This question is not about breaking a train journey in the United Kingdom.

I wanted return tickets from London to Bicester. Thanks to an offer, I have purchased return tickets from London to Birmingham, calling at Bicester. I am fairly confident that I can use these tickets to disembark at Bicester, and not go all the way to Birmingham. Please correct me if this is not possible. Similarly on the return journey to London, can I board the scheduled train from Bicester instead of Birmingham?

  • 1
    You might forfeit your seat reservation if not taking it at the station from which it is booked. Such is the case if your travel would be in Germany.
    – gerrit
    Mar 8, 2014 at 3:38
  • Is your ticket restricted to just one particular train, or is it valid on any train that day? That'll make all the difference
    – Gagravarr
    Mar 8, 2014 at 6:15
  • @Gagravarr, my ticket is restricted to just one particular train, but I know the Bicester calling time of this particular Birmingham-to-London train. So will I be able to board this particular train when it calls at Bicester, since Bicester is between Birmingham and London?
    – sks
    Mar 8, 2014 at 8:17
  • 1
    @gerrit, thank you for your suggestion, but there is no seat reservation required in short run UK trains and hence there is no seat reserved in my ticket.
    – sks
    Mar 8, 2014 at 8:24
  • 1
    "I am fairly confident that I can use these tickets to disembark at Bicester". Well I'm extremely confident you can't - officially - although you might get away with it. Let us know if you tried and what happened. Mar 25, 2014 at 17:44

1 Answer 1


What you've got is an Advanced Purchase ticket, which is only valid on the train(s) shown on the ticket. From the National Rail page on Advanced Tickets:

You may not start, break and resume, or end your journey at any intermediate station except to change to/from connecting trains as shown on the ticket(s) or other valid travel itinerary.

So, on your way from London to Birmingham, your ticket doesn't entitle you to end your journey short at Bicester. In practice, as there aren't barriers at Bicester station, you could probably get away with it, but be aware that if there was a spot ticket check at the station that day you'd risk being made to buy an anytime ticket from London to Bicester (or face prosecution as a fare evader). Unlikely, but possible.

Coming back, your ticket is only valid to start in Birmingham and end in London. It isn't valid to start part way. (An Off-Peak or Anytime would be). Again, you could probably get on the train in Bicester, as there's no barriers, but your problem is when they do a ticket inspection on the train. They'll most likely do one shortly after Birmingham, and quite possibly another close to London. When they check your ticket it won't already be stamped, so they'll then know that you weren't on the train at Birmingham when they did the first check. You're therefor in line for buying a new ticket, and possibly a penalty fare too (but IIRC Bicester isn't a penalty fare station so you might be OK on that)

It's possible that you could get away with it, perhaps with no ticket check after Bicester, or the first check not until after Bicester, or a ticket inspector not noticing, or taking pity on you, but it's a risk as you're not supposed to be doing that on that ticket. Chiltern are a friendly rail company, with good customer service, but it's still a risk...

  • 2
    You can get round the risk by buying the cheapest ticket that ends at Bicester. Then you are allowed to get off there.
    – Simd
    Oct 23, 2016 at 6:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .