Please sign in to post.

BritRail vs RailCard vs nothing for August 2018 travel.

We're traveling from Stroud, Gloucestershire to Edinburgh on 1 Aug, Edinburgh to Oban, Scotland on 5 Aug and Glasgow to London on 24 Aug. Two of us, not UK citizens. Which pass should we buy? I'm confused about the option. The fares seem to be all over the place too. We haven't booked any rail yet. We're not likely to book first class.

Thanks for any help. I see posts from four or more years old on related topics.

Posted by
2425 posts

Start by pricing point to point tickets. On your dates, prices per person are:

Stroud to Edinburgh from £68

Edinburgh to Oban from £15.20

Glasgow to London from £50

Buy ASAP as prices of Advance tickets increase as they sell out. All are sold by one of the train operating companies’ websites e.g.

Which railcard, Senior or Two Together? N.B. You can’t use the Two Together railcard during peak times

Cost in the railcard discount on your chosen fares. You can buy the railcard fares online without a railcard, but you must buy the railcard at a station before you travel.

Finally, compare with Britrail.

Job done.

Posted by
2313 posts

Please look at this map of the rail system:>

You will find it easier to go Stroud > Glasgow (with changes of train at Gloucester or Cheltenham and Birmingham & maybe Preston). Compare the full journey price - (click details for the change points and note the times) - with the split ticket price with the ‘splits’ being at the places where you change trains.

Glasgow to Oban takes about 3 hours but it is over an hour longer from Edinburgh - so - do Oban to Edinburgh and then go down the East Coast Mainline to London (Kings Cross) - BUT I would advise having at least one night in York en-route.

Check fares / timings here:>

You may like to consider this route in Scotland but note that you cannot open the train windows to take photos:>
(Check the ’tour' price against point to point tickets).

Posted by
7840 posts

We used the "two together" rail card last year and it worked quite well. You can go ahead and price or purchase your train tickets in advance even though you haven't purchased the rail card yet. Simply check that you have the "two together " rail card when you make your online purchases. When you arrive at the first train station of your journey, go to the manned ticket booth and purchase your rail card. You will need to have a passport size photo of each of you with you ready to hand to the ticket agent. It also saves time if you print out and complete the application and bring it with you. The agent will sell you the pass. Have all the confirmation numbers of your tickets that you prepurchased handy and the agent can also print them out for you. The entire process takes 10-15 minutes.

Posted by
713 posts

And there's always the informative website about train travel in the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, and beyond: The Man in Seat 61. Although I think you've already received plenty of good advice and suggestions, that's a site worth visiting anyway. Lots of information and explanations.

Also, I think Carol may have meant to say above, to be sure when you are buying your tickets online that you have selected the "two together" railcard option. Obviously, you won't "have" the card until you land in the UK and get it, but you can buy the tickets without having one of those railcards, as long as you have it by the time you collect the tickets on the ground in the UK.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all. You all helped get me on the right track (pun intended or not).

Got our three set of tickets. Compared the pricing and the Two Together Railcard was cheaper than BritRail for three trips in a month. Tickets were £137.40, £20.10, and £105.60 plus £30 for the card. BritRail was going to be $215 each plus $20 each for reservations (not sure those were needed, but seemed like a good idea). About $100 cheaper or $40 without reservation. These prices are higher than may have been available, but we wanted to leave about 8 or 9 each morning.

I booked through Virgin Rail. Within minutes, the BritPass is showing up on the Rails app and the tickets are showing up on the Virgin Rails app on our iPhones.

In other words we got a digital Railcard, so no having to pick it up. I've never been to the UK and for my wife it was many years ago; so won't find out for sure until we board the train. I did have to put in a UK address and phone number at one point for the Rails Card but assume it was for mailing a physical card which we're not getting. I did have a friend's address, but assume any legitimate address and phone number would have worked.

We didn't look at breaking the trip up as it was already enough to get all the tickets two weeks before leaving and we'd already booked all our rooms. We hadn't realized that getting train tickets was going to be so tricky and that we should have done it earlier.. This is much harder than our third world travel. But then the costs are so much lower that we don't worry about having everything in place.

Lastly I found the Man in Seat 61 site to be a good overview of the options.

Posted by
5252 posts

The cheapest Advance sold before any railcard discount from Stroud to Edinburgh is £54.80, but to get a chance of grabbing these you need to book much earlier. Similarly Glasgow to London starts at £19.00. Just the way it is.