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Find a quieter train

Want to have the best chance of getting a seat? Find out when Great Northern's quieter trains run

We know it's important to see how busy our trains are likely to be when you plan your journey. We’ve developed a set of tools to enable us to share where we believe trains are going to be busy based on train loading data from the previous two weeks.

If you’re travelling today

If you're travelling within the next two hours and wish to find out how busy your train may be, simply check your journey on our Live Departure Boards and look for the colour coded symbols.

Seat Availability Key

Live departure boards example

If you’re planning ahead

If you’re planning your journey in advance, you can use our online timetables to see how busy trains usually are on each individual day of the week. So if you’re only travelling a couple of days each week, you can compare each day to help you find the quietest times to travel. The timetables do not include service alterations due to engineering work or on the day cancellations. If you are travelling in the evening, at weekends or on a Bank Holiday, please also check the journey planner for any changes to train times.

Online timetable example 

Frequently asked questions

How does it work?

Using data collected from on-train passenger counting equipment, we predict how many people use Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink trains during the current week, based on how busy they were over the previous two weeks. The information is updated automatically each day to keep it up to date.

The indicated passenger numbers are intended as a guide and do not take into account when services are impacted due to disruption, weather or other out of the ordinary events on the day.

My train doesn’t show this information, why is this?

If there’s no information shown for your journey, it means information isn’t available for that train. There may be occasions where it isn’t possible to match some services to those on previous weeks due to timetable changes or engineering work, for example, if the last two Saturdays had an altered time due to engineering work.

What do I do if the train is full?

If the train is showing as ‘full’, if you have a valid ticket to do so you may want to wait for the next service or travel via a different route. To help you plan, please check journey planners before you travel and continue to utilise our live departure boards or online timetables to see if that service is also expected to be busy.

Do I need to make a reservation to travel on a specific train?

Reservations are not available on Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern or Thameslink trains.