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Train reservations from Edinburgh to Oban

I am traveling to Scotland in October. We need to be in Oban on Saturday, October 7. I have purchased a rail pass but when I try to reserve seats on the train I want (leaving Edinburgh Waverly at around 3 or so) I get a message that reservations are "not available" for that trip. Does that mean that the train is full or close to it and I should re-think my plans? If not, how should I interpret the fact that I cannot reserve a seat? Thanks.

Posted by
1036 posts

I would expect you could walk up on the day without reservation and get a seat.
Out of curiosity see if the Glasgow to Oban leg of the journey lets you do a reservation

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks. I did try the Glasgow-Oban option and it was the same answer. I'm not overly concerned with getting a reserved seat as being sure my wife, daughter, and I have seats at all.

Posted by
2979 posts

Maybe it is too early for October reservations. We just go to a ticket window with our pass or ticket a few days ahead and get the reservations from the agent. No problem.

Probably too early. Although we normally say 12 weeks out, Saturdays & Sundays can take longer to go online as they need to wait to see if there's engineering work happening.

Although to be fair, I have never tried to get just a reservation as Brits don't use Britrail passes. I've only ever bought tickets that come with a reservation.

Posted by
16893 posts

Seat reservations are free to make at any train station in Britain up to a day before departure. Since you have to get your pass activated at a train station, that would be a good time to make the reservation. Without a reservation, you can still board the train and take any available spot. Seats that are reserved may not necessarily be marked inside the train but you'd have to honor anyone who showed up with a seat assignment on their ticket.

Your route requires a connection at Glasgow Queen Street station, so you'd only reserve the departure from there. I don't believe the frequent Edinburgh-Glasgow trains take reservations and you can always leave a little earlier if you want more connection time in Glasgow.

Also, I'm not finding any reliable Sunday schedules for a 3 p.m. departure from Edinburgh. I saw one on one test date, but can't replicate it now, on many test dates.

Posted by
3 posts

What I gather from all the replies is that there should not be a problem getting seats on the train regardless of whether I can reserve seats or not. Would I be correct in that understanding?

Posted by
1595 posts

The commuter lines do not offer reservations on ScotRail, neither do the very cheapest advance ones.

Posted by
2424 posts

British trains do not sell out - if there are no seats left you stand. I don't know how busy that particular train will be. If the seats can be reserved that can be done at any train station before you travel.

BritRail pass holders always used to have to reserve seats in person at a station so that may be why you're having difficulty doing this online (if that's what you're doing).

Posted by
7833 posts

We recently traveled this route. We did not use a rail pass but advance purchase point to point tickets. When we picked up our tickets at our first train station of our trip, we received reserved seats for both trips and a notice that they were "required". There were always about 1/4 of the seats that were not reserved in each car. Reserved seats were indicated by a white card stuck in the top of the seat.

I would just drop into any train station and get reservations after you arrive if you are concerned.