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.

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