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Scotrail Ticket Question

Hi all,

I purchased tickets on Scotrail yesterday. The first trip showed up rapidly on the Scotrail app, but the second hasn't appeared there. I do see the tickets on the website when I log in. I'm not sure if I need to worry about this or not! Advice, please?!

Posted by
6775 posts

Ho hum,

I'm not that familiar with this always opting to collect physical tickets from a machine when buying on line.

In your website account can you download the tickets as a PDF? As that will do for travel.
Presumably in your account you have a reference, probably an 8 figure alphanumeric one. That would be sufficient for the tickets to be printed out as physical tickets at any staffed station.

Posted by
41 posts

Ho hum,
I'm not that familiar with this always opting to collect physical tickets from a machine when buying on line.
In your website account can you download the tickets as a PDF? As that will do for travel.
Presumably in your account you have a reference, probably an 8 figure alphanumeric one. That would be sufficient for the tickets to be printed out as physical tickets at any staffed station.
Blockquote

Ruh-roh ... sounds like I'm sort of boring! (Nothing new there I suppose.)

I wasn't opting to collect a physical ticket. What I'm concerned about is that there is NO confirmation of the second upcoming trip on my app (using my phone). According to the website I'm to find the "mTicket" there under "My Tickets". But nope. The first purchase appears, but not the second. The instructions say I am to activate the mTicket before boarding the train. But there isn't a ticket to activate. I'm rather flummoxed. (Eek. I guess I'm boring AND flummoxed. What a combo!)

But I guess I'll have no choice but to get a physical ticket at a kiosk or something ... sigh. I hate printing out things when I can so easily use my phone.

I did write to Scotrail ... and they will get back to me in something like eleven days. Heh. Okay then.

Posted by
41 posts

Solved.

I figured I'd just delete the app and add it back. Sure enough, both tickets are now showing up.

No printing necessary, happy to say. (Or write, in any case.)

Thanks!

Posted by
6775 posts

Patty,

Just home after a 21 hour day and a train delay of which Amtrak would be proud, given the distance travelled. Ending in a £100 taxi ride, paid for by Avanti West Coast Trains in exchange for a £6 fare!! A fare I will get back in full through delay repay.

Goodness me, what a journey.

Anyway, pleased it's sorted. What was meant by ho, hum was I think we (you) may have a significant problem. I was actually wondering if you had somehow "ticked" a wrong box for the method of delivery.

Sorry you misinterpreted my trying to be helpful.

In Northern England we have e-tickets (pdf's with a QR code), m-tickets and paper tickets, and you can kind of swop them around if one goes wrong.

The above was written in wild hope that Scotrail were equally pragmatic, suspecting that they were not.

While busy going nowhere very fast tonight I have been swotting up on the Scotrail website to clarify the matter, and they aren't at all helpful. Very dogmatic in their unhelpful attitude. It reminded me of why I buy tickets for travel in Scotland from an English train company in spite of having a Scotrail account.

Posted by
41 posts

Ah, I’m sorry I misinterpreted! My apologies.

I’m sorry, too, to read about your travel woes. No fun at all.

Yes, Scotrail is VERY unhelpful, and had I known perhaps I would have purchased the tickets elsewhere. Do you have a preference for ordering trains in Scotland?

Again, I’m sorry I read you wrong. Silly me!

Posted by
15726 posts

If you buy Scotrail tickets through the app, you can't print them out at a kiosk or a ticket office. (I've tried and was told by Scotrail ticket staff it can't be done.)

However, what you can do is take a screenshot of the tickets from either the app or the website. You can then print that as a pdf or just show it to the conductor.

Posted by
41 posts

Hi Frank,

I bought the tickets on my desktop computer. What I was wanting was to see the "m ticket" on my phone app. One purchase appeared but the other didn't. I deleted the app, added it back, and then both purchases appeared. I don't plan on printing up any tickets, as I have the app which should suffice.

Thanks!

Posted by
6775 posts

Personally I use Northern Rail. We have recently found on the forum that their website and app are very friendly to American users, the same as LNER- which is the one that most forum users swear by.
That was only found out by chance a couple of times when Northern Rail were selling tickets that had not yet been released by LNER.
Yes I am biased, hands up, they are my local company. But I use them for anywhere between Penzance and the top of Scotland.

Yes, it does sometimes muck up, it's how things are resolved that matters. Last week I bought tickets for travel on 5 March, but somehow they were issued as 2 March. I thought I would have a big problem and fight, but no my local station just calmly issued supplementary tickets at no extra cost (technically it is ca!led excessing) to amend the date and change them from heavily discounted advance tickets to any time tickets for the right date. The fare difference is about £50!!

Posted by
6775 posts

PS- Two reasons people give for using individual train company websites/apps-

  1. They can choose their own seats on a plan. I can still choose forward or back, window or aisle, quiet car, table seat, power at seat, close to toilet, on Northern. And, if I don't like my assigned seat on boarding then the overwhelming majority of the time I can just sit where I want.
    I know that is different to Amtrak where you have to use your assigned seat.
    The rare time I can't change seats due to crowding, then well a seat is still a seat.

  2. They get automated delay repay. Well setting up a delay repay account (not the same as your ticket account) with an individual company is fast and easy, then making a manual on line claim takes literally two minutes.
    So it doesn't bother me. Last Thursday I did that for another delay (on exactly the same train) and the claim was approved within 18 hours and paid the following day. That was an Avanti train but another Northern purchased ticket,

Posted by
41 posts

And now a new problem! Checking my ticket I see the second leg from Crianlarich to Fort William just says “canceled” but no explanation … yet it’s paid for. Um … what?

Posted by
33339 posts

that doesn't mean your ticket is cancelled, rather that the train on which you have a reservation or ticket will not run - the train is cancelled rather than the ticket.

Have a look around National Rail for that route in the planned engineering works and you may get an explanation.

Posted by
6775 posts

If the train is cancelled by engineering work there will be certainly be a bus provided on the second leg, from Crianlarich station to Fort William station, either express or calling at all rail stations only.

If this is a number of weeks off the replacement bus times may not yet have been posted. So we may be in a middle ground area where they know no train is running, but haven't got bus times up either.

What kind of date is this?

To Fort William the bus unfortunately takes the road through Glencoe, not across the moor, so 2 stations cannot be served (Rannoch and Corrour). And you lose the gorge section from Tulloch to Spean Bridge. The benefit is that the bus is faster than the train as it is a more direct route. Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and Tulloch are served by a feeder bus from Fort William (or from Dalwhinnie for sleeper passengers).

In March when there is engineering work the replacement bus takes 1 hour 22 minutes for the journey, compared to the 1:45 on the train when it can run.

Posted by
41 posts

isn31c Thank you so much for the information. You are tremendously helpful.

We have tickets for May 18. I didn't see any engineering work listed on the National Rail site for that day, but I very well could be missing something (my brain is a bit muddled at the moment).

If they substitute the bus for the train do they notify me? Am I supposed to just figure that out? Do I need to schedule it myself? (Yes, I'm full of questions.)

We are heading from Crianlarich to Fort William, to do our Great Glen Way walk.

Posted by
6775 posts

This is what it says on my system-

We don't yet know if this journey will be affected by engineering work. Please check back closer to the time of travel.

(but then that could just be because we are more than 8 weeks from travel, so are too far out). Presumably the app will update in due course- currently I agree that the system shows a through train. By 8 weeks before travel you should know whether or not you are or are not being put on a bus.

If it does resolve into a bus and the app doesn't tell you, the departure screens at Glasgow Queen Street will tell you. There will also be on train announcements. And then on approach to Crianlarich they will tell you to get off. Scotrail will have buses waiting ready for you and you will be directed to them either by signs or by staff- normally special staff are employed for that purpose.
I would imagine the buses will be in the little car park right outside the station, opposite the Best Western Hotel. The service bus stop is also there and there is a toilet block.

It will work a lot smoother than you expect. You should get coach-buses, not city buses. Remember there will be potentially another 100 or so people doing the same thing. So there will be multiple buses doing the journey. They know how many buses to provide. Behind the scenes passenger counts will be being circulated.

Posted by
41 posts

isn31c Thank you SO very much! This is extremely helpful for this Queen of Worry! (My children and husband can only shake their heads.) I will now relax on that issue and move on to worry about something new.

I think, too, I should perhaps book the rest of our trains via Northern Rail, per your suggestion. (We have Inverness to Pitlochry, Pitlochry to Stirling, Stirling to Glasgow, Glasgow to Edinburgh, Edinburgh to York, and, finally, York to London. Yes, a lot of trains. But I do love train travel!)

Again, MANY thanks.

Posted by
6775 posts

For Edinburgh to York and York to London, as long as you are travelling on a weekday those sectors are open for booking on cheap Advance tickets now. Weekends are probably still on hold.

For INV-Pit and Pit-STG wait until 8 weeks before and cheap advance fares should appear. The cheapest fares are always on the daily LNER train to London- 0755 from Inverness and 0929 from Pitlochry.
STG to GLA and GLA-EDI doesn't matter if you book ahead or buy on the day it's the same fare.

Posted by
41 posts

The EDI to York and York to London aren't until June 3 and 5. Do you book even those on Northern? The first was £147.80 for two. Is that a normal price?! Seemed high to me, but I know nothing!

Again, thank you for your assistance.

Posted by
6775 posts

Oh, we're into June. LNER are open to 31 May, so very close. I would expect in the region of £40 to appear for EDI-York and in the region of £30 for York to London. Rebate off the 1/3 railcard discount (family and friends) and that becomes around £27 and £20.
The cheapest York to London fares are usually on the 4 or 5 Grand Central services a day-like the 1026 and 1408 which can be as low as £18 before railcard discount.
For EDI to York for anyone willing to change trains at Newcastle the tip is to travel on the infrequent Transpennine trains with EDI-NCL and NCL-York tickets. That typically brings the £40 down to around £26 before 1/3 railcard discounts.

But balance that with the inconvenience factor of switching trains, and taking longer for the journey.

Yes all of that can be booked with any rail operator you choose.

Posted by
41 posts

Thank you, isn31c ... good info to have and quite helpful. :-)

Posted by
15726 posts

Regarding where to book your train tickets....

The Scotland routes will be operated by Scotrail. I have ridden on Scotrail for years. I always book direct without a problem. Either on their webiste but more recently on their app.

From Scotland into England and down to London on the eastern side of the country, I've traveled on LNER numerous times. Always book again on either the website or the app. No problems.

While you can book through any train company in the UK, I prefer to book with the company operating the train. This way, I can usually book the exact seats I want. If you book with another company, all you can do is request seats.

The prices should be the same wherever you book.

You also need to know about Delay Repay. If a train is late between 30 and 59 minutes, you are entitled to half of your fare back. If over an hour, a full refund. By booking direct with the train company all you need to do is either click on a message in the app or via an email to you. No need to set up extra accounts. When this has happened to me, I've seen the refund quickl; sometime within hours.

The train company has also alerted me that I am entitled to a refund.

Posted by
6775 posts

On Delay Repay Scotrail are the outlier. There it only applies after 30 minutes. On almost all (probably all) English companies it applies after 15 minutes when you get 25% back.
In England Northern are a bit different for their own trains (not other companies)- there if you are delayed 2 hours or more you get 100% back for every hour delayed. So one time last year when I was delayed by 2 hours on a Northern service, but Northern insisted it was a 4 hour delay (they misread their own data) I got 400% back.

If you book with another company, all you can do is request seats.

That statement is open to mis-interpretation. You DO get confirmed seats, booking with any company. And in the booking process with any company you can choose window or aisle, (fixed) table or not, power socket at seat, close to toilet, facing or back, quiet car etc- so can highly specify your seat. Sure the computer then allocates your seat from those preferences but will meet as many preferences as it can. Scotrail doesn't actually have quiet cars. In almost all cases if I really don't like the seat I have been allocated for some reason then I just find another which suits me.

Posted by
15726 posts

The nice thing about booking direct either online or via the app is you don't need to know every single delay repay rule. You get an email telling you that you are entitled to compensation and all you have to do is click on the link. The rest is automatically taken care of and the credit is then put back on the card you used to pay. You don't have to do anything else.

This has happened to me numerous times and no mistakes were ever made.

I always feel that for tourists sometimes ease of use is the most important thing. While some people still prefer buying physical tickets, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, a tourist might look for the ease of things especially since they have so many other things to think about.

I'm the type of person who buys direct from the supplier when it comes to travel--air, hotel, trains, etc. Less hassles if something goes wrong. And when you travel full time like me, the less hassles the better.

Train travel in the UK is getting busier and busier. I have been on trains where it was standing room only. You will get allocated a seat regardless of the train company you book with.....however.....for a family that doesn't mean you will sit together. If the train is already fairly full, they may not find the number of seats you need together. Or a seat at all. Tickets will be sold even if all seats are taken.

For a person traveling alone, this isn't a problem if they are willing to sit anywhere or stand anywhere. But for a family?

I remember taking a train from Penzance to Bath a number of years ago. (I changed somewhere but I don't remember where.) One of the trains was so busy, literally every place to stand was taken. (And this was in May.) June can be busier.

It's your call, do what you think is right for you.

Posted by
41 posts

Thanks, isn31c and Frank II for more info!

So far I've only booked the two days. For the first, from Glasgow to Oban, ScotRail tells me I have seats in coach G, Seats 38A and 37A, which are window seats. I don't know if that means we aren't sitting together or if there's a table between us (so far I've not located a seating chart but I've not looked extensively at this point.)

For the second, from Oban to Crianlarich, ScotRail says "No seat allocated" for both legs. I had requested seat assignments, but none were given.

We took a very long EU trip in 2023 and I really got the train thing wrong: I nearly always chose two seats that were back to back! What a goof I am! Thankfully people were always willing to change seats with us. This time, though I simply didn't get to choose anything at all. I DID make a request to have the airplane seating so we'd be sitting side by side. Guess that couldn't happen.

Posted by
15726 posts

Has anyone suggested you go to the Seat 61 website?

This site is for all things train travel around the world.

Unfortunately, he doesn't have any seatmaps for Scotrail.

Posted by
41 posts

Frank, I do visit his site and really appreciate it. But not all that helpful for Scotland, sorry to say.

Posted by
6775 posts

Patty,

We are in danger of getting too technical and detailed for this forum here. I don't know of Scotrail seating plans for what are called their Class 156's. But the problem is that they have 3 class 156 fleets with different seating configurations- those for the West Highland line (your journey), those for the Ayrshire/Lanarkshire lines and those for the Far North lines out of Inverness.

An 'A' suffix to a seat number usually means an airline style seat. But what you want the majority of the way towards Oban (or Fort William) is a seat on the left hand side of the train. That of course can't be selected on line. You just nab any available seat on the day, irrespective of your assigned seat.

If you ever need to add free seat reservations to an existing ticket anywhere in England, Wales or Scotland (bearing in mind that you can buy tickets too early for reservations to be available) then the answer is very unlikely.

Get an account with GWR (Great Western Railway), then in 'My Account'- https://myaccount.gwr.com/MyAccount select 'Bookings' then 'Make a Seat/Bike Reservation' and choose your train. It is very easy.
While overseas visitors often report issues buying tickets on the GWR app/website due to credit card verification the reservation function should work for you. At least on GWR's own trains (I don't know about elsewhere) I can confirm from experience that GWR tell you of changed timings if you have reserved that way.

LNER have their own seat reservation page for existing tickets on their own trains only.

Posted by
41 posts

Thanks, isn31c! I'll check that link out.

And yes, I should stop my rambling now! (Instead I'll head out on my walk ... a different kind of ramble, and quite enjoyable.)

Many thanks to all who have commented and now I will leave you in peace! 😊