Steam in early and bag a bargain
An Advance ticket is a single ticket for a specific train that you book, well, in advance. There's a limited number of Advance tickets on any given train and the earlier you book, the more cash you're likely to save - so it pays to be an early bird. (Worms not included.)
What are the advantages?
- They’re usually our cheapest fares
- You can combine different types of single tickets to save money
- You get an automatic seat reservation
- You can book up to 24 weeks before you travel for most dates and routes (see current exclusions)
- Or you can buy Advance tickets up to two hours before the train starts its journey, meaning you can bag a bargain on the day.
When can you use an Advance ticket?
- You can only travel on the specific date, time and trains you select when you book
- Advance tickets can’t be transferred, unfortunately, so if you miss your train you'll need to buy a new ticket
- If there’s a delay and you miss a connection, you can take the next available train.
Are Advance tickets refundable?
No, Advance tickets are non-refundable.
Can I change my travel plans?
Yes, you can change the time and date of your tickets, but there’s a £10 charge per ticket, and you must pay any difference between old and new tickets. All changes must be made before the original travel date. Find out how to change your ticket.
Do I need to book in advance?
Yes - you need to book at least two hours before the train starts its journey. So if you’re going from Doncaster to London, but your train starts its own journey in Edinburgh, you need to buy your Advance ticket 2 hours before the train leaves Edinburgh.
Can I break my journey?
No. You have to travel on the trains you chose when you booked.
Can I get a discount with a Railcard?
Yes, you can save up to a third of the ticket price with a Railcard. Find out more about Railcards.
Are there discounts for children?
Yes, there is a 50% discount for children aged 5-15 inclusive, and under 5s travel free. Read more about travelling with children.
Can I reserve a seat?
Yes, you’ll automatically be reserved a seat when you book any Advance ticket.
Is it possible to book a First Class Advance ticket?
Yes it is, subject to availability. If travelling by Virgin Trains East Coast, First Advance tickets also let you use any of our First Class lounges for free.
What happens if disruption affects my travel plans?
If you decide not to travel due to disruption, you can claim a refund on any unused tickets without needing to pay an administration fee.
Terms & conditions
We believe these tickets offer excellent value for money. In order to provide attractively priced fares, we have to attach a small number of conditions in addition to those in the National Rail Conditions of Travel booklet (available at stations and rail-appointed Travel Agents).
Advance tickets must be purchased in advance of travel, subject to availability, and are not available for sale on the day of travel.
It is essential that you read these terms and conditions carefully, as you may be charged the full open fare if you haven’t purchased the correct ticket for your journey.
- Your ticket(s) are only valid for the date, on the Virgin Trains East Coast train(s) and reserved seat(s) shown on your ticket(s), plus those of appropriate connecting Train Companies. If your ticket shows a route "VTEC and Connections", you will be reserved on to all necessary Virgin Trains East Coast trains and connecting trains of other companies at the time of booking. Please note that if you take connecting trains other than those shown on your ticket, you will need a seat reservation to travel by any connecting train shown in the timetable as reservable.
- Changes to travel plans:
a. These are permitted up until the time of departure of the first reserved train shown on your ticket(s). After this time, your ticket has no value and a new ticket must be purchased. Please note: If you have chosen Self-Print as your delivery method, then your ticket(s) can only be changed online via your East Coast account, up until 18.00 the day before the date of departure of the first reserved train shown on your ticket(s). You cannot amend Self-Print tickets at a station or on board the train. If you have chosen any other delivery method, then your ticket(s) can be changed online via your Virgin Trains East Coast account, up until 17.00 the day before the date of departure of the first reserved train shown on your ticket(s), or at the station up until the time of departure of the first reserved train shown on your ticket(s). Note that when making amendments online Tickets on Departure (TOD) is not available as a delivery method for your new tickets. Self-Print (where applicable) and postal options are available. If there is not enough time for your amended tickets to reach you in time for your new journey date / time, then no delivery options will be available online and you will need to amend your ticket(s) at an Virgin Trains East Coast station, up until the time of departure of the first reserved train shown on your ticket(s).
b. Changes to tickets cannot be made on-train. A new ticket must be purchased if you board an Virgin Trains East Coast train without a ticket and reservation for that service.
c. Changes to tickets can be made by logging in to "Your Account", or at most staffed stations. A change is allowed provided the origin and destination are the same and travel is still by Virgin Trains East Coast for all or part of the journey. Changes can be brought forward by any number of weeks, or put back as far ahead as the reservation system is open (normally around 10 weeks).
d. For each change that you make, you will have to pay an additional charge, up to the appropriate fare for your new journey, plus an administration fee of £10 per single ticket. If you change onto a train where a cheaper fare is available, the difference will not be refunded and you will still have to pay the £10 fee. Please remember that you will need to present your original ticket(s) and reservation(s) as well as the new ones when you travel. The original tickets need to be kept once delivered or collected from the selected self service machine, or printed if Self-Print tickets, within 28 days after the return date or before the revised date of travel, whichever is sooner.
e. You must travel with Virgin Trains East Coast for the main part of your journey. Your ticket cannot be changed to travel on any other Train Company’s services for this part of the journey.
- You may not start, break and resume, or end your journey at an intermediate station except to change to/from appropriate connecting trains where these are shown on your ticket(s) or other official itinerary.
- Your ticket is non-refundable, should you decide not to use it. If the Virgin Trains East Coast train on which you are reserved is cancelled or delayed by more than 60 minutes, special arrangements will be made to accommodate you on another train (although a seat cannot be guaranteed), or to refund your ticket provided your journey has not yet commenced.
- Railcard discounts cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers unless specifically stated.
- There may be rare occasions where the cost of a journey may go down after reservations have opened. We regret that Advance tickets that have already been bought will not be refunded in part or in whole in such circumstances.