Some trains in London with first class sections are “declassified” – which means you can ride in them without paying any extra.
A video by Londonist shows exactly how to do this – although you’ll have to be a bit geeky if you want to join in.
Train expert Geoff Marshall explains: “It’s quite often now that you can catch a suburban commuter train in London and sit in the first class area on a standard class ticket.”
By finding out which train lines in London run first class services, you can then work out when these services are “declassified” – which means you don’t have to pay extra to sit in them at specific times.
You’ll need to look at train numbers to do this, which Geoff admits is “slightly nerdy”.
Geoff explains in the video that the train he is sitting on – the Southeastern Orpington to Brixton service – has the number ‘465921’ on the front of each carriage.
He explains: “The number is made up of 465 and then a three-digit number.
“If that three digit number starts with a one or two then it hasn’t got a first class.
“But if it starts with a nine, it has. And yet on this line – the Brixton to Orpington line – there are no first class services on this line.”
Of course, the seats are still available to sit in – at no extra cost – and you can't get in trouble for sitting there.
Geoff then explains that you can find out which lines have first class services – or not – using train timetables, which you can download from every train company’s website.
You can work this out by checking if there is a ‘1’ in a box at the top of the service you want to travel on the train company’s timetable.
If the symbol is there, it’s a first class service and you’ll need the correct ticket to travel on that section on the train.
But if there’s not a ‘1’ symbol next to the service – and you notice you are travelling on a train with a nine as the fourth number on the front of the carriage – then you can sit in first class for free.
The same trick works on some Southern trains as well as Southwestern Railway and GWR services.
The video also shows that some first class carriages are really nothing more than an arm rest and a special bit of paper attached to the headrest announcing you’re in first class.
However some carriages such as those on Thameslink services do you give you extras – such as power sockets to charge your phone.
And of course there’s also that feeling that you’re a bit better than everyone else.
It’s worth nothing that if you don’t follow these rules you could get a fine if you’re found in the first class section by an inspector so it’s worth sticking exactly to them – and checking Geoff's video out in full.
We have contacted Network Rail for comment.
Sun Online Travel previously reported that 18 year olds can get a free railcard to travel across Europe this summer and that you can apply for it this June.
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