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Last updated: 07:50

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Find a quieter train

Want to have the best chance of getting a seat? Find out when Southern's quieter trains run.

Last updated: 2 July 2021

We know it's important to see how busy our trains are likely to be when you plan your journey. We’ve developed a set of tools to enable us to share where we believe trains are going to be busy based on train loading data from the previous two weeks.

If you’re travelling today

If you're travelling within the next two hours and wish to find out how busy your train may be, simply check your journey on our Live Departure Boards. Look for the colour coded symbols.

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If you’re planning ahead

If you’re planning your journey in advance, you can use our online timetables to see how busy trains usually are on each individual day of the week. So if you’re only travelling a couple of days each week, you can compare each day to help you find the quietest times to travel. The timetables do not include service alterations due to engineering work. If you are travelling in the evening, at weekends or on a Bank Holiday, please also check the journey planner for any changes to train times.

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How does it work?

Using data collected from on-train passenger counting equipment, we predict how many people use Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink trains during the current week, based on how busy they were over the previous two weeks. The information is updated automatically each day to keep it up to date.

The indicated passenger numbers are intended as a guide and do not take into account when services are impacted due to disruption, weather or other out of the ordinary events on the day.

My train doesn’t show this information, why is this?

If there’s no information shown for your journey, it means information isn’t available for that train. There may be occasions where it isn’t possible to match some services to those on previous weeks due to timetable changes or engineering work, for example, if the last two Saturdays had an altered time due to engineering work. We’re working hard to bring you more information as soon as we can.

What do I do if the train is full?

We ask you do everything possible to maintain social distancing. If the train is already busy when it arrives at the station, you should wait for the next service if possible, and use your valid ticket. To help you plan, please check the journey planners before you travel to see if the train you want is busy.

Do I need to make a reservation to travel on a specific train?

Reservations are not available on Great Northern, Southern or Thameslink trains.

Where else can I find information about which trains are quieter?

We will continue to attach an alert to busy trains in the journey planner on the National Rail and our own website with an alert. These trains will appear with a warning triangle within the journey planners.

You can also subscribe to journey alerts through National Rail Messenger. Just visit Messenger to set up alerts for your journey or use the journey planner and choose ‘Keep me updated’. With this tool you can set up alerts for regular or one-off journeys, it’ll keep you informed about any cancellations or delays as well as updating if the service is expected to be busy.