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ScotRail are the main railway operator in Scotland. They link everywhere from big Central Belt cities to isolated Highland outposts.

Who are ScotRail?

ScotRail is in charge of the vast majority of rail services in Scotland. You certainly won’t be able to miss them if you take a train north of the border. In total, they operate 372 trains.

They also operate almost all railway stations in Scotland. They run 353 in total, which excludes Edinburgh, Glasgow Central and Prestwick International Airport. Did you know that they run Lockerbie and Reston Stations, despite not running any trains to them?

For the most part, ScotRail don’t offer any big savings over other companies. This is generally because they don’t have any competition on their routes!

If you want to book a cheap ‘Advance‘ ticket for a specific train, then you’ll need to do it before 6pm the day before travel. It isn’t possible to buy them on the day.

There is some good news though, as ScotRail have abolished ‘Anytime’ fares from October 2023 for a six-month trial period. This means that all trains are effectively ‘Off-Peak‘ from this date. So, if you travel in the rush hours, there could be big savings.

On board services

Food & Drink

Catering is available on selected long-distance services. You’ll find the menu here.


Free WiFi is available on all ScotRail services.


On the majority of ScotRail trains, it’s possible to bring a non-folding bike on board without a reservation. All of these spaces will be on a first-come, first-served basis. However, you’ll need to make a reservation for certain services. There’s more information in our dedicated guide to travelling with bikes.



Up to two dogs, cats or other small domestic animals can travel free in both Standard and 1st Class.

Special Assistance

You can find out more about Passenger Assist on our dedicated page.

Standard Class

ScotRail has a very diverse fleet of trains. Their two main ‘flagship’ types are their electric ‘Express‘ trains and their Inter7City trains.

Their Express trains are electric trains that link up the main cities in the Central Belt, such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling. You’ll also find them on services to North Berwick and on some local trains around Glasgow. They have three or four coaches but will often run in formations of up to eight coaches.

All seats are in a 2+2 formation in Standard Class, and each pair of seats has access to a plug socket. First Class is available on these trains, with seats in a 2+1 layout, but only on the sets that have four carriages.

If you’re travelling on a four-coach train on any route other than between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh via Falkirk High, then you can sit in First Class with a Standard Class ticket.

The Inter7City trains operate a large proportion of services linking Edinburgh and Glasgow with Inverness and Aberdeen. They have either four or five coaches, and they’ve been linking cities across Great Britain since the late 1970s. You could say that they’ve come for a gentle retirement in Scotland!

All seats have access to a power socket, and they’re all in a 2+2 formation. You’ll also find a First Class carriage with seats in a 2+1 layout.

Can you travel in First Class?

Yes, most of their long-distance trains that link Inverness and Aberdeen with the Central Belt, as well as their trains between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh, have First Class.

You’ll get a more spacious seat which is usually in a 2+1 layout, as well as a guaranteed table. On long-distance trains, you’ll get a free hot drink and snack if your train has a catering service.

For details about the catering service, you can check the ScotRail website here.

Information about routes

The number of different routes that they run on would be far too long to list. But here’s a summary of where they go:

  • Edinburgh or Glasgow Queen Street – Inverness
  • Edinburgh or Glasgow Queen Street – Aberdeen
  • Inverness – Aberdeen
  • Wick and Thurso – Inverness
  • Kyle of Lochalsh – Inverness
  • Oban and Mallaig – Glasgow Queen Street
  • Glasgow Central – Stranraer
  • Glasgow Central – Dumfries – Carlisle.

They also run services in the Central Belt, which link Edinburgh, Glasgow, Falkirk, Stirling, Alloa and Dunblane with a fleet of brand-new electric trains.

Within Glasgow and Strathclyde, you’ll also find a dense network of local trains that link all parts of the region together. They’ll also take you to Ardrossan, where you can connect to ferries towards the Isle of Arran.