West Highland Lines Money-Saving Fare Tips

Fort William – Mallaig ScotRail service on south side of Loch Eilt. Next station Loch Ailort.

This section highlights some ways you could save money on your West Highland Line rail ticket – pre-Covid  but some of the tickets are currently unavailable.  The information will be updated as soon as the railway stabilises.  The society accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of information. Ticket advice is available from ScotRail (travel passes & discounts) and the Caledonian Sleeper. Detailed fares information may be found at www.brfares.com and http://data.atoc.org/fares-data.

For £2.20 in addition to your ScotRail ticket you can use the Shiel Buses around the Fort William area with PlusBus.

‘Split’ Tickets
For many journeys on the West Highland Lines it is possible to save money by purchasing a combination of tickets which together cover the entire journey.

The opportunities for savings change all the time and we suggest you make use of a website that specialises on tracking up to date information on ticket savings such as: SPLIT MY FARE.

If travelling with a combination of tickets, National Rail Conditions of Travel require you to ensure that the train stops at the station where one ticket ends and the next ticket begins, although you are not required to leave the train.

Off-Peak and Anytime Return Fares
If travelling with an Off-Peak or Anytime fare between a West Highland Lines station and another station in a different part of Scotland, check whether it is cheaper to buy separate tickets for the West Highland and Non-West Highland sections.

Day Returns
If you are making a complete round-trip journey in a single day, it is often cheaper to use one or more Day-Return tickets. These are available from many West Highland stations to Glasgow but not for journeys via Glasgow to other parts of Scotland. It is therefore often cheaper to buy one ticket for the West Highland Line section of the journey and one for the journey between Glasgow and the non-West Highland station.

Advance Tickets from Glasgow
Advance tickets restrict you to one specific train but are often much cheaper than more flexible tickets. Unfortunately Advance tickets to/from Glasgow are only available for a handful of West Highland destinations (including Oban, Fort William and Glenfinnan). If travelling from Glasgow to stations between Banavie and Mallaig (except Glenfinnan) it may be worth purchasing an Advance for part of your journey.

NOTE: Unfortunately Advance tickets do not allow journeys to be ‘cut short’. In other words, you are not allowed to purchase an Advance ticket from Glasgow to Fort William but leave the train at Spean Bridge.

Advance Tickets from South of Glasgow
In theory, Advance tickets are available between West Highland Line stations and many stations in the rest of the UK.  However, these tickets are restricted by quota (i.e. only a few such tickets are available for each train) and in some cases the quota is zero. It can therefore be nearly impossible to obtain them.  However, Advance tickets to/from Glasgow generally have much larger quotas and are therefore considerably easier to obtain. For example, London-Glasgow (Advance) plus Glasgow-Fort William (Advance) will tend to be much more available.

Highland Rover
This gives you four days of unlimited travel over eight consecutive days across the Highlands (not just the West Highlands)

Spirit of Scotland (Currently suspended)
It includes travel on trains, buses, coaches and ferries across Scotland and over the Border to Carlisle and Berwick upon Tweed: four days unlimited travel over eight consecutive days or eight days unlimited travel over fifteen consecutive days.