Trains and train service
Got a question about trains and our train service at Great Northern? Find the answers here...
You can see poster-sized timetables at every station and get pocket-sized versions from the ticket office. We also put up posters warning you in advance when engineering work is coming up, and how it will affect train journeys to and from that station.
At most of our stations you'll be able to see customer information screens on the platforms or concourses that give ‘live’ train time updates every two minutes. Some smaller stations have a help-line telephone.
Our station staff are there to help you if you need any information. They will keep you updated with announcements and you can speak to them if you have any questions.
If you need assistance, for example you have a visual impairment, please ask a member of staff for help with information about your journey.
Yes, all our train services can carry manual or powered wheelchairs, and mobility scooters, if they aren't bigger than:
- Width 700 millimetres
- Length (including footplates) 1200 millimetres
- Weight (including passenger) 300 kilograms
The National Rail Conditions of Carriage (the contract between us and you) sets out what you can and cannot take on to any UK train.
Read the National Rail Conditions of Carriage (see Part 2)
If you have a folding bike, you can take it folded onto any train and at any time.
We can’t always accommodate non-folding bikes. You can take them on most services north of Stevenage and any between Stevenage and Hertford North and between Bedford and Luton Parkway.
However, you can't take them on most of our services arriving in London during the morning peak, 07:00 to 09:30am, and leaving London in the evening peak, 16:00 to 19:00.
You can't take a bike on rail replacement bus services.
Get more information in our bike policy
Yes. You can take up to two domestic pets (dogs, cats and other small animals) on board our services subject to the conditions below:
- All dogs must be kept on a short lead at all times, unless contained within an enclosed pet carrying basket
- Any pet without a lead must be carried in a basket no bigger than 85 x 60 x 60cm
- Whilst travelling on our trains, all pets including those in containers must be stored on the floor allowing empty seats to be used by paying customers
- When boarding the train, where possible, dogs should be carried to avoid falling between the platform and the train
- Should you, your pet or their lead become trapped in the doors, immediately use the passenger emergency alarm to contact the driver and get help
We run as many peak-time trains as we can on the railway infrastructure. We adjust our timetables and the number of carriages where we can to reduce overcrowding, and we’re continuing to develop and improve both our train fleet and our network to improve things further.
Trains can be busier than usual for a number of reasons. An earlier cancellation, for instance, will mean the next service will have more passengers than usual. Sometimes, trains have fewer coaches than usual because we’ve had to temporarily withdraw some carriages for emergency repairs.
See which peak-time trains are most likely to have seats available on our routes in our guide to finding a quieter train.
Our trains have specially designated priority seats for customers that have a greater need to sit down than others.
Priority seats can be used by anyone, but passengers sitting in them should give their seat up if they’re needed more by other passengers with disabilities, expectant mothers, elderly passengers or those carrying infants.
Because someone’s need for a seat may not be immediately obvious to other customers, we have a Priority Card scheme.
Not everyone is comfortable with asking other passengers to give up their seat and explaining why this is necessary. The priority seat card is designed to avoid any embarrassment in this situation.
The card is available through our assisted travel team and can be used on any Great Northern service. We’ll send you a ‘Baby on Board’ badge at the same time if you need one.
No, not all of our trains have first class seating on them. You can look on our timetable to see if first class is available on your train – it's shown in the facilities row with a number 1.
You can also call National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50 to check or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk.
If you have a first class ticket but there are no first class seats available on your train, you can claim a refund of the difference between the first class and the standard class ticket for the relevant part of your journey. To claim your refund apply using our simple online form.
If a train is exceptionally busy the conductor may decide to ‘de-classify' first class. This is unusual because we respect that you have paid a premium for the first class service.
If your train is de-classified,please submit a claim for the difference between a standard and First Class ticket via our simple online firm. You need to make your claim within 28 days of the journey concerned.
No, you can only travel in first class with a valid first class ticket. We regularly check tickets on board our trains and you may have to pay the difference if you do not hold a first class ticket. You might also be charged a penalty fare.
If a train is exceptionally busy the conductor may ‘declassify’ first class, making those seats available for standard ticket holders. This is unusual because we respect that passengers have paid a premium for first class.
In exceptional circumstances you may be able to sit in first class with a standard ticket if you have permission from one of our on board staff.
If a train is exceptionally busy our on board staff may decide to ‘de-classify' first class. This is unusual because we respect that you’ve paid a premium for the first class service.
Our on board staff are unlikely to de-classify if some standard class ticket holders are standing, but it becomes more likely as the number of those standing increases.
If your train is 'de-classified', please submit a claim for the difference between a standard and First Class ticket via our simple online form.
You need to make your claim within 28 days of the journey concerned.
If you or another passenger feels unwell on one of our trains, the safest thing to do is to wait until the train stops at the next station and to seek help there.
You should avoid using the emergency stop button unless it's essential. Emergency services will be able to get to you much faster at a station than on a train stopped on the line. Many of our station staff have first aid training and will be able to assist.