Guide: On the train

rail information

You can get information about timetables and fares and buy tickets from National Rail Enquiries, either:

By phone 08457 48 49 50, or

On-line at

Most train operators also have their own website, which will allow you to check times, download timetables and buy tickets. Those for Devon are:

First Great Western:

Cross Country Trains:

South West Trains:

You can also pick up timetables, check times and fares and buy tickets at all staffed stations.

At the station

You will normally need to buy a ticket before you board the train. At larger stations you can buy a ticket from the booking office, or from self-service ticket machines. At smaller stations there may only be a self-service ticket machine. If you cannot buy a ticket at the station then buy one from the conductor on the train. You can also buy many tickets in advance, either by phone, or online, although you will need a credit or debit card.

Keep your ticket safe as it may be checked on the train, or may be required at some stations that have automatic ticket barriers. Insert your ticket and the barrier should open. If you need assistance ask the staff at the barrier.

Finding your train
At larger stations there are display screens telling you which platform trains depart from. In most cases this display will show the destination of the train, such as London Paddington, or Edinburgh. To find out which other stations the train stops at you may need to check the departures poster. If you are unsure ask a member of staff. Follow the signs to the correct platform. Once at the platform, there is normally a display showing where the train is going and where it will call. This screen will also tell you if the train is on time. Listen carefully to any announcements over the public address system.

At smaller stations there may be a display screen, or if not, there will be a sign showing which trains leave from each platform. At the smallest stations there may only be one platform that all trains use. At some small stations you may need to signal the driver to stop – if in doubt check with National Rail Enquiries.

On the train

Many trains now have automatic doors. To open them, press the button next to the door when the button is illuminated. The door will then open. On some older trains you may need to open the door using the handle. Take care with the gap between the platform and train.

Once on the train you can sit in any seat which is not reserved. Seat reservations are normally shown either on a card on the seat back, or by an electronic display on the rack above the seat. If you have a seat reservation this will first tell you the coach number, such as A, B or F, then your seat number(s). It is normally easier to get straight into the correct carriage, particularly if you have luggage. Some trains also have First Class coaches for which you will need a first-class ticket to travel in, or you may be able to pay a supplement on the train. If in doubt, check with the Train Manager. Once on the train, there will normally be announcements as you are arriving at principal stations that may also tell you where to change trains. On the platform, signs will show the station name and the platform number, if appropriate.

Leave the train by pressing the button to open the door when the button is illuminated. On older trains you may need to lower the window and use the outside handle to open the door. The door cannot be opened until the ‘door unlocked’ sign is illuminated after the train comes to a halt. When leaving the train, mind the gap between the train and the platform edge.

Cycles and cyclists
Cycles are generally permitted on trains, although some operators have restrictions on when accompanied cycles may be carried, especially at busy times. If you are planning to travel by train with your bicycle, you should contact the local train operator of the service you wish to travel on to ask about their policy on cycles before you travel. For further information visit National Rail Enquiries.

Dogs, cats and other small animals are generally permitted on trains, free of charge, provided they do not endanger or inconvenience passengers or staff. For full information visit National Rail Enquiries.

Access for everyone

The Devon Access Wallet makes catching the train easier for anyone with communication difficulties, people with disabilities, deaf people and those whose first language is not English. More about the Devon Access Wallet from Devon County Council.

Tickets and timetables

You can get local timetables from staffed stations and at any Tourist Information Centre. Timetables are also available online at Traveline.

Alternatively, you can visit National Rail Enquiries or call 08457 48 49 50 for details of all train times and fares, or to purchase tickets
in advance online .On the day of travel, you can buy tickets from from staffed stations.

If the booking office at the station is closed, or the station is unstaffed, you can buy tickets from the conductor on the train.

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