Buying a Train Ticket

English in Use | Conversations | Speaking | Travel English

English in Use

The Activities categorised as English in Use look at the way we use English in everyday life. The Activities cover the actual use of English and examine grammar, punctuation, and functionality of the language. For any student studying English as a second language or English as a foreign language, English in Use Activities are particularly useful for improving speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills. These Activities will help you to develop your confidence in using different types of text such as fiction, newspapers and magazines, as well as learning to speak and write about things such as the weather and travel, as well as preparing you for typical situations such as ordering in a restaurant or buying a train ticket.


Conversation or dialogue simulations use the latest technology to bring you as close an experience as you can get to an actual English conversation. By imitating real world conversations, you can practice your communication skills on any device and receive instant feedback on your mistakes and your accuracy. The conversation simulators also give you the chance to look at specific areas of English where you might be having problems.


It's not easy to teaching speaking skills remotely through a website, however good the site is. To really practice your speaking skills, you need someone to speak to who can correct your mistakes as you go. The Activities here will go some way to helping you to improve your speaking skills by helping you to mirror the speech you hear in the lesson. In this way, you can notice how your speech differs from that in the Activities and, by recording your own speech, you can adjust your pronunciation to more accurately match that in the Activities.

Travel English

If you find yourself travelling to an English speaking country, these Activities will be very valuable to you. The Activities look at some of the most common vocabulary you will need in situations like buying a train or plane ticket, booking a hotel, asking for directions, and many more situations that the traveller can find themselves in.

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A look at how we ask for a train ticket in Britain. This lesson looks at some common vocabulary of train travel including arrivals and departures, first or second class, platforms, single and return tickets, through trains and changes, and tickets. The lesson has a role playing component that will give you the chance to practice a typical, simple conversation about buying a train ticket.


Plan your Journey

First, start by planning your journey. The easiest way to do this is by visiting an impartial and independent ticket retailer for all train operating companies and train journeys in the UK. You won't be charged any credit or debit card fees when you buy your train ticket.

You can also find out more about your destination by picking it from the handy destination guide.

Cheapest Fares

Remember that the cheapest fares are usually available off-peak (weekdays after 9.30am and before 5pm, and all weekend) and booked in advance for travel on specific trains, with a seat reservation. The most expensive tickets are usually the most flexible, for travel at any time without a reservation.

Buying tickets at the station

Most mainline stations in the UK have a staffed ticket office or ticket machines. However, rural and suburban stations may not – or may only have a staffed ticket office during peak times – so it’s best to check before you travel. The ticket counter staff will be able to help you choose the best ticket for your journey, and advise on pricing and any discounts you may be eligible for if you’re travelling with children or have a Railcard.

Buy before you Travel

It’s always best to buy a ticket before you travel. It’s not possible to buy a ticket onboard some services, and you may be charged a penalty fare if you travel without a ticket.

Buying Tickets Online

If you’re buying tickets in advance, and don’t need to travel on the day, you might find it easier and cheaper to buy tickets online. Most major rail operators’ websites will enable you to do this, and there are also several online ticket specialists – we’ve listed just a few in the ‘external links’ box below. Buying online enables you to compare and contrast timetables, ticket types, travelling restrictions and prices, enabling you to get the best deal.

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