I'm trying to book train tickets from Virgin Trains (England) and need to register an account to do so. The account regristration requires "two address lines". What does this mean? I only have one address just like many of us, I assume.

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The only accurate filled in information above is the country. The error was thrown when I filled in my actual address and postcode.

  • 19
    Probably you are supposed to put your city on the second line? Aug 23, 2016 at 21:28
  • 23
    Wow, that's a really badly designed form... It's like they took what each field was named in the database and thought "Meh, that'll do" Aug 23, 2016 at 21:47
  • 25
    @user568458 They probably don't know about User Experience SE...
    – Fiksdal
    Aug 23, 2016 at 21:54
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    In the UK, theoretically your address is uniquely identified by your postcode and your house number, but practically the postal service wouldn't be very happy with only that information. The practical minimum would be "House number and street name", "Town name", "Postcode". For small communities you would usually have an extra line i.e. "House no & steet", "Village name", "name of nearest large town"
    – alephzero
    Aug 23, 2016 at 23:01
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    From a UX perspective, all the need to do to make that form much easier is change the field captions to "Address line 1", "Address line 2", etc. Adding the word "line" would entirely remove the confusion that led to this question being asked.
    – Simba
    Aug 24, 2016 at 13:58

2 Answers 2


These fields aren't for separate addresses; they are for different parts of one address. For example, in the second field you could write "Sesame Town".

  • 3
    Sesame town would be Address 3 in Australia, Sesame Suburb would be 2.
    – Scott
    Aug 23, 2016 at 23:32
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    @Scott: for the information of non-British people, UK addresses are not so rigidly organised as Australian. The Post Office no longer encourages people to use suburbs, and pretty much any address can be written as <number> <street> // <postal town> // <postcode>. But some people like to include one or even two suburbs/villages, some people have a house name they put before the number/street, and of course some people need a flat or sub-building number before the number/street. Few British people would use all 5 address lines on that form. Aug 24, 2016 at 8:19
  • 19
    For a while my (UK) address was <housename> // <village> // <postal town> // <postcode>. You wouldn't believe how many forms require a house number, or a street name, or how many people on the phone couldn't understand that my street didn't have a name. And don't get me started on having a telephone number that begins with a six-digit area code! (including the zero) Aug 24, 2016 at 8:44
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    @SteveJessop It's a good information doubling in case of an error. But of course, there are places where you could probably deliver from all around the world in one line, like: "THE PALACE OF WESTMINSTER" :D
    – yo'
    Aug 24, 2016 at 9:35
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    Anyway I wasn't trying to write a complete BNF for UK postal addresses. My point was that Scott's statement that line 2 of an Australian address is a suburb and line 3 is a town, really really doesn't apply to the UK. In some cases line 3 will still be the street. Once you know that it's pretty understandable why web developers customarily just give you some numbered lines to work with. Aug 24, 2016 at 10:29

Working in software development, we do the same thing, though with a twist.
Offering your users an option to enter a free form address like that allows for them to enter addresses that don't fit the strict format otherwise required on forms.
We give our users the option to select whether the address they want to enter is a street address, a PO box, or free form, but having only a free form option might be enough for Virgin.

  • 2
    The question is asking "How do I fill in this form?" not "Why is this form designed the way it is?" Feb 10, 2017 at 14:58

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