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National Rail related questions

Brampton, Canada
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National Rail related questions

Good evening, everyone.

Two quick questions:

When purchasing train tickets, I selected London Paddington as the place to pick up all of my tickets for travel throughout the country (so of course, even for the trains that don't go anywhere near London). London Paddington is the first railway station I'll be using, so I figured that it would be easiest to pick up my many tickets at one time, rather than pick up tickets each time I visit a station.

I imagine not, but are there any issues with this plan? Will all of my tickets be available to collect at London Paddington?

Also - I got windowless seats on our journey Oxford-York (no way to select my seats - they were chosen for me). I have read here and there that one is able to just sit where ever, if there isn't a ticket attached to the seat (or if there is a ticket, can sit there until they get to the station that the ticket starts at). Can you confirm? It's a long trip - I'd like to be able to look out the window. I tried to find a way to change my seats, but I can't figure out how (all journeys were purchased on First Great Western's site).

Thanks so much!

Loughton, United...
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1. Re: National Rail related questions

Paddington should be able to issue all your tickets, though it's perhaps a bit unusual to have a long shopping list of them.

If you have a reserved seat, there's no need to sit in that actual seat. You can sit in any other non-reserved seat in the same class. At least, I've never heard to the contrary!

Cotswolds
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2. Re: National Rail related questions

You can pick your rail tickets up at any station that has the facilities to do so, whether you specified that station or not.

The only likely issue is to ensure you have ALL the tickets and reservations you need - do not leave any in the machine. There will be more than you think possible

Cross Country (who operate the Oxford York trains) normally have electronic seat reservation signs. You maybe need to contact them about changing them. With 'advance' tickets you must sit in the assigned seats (though enforcement may be erratic), with anytime or off peak tickets you can ignore the reservation - or indeed travel on a different train without reservation.

Brampton, Canada
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3. Re: National Rail related questions

Thanks, both of you!

I will definitely make sure I get all paperwork when I pick up the tickets. I've contacted First Great Western, who booked my tickets, to see if there's any way to move the seats. If the train is pretty empty (not sure - it doesn't seem like a peak time - around 10 AM on a Tuesday), I'm sure no one will begrudge us sitting in other seats. If train staff notice, and ask us to move, we'll certainly do so.

And anyway, I've heard that the scenery from Oxford-York isn't very interesting, so if we have to sit near a blank wall, perhaps we won't be missing much.

Thanks again!

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4. Re: National Rail related questions

It won't be a blank wall; it'll be an aisle seat. Big windows all along the carriage so you'll be able to see out of them even from an aisle seat.

Birmingham, United...
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5. Re: National Rail related questions

Well I've never travelled on First Great Western, but it could be a blank wall - I've certainly been cooped up in an 'airline style' seat against a blank wall on either Virgin or Cross Country, can't remember which.

There may well be big windows all down the carriage, but unfortunately the seating configuration doesn't always tie up with the windows these days. Its my impression that at one time carriages had more tables and fewer airline seats and most seats - certainly all the tables - lined up with a window. Whether they've removed tables and replaced them with airline seats over the years to increase capacity I don't know, but on a Cross Country train a couple of months ago, I was surprised that in my carriage anyway, it seemed to be virtually all airline seats with only a couple of tables and very few seemed to line up properly with any of the windows.

Personally I dislike the airline seats at the best of times - I feel hemmed in by the high back of the seat in front, so when there's a blank wall next to me as well, its just too claustrophobic, but that's just me - it may not bother others.

Brampton, Canada
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6. Re: National Rail related questions

The train in question is Cross Country - I just booked with FGW because I had an account with them from a previous trip, and they don't charge booking fees. FGW got back to me and said that I'd need to contact their after sales team, and that it may incur a charge. I probably won't bother.

Oh, and it's not an aisle seat. My husband and I are sitting together, so one of us is at the aisle, and the other is next to the wall (I've seen specs - there's no window in the aisle we're sitting in). Really, though - will anyone care if we just sit in any unoccupied, unreserved seat? Does the fact that I purchased in advance (and yes, got a better deal) instead of off-peak make that much of a difference? I may be wrong, but it doesn't seem that ten AM on Tuesday, from Oxford to York would be an extremely busy route.

Thanks, everyone!

Wales, United...
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for Bargain Travel, Cruises, Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot
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7. Re: National Rail related questions

Generally speaking, no one will car eif you sit in an unreserved. However, the T&C's of Advance tickets do require that you sit in your assigned seat, so there is always a chance you may be asked to move.

A further complication is that Cross Country operate a last minute reservation system where people are able to make seat reservations at the last minute. I understand that there are only a few seats per train in which this facility is offered, but you need to ebar it in mind as a seat that is not reserved may suddenly become reserved further on in the journey. I confess I'm not sure if the electroinc display indicates which seats may be affected, or if they do, how.

It is true that seats do not align properly with the windows in most modern trains. However, in my expereince, there are very few indeed that only have a blank wall. You must have been very unlucky if you have one!

Brampton, Canada
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8. Re: National Rail related questions

We were unlucky! :) Looking at the seat map, we have only one of two aisles in the entire car with no window. Oh well. If that's the worst thing that happens on our trip overseas, I will count myself very lucky after all!

I'll try contacting Cross Country directly to see if they're able to be a bit more helpful.

Thanks!

9. Re: National Rail related questions

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