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Train from Inverness to Edinburgh - no reserved seating?

We're booking our train travel for our trip to England and Scotland in August. Every route we've booked so far, we've received seat assignments for the journey. We just tried booking on ScotRail from Inverness to Edinburgh for August 14 and get the message that there is no reserved seating. Is this because it's coach class? Or because it's so early to book? Is there a chance of us not getting seats? (this happened to us five years ago from London to Edinburgh and we don't want a repeat).

Just wondering if this is something to be concerned about or no big deal for this particular route. Should we upgrade to first class or would it matter?

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, ipadley,

You're guaranteed a seat with first class, but not with coach class. First class tickets are a lot more than advance tickets, but not that much more than non-advance coach class. If you're traveling coach class, and want to get a seat, get there well ahead of departure time, and hope that the queue isn't too long. Otherwise, be prepared to be a straphanger. :(

In mid-August, those trains may possibly be very full, as that is peak tourist season. Some of those trains, though not all, will be originating in Wick, so your train may already be half full before you get on. It's not the Scottish thing to do, but be prepared to throw some elbows!

Good luck!

Mike (auchterless)

Posted by
25771 posts

By coach class you mean Standard Class?

Posted by
27 posts

Thank you! I was just surprised because we'd just finished making another advance coach booking on ScotRail (Inverkeithing to Inverness) and we were provided with seat reservations. I guess it's not as popular a route as Inverness to Edinburgh? Perhaps we will splurge this one time and do first class.

Posted by
8889 posts

lpadley, You have confused us because the two classes on British trains are First and Standard, standard being the same as what is called "Second" on most other railways (and was once called that in the UK too, so many people still call it that).
"Coach" is not a class, it is the rail vehicle you travel in. A coach can contain first or standard class seats.

Some trains (and I do not know if this is true for Inverness to Edinburgh) do not have first class, only standard class.
I have never heard a case of a train where you could book seats in first class, but not in standard. Possible 14th August is too far away to reserve seats. Don't forget locals decide to travel on a few days notice, even on the day. Only tourists book that far in advance.

Posted by
27 posts

Chris F, sorry for the confusion. In Canada coach class means "economy class". Thank you so much for the correction, it's an important distinction for sure.

This route definitely has a First Class option but we haven't checked into it for details. Yes, it's early to book but everything we've read suggests that booking trains now allows us to take advantage of cheaper prices (plus we're planners, haha).

Thanks so much for the info. Since it's the very last journey of our trip we will probably wait a week or so and see if anything changes or resign ourselves to getting there early and lining up. First world problems. :)

Posted by
3418 posts

I was curious and tried to make this booking myself. The message that came back was a little different than the one you mention in your post. It said the seat was "reserved" but not assigned and you were free to sit an any seat that wasn't already assigned. I would go ahead and buy the saver ticket and ask about getting a specific seat reservation at the first train station you stop at on your journey.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi Ipadley,

I just took the train from Glasgow to Inverness earlier this month and had no trouble with seating until we had a stopover in Perth. Another train had been delayed causing ticketed passengers to be doubled up for quite a few stops. I would think if you were booking the direct train (I believe one route stops in Stirling) you wouldn't run into this issue!

Posted by
27 posts

So we didn't need to upgrade to first class to reserve seats. :) About a week before our journey we went into the travel office at the station in York and showed them our tickets and they very kindly assigned us seats for Inverness to Edinburgh. Good thing, too. It was a packed train and it would have been a challenge to find seats, let alone find them together.