Travelling by train in Scotland. 


Rail Tickets
You can buy tickets for FirstScotRail trains at stations, from major travel agents, or over the phone and online with a credit card. If the ticket office at the station is closed, you can usually buy a ticket on board from the inspector using cash or a credit card. However, the inspector cannot always issue discounted or special-offer tickets.

Discount Fares and Passes
FirstScotRail trains offers an extensive range of ticketing options with discounts available over a huge array of categories based on for example, age, numbers travelling, advance booking and time of travel, and combining train travel with other transport options. It's all explained on the First Scotrail website and there's bound to be something for most travellers. Also See below

FirstScotRail also offers a couple of travel passes worth considering. The most flexible is the Freedom of Scotland Travelpass, which gives unlimited train travel within Scotland. It's also valid on all CalMac ferries and on various buses in the remoter regions, and gives discounts on Northlink ferries to Orkney and Shetland. Various versions of the pass are available with discounts for national rail card holders. The Highland Rover is more limited in scope, allowing unlimited travel on trains within the Highland region, plus the West Highland Line, travel between Aberdeen and Aviemore and a few connecting bus routes.

For details of all the numerous discounted national rail passes running to, from, and around Scotland, visit the National Rail enquiries website.

If Scotland is only a part of your itinerary, more flexible - if more expensive - options are the various national rail passes which allow unlimited travel across mainland Britain. The only one that can be bought in the UK is the All-Line Rover, which allows 7 or 14 consecutive days' travel (with discounts for national rail card holders). BritRail passes are only available for purchase before you leave your home country, through local travel agents or online. There are various discounts available for those under 26 or over 60, and for those with children.

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 might be a cost-effective way to travel, if Scotland is part of a longer European trip. This can also be purchased online at the RailEurope website

Definitions of various train tickets

'Open Single' or 'Open Return'
Open Single or return, first Class or Standard class
Is only valid on the date stated on the card. You can use the card the next day to travel, but you should leave before 12:00 noon.
Valid for outbound and return on the date indicated on the card and any other day within one calendar month thereafter. The price of an open return is double of a single ticket, unless otherwise indicated.

'Day Single' or 'Day Return'
Dayreturn or 1-day single trip, first class or standard class
Only valid for return trips on the date indicated on the card. The price of a return is double that of a single ticket, unless otherwise indicated.

'Apex Return'
Apex return - Only Standard class
This card can be used any day of the week. Space is limited and you need to buy the card at least 7 days in advance. It is valid for round trip, but ONLY on the specific date and train on the card are put at the time of booking. You can not interrupt the trip, except to switch.

'Bargain Single' or 'Bargain Return'
Extra cheap one way or return - only standard class
Valid on GNER- trains on any given day, the return can take place on any day within one calendar month (if available). You must buy the ticket 7 days in advance and reserve the date and time of the trip once you have specified can not make changes and get NO MONEY BACK. No use of railway tickets or group discounts available.

'Super Advance Return'
Superreturn - only Standard class
These tickets are available for certain travel and they are up to 18.00 on the day before departure to be made. Like Apex tickets must the return at the same time be reserved as the outward journey. Tickets are ONLY available for specific services. Precise information on services available locally, you must be obtained from the station. Advance tickets at Super You can track a card if you have one, for extra discount.

'Super Saver Return'
Only Standard class
With this card you can travel outside peak hours, usually from Sunday to Thursday and Saturday. This card is not valid on Saturdays in July and August, on Friday after 02.30h, for travel departing before 2.30h on a peak day after day and on certain other days during periods of public celebration. The ticket is valid for the outward journey on the date stated on the card, for his return on the date stated on the card or any other off-peak days within a calendar month thereafter.

'Cheap Day Ticket'
Only Standard class
One way: If the price of the "one way" is the same or cheaper than the price of a "Cheap Day Return", you will receive a "Cheap Day Return 'for the price of a CDR minus 10 pence. This card has the same validity as the corresponding Cheap Day Return. Returns: Only valid for return trips on the date stated on the card. You can only off-peak travel hours. These tickets are subject to the restrictions applicable to the fare. The return journey must be started before 02.30 the following morning.

Need more information?
For an extended explanation you can go to the website of National Rail Enquiries.

Buying traintickets.

Tickets can be purchased in the following ways:

  • On all trainstations.
  • In the train
  • on-line on


Prepared in the train.

A good investment of time to prepare a trip to Scotland, is of course, this website. It is also possible to consult a good reference. There are several books for sale. Below is a (very) small sample. More Books, CDs and DVDs can easily be found HERE.




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