CIV train ticket: Missed your Eurostar train? How to get on the next one for free & how to buy

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CIV ticket is a little known hack that could save you hundreds if you missed your Eurostar train from London.

Missing a train due to unforeseen circumstances can be a tiring experience, leaving passengers feeling helpless and frustrated - especially when you’re on a connecting train to a different country when it is not your fault.

This has prompted a passenger to write in to The Guardian, detailing how they missed a Eurostar train to Brussels from London due to train cancellations, which ultimately saw them fork out a total of £125 to change their ticket after learning this wasn’t Eurostar’s responsibility.

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But, according to The Guardian’s consumer champions’ writer Miles Brignall, there is a “little known” London train ticket that could save you the hassle. The ticket, he said, is called CIV train ticket - sold under ‘Convention Internationale pour le transport des Voyageurs’ for cross border rail travel.

He said: “I don’t really think Eurostar is responsible in this case, as you bought two separate train tickets. Had you been travelling to Heathrow to get a flight you missed, you wouldn’t expect the airline to give you a free alternative flight. Your travel insurance should cover this.

“However, the reason for running this letter is to tell you and others about little-known train tickets that cover you in cases like these.

“Had you bought a CIV train ticket, Eurostar would have been obliged to put you on the next train for free. You can only buy these tickets in person at a staffed station (not online) and you need to show your Eurostar booking to qualify.”

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So, how do you purchase a CIV train ticket? Here’s everything you need to know.

How to buy a CIV train ticket

According to Brignall, the ticket office staff aren’t always familiar with the London International CIV fares. But based on the advice by travel blogger, The Man in Seat 61, who provides ‘how to’ information on travelling by train from London to Europe, you may want to say destination code “LNE”.

Eurostar (Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images)Eurostar (Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images)
Eurostar (Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images) | Getty Images

The blogger, Mark Smith, said: “Most ticket websites don’t sell these fares.  In fact, only one currently does, You should de-select Use Split Tickets and type LNE as your destination.

“After selecting a fare, make sure the fare name includes ‘euro’ in some way, if it just says ‘Advance Single’ it could be an ordinary ticket to London.  It’s a good idea to look up what to expect using as above, then use to try and buy it.

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“If you find any other website that recognises the destination code LNE, check what fares it offers, does it say Euro or are these just regular fares to London?  It’ll be the latter!  Avanti West Coast currently looks as if it sells LNE fares, but doesn’t.”

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