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Comparing BritRail and ScotRail Passes

Hello,

Just wondering if anyone has any experience comparing the BritRail and ScotRail train passes? I'm trying to figure out which pass works best with our itinerary, but they seem to cover different areas (and some cover buses/ferries or discounts on buses/ferries). Is there a way to easily compare, or do you just have to figure out the route piece by piece to see what ends up being most affordable? (The 4 day BritRail is about $100 CAD more than the ScotRail). Also not clear if the trains in Scotland are all ScotRail (but the BritRail pass covers them)

Thanks so much!

Posted by
17630 posts

I don't know of a shortcut. More than that, if your trip is well in the future and you plan to have a fixed itinerary, buying Advance tickets might be cheaper than a pass. You can take a look at point-to-point ticket prices on nationalrail.co.uk. I think tickets usually go on sale 11 to 12 weeks before the travel date, and Advance tickets can be as little as 1/4 or 1/5 the cost of the last-minute walk-up fare.

Posted by
16807 posts

The BritRail Spirit of Scotland Pass and the all-island BritRail pass both cover all the normal trains within the boundaries of Scotland. The Scotland-specific pass adds bus and ferry coverage or discounts that the other BritRail pass does not have, while the big BritRail pass includes train travel south of the border. If traveling with a child, youth, or senior, those categories don't earn any discounts on the Scotland pass. See also https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/britain-rail-passes.

Does your 4-day pass example actually cover all that you'd need in either scenario - whether just your time in Scotland or also your time further south? A standard train ticket into England, such as the distance from Edinburgh to York, can easily cost the equivalent $100 US per person if not booked in advance.