I’ve travelled two times in Scotland with an Interrail Global pass, and noticed that, although the “Rail Planner” app (from Interrail) says a reservation is required, it actually is not. In my case it was Avanti West Coast. These trains have one (or more) coaches of seats without reservation. Which means the Interrail pass alone is enough. (I did it last time yesterday, and the app saying “reservation required” confused me. I’ve been looking for alternatives, until I found out that it was wrong).

Userlevel 7
Badge +14

I’ve travelled two times in Scotland with an Interrail Global pass, and noticed that, although the “Rail Planner” app (from Interrail) says a reservation is required, it actually is not. In my case it was Avanti West Coast. These trains have one (or more) coaches of seats without reservation. Which means the Interrail pass alone is enough. (I did it last time yesterday, and the app saying “reservation required” confused me. I’ve been looking for alternatives, until I found out that it was wrong).

Due Covid the trains were completly reservation compulsory but as the UK lifted more and more the restrictions the companies went back to the old system that atleast one or two coaches of a train are for travelers without a reservation.

How ever the reservations for the daytrains are free and can be done often quite simple via Facebook Messenger or Service Chat directly with the railcompanies you intend to use :)

Userlevel 7
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@Nanja, the planner probably needs to be updated. The indications about mandatory reservations on the GB page seem correct, except for the Transpennine Express, where reservations are possible but not mandatory (as indicated by e.g. the DB planner).

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

It has been passed on to our product team for a check up. Adjustments will be done accordingly. Thanks!

Addition 15/02/2022: we originally receive the data from the European Timetable centre which is provided by the carrier themselves. If it is incorrect, like in this case, the carrier should send the right timetable data. According to RDG, certain rules only apply to Eurail/Interrail Passes and as they have many other Passes and ticket types next to it which still have restrictions, they cannot amend what is send to the European Timetable Centre, unfortunately. The other alternative is for us to adjust it manually per train number on our side.This is not a preferred solution. As we know train numbers change, and it would be a high risk to require the data to continuously be corrected manually. We will continue to look into other possible solutions. 

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How ever the reservations for the daytrains are free and can be done often quite simple via Facebook Messenger or Service Chat directly with the railcompanies you intend to use :)

Hi seewulf,

Just curious -- how do you make a seat reservation via Facebook Messager?

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Hi seewulf,

Just curious -- how do you make a seat reservation via Facebook Messager?

You can make them online now, for example through GWR website. Follow this page : https://www.seat61.com/interrail-and-eurail-reservations.htm

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Normal tickets in the UK are generally very expensive, which makes Eurail / Interrail pass very good value. Additionally you won’t need seat reservations for most trains (only sleeper trains and Eurostar).

Whether you need a car or not depends on your plans, onbviously. Certainly you can get to the Lake District by train, but you will be limited for walking/ exploring options without a car, although its certainly possible.

In the Highlands of Scotland, you’ll want a car unless you just want to do a scenic train tour. Many people hire from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Same with Ireland - Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Derry/Londonderry are all fine by train. But consider a car for a few days if you want to see the west Coast 

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Hi seewulf,

Just curious -- how do you make a seat reservation via Facebook Messager?

You can make them online now, for example through GWR website. Follow this page : https://www.seat61.com/interrail-and-eurail-reservations.htm

Thanks thibcabe! I know how to make seat reservation on the train networks’ website. But Just curious about how to make a seat reservation via Facebook Messager>

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

This was the case 2 years ago when this post was created and it's probably not possible anymore 

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