How do I use my BritRail pass?

It is very easy to use any BritRail pass. Remember to activate it before you use it (as above).

Please note that a pass allows you to travel on a train, but doesn’t guarantee a seat on a specific train. Should the train be full, you may need to wait for the next one. You can pre book seat reservations with British TIPS for a fee or you can book seats in the UK (you may be charged a fee to do so).

You may be asked to present the pass again while on the train (even if you have shown it at the station). Have your passport ready too (you should keep your passport on you anyway when travelling).

Seats: You can get onto any train and look for seats that do not have a reserved sign on them. Some trains will have an LED screen over the seat indicating if it is reserved or not; others may have paper. Trains that do not have anything indicating reserved seats are generally trains where seats cannot be reserved at all so you can sit wherever there is an open seat.

Important: You MUST keep your pass on you at all times, even if it is your last journey and your pass is finished. If a ticket inspector asks to see the pass and you have thrown it away or deleted it, they may ask you to leave the train immediately or fine you.

Covid-19 note: Bear in mind that there are currently restrictions on number of passengers allowed on trains. This means that trains will fill up faster as there are fewer seats available so you may struggle to find a seat if you have not pre booked. It is also possible that reservations may eventually become mandatory on all trains. 

Paper passes

At staffed stations, staff will usually ask to see your pass at the gates to the platform. Show them the paper pass and, if asked, your photographic ID (passport).

If there is no staff member, you can just get onto the train.

If you have reserved a seat, you will need to carry the confirmation with your pass.

NOTE: Paper passes are being phased out in favour of mobile passes (M-Pass) and will soon no longer be available. However, it is easy to use an M-Pass.

Mobile passes

Once the pass is downloaded, you can use it ‘as is’.

Most stations have ticket barriers with code readers – open the pass on your device and hold the code over the reader. It should scan it and the barrier will open.

If there is no reader or the barrier does not open, show your pass to a member of staff at the gate to let you in.

If you have reserved a seat, you will need to carry the confirmation with your pass.

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