Making GWR Riviera Night Sleeper reservations from abroad

Hello everyone,

So, I’m having great trouble reserving a sleeper cabin on the GWR Night Riviera Sleeper.

From the GWR website the reservation with an interrail ticket can’t be made. I called them up and they said that by phone they won’t book them anymore either (apparently this has been like this since a few months - they had trouble with mismatching passes).
The main SBB station in Berne can’t book reservations anymore for most train companies in the UK either and the interrail website, when working, tells me that it can’t be booked through them either.

On the phone GWR advised me to book directly from a station in the UK, however I fear that by the time I’m there there likely won’t be a cabin anymore.

I believe it might be possible to have a friend in the UK book the reservation for me, but surely there must be some way that it can be done from abroad? Would it be possible to buy a regular ticket and have the ticket fee reimbursed?

I’m sure someone has done similar and I hope there is a solution for me that doesn’t include having friends wait in a ticket hall full of (likely) mildly annoyed people due to the strike.


4 replies

Userlevel 4
Badge +1

You need to buy it at a station in the UK - there’s no other way. It didn’t even work any other way for the last years...

Userlevel 4

If GWR will no longer sell them by phone then there is no way other than at a GB rail station.


Getting a friend to book it in person might work but be aware they are supposed to only issue reservations to people already holding tickets. Get an obliging clerk and once it is explained it is for a tourist that has no other means then they may well help you out, get the opposite and it will just be a refusal.

Also be aware that many offices unfamiliar with booking sleeper supplements may struggle to do it at all. The procedure (on any of the systems I have seen) is for the clerk to proceed as if buying a regular off-peak or anytime single ticket and sleeper supplement but delete the ticket before completing the purchase.

Buying the full ticket+sleeper in order to try and refund the ticket at a later date is very unlikely to work, I doubt you would be able to get anyone to refund the ticket while keeping the sleeper supplement/reservation.

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

GWR are a pain. I have read stories in the past, when they were still able to book that they were quite picky about payment cards.

What do you mean with mismatching passes?

Do complain to GWR that there should be a way to book them from abroad. If there are enough complaints, they may reconsider.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Hmm-I highly doubt this. I remember the tricks of airlines who always found ways to bar cheap0 pax who would try to get a seat in C (thats business) for much less by using any imaginative way of coupons/pass/points/whatever. Though many of these pax -due to their perceived status-also knew many ways to fob off the airline. I guess -as GB railways are very much revenue-oriented (even though now the govmt has taken over) that they simply do not want passholders in their most precious accommodation. The same was on new VY/Sverige here a few weeks ago for the Lapplandstaget. And I suspect ÖBB also does it to protect their most expensive private sleeper for going on sale in hi-season. There are special german fora for train-lovers that are full of ways to get what one wants-but most often the final answer is ¨Qualität kostet ja!

Same prejudice also reigns in many railways about the 1st cl passholders-in the past these were mostly loud USAers (as EUrail had no 2nd cl pass for them-except junior)-

(yes, I have become a bit more cynic in these matters-out of life-experience)