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Which is the best Edinburgh to Glasgow train?

So, you want to travel from Edinburgh to Glasgow! Here’s our guide to finding the best fare for you, how to book it and which route you should take. In a nutshell, it’s a guide to picking out the best Edinburgh to Glasgow train.

What are my options for taking an Edinburgh to Glasgow train?

There are a quite a few different routes that an Edinburgh to Glasgow train can take, but only one of them is typically used for end-to-end journeys between the two cities. It runs via Falkirk High and goes to Glasgow Queen Street. These trains run twice every hour, and up to four times per hour during weekday rush hours and on Saturdays.

This route takes just over 50 minutes to complete, and it’s the most popular one. These trains are branded as ScotRail eXpress and they’re the fastest ones between Edinburgh and Glasgow. They leave both Edinburgh at Glasgow at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour, and also at 00 and 30 minutes past when four trains per hour are running.

Are there other trains that I can use?

These other routes are options that you could use, but they’re unlikely to be the quickest Edinburgh to Glasgow train. Any train that goes to Glasgow Central will be quite a bit slower, but you might prefer it if you need to catch a connecting train from there.

One train per hour runs via Shotts to Glasgow Central and takes roughly 90 minutes. It tends to leave Edinburgh at roughly 25 past the hour, but this can vary by a few minutes. A couple of extra trains run in the rush hours, and these can take as little as an hour.

Other trains also go to Glasgow Queen Street, but they’re a lot slower. They’ll show on destination boards as going to Helensburgh or Milngavie. You might find these trains to be more useful if your final destination is somewhere like Bellgrove, High Street, Charing Cross or Partick.

There are also some limited CrossCountry and LNER services which usually run in the early morning and late evening.

Which fare do I need?

With the exception of the LNER train (which leaves at 20:19 on weekdays and 21:20 Sundays), there aren’t any train-specific Advance tickets to be had.

All of the other Edinburgh to Glasgow train tickets are flexible. This means that you don’t have to get on a specific train. Here’s a summary of the fares you can buy on Railsmartr and when you’re able to use them:

Ticket TypePriceWhen can I use it?
Anytime Return£32.60Outward – any time (valid for five days)
Return – any time (valid for one month)
Anytime Day Return£28.90Outward – any time (valid until 04:30 next day)
Return – any time (valid until 04:30 next day)
Off-Peak Return£20.00Outward – after 09:15 weekdays (valid until 04:30 next day)
Return – after 09:15 weekdays (valid for one month)
Off-Peak Day Return£14.90Outward – after 09:15 and before 16:42, then after 18:16 weekdays
Return – after 09:15 and before 16:42, then after 18:16 weekdays
Anytime Day Single£16.90Any time (valid until 04:30 next day)
Off-Peak Day Single£14.70After 09:15 and before 16:42, then after 18:16 weekdays

There are no restrictions weekends and Bank Holidays, so Off-Peak tickets are the most suitable option if you’re only travelling on these days.

Note that the Off-Peak Return only has restrictions in the morning rush hour. If you’re travelling out after 09:15 on a weekday, but returning in the evening rush hour, then this ticket is the cheapest option and it is completely valid. Don’t confuse it with the Off-Peak Day Return!

How do I book an Edinburgh to Glasgow train?

It’s simple! You can book it with Railsmartr. Just pop your journey details in and we’ll show you the cheapest option for the trains that you want.

Just click on the price, and you’re able to pick which fare is best for you:

railsmartr site showing fares for edinburgh to glasgow train services

We’ll automatically show you which trains that this ticket is valid on, so you don’t need to worry if your ticket is valid! We’ll point out the slower trains too, just look out for the snail.

What will the Edinburgh to Glasgow train be like?

All of the trains on the fastest route between Edinburgh and Glasgow are Class 385 trains, which are branded as ScotRail eXpress:

class 385 scotrail edinburgh to glasgow train

They have either three or four coaches, but your train will likely be two four-coach trains put together. On the inside, you’ll find plenty of table seats and luggage storage throughout the carriages:

class interior showing a mix of tables and airline seats in standard class

If you’re looking for a charging socket, then there’s one under each pair of seats.

Is there anything else I should know?

The final thing we’d recommend is using the Railsmartr website to book your Edinburgh to Glasgow train. We’re completely independent, so we’re happy to ‘tell you like it is’ when it comes to rail fares. Not only that, but we’ll show you the slower, but cheaper options that some websites won’t.

Don’t forget that we don’t charge any fees, either. All of the fares that we’ve quoted on this page are fully refundable without any fees, if you change your mind for any reason.

Finally, if you’re looking for some inspiration on what to do in Glasgow, don’t fret! We’ve written a guide on what to see and do on a day trip to Glasgow.

All fares stated on this page are for ONE adult with no Railcard discount and were correct at 12:00 01/08/23. 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.