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Travelling on a Great Western Railway train

At a glance

  • Regional train

Overview

Great Western Railway is a British train company operating long-distance rail services between the West of England and South Wales, as well as London and Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

Great Western Railway also serves commuter and suburban rail routes from London’s Paddington station to a number of destinations, including Reading, Didcot, Oxford as well as services between Reading and Gatwick Airport via Guilford.

There are also Great Western Railway services running on north–south routes from Cardiff, to Brighton, Southampton and Portsmouth, many of these travelling via Bristol.

Practical information

Before you board

Always make sure that you hold a valid ticket before boarding the train.

Some UK train stations require travellers to validate their tickets through automatic gates. Simply insert your ticket orange-side-up into the slot in the gate and it will pop back up through a slot at the top. Take your ticket and the gates will open. If there are no automatic barriers at the station, ticket control will take place once onboard.

Onboard

Great Western Railway trains are air conditioned, provide ample legroom and offer free wifi as well as plug sockets at every seat.

Every Great Western Railway train has space for at least two wheelchair passengers with access to a toilet that caters for people with mobility issues.

There is ample space for bikes onboard Great Western Railway trains with spaces in dedicated carriages, though these need to be reserved in advance. Read our Help article on taking your bikes on trains.

Great Western Railway is the only major UK rail operator to still have restaurant cars. Its famous Pullman Dining car is available on certain routes between London’s Paddington station, the West Country and Wales. The Pullman Dining menu is one of the best railway restaurant services in the world with luxury dishes such as smoked salmon, roast duck and Devon scallops on offer. The Pullman Dining car is available to both First Class and Standard Class passengers, although only First Class passengers can make advance reservations. Meals are not included in the price of your purchased rail ticket.

Booking and printing options

Great Western Railway tickets are open for bookings 90 days in advance.

Get the lowest prices on Great Western Railway by booking early and don’t wait until the last minute as cheaper seats sell out quickly.

Advance tickets offer discounts of up to 80% for bookings made well in advance.

Using a railcard may also help to get further discounts when booking UK trains.

Opt for off-peak Great Western Railway trains when you have to travel at short notice. Off-peak trains are more affordable than ones that run mornings and evenings, Fridays and Sundays or during popular holidays.

Make the most of our Pricehack fares, or split ticket bargains on over 200 million train journeys in Great Britain.

Collect-at-station tickets are available for every UK train.

Classes of service

Great Western Railway trains provide two classes of service: Standard Class and First Class.

Great Western Railway First Class

Great Western Railway trains offer an excellent First Class service with reclining seats, generous legroom and large tables. Great Western Railway’s First Class service offers power sockets and USB charging points at every seat. There is also an at-seat catering service on most routes in First Class and complimentary tea and coffee on intercity routes.

Great Western Railway Standard Class

Seating in Standard Class is airline-style unidirectional seats, in pairs. A small number of seats are arranged in seats of four around a table. An at-seat trolley service operates on most services, selling hot and cold drinks and snacks.

Child and youth passengers

The definition of "Child" and "Youth" varies by country and operator. This is why we ask for the age of young passengers.

Sometimes children below a certain age can travel without a seat for free. If you want to guarantee a seat for child passengers, enter '6' as the age of the child.

Read more about child and youth passenger ages. See also youth discounts and railcards.