How to Choose
What type of ticket will I need?
If you are going to make only one or two train journeys in Scotland, then buying a simple point to point ticket for each journey is the best option. You'll need to allow time for buying this before you join the train, or, at small stations which are sometimes unstaffed, on the train itself. You may also purchase a point-to-point ticket beforehand right here on www.scotlandrailways.com
If you intend to make more extensive use of Scotland's rail system, then by far a better option is to buy one of the rail passes. This will save you having to line up for tickets, and will save you from the sometimes bewildering choice of fare deals available, and give you the flexibility of being able to make short notice travel plans and change them if you want to. There are two main types of passes available:
Scottish Freedom Pass
Best purchased before setting out for Scotland, these passes are good for 4 out of any 8, or 8 out of any 15 unlimited days travel. You can pick the days yourself. They are also valid on many connecting bus and ferry services, which makes them exceptionally good value. You can also use them to visit English towns of Carlisle and Berwick-upon-Tweed, just over the border (see suggested days out below). Children between the ages of 5 and 15 are half the Adult fares. They are NOT valid on Caledonian Sleeper services, for first class travel, or for travel before 0915 in the morning.
The BritRail Pass
Best if you plan to do some rail travel in England as well as Scotland, or if you plan to fly to a London airport and take the train from London to Scotland. Available in 4, 8 or 15 day validity in any 2-month period. Consecutive and First class versions are available, and there are discounted passes available for families, groups or couples. The BritRail pass can ONLY be purchased outside the United Kingdom.
There are no restrictions on time of day, but are not good for travel on connecting buses, ferries or Caledonian Sleeper Services.
Children under 5 not occupying a reserved seat travel free on all British trains.
BritRail Central Scotland Pass
This pass is best for travelers planning to visit Glasgow and Edinburgh, and take a number of ‘days-out’ trips from either of the two cities. The pass is good for any 3 days within one week, and provides unlimited travel on the Glasgow Underground (on presentation of a BritRail Central Scotland Pass, customers will be issued with an exchange ticket). It is not valid on services timed to depart before 0915 Monday to Friday. If you are only planning to see a small section of Scotland, this pass is by far the most economical choice!