Travelling with pets

When it comes to taking your dog or other pets on a train journey, you may have a few questions or worries ahead of travelling. Here, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions and give you a few tips on travelling with your pets.

It’s essential that you take extra care when travelling with dogs, especially when you are boarding and leaving our trains, as a lot of the stations we stop off at have a gap between the platform and train. If you have a smaller dog then we would encourage you to carry them off the train where possible, and if you’re travelling with a larger dog then please take your time boarding and leaving our trains.

Are dogs allowed on UK trains?

There may be occasions where you need to bring your four-legged friend on one of our services, so you’ll be glad to know that dogs are allowed to travel on board any train in the UK provided that they aren’t causing other passengers any issues or endangering them.

Dogs are allowed on any area of trains apart from the food/beverage carriages (unless it’s a guide dog). That means that you can bring your dog into First Class as long as it’s well behaved. It is worth noting that Train Operating Companies do reserve the right to refuse entry to any animal, except for guide dogs, although you should have no problems providing your dog is being well behaved!

Do I need to pay to bring a dog on board a train?

Each passenger is allowed to bring a maximum of two dogs on board for free, any more dogs than that and you may be asked to pay an additional fee. You can be charged up to 50% of a full adult fare, with a maximum of £5 for a single journey or £10 for a return journey.

It’s also worth noting that dogs cannot occupy seats, even if they’re in a pet carrier. If your dog does occupy a seat whilst in its carrier you can be charged for an additional occupied seat.

Are there rules for travelling on a train with your dog?

There are a few rules that you’ll need to abide by as per the National Rail Conditions of Travel:

  • Dogs cannot occupy train seats.
  • Dogs must be kept on a lead throughout the entire journey and when at stations, unless they’re in a pet carrier.
  • You may be asked to leave the train with your dog if it is causing ‘nuisance or inconvenience to other travellers.
  • Your dog can be refused entry to the train (except assistance dogs) due to its size or behaviour.

What about other pets?

There may be occasions where you need to travel with other pets too. Thankfully you can travel with any domestic animals on board our trains, although you must keep them in a pet carrier at all times. Whilst dogs are fine to be kept on a lead, any other domestic animals must be kept in a pet carrier and cannot be placed on a seat.

All of the rules that apply to dogs above are applicable to any domestic pets that are brought on board our services, and train staff reserve the right to refuse entry to any pets at any time.

It must also be noted that we cannot accept any non-domesticated animals on board.

Tips for taking your dogs on the train

Whilst some dogs are naturals when it comes to travelling on board one of our trains, there are many furry friends who may need a little training before travelling with us. Here are some of our top tips to ensure you have a smooth journey with your pets:

Consider how your pooch will react & start small

Is your dog comfortable in spaces with lots of people? If not, then you’ll need to ease them in gently before committing to a journey on board a train. It could be worth trying a short and quieter journey on a train prior to any planned longer journeys – that way you can get a feel for how your dog will react whilst on board.

A gentle introduction to railway stations and the train is the best approach here – we’d recommend that you get to the station nice and early and allow your dog to take in all of the surroundings before getting on board. Where possible, you could look to bring your dog down to the station several times prior to travelling to get them used to the hustle and bustle of a busy station before the big journey, that way you’ll know your dog is completely fine with busy areas.

It may also be worth getting your dog on an off-peak journey to a destination not too far away. That way you can be sure how they will react during the journey.

Ensure your dog is well socialised

With trains and railway stations generally being quite overcrowded places, your dog will be coming into contact with a wide range of people and needs to be well socialised. If your pooch is used to coming into contact with plenty of people, then they should be fine travelling with you. Though we understand that many dogs can be a little timid around other people, so it’s important that they’re well socialised prior to travelling with us.

If you’re unsure how your dog will react to other dogs or people, ensure you ask other passengers not to stroke your pet and try to keep to quieter areas of the train that you’re travelling on.

Plan station breaks

If you are taking your furry friend on a long train journey, then it would be advisable to ensure you plan at least one break into your journey. We all know that dogs don’t appreciate being cooped up for too long, so planning in time to take a walk around one of the stations on your journey is definitely worthwhile.

If you are going to be getting off the train at any point, be sure you have the right type of ticket that allows you to do this! If you have a ticket that is for a specified train only, you won’t be able to break your journey and get onto the next service. For more information, please speak to a member of staff at the station prior to purchasing your ticket in person, or if you’re purchasing online, terms and conditions of each ticket type can be viewed when making the booking.

Pack food and drink

If you are travelling for a longer distance, water is an absolute must for your dog, especially on warmer days. Whilst it’s important that your pooch has plenty of water for the journey, we would recommend that they don’t drink too much whilst on board, especially if they haven’t had a chance to step outside the station for a toilet break!

You may also want to bring along some of your furry friend’s favourite treats to reward them for good behaviour whilst on board.