Tour And Travel

Trainline Full Details and Review

What is Trainline?

Trainline bills itself as “Europe’s leading train and coach app”, offering a one-stop shop for travel by over 270 rail and coach operators in 45 countries.

It was established almost 25 years ago by the Virgin Group and is now listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Photo by Andrew Kunesh / The Points Guy

Which rail operators does Trainline cover?

You can book a vast range of operators through Trainline up to 15 minutes before departure, including:

United Kingdom

  • LNER
  • Great Western Rail
  • Avanti West Coast
  • Lumo
  • ScotRail
  • Stansted Express
  • Gatwick Express

You can also add on London Underground tickets to other U.K. train journeys when you want to use London Underground to complete your journey, though they do not offer London Underground only tickets.

Europe and beyond

  • Trenitalia and Italio (Italy)
  • SNCF and OUIGO (France)
  • Renfe and AVE (Spain)
  • Duetsche Bahn and Flixtrain (Germany)
  • DSB (Denmark)
  • SNCB (Belgium)
  • Nederlanse Spoorwegen (Netherlands)
  • Bernina Express and Glacier Express (Switzerland)
  • JR (Japan)

Note that while Trainline covers many major European rail operators, they do not sell tickets for every European operator.

Related: 11 overlooked UK loyalty schemes for travellers looking to save money


What else does Trainline sell?

Other than train tickets across the United Kingdom, Europe and beyond, you can also book bus (coach) travel within the U.K., from the U.K. across to Continental Europe and within Europe.

It’s likely a journey by coach will be cheaper than a train journey on the same route, as it will take much longer. The time difference may not be substantial on a short route like London to a London area airport. But looking further afield at a journey like London to, say, Vienna, in Austria, if you’re not choosing a two-hour nonstop flight or a 17-hour train, you could be looking at 26+ hours on a coach, and that is without traffic delays. Most coach trips will also make multiple short stops en route for drop-offs and service stations.

You can also purchase railcards directly from Trainline, and then use them to purchase discounted tickets through Trainline.

Related: 4 European train loyalty schemes UK travellers should definitely check out

Can I use rail discount cards with Trainline?

Yes. As well as buying railcards from Trainline you can then use these railcards when booking train journeys through the platform. It’s well worth investigating if you are eligible for a card, especially if you travel regularly by train as you can save up to 33% on the standard prices.

The platform has a handy tool to check what card(s) you may be eligible for, depending on your age, location, and regular travelling companions.

There are nine main types of UK Railcards available. These are:

  • Network Railcard
  • 16-17 Saver
  • 16-25 Railcard
  • 26-30 Railcard
  • Family & Friends Railcard
  • Two Together Railcard
  • Senior Railcard
  • Disabled Persons Railcard
  • Veterans Railcard

Related: How to save on your next Heathrow Express journey

How do I book with Trainline?

You can book your tickets directly at

Trainline also has an app, currently used by more than 30 million people worldwide.

How do I use my tickets on the day of travel?

After booking your tickets you will be sent a confirmation and e-ticket by email. Most rail providers will allow you to use the QR code in the e-ticket to pass through ticket barriers at your departure, and for any onboard ticket checks. This is a convenient and paperless way to travel — no more digging into your pockets looking for a piece of paper or printed ticket.

Some providers may still require you to print a physical ticket at your departure station before boarding using the confirmation number, as well as some older regional train stations in the U.K.. This should be clearly indicated on the e-ticket. If this is the case you should plan to arrive at the station at least an extra 15 minutes before departure, to compensate for the possible queues at ticket printing machines and the time it takes for the machine to print it.

Related: 6 destinations that are best explored by luxury train

Remember to bring the card you used to pay for the tickets too — you may need this in order to print physical tickets.

You may be given the option between e-ticket collection or printing a physical ticket for a small additional fee. It is much more convenient to use an e-ticket than to go to the trouble of printing the physical ticket whenever this is an option.

The Trainline app will make this much easier, both for booking and ticket management, and is available for both IOS and Android. 

What are the ticket types and refund and change fees?

Trainline sells three main types of tickets for U.K. travel:

  • Advance – Usually sold between 12 and 24 weeks in advance, these are nonrefundable and usually only valid on the specific train and time selected at booking. Only a limited number of Anytime tickets are usually sold. They are usually the cheapest ticket type and perfect for those booking well in advance.
  • Anytime – If you want flexibility you can pay for more an Anytime train, which is split into Anytime Day Single, Anytime Day Return, Anytime Single and Anytime Return. These tickets give you the flexibility of having multiple options to travel on the day, some even allow you multiple options over multiple days. If you’re heading off for a weekend away, and say, aren’t sure what time you will want to return, these are great for added flexibility.
  • Off-Peak/Super Off-Peak – Peak times run from 6.30 a.m to 9.30 a.m and 4.30 p.m and 7 p.m. If you know you don’t want to travel at peak times, a cheaper option is to choose an off-peak time. The trains will likely also be quieter as there will be fewer daily commuters to battle with. They usually offer the flexibility of Anytime tickets though you’ll need to make sure the train you choose is not an

As an aggregator of tickets from so many different rail and coach operators, the refund and change options, unfortunately, vary from operator to operator.

Where sold, you can also purchase First class tickets

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