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Glasgow to Birmingham

from £21.00
Heading on a trip down to England’s second city? Here's our guide on what to expect.

Available train operators on this journey

  • Avanti West Coast
  • CrossCountry

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What are my Glasgow to Birmingham train options?

For the most part, you’ll be wanting to travel with Avanti West Coast. However, you can also use CrossCountry for a Glasgow to Birmingham train trip. Let’s take a look at each company.

Avanti West Coast

Taking Avanti West Coast on your next Glasgow to Birmingham train journey? There’s a direct train every two hours or so from Glasgow Central. There are four direct trains on weekdays and five on weekends, though this can depend on engineering work. These direct trains take between 4h15m and 4h30m.

You’ll have more options if you take a service down to Warrington Bank Quay and then change for Birmingham. This will still be all Avanti West Coast service, and the journey time will be fairly similar at around 4h30m to 4h40m. All in all, you can take this route roughly every hour. Here are the fares that you can expect to pay on the day:

    • Anytime Return - £243.20
    • Off-Peak Return - £160.10.

The Off-Peak Return is valid after 04:15, so it’s practically unrestricted. The only reason to buy the Anytime Return would be if you need to break your outward journey on the way, as this isn’t permitted on the Off-Peak Return.


This is the second option for a Glasgow to Birmingham train journey. In recent years, CrossCountry has significantly reduced its service to Glasgow, so now there’s only one direct train per day to and from Birmingham.

It leaves at 07:48 on Mondays to Saturdays and arrives at 14:04. On a Sunday (dependent on engineering work) it leaves at 10:55 and arrives at 17:06. Here are the fares that you can expect to pay on the day:

    • Anytime Return - £293.30
    • Off-Peak Return - £163.60

The Off-Peak Return is valid after 09:30 on weekdays (no restrictions on weekends and Bank Holidays). So, on weekdays, you’d need to take a ScotRail service from Glasgow Queen Street and change at Edinburgh for a more frequent CrossCountry service.

How do I get the best Glasgow to Birmingham train fare?

You can get the best Glasgow to Birmingham train fare with Railsmartr! Let’s see what we can find a month ahead: 

glasgow to birmingham train fares on railsmartr

As you can see, there’s really no doubt as to which company is the best option. Avanti West Coast is significantly cheaper and quicker. Meanwhile, CrossCountry is almost triple the cost of the Avanti service at 08:00.

It’s only worth travelling via Edinburgh and Newcastle if you need to break your journey somewhere along the way. For a direct Glasgow to Birmingham train journey, it isn’t worth it.

What are the trains like?

Let’s go through the trains that run on the Glasgow to Birmingham route and what their features are.

Avanti West Coast

Taking an Avanti West Coast train? You’re likely to have a Pendolino train. They’re currently being refurbished and have either nine or 11 carriages. The refurbished ones have a power socket at every seat: 

Meanwhile, Standard Premium and First Class have seats in a 2+1 layout. Wondering what the difference is? We’ve taken a trip to compare them.

Feeling peckish? There’s a shop in Coach C. If you’re in First Class, then you’ll get complimentary food and drink served at your seat.

As for seat comfort, we’d recommend the refurbished trains. They have more legroom, winged headrests and generally more space to stretch out.


You’ll have a Voyager train if you’re taking CrossCountry on a Glasgow to Birmingham train trip. They have four, five, eight or nine carriages. You’ll find a power socket at every window seat and free WiFi. Seating in Standard Class is in a 2+2 layout: 

You’ll find a trolley service of drinks and snacks. If the train is too busy, then it’ll usually be ‘static’ and act like a small buffet. It’s worth noting that luggage space on these trains is fairly limited and they’re liable to being extremely busy. You’ll also find a film on the windows, which makes it difficult to get a reliable internet or phone signal.

In First Class, seating is in a 2+1 layout. You may get complimentary drinks, snacks and sandwiches:

Is there anything else I should know?

The final thing we’d recommend is using the Railsmartr website to book your Glasgow to Birmingham train tickets. We’re completely independent, so we’re happy to ‘tell you like it is’ when it comes to rail fares!

Don’t forget that we don’t charge any fees, either. That includes if you change your mind and want to travel on a different day. If your ticket is refundable, we’ll refund it fee-free, too.

All fares stated on this page are for ONE adult with no Railcard discount and were correct at 12:00 03/10/2023. All information is issued in good faith. They’re subject to change at any time and Railsmartr are not responsible for any loss or disappointment incurred as a result of the information provided.