Trains not open for booking?

Do you keep getting the message “Sorry – although there are trains timetabled to run, they are all either sold out or are not yet open for booking. Unfortunately, you’ll need to try again nearer to the date of travel”?

And yet you look at other sites and see the trains are displayed?

At TrainSplit, we decided to withhold trains from results that can’t be booked where reservations are mandatory. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many long distance trains have been set to require seat reservations. We check if these are available before we show the train. Other sites don’t. They show them and then give you a random looking error when you try to actually book them. It can be very frustrating.

Once things get back to normal, it’s likely that these trains will once again be available to customers who don’t have reservations. When that happens, they’ll appear in the results again, but if there are no seat reservations available, you still won’t get one.

Why is this happening?

This is happening mainly because the timetable isn’t being confirmed very far in advance. Before COVID, most trains were confirmed 12 weeks before they were scheduled to run. But now, many train companies (or Network Rail) have decided not to confirm them that far in advance, because (amongst other reasons) they don’t know what the demand will be like. So these trains (although they exist in the timetable) aren’t opened for reservations.

As a result, you can get the message “Sorry – although there are trains timetabled to run, they are all either sold out or are not yet open for booking. Unfortunately, you’ll need to try again nearer to the date of travel.”

Sometimes we can find results on alternative routes that are available, so you’ll only see journeys that don’t appear to take the best route.

Hopefully all this will go away soon, once the country starts to get back to normal again.

12 thoughts on “Trains not open for booking?

  • May 25, 2021 at 12:10 pm
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    I’m trying to book train from London Euston to Warrington on 20 June not giving me prices

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    • May 25, 2021 at 12:15 pm
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      Unfortunately they haven’t opened the trains for booking yet, so no site can offer you a ticket. I can’t say when they will, but keep trying every few days.

      Reply
  • June 2, 2021 at 3:21 pm
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    When will I be able to get tickets from Manchester to Truro end of July. Thanks

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  • June 3, 2021 at 9:38 am
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    We need to buy tickets from Reading to Stranraer to catch ferry to Belfast but can’t make bookings on the ferry without knowing when the train arrives. How soon will the train companies publish timetables for July?

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    • June 3, 2021 at 9:48 am
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      Hi. According to Avanti (https://www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/travel-information/timetables), their timetables are only confirmed until 23rd July. We don’t know when they’ll make them available for later dates, so it’s worth continuing to check.

      We do sell through tickets to Belfast, including the ferry, but the availability for these is much worse at the moment, so you may prefer to book the train and ferry separately.

      Reply
  • July 1, 2021 at 9:46 pm
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    I’m trying to book tickets from Leicester to London and not getting any prices. Do you know if the tickets are sold out or not available?

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      • July 2, 2021 at 4:21 am
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        Thanks. I’ve just tried a couple of random times for that day and fares are now appearing, so maybe they’ve just be opened up?

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    • July 2, 2021 at 4:19 am
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      If you let me know the date and time, I can tell you for sure, yes.

      Reply
  • August 17, 2021 at 5:12 pm
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    I am trying to find tickets from Preston to Aviemore in Scotland for 30 th Dec for new year how do I do that.

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    • August 18, 2021 at 6:16 am
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      You won’t be able to yet. Pre-COVID, services used to open for bookings 12 weeks before their date. In the past year, this has often been much closer to the date of travel, and given that this service is between Christmas and the New Year, it’s highly likely that one or both of the trains you’ll need for the journey won’t be available until much later into the autumn.

      Reply

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