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Linux 2003
Conference and Tutorials
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Thurs 31st July - Sun 3rd August 2003
Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh by Rail

Train services to Edinburgh Waverley station are provided by GNER,Virgin Trains and Scotrail. Edinburgh is well served with frequent trains to major English and Scottish cities as well as a network of local services. The first step in planning a rail journey is to consult the National Rail Enquiries website or by calling 08457 484950 to work out the best route for your journey and approximate journey time.

Finding the best value ticket

Depending on your needs you may want to go for the cheapest possible ticket which will require booking in advance and making a commitment to certain trains, or you may prefer to pay more for the flexibility of being able to travel on any train. If you want to get the cheapest possible fare, it's worth looking at the following tickets:
  • Virgin Value Advance - a range of single tickets available offering excellent value on the Virgin Rail network - there are three types, 3, 7 and 14 day advance, with 14 day being the best value, tickets are quota controlled, so the sooner you book the more chance you have of getting the train you want. (example: 14 day advance Birmingham - Edinburgh £15.50 each way). Railcard discounts are available on this type of ticket. If the website says there are no tickets left at the prices/times you need, you can sometimes still find tickets by breaking the journey into two parts and/or specifying travel via and/or excluding particular stations.
  • GNER Bargain - available as either single or return tickets (with return offering the best value) available throughout the GNER route bargain fares must be booked at least 7 days in advance, however like the Virgin Value fares they are quota controlled, so booking as soon as possible is strongly recommended (example: London Kings Cross - Edinburgh £36.00 return). If using a return ticket both legs must be booked at the same time.
  • APEX - available as either single or return and are offered by most train operating companies.. These tickets need to be booked 7 days in advance (48 hours on most Scotrail services), these tickets are more expensive than the GNER Bargain and Virgin Value tickets, however they have more generous quotas so if the cheaper tickets are not available then these are worth going for (examples: London Kings Cross - Edinburgh £51 return, Birmingham - Edinburgh £43.50 return, Inverness - Edinburgh £22 return).
  • Superadvance - available as either single or return and are offered by most train operating companies.. These tickets need to be booked by 6pm before the day of travel. The savings are not as great as the other advance purchase tickets, however they're still a bit cheaper than the flexible tickets, so if you don't mind committing to certain trains, and you've missed the deadline for the other tickets then go for this one (example: London to Edinburgh £65 return). Railcard discounts are available on this type of ticket.
GNER also offers First Class Off Peak tickets that offer reduced rate First Class travel in return for booking in advance.

Going for flexibility

If the convenience of travelling on any train is more important to you then you can simply turn up and buy a ticket at the station on the day of travel, in most cases the recommended ticket to buy will be a Saver, the full fare Standard Open ticket is only needed on certain peak time trains leaving London Kings Cross. Staff at the ticket office or telesales will be able to advise. (examples: London - Edinburgh £83.70 return, Birmingham - Edinburgh £78.90 return, Inverness - Edinburgh £48.70 return). If you buy one of these flexible tickets you may also reserve a seat free of charge safe in the knowledge if you miss that train then the ticket is still valid.

Railcards are available for persons aged under 25 (as well as those over 25 but still in full time education), over 60, disabled as well as other certain categories of people (e.g. those on New Deal or in HM Forces). Typically they give a discount of 33% on most walk on fares and cost £18 for 12 months. These are worth investigating if you're a frequent rail traveller, or indeed making a long journey to Edinburgh as the savings on some of the longer journeys are greater than the cost of the railcard.

Going for luxury

As well as the GNER First Class off peak tickets mentioned earlier, there's also a range of First Class packages available for those that would rather travel First Class. GNER Executive packages include two meal vouchers for the restaurant, up to 7 days car parking and First Class open tickets. There is also a GNER First Class lounge in Edinburgh station available to holders of GNER First Class tickets and Standard Open tickets accompanied with a Silver GNER Excel card.

Weekend First upgrades are also available to those travelling GNER or Virgin, for a suppliment of between £10 and £15 depending on the destination holders of certain Standard Class tickets (such as Saver, Business Saver and Weekender) can upgrade to First Class on the weekend should space be available, holders of full fare Standard Open Returns can upgrade to Weekend First free of charge.

How to book

You can book all the tickets mentioned above at any National Rail ticket office, selected travel agents as well as by telesales (08457 225 225). In addition to this tickets may be purchased online from sites such as qjump, thetrainline and Virgin Trains.

Hints

  • Certain ticket types (generally not the advance purchase ones) allow a break of journey. e.g. Saver tickets allow you to break up your journey on the return leg, Standard Open allows a break of journey on both legs. So, for example, if you were travelling London to Edinburgh and thought it would be nice to stop for a night in Newcastle on the way back then you can with a Saver. Check the ticket conditions of the ticket you wish to purchase if you'd like to break your journey.
  • If you live near a station that is not served by GNER or Virgin and therefore their special offers are not available to you, it is often cheaper to buy two separate tickets - one for the portion from your home station to your nearest GNER or Virgin station, then the other ticket for the journey covered by GNER or Virgin, this allows you to take advantage of Value or Bargain fares.
  • Advance purchase tickets normally go on sale ten weeks before travel.

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