Is the 20th December London-Inverness train running?
December 19, 2010 3:39 AM   Subscribe

Extremely specific UK train question: what is the likelihood of the East Coast London-Inverness train running all the way there tomorrow? It has been terminating in Perth for the last three days, even though all other train services have been making it up there (including the sleeper and freight trains, so it can't be to do with the size of the train). East Coast appear to be allergic to informing passengers about what's going on.

East Coast customer services aren't open on the weekend; their website only says about the weekend trains; they didn't bother to tell National Rail Enquiries that their trains were terminating in Perth, so ringing them isn't going to be helpful. I am left to the forlorn hope that someone, somewhere on the internet has inside information!

I've an apex ticket for that train across Scotland. I really can't travel by coach in this weather - I'm way too travel sick. But if I rebook a ticket with Scotrail and the damn train does run then I've paid for my journey twice.
posted by Coobeastie to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
I've caught trains the breadth of the country (Aberystwyth-London-Skegness during the last snow, Aber-Leeds on friday) and one thing these companies seem to be doing right now is relaxing the whole "ticket nazi" thing. I nearly always travel on apex, and they've been really good about letting me shift carrier (I've been on northern rail and virgin trains, and I've travelled on the train before or the train after, and I've not been charged).

East coast in particular were saying "travel on any train 2h either side of your one" if the train you were booked on was cancelled.

So, if you're up for taking random advice from internet strangers I'd say go for it if it looks like your journey is completable via changing to scotrail as they'll probably turn a blind eye at your ticket restrictions.
posted by handee at 3:45 AM on December 19, 2010

Ta muchly for the info!

Family member has managed to get to a station and 'will it heck as like go to Inverness' is the message.
posted by Coobeastie at 3:51 AM on December 19, 2010

The weather in England has not been comparable to the weather in Scotland over the past month, it's completely different. And far, far colder. Even the difference between the Central Belt and everything North of Perth has been dramatic.

I dont have inside information but I'd say there is next to no chance of there being reliable transport by rail or road in the north. If the service is already cancelled I don't see it getting up and running again before Christmas.
posted by fire&wings at 3:55 AM on December 19, 2010

fire&wings - it's not that all services have been canceled - it's a single train. All other trains are running.
posted by Coobeastie at 4:00 AM on December 19, 2010

I can't help you with the East Coast trains, I'm afraid, but if they're terminating in Perth, the odds aren't good.

If the London-Inverness train is the one I think it is - going Aberdeen-Stirling-Perth-Inverness, then I have a possible solution:

Take the East Coast train to Aberdeen. At Aberdeen; get off the train and take the Scotrail Aberdeen-Inverness line which is a different route. I know for a fact (took the train myself yesterday) the Aberdeen-Inverness trains are running today, were running yesterday and the day before, and will likely run tomorrow provided it doesn't suddenly snow 10cm overnight again. There have been some delays (expect to sit outside of Keith for an annoyingly long time), so the journey will probably take between 20 to 40 minutes longer than usual.

The Aberdeen-Inverness Scotrail line runs almost every hour, and a journey from Aberdeen-Inverness will take you a little more than two hours normally, maybe a little under three hours if there's heavy delays. If Scotrail will let you complete the route on an East Coast ticket, you're sorted. If not, you can get a single ticket for £24.80, or an off-peak open return for £36.40.
posted by Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo at 5:23 AM on December 19, 2010

Oh, and if you do go the Scotrail route, the JourneyCheck website is useful for checking the trains are running and if there are any delays.
posted by Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo at 5:26 AM on December 19, 2010

I personally took the London King's Cross to Edinburgh East Coast train on Friday. I arrived in Edinburgh at 1531 and had to run in slow motion (shouting "nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo") to the platform for my homeward bound train (towards Stirling). I was running because it was due to leave at 1531, and the subsequent half hourly services all read:




The weather then was not that bad, but very cold. Now it is both very cold and the snow is coming down in buckets. I don't hold out much hope for travel North of Stirling/Perth.
posted by dougrayrankin at 6:28 AM on December 19, 2010

Hello, I'm on Edinburgh. It has been absolutely belting down with snow today, a good 4-5 inches so far, and it appears to be continuing through the night. Hope that helps.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:30 AM on December 19, 2010

I'm in Edinburgh, rather. To expand, most of Scotland is under a fair bit of snow right now and they're pulling buses and trains left right and centre. I think you'll have a job getting further north than here and even then it might take a while, the North of England is pretty bad too.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:42 AM on December 19, 2010

Update: a rather civilised journey, with spare seats, full trolley service and only ten minutes late into Inverness. I think I may have had one of the most sucessful journies in the UK this season if the news is to be believed...
posted by Coobeastie at 10:57 AM on December 21, 2010

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