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Use of trains from Edinburgh to Glasgow

We are coming over next week to Edinburgh and it looks like an easy way to get to Glasgow are the trains. Wondering if the trains are easy to use and not too expensive?

Posted by
6775 posts

Very easy to use. Just turn up at Waverley Station and buy a ticket either from machines or the manned counters. Five minutes before will do. Then check your platform on the monitors and proceed to platform. Board and choose any seat.

If you travel after 0915 Monday to Friday, and all day weekends the trains run every 30 minutes (every 15 in the peak). No pre booking needed or even possible.

After 0915 the off peak return is £14.90 (before that £28.90). For a bit more space you can go first class for £19.10 return, off peak.

At both ends the stations are in the heart of the city.

If you were going direct to Glasgow after landing you would catch the aircoach direct from the Airport.

Posted by
7031 posts

Very easy to use. Just turn up at Waverley Station and buy a ticket either from machines or the manned counters. Five minutes before will do. Then check your platform on the monitors and proceed to platform. Board and choose any seat.

Hi, Marco - isn31c knows his stuff, but I would suggest getting there more than 5 minutes ahead. I found Waverly to be a bit confusing, plus my train from Edinburgh to Glasgow wound up being cancelled and I had to find a new train. That's an anomaly, of course, but it wouldn't hurt to get there a bit early if you're planning to ride at a specific time.

Posted by
722 posts

I agree that it's easy to do, but you will need much more than five minutes. Your profile doesn't say where you are from, but if you aren't familiar with taking trains or the Waverly station in particular, give yourself at least 20 minutes.

Posted by
5 posts

I was just in Scotland for a month and found the railway system extremely easy to use and navigate. Indispensable was the app: ‘ScotRail’ to see all possible routes and times, and Google maps, pressing on the public transport symbol, that confirmed the ScotRail app. I never needed to pre-book any tickets, just bought them 10 minutes before my train departure time from the kiosk machines at the stations.
The ScotRail app is amazingly thorough, telling you when and where to change trains, which platforms you will arrive to, and which new platform to move to for your next connecting train. Plus, ferry and bus times that coincided with trains were also shown.
P.S. I would advise you to mask on the trains. Many many people caught covid (me included) in Scotland in August/September. There is a wave of it going around Scotland right now.

Posted by
1673 posts

There are two main stations in Glasgow, - Glasgow Central and Glasgow Queen Street. There are direct trains between both and Edinburgh. In Edinbugh both Haymarket and Waverley can be considered one station.

Glasgow's don't. The better station is Queen Street from Edinburgh.

Posted by
6775 posts

You don't want to end up on a Glasgow Central train- they take quite a lot longer than Queen Street trains.

That was what Mardee had to do, go to Central (via Shotts) because the via Falkirk direct Queen Street route was blocked by an operational incident when she was meant to travel.

As we have now complicated what I tried to make simple I will throw three more curve balls in.

The trains which are advertised as Glasgow Queen Street terminate at Queen Street in the high level platforms, and are the fastest route.

  1. There are also trains from Edinburgh Waverley to Helensburgh via Bathgate. Helensburgh is way out west of Glasgow on the Clyde Estuary. Those trains call at Glasgow Queen Street Low Level (through) platforms on their way to Helensburgh. They are slower than the Falkirk route trains but faster than the Glasgow Central trains.

  2. When most people mention EDI to Glasgow Central trains they mean the via Shotts route.

But there is yet another (and faster) route to Central- that via Carstairs, which only runs every 2 to 3 hours.

Any 'Edinburgh to Glasgow' ticket entitles you to use any of the 4 routes, and to mix and match (one route out, the other route back).

Finally, although you are very unlikely to see or use them, there is one LNER and two Cross Country trains per day from Edinburgh to Glasgow Central. The LNER train is the cheapest train of the day on the route- cheaper than Scotrail. Those both normally take the Carstairs route, but can use the Shotts route if needed.

On all 4 routes the trains are run by Scotrail, except as above.

To piggy-back off the original post...If we were going to pick up a rental car in Glasgow and will be returning it before flying from the Glasgow airport, which Glasgow train stop should we choose? Central or Queen?

Posted by
9903 posts

Queen Street station is closer to Buchanan Bus Station, from where the buses to Glasgow airport depart.

Posted by
6775 posts

The buses to the Airport also leave from North Hanover Street (the Queen Street station side entrance)- so you don't have to trek up to Buchanan BS; and also from St Vincent Street- 1 block from Central Station- so it really doesn't matter significantly which station you use.