Save money with a CIV train ticket to St Pancras when taking the Eurostar

Published: 9 January, 2024

Eurostar’s continued refusal to stop for passengers at Ashford and Ebbsfleet stations is not only inconvenient for residents of Kent and the South East. It also adds considerable expense to the overall journey. But a little-known scheme called CIV can reduce costs when travelling to the St Pancras terminal at peak times. International travellers can purchase a CIV train ticket for the Kent-London leg for the price of an off-peak ticket. They can also apply railcard savings if they have one.

And that’s not the only advantage of CIV, as Miles Brignall points out in the Guardian. The CIV train ticket places extra obligations on the international carrier, in this case Eurostar. They must put you on their next available service if a delay to your train to London causes you to miss a cross-Channel train.

CIV stands for International Convention for the protection of passengers, or more accurately in French, “Convention Internationale pour le transport des Voyageurs”. Not all UK stations sell CIV tickets, but we have found that Ashford International is one of those that do. Read more about it from the Raileurope website. More detailed information is available from Mark Smith, who runs the Man in Seat Sixty One website.

How to buy a CIV train ticket

To buy a CIV train ticket, you must be already in possession of a Eurostar booking. They must also be purchased in person at a station.

Not all ticketing staff know about them so you’ll need a little guidance. Smith gives excellent instructions on how to buy the CIV train ticket, which he describes as a closely guarded secret. He confirms that the ticket allows you to catch an early morning train to London at off-peak prices. You also get better ticket protection should you miss your Eurostar if your train to London arrives late. The CIV ticket also includes the underground if you arrive in London at a station other than St Pancras. For example, if you are rerouted via Charing Cross.

CIV train tickets are also valid for the Harwich-Hook of Holland ferry service run by Stena. Follow Mark Smith’s instructions and you’ll be on your way to Europe for less money, and with greater protection, than you might have thought possible.