Looking to travel by train on your next trip to an English-speaking country? We've got your back! Trains are a simple and great way to get around. Knowing key phrases that you can use while in a train station or train will ensure that you reach your destination.

Here we will introduce you to essential phrases that you can use when booking your train, standing at the platforms, and while riding a train. Take a look at the tables below and start improving your English!

At the Ticket Office: Traveler

Before you start your journey you'll need to get a ticket and find out when and where your train is leaving from. Below, you'll find phrases that you can use when booking your ticket.
Where are the ticket machines?
 
Where's the ticket office?
 
Can I buy a ticket on the train?
 
I'd like a single ticket to Los Angeles.
 
Could I get a ticket for the train to New York City?
 
What is the cheapest way to get to Washington, D.C.?
 
How much does a round trip ticket to Austin cost?
 
What time does the train leave?
 
Is there a later train?
 
What platform does the train leave from?
 
Do I have to change trains?
 
Is food served on the train?
 
How long is the train delayed for?
 
Do you know why there is a delay?
 
 
I'd like a single ticket to Los Angeles
One way to ask for a ticket is the sentence pattern I'd like a + TICKET TYPE + to Los Angeles. Use this when buying tickets at a ticket stand. The employee helping you will probably ask follow-up questions in response. For example, like this one When would you like to travel?.
How much does a round trip ticket to Austin cost?
If you don't know how much a train ticket costs, you can ask at the ticket office by using the sentence pattern How much does a + TICKET TYPE + to Austin cost?. An employee would then tell you the price, A round trip ticket costs $70.

At the Ticket Office: Employee

Ticket offices are places in train stations where you can purchase tickets and ask any questions you may have. Below, we've gathered common questions that you may have to answer when booking a ticket, as well as examples of information you can get at a ticket office.
When would you like to travel?
 
Where would you like to travel to?
 
What kind of ticket would you like?
 
Do you have a rail pass?
 
There are ticket machines down by the platforms.
 
You'll have to change trains to get to Austin.
 
The train leaves from platform 9.
 
The next train is leaving in a half hour.
 
The train to Washington, D.C. leaves at 5:15.
 
You can buy refreshments on the train.
 
The train is delayed due to an electrical problem onboard.
 
The train is delayed for two hours.
 
 
What kind of ticket would you like?
When travelling by train, there are several types of tickets that you can buy. For example, there are one-way tickets and round-trip tickets. A one-way ticket will only take you to your destination. You can not use the same ticket to return to the place you travelled from. On the other hand, round-trip tickets can be used to travel to a new destination and to bring back to where you originally travelled from. Be careful when buying tickets. It's always a good idea to read through your options and to double check that you are buying the correct ticket type.
Do you have a rail pass?
A rail pass is a special card that you can buy, which reduces the price of tickets. Although you have to buy the pass itself, it will make all future tickets that you buy much cheaper. This means you could save a lot of money with a rail pass if you have to travel a lot by train. A rail pass is also sometimes called a rail card.

At the platform

Once you have your train tickets, you'll need to head to the correct platform to catch your train. The phrases below will be useful when you're heading there.
Is this the right platform for the train heading to Chicago?
 
Which platform do I need for the train going to Washington, D.C.?
 
Which platform is our connection at?
 
The train arrives at platform 9.
 
The next train to arrive at platform 4 is the one to New York City.
 
The train is running late.
 
The train's been cancelled!
 
Can I see the timetable, please?
 
First-class boards towards the front of the train.
 
All aboard!
 
 
Is this the right platform for the train heading to Chicago?
A platform is where a train will arrive. When you buy a ticket, it will tell you which platform your train will arrive at. Be sure to pay attention to this so that you don't miss your train.
First-class boards towards the front of the train
In English-speaking countries, trains are normally divided into two different classes. These are first class and second class. When buying a ticket, you will usually be asked which class you would like. First class tickets are more expensive than second class tickets, but riding in first class is usually more relaxing and luxurious. Make sure you pay attention to which class your ticket is for. For example, you are not allowed to sit in first class if your ticket is for second class.

On the train

After you've found the correct platform, all you have to do is wait for your train to arrive. The following phrases are useful once you've finally boarded and are on your way to your destination.
Is this seat free?
 
Do you mind if I sit here?
 
May I store my luggage in the hold?
 
Tickets, please!
 
May I see your tickets, please?
 
All tickets and railcards, please!
 
I've lost my ticket.
 
I can't find my ticket.
 
Does this train stop at Los Angeles?
 
What's the next stop?
 
What time will we arrive at?
 
We are now approaching New York City.
 
Don't forget any luggage and personal belongings.
 
Did you catch what they said over the speaker?
 
Where is the buffet car?
 
Refreshments can be purchased in the third car.
 
Could you watch my stuff while I go to the bathroom?
 
 
Did you catch what they said over the speaker?
It can sometimes be quite noisy inside a train. Announcements about different things, like what the next stop is, are always made over a loud speaker. If you don't understand what is said over the speaker, then ask a fellow passenger this question, and they may be able to help you.
Where is the buffet car?
If you get hungry or thirsty while in a train, it is oftentimes possible to buy food and drinks onboard the train. To do this, you usually have to go to a specific part of the train. This is called the buffet car. Sometimes train employees will also walk through the train and offer simple drinks and snacks that you can buy.

Answers to the Most Common Questions

What are the most essential English phrases to know while at the train station?
  • I'd like a single ticket to Los Angeles.
  • What time does the train leave?
  • What platform does the train leave from?
  • Tickets, please!
  • The train is delayed for two hours.
  • The train arrives at platform 9.
  • What's the next stop?
  • What time will we arrive at?
How common is travel by train in the English world?
Major English-speaking countries do have established railroad systems, but their use and cost varies from country to country. For example, traveling by train in the UK is very common, easy, and relatively inexpensive. On the other hand, traveling by train in the United States is much less common unless you live close to a major city. There are train lines throughout the country, but it's usually fairly expensive to travel by train. So most Americans just drive wherever they need to.