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Scotrail advance tickets

Hi all
I am going to Scotland at the end of April. I have tried to book tickets from Edinburgh to various locations on various days (for one person): Luchars, St Andrews Bus, Stirling. There are no tickets available, which I think is strange for this far ahead of time. Perhaps they don't show availability that far ahead of time. Can anyone confirm or deny this? Thanks.

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks. Their website also says 8 weeks in advance. I have a very difficult time believing they have no tickets at all for the one week I want to go and for different destinations from Edinburgh.

Posted by
15726 posts

The bus from Leuchars to St. Andrews is just a regular city style bus. Between the hours of approximately 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM they run an average of every 10 minutes. No need to prebook. Just pay as you board. You can pay with contactless. It's a 12 minute ride.

Posted by
7 posts

I do know that about St Andrews Bus but I still am not able to book anything from Edinburgh to any rail station for the end of April.

Posted by
277 posts

I am a member of the Scottish Travel Society on Facebook and someone there made a post today with regards Scotrail.

They posted that Scotrail say tickets are released for purchase 12 weeks in advance but their experience suggests this is more like 4 or 5 weeks in advance. The questions were asked if any other members of STS had noticed this scenario and did anyone have a suggestion as to why Scotrail might be doing it?

As yet no-one has replied.

The poster on the STS FB page said that advice on other travel forums and FB groups is to book 12 weeks in advance for best price and availability. However as they say someone following this advice may be panicked by seeing such limited availability and make compromises to their plans to fit in with what may be an inaccurate picture of train times.

Posted by
18 posts

I was trying to book some tickets on ScotRail yesterday too for dates in May that are 12 weeks out. I thought they would be available but it was saying that the timetable was unconfirmed. I checked each week before to see which dates had tickets to know how far in advance they would be on sale for my trip and the furthest out dates that were showing tickets were in late March. I was wondering what was going on since that's only about 4 weeks out.

Posted by
6775 posts

Well it looks like there is some kind of a wider issue going on, as no tickets seem to be showing anywhere in Scotland beyond the end of March, except for services run by English operators.
They should, and were the other day, open for 8 weeks ahead, and longer than that without reservations.

There is no word on their website or on social media, but it suggests some kind of computer issue.

It may well be linked to the Scottish national fares increase of 8.7% on 1 April- they are probably loading the new fares. English fares increase this Sunday- 3 March.

But this is 2 months ahead. Almost no one except overseas tourists books that far ahead, and anyway the cheap advance fares do not sell out so far in advance. They are available a week or less ahead at much the same rates as you would pay now, and even up until midnight before the day of travel there are bargain advance fares available- albeit at a somewhat higher rate.
To Stirling there are no cheap advance fares (except than on the 2 daily LNER trains) so you will pay the same on the day as you would now, and no reserved seats either.

Any other contrary information, even in RS guidebooks is just out of date.

And if you can't book no-one else can either! I have checked on several English train company websites as well.

Posted by
7 posts

Well, lucky for me, I am an overseas individual and I am not looking for cheaper advanced fares. I mean this is on par with London Phantom of the Opera tickets back in 1988! Anyway, I'll live.

Posted by
15726 posts

I even looked at an alternate which is the train from Edinburgh to Dundee. You would get the same #99 bus from outside the Dundee rail station but it would take a little longer to St. Andrews.

No tickets to Dundee either on Scotrail's website.

LNER runs a few services from Edinburgh to Dundee. I went to their app and they show not only their services between the two cities but also a full Scotrail schedule.

I know Dundee fairly well which I why I checked this.

I didn't know your exact date so I used April 25.

Posted by
7 posts

Frank, thanks for that! Meanwhile, I have been looking at St Andrews Castle and Cathedral websites and looks like many things I want to see are roped off, closed or unavailable. I think I'll wait to make a decision until I get to Edinburgh.

Posted by
3 posts

Hi. Just wanted to add my experience here. I am traveling to Scotland in May and just booked RT train tickets from Edinburgh to Aberdeen for May 13, 2024 with a return on May 22, 2024. Up until this week, Wednesday (2/28/24) I was only able to see the schedule for May 13th. On Wednesday the May 22nd schedule began to appear. I’ve been following this daily on the ScotRail website for a few weeks and could see how the dates were opening up at about 12 weeks out.
I booked this evening because I needed a specific arrival time (to meet the ferry to Shetland) and could see that the least expensive advance tickets were selling out (ie, “4 seats left at this price”). I downloaded the ScotRail app and purchased there. Very easy to use. My mobile ticket is stored there and I was sent an email confirmation of the booking and a receipt.
Hope this is helpful!

Posted by
15726 posts

If you're looking for things to do, why not see if Rabbies offers any one day tours out of Edinburgh that might interest you.

I've taken a few tours with them and they are highly recommended on this board.

Posted by
7 posts

FrankII..I am fighting the need to book a tour with a company as they are so expensive. It says FROM 55 pounds but then, for my dates, it's 85 pounds. So, I am a bit deterred by that because that is a lot of money for me especially that one of these organized tours includes entrance fees to attractions. I need a few more days to decide...

Posted by
6775 posts

Rail Tickets in Scotland are now back on sale for April, and the full advance period- whatever the cause *yes it probably was inputting the new fares) it was just a one day glitch.

By the way when it says 'x left' for an advance ticket it does not mean x number of advance tickets left. It means 4 at that particular price point. The next tranche of tickets will be ever so slightly higher in price and so on.

Going to Aberdeen (above comment) if anyone is really price sensitive they should also be looking at using Citylink (booked through Megabus) or the even cheaper Flixbus service. Flixbus is actually operated by McGills (a well respected company) in Scotland with very nice buses. And the bus is as fast, if not faster, than the train.
Citylink/Megabus is usually run with double decker coach-buses on that route. Visitors may shun that alternative, locals very much use the long distance buses which thrive.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for the bus information, isn31c. I hadn’t considered that for getting from Edinburgh to Aberdeen. I live in a very rural area of the US and rarely have a chance to use trains for transport so figuring out the schedules is new for me. I was a little concerned that the train I booked “just” gives a 2hour window to meet the ferry once we arrive. The bus sounds like a good option if we find there is a train delay on the day of travel.

Posted by
672 posts

Just want to throw in that if you're connecting with a ferry in Aberdeen, you must be headed to Orkney or Shetland. LoganAir has fairly inexpensive flights to both, and Aberdeen seems to be their "hub" for the islands, probably because of the oil industry, so there are several flights per day.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you, jjgyurley. We are headed to Shetland for a week long tour (knitting/walking - rescheduled from 2020). I did look into flights from Edinburgh to Sumburgh on Loganair in January (probably should have done this several months earlier) but the cost was considerably more than the ferry (even with an outer cabin) and the times were less favorable (either very early morning or late in the day). We have tacked on an extra day at the beginning of the trip, so that if there are any delays or cancellations in our travel we hopefully have a little wiggle room and can still arrive in time to begin the tour.

Getting to the ferry also allows a chance to see some of Scotland between Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The overnight ferry also takes care of one night’s accommodation in addition to transportation to Shetland. It’s a new experience for me so I’m hoping for calm waters but will travel prepared with the appropriate medication!