Enjoy some of the most scenic routes in the world on trains in Scotland, including the West Highland Line which passes by sunning lochs, highland wildlife including deer, and crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct, and astounding piece of engineering which is well-known for being used in the Harry Potter films . You can buy tickets at the train stations, from major travel agents, or over the phone and online with a credit or debit card. You can regularly get cheaper travel by booking your tickets in advance.
If the ticket office at the station is closed, there is usually an automatic ticket machine, but you can also buy a ticket on board from the inspector using cash or a credit/debit card. However, the inspector cannot always issue discounted or special offer tickets.
Three different types of ticket are available for most trains;
- Anytime tickets are unreserved standard class tickets which can be used at all times of day.
- Off-Peak tickets allow for cheaper travel during specific hours when the trains are not as busy.
- First Class tickets allow for travel anytime of the day with extra space, electrical sockets for laptops, etc, and often includes refreshments.
Be sure to check the luggage, bicycle and animal guidelines in advance if you wish to use these facilities.
Discount fares and passes
ScotRail trains offer tickets discounts which are available based on various categories including age, group travel, advance bookings, and time of travel. ScotRail also offer travel passes for unlimited travel. The most flexible is the Freedom of Scotland Travelpass, which gives unlimited train travel within Scotland. The pass is also valid on some buses in certain regions, on all Caledonian MacBrayne ferries and, gives discounts on Northlink ferries to Orkney and Shetland.
Other passes include the Highland Rover and the Central Scotland Rover, which are flexible tickets offering unlimited train travel and travel on other modes of public transport. Similarly, Rail and Sail tickets are also available which combine rail and ferry tickets for great value in one ticket.
Glasgow’s SPT Subway
Scotland’s only subway, in Glasgow, is an excellent way to travel around the city as it’s a cheap, efficient way of avoiding city centre traffic. Several stations also provide a park & ride facility. Singles, returns, daily (Discovery) and 7-day tickets are available from all Subway ticket offices and automatic machines, whilst 10- and 20-day tickets can be purchased online from the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.
Train travel around the UK and on to Europe
If Scotland is only a part of your itinerary, there are range of passes are available that allow unlimited travel in both Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.
You can purchase a BritRail pass before you leave your own country, through local travel agents or online. Also look out for various discounts available for young travellers under the age of 26 or over the age of 60, and for families.
If you've been resident in a European country other than the UK for at least 6 months, an InterRail pass, allowing unlimited train travel within Britain, could save you money, if you’re visiting Scotland as part of a longer European trip.