Like to plan ahead and get cheap train tickets? Get great deals by booking Advance tickets on the Southern website.
Availability of Advance tickets
Network Rail has temporarily changed how far in advance train timetables can be confirmed following ongoing problems with industry planning processes. Train times and tickets are usually confirmed and available for you to plan and book your journeys up to 12 weeks before you travel. Now, train times will be confirmed and finalised up to 6 weeks before you travel.
Network Rail are working hard to rectify this problem, but there is no quick fix and we anticipate the issue will continue for some time.
We are sorry that this may affect your ability to plan ahead and we will keep you updated on our progress to resolve this issue which affects all train operators.
What this means when you buy Advance tickets
With only a small number of Southern services affected by this, we want you to continue planning your journeys and have put in place a series of measures to support this. You will still be able to purchase tickets including our discounted advance fares on longer journeys 12 weeks before you travel, but it is possible the train timetable could change. We expect final timetables to be confirmed six weeks before your train’s departure date.
What should you do if your Advance Purchase ticket is bought more than six weeks before you travel?
If you purchase an Advance ticket more than six weeks before your journey, please ensure you check back with us at the 6 weeks mark to see if your train time, mode of travel (bus replacement instead of a train) and price may have altered.
If you check back and your train time has changed significantly (moved by over 15 minutes either side of your ticket), then your tickets will be valid on the service immediately before or after your originally booked service without you having to make any changes to your ticket.
Refunds are not normally available on Advance purchase tickets, but if the change in journey times or mode of travel (a bus replacement service) means that you no longer wish to travel you may claim a full refund on the unused tickets from your original retailer.
If the fare available 6 weeks before the departure date is less than the fare originally purchased for the same journey you may wish to purchase these tickets at the cheaper fare. A full refund of the original unused tickets with no admin fee will be available from the retailer where you made your original purchase.
Advance Tickets – Great savings when you book ahead
Are you planning on taking a trip soon? Why not get a head start by arranging your journey now? When you book your trains in advance, you can enjoy savings on your rail fare and get your travels organised early on.
What are Advance rail tickets?
Advance train tickets give you the chance to book your trip for cheaper prices than if you were to buy on the day. They’re for one-way, single journeys, so if you need to return, you’ll need to buy two single Advance tickets.
Here are some of the benefits of booking early on:
- No last-minute dash to the ticket office to arrange travel
- Cheaper fares
- 1/3 off the ticket price if you have a 16-25, Senior, HM Forces, Family & Friends, Two Together or Disabled Persons Railcard
- Using single tickets gives you the chance to mix and match tickets. For example, you could travel standard class on the way out and First Class on the way back
How much do they cost?
Advance tickets are available across the country at different prices, however for journeys on the Southern network we offer three standard class prices:
If you want to upgrade, you can select one of our First Class Advance tickets for £17.
The earlier you book, the more likely it is that you’ll snap up a £5 ticket. Don’t worry if you’ve not planned that far ahead, though. Our £8.50 and £12 tickets are often available right up to 6pm the night before you travel.
When can I use Advance rail tickets?
You can only travel on the date and train shown on your train ticket and reservation coupon issued to you when you book. As this is a set booking, you won’t be able to get another train or break your journey. So, if you get off the train at a station on the route and get on another train to complete your journey, your Advance ticket will no longer be valid, and you’ll need to buy a new one.
When you book ahead, remember that advance return fares aren’t available, so you’ll need to book two singles. Use our journey planner to find the best times and fares.
How do I book Advance train tickets?
You can book trains in advance quickly and easily:
- Online – you can have your tickets posted out or collect them from the station
- Ticket offices at the station
Changing and getting refunds on Advance tickets
You can ask for changes to be made to your Advance ticket. However, because there are only a limited number of tickets at each price, you may have to buy a higher-priced Advance ticket or even a single ticket (that you can use on a range of trains) to pay for the journey you now want to make.
If you want to make changes, the easiest way to do this, if you have not yet collected your ticket, is online in the ‘manage my tickets’ section of your account. We don’t charge you a fee for making a change online, but you will only be able to purchase another Advanced ticket. If you cannot find a suitable ticket and need to switch to a more flexible day ticket or you have printed your ticket, you'll have to ask at a ticket office before your first reserved train leaves. You’ll also have to pay a £10 administration fee on each ticket.
Advance tickets are non-refundable, so plan your journey carefully.
Get more information about refunds and changing your ticket.