Traveling in Scotland by train

Hi all, I will be visiting Ireland and Scotland in October. I have a specific question regarding traveling in Scotland. I will be flying from Shannon Airpot to Glasgow on a Wednesday morning, arriving Glasgow at 2:05pm. Then I will proceed to Stirling immediately from Glasgow by train. After staying in Stirling for 2 nights, I plan on moving onward to Edinburgh on Friday. I've looked up the train times on the ScotRail website. It appears that both legs of the journey will be around 15GBP. My questions, is it necessary to book these train tickets in advanced to ensure that I only need to pay 15GBP? My partner is traveling with me. I would buy the tickets online if it means paying less for the advanced tickets, but I also want to have some flexibility if I don't need advanced tickets. I'm unsure how long it will take for me to get out of Glasgow Airport (with checked luggages) and get to Queen Station to take the Stirling-bound train, so I don't want to book a ticket in advanced in case I can't make it on time. Any advice or suggestion would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1498 posts

Here is some help. When you exit the Glasgow airport you will be at sidewalk level. Cross the stree, looking to your left, and walk over to the bus stance in the middle to the traffic lanes. Ask the bus drivers who are standing around if they go to Buchanan Station. Sometiems it is bus no. 2. The driver will sell you a ticket. When you get to Buchanan Station you will go through the terminal building and be outside. You need to get over one street and turn left. Go down that street for about ten minutes and you will see a Queen Street Station sign on the corner of a building. Turn there into what looks like an alley and walk for two or three minutes to the terminal. You can buy your Stirling ticket at a ticket window. QQueen Street Station can get busy to be sure to ask a security person if you need help. We did.

Posted by Barb
Central Florida
462 posts

I found in Scotland, it helps to "research" the Scotrail rates and times online before going to Scotland. Sometimes, a specific train at a specific time will be much cheaper than the same route at another time. Write down the route, time, and cost. Then, you can buy your ticket once you are at the train station in Scotland. Then, look-up prices for the next two trains. That way, you will know ahead of time what your cost will be. If you don't know exactly when your flight will arrive and how long it will take you to get to the train station - then, buy your ticket when you arrive at the train station. I think flexibility in your situation over-rides cost of train tickets. ---Barb

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

Dee, the Scotrail website is painfully slow and difficult to use, so I looked on the National Rail website. 'Anytime' fares from Glasgow Airport to Stirling are £9.50 (it's 3 changes though, including a bus) and Stirling to Edinburgh is £8. Those prices are available on the day, and allow you to travel on any train you like. I'm not sure how you found tickets as high as £15. Were you looking at 1st class? I think the easiest route is what Monte suggested. Shuttle buses run from the airport every 10 minutes, and stop in various places including Glasgow Queen Street station (so there is no need to walk from Buchanan Street if you get the correct bus). From Queen Street there are 4 direct trains per hour to Stirling, and an 'Anytime' fare is £8.30. See this page for more information about those shuttle buses:

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8173 posts

To add to what has already been said, the automated ticket machines are easy to use and work with magnetic stripe credit cards. They also give change.

Posted by Dee
San Francisco
33 posts

Thank you all so much for your help. The directions on the fastest way to get from Glasgow Airport to the train station is really helpful. Kevin, I went on the National Rail website and found the trains you mention. This is great.
If I buy the "Anytime" ticket online, I can hop on any train to Stirling as long as it is on the same day, is that correct? Thanks again. Dee

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
3832 posts

Hi Dee, I've taken the train from Glasgow to Edinburgh many times and I've done the trip from Edinburgh to Stirling. I've never paid for the ticket from Glasgow to Edinburgh ahead of time. If there is an any time ticket, then do that, but otherwise I would just buy it on the day you arrive. You just never know with air flights. There are so many variables that having a set non-refundable ticket just doesn't make sense. And it's really easy. Also, if you are uncertain about the bus or forget Monte's directions, there is an information booth to the left as you exist customs/immigration and they will sell you a ticket and tell you exactly where to go to catch the bus. It's wonderfully easy. Pam

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

If I buy the "Anytime" ticket online, I can hop on any train to Stirling as long as it is on the same day, is that correct? Anytime single tickets must be used within 2 days of the date printed on the ticket, but I wouldn't bother buying on line. Wait until you get to Glasgow Queen Street and buy your tickets then - in fact at that time of day you won't need 'Anytime', you can get Off-peak singles to Stirling, which are a whole 30 pence cheaper at £8!