How to make a seat reservation?

  • 11 April 2022
  • 4 replies


I recently bought my 2nd class Eurail pass and am planning a trip to Edinburgh from Cologne on the 18th of April.  I have a few connections and my train from Bruxelles Midi to London St Pancras requires a seat reservation, as well as my train from London St Pancras to Edinburgh.  However, I have been unable to make a reservation for either.


For London to Edinburgh, it tells me that I must book at a major train station.  So does this mean I need no reservation ahead of time, and can make it in the station before I board my train?


For Bruxelles to London, it says I can book at the station or through Deutsche Bahn or CD.  I have tried both websites and Deutsche Bahn says it is impossible to make a reservation, and CD won’t allow me either.  I even tried the Thalys website, and the train I would be taking was not present on their website.  I also tried on OBB and it said “a technical error occurred” in the space where it would show the fare.  I couldn’t even do it on the Eurail website, as when I tried to load seat reservations they wouldn’t load in.


Would anyone be able to tell me if I can wait until I am at the station to make my seat reservation for London to Edinburgh?  And, how to make my reservation from Bruxelles to London, or if I can also wait until I am at the station without risk of not getting a seat?


If you need anymore information please let me know.  Thank you!


Best answer by rvdborgt 11 April 2022, 12:01

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Userlevel 7
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London to Edinburgh has optional reservations but the British are sending incorrect data so this shows as mandatory. You can book a free reservation though via GWR: first register for an account (it weirdly doesn't accept spaces in the surname.). Sign in, and click Bookings at the top. Then look for the “Make a seat/bike reservation“ box. It will look as if you need to select a fare, select any, it doesn't matter (do check 1st or standard=2nd class), continue and make the reservation. It says you won't be charged, and indeed you get the free stand-alone seat reservation without needing to enter any payment details. Even though it's GWR, this works for any route where seat reservations are available.

Brussels to Londen can be booked via Eurail or Belgian railways. Not sure where DB or CD would have been mentioned since they can't do that, certainly not online. Pass holder seats on Eurostar often sell out in advance so it's not a good idea to wait until your travel date.

Cologne to Brussels in ICE has optional reservations that can be booked via DB (4€, click on "Seat only”).

Thank you so much! 

Using GWR worked perfectly for making the London to Edinburgh reservation.

However, on the Belgian Railways website, it did not show the train I was planning on taking.  Only 2 trains for earlier times.  The train I was going to take was at 12:56, giving me 1 hour and 21 minutes to make my connection.  The closest train shown on the Belgian Railways website is at 11:56, which would barely give me 20 minutes.  Should I just go ahead and reserve that train, and hope to find an earlier train from Cologne to Bruxelles?

Thank you again for all your help!

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

20 minutes is not enough for Eurostar, since the check-in closes 30 minutes before departure. Belgian railways only show trains with available pass holder seats, so this means 12:52 doesn't have any anymore. You can book the 11:56; there's an ICE Köln Hbf 7:42 Brussel-Zuid 9:35 so you should be fine.

Book the Eurostar ASAP. Since this is the Easter weekend, Eurostar will fill up quickly.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

As pure by chance today I started using a new IR (my 20th or so, since they changed the ages to whom they would sell) here in GB/UK, going to Scotland: be prepared for MASSIve train cancellations and besides that on SUn/Hols there are also STRIKEs by some unions (as there are threatening moves to reduce the extra payment for working those days)-mostly affecting the IC trains.

However I got a free seat-RES for a Edinb-York train in a few seconds at Edi-a few hrs before dep. and with a friendly chat from the clerk who did knew his job very well.

Nearly all stations here are now gated-and there will be someone standing to whom you have to show pass and then they open 1 gate.