Guide to pregnancy upgrades on trains

Some train companies offer a first-class upgrade or a special Priority Card when you're pregnant. Find out what you're eligible for from your train operator

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Struggling to find a seat on a packed train, despite your visible bump or Baby on Board badge?

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Well, you are not alone. Tales of public transport misery have been flooding in to MFM after news that a 5-month pregnant commuter was forced to sit on the floor, when fellow passengers refused to give up their seats.

But help may be at hand, because did you know that certain train operators offer travel perks and benefits to pregnant women?

Of course, different train companies have different rules. So we’ve attempted to unearth all the different offerings and reveal one of pregnancy’s best kept secrets – what you can ask for from train companies around the UK…

Cross Country

What’s on offer: Cross Country does not offer a specific travel policy for pregnant mothers, but advises contacting its journey care service team (0844 811 0125) in advance for assistance at stations and onboard
Find out more: See further details of Cross Country’s journey care

East Coast

What’s on offer: No specific pregnancy policy, but East Coast states that priority seating for pregnant (and other priority) passengers is available in every standard and first class carriage, and staff can assist with locating this, while free seat reservations can be made for advance bookings. Plans of priority seats for each train at East Coast

East Midlands Trains

What’s on offer: Mums-to-Be pass allowing free first class upgrades where there are no other seats
Available to: Pregnant women who have monthly or longer season tickets on London routes
Find out more: East Midlands Trains’ passenger charter also sets out that if there are no standard seats, then contact a member of staff, who will help find a seat, in first class if available

First Capital Connect

What’s on offer: Maternity upgrade which allows pregnant women to use First Class when there are no standard seats
Available to: Pregnant season ticket holders valid until one month after your due date
Find out more: First Capital Connect passenger’s charter

First Great Western

What’s on offer: A Priority Seat card, which can be shown to passengers to prove you require a Priority Seat on the train because you are pregnant (or are travelling with a child under 3). Train conductor may upgrade to a first class seat if all priority seats are reserved and there is no other standard seating. Valid until 2 weeks after due date
Available to: All pregnant women (and those travelling with a child under 3)
Find out more: Apply online for First Great Western Priority Card. You’ll need a copy of your MAT B1 form or signed GP letter (or birth certificate to show your child is under 3)

Greater Anglia

What’s on offer: First class upgrade in your last 8 weeks of pregnancy before maternity leave, if there are no standard seats
Available to: Women who are 32 weeks or more pregnant
Find out more: Apply for a free photocard at ticket offices, and you’ll need a letter from your employer confirming your last date of travel before maternity leave or a letter from your GP if you don’t work. More details at Greater Anglia

London Midland

What’s on offer: London Midland has no specific pregnancy policy but states that every train has two dedicated priority seats in each carriage, which are larger and by the door, for those less able to stand. Conductors on every train will also provide support in ensuring pregnant passengers get a seat

Southeastern

What’s on offerA seat in first class if there are no standard seats available
Available to: Pregnant passengers who have a monthly or longer season ticket and who are at least 20 weeks into their pregnancy
Find out more: Apply using MAT B1 form or signed GP letter, with proof of season ticket. Click here for Southeastern pregnancy policy details

Southern Railway

What’s on offerA Priority Seat card, which can be shown to passengers to prove you require a Priority Seat on the train because you are pregnant (or are travelling with a child under 3)
Available to: All pregnant women (and those travelling with a child under 3)
Find out more: Apply online for the Southern Railway Priority Seat card. You’ll need a copy of your MAT B1 form or signed GP letter (or birth certificate to show your child is under 3)

South West Trains

What’s on offer: Upgrade to first class for free, when standard seats are not available
Available to: Pregnant passengers who have a standard class weekly, monthly or annual season ticket and who are in the last five months of their pregnancy
When can you travel: During peak and off-peak periods.
Find out more: Apply online for the South West Trains Mums to Be First Class Upgrade card. You’ll need a copy of your MAT B1 form and your season ticket.

Virgin Trains East Coast Lines

What’s on offer: Virgin Trains East Coast Lines has no specific pregnancy policy but they do offer a guarantee to find all customers a seat or refund them the cost of their journey. Details can be found on the Virgin Trains website

Virgin Trains West Coasts Lines

What’s on offer:  Two seats marked “Reserved Special Assist” on every train – C01 and C02 in coach C – are prioritised for “vulnerable customers”, including the elderly, disabled and pregnant women with a “mums-to-be” pass. If these seats are taken, holders of a “mums-to-be” pass are entitled to a seat in standard class. If none is available, the Train Manager will help find you a seat in First Class. The Train Manager’s office is situated opposite the “Special Assist” seats but you can flag down any on-board staff to help.

Available to: Pregnant passengers who are at least 20 weeks pregnant and in possession of a “mums-to-be” pass, travelling on West Coast Mainline Services.

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Find out more: To get your “mums-to-be” pass, bring along your MAT B1 form and a passport photo to a Virgin Trains ticket office and this will be issued immediately.

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