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Old 05-13-2007, 05:16 PM   #1
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Default Travelling the UK...train versus bus

I'll be travelling around the UK for about a week and a half or so...Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, London then onto western europe.

I've heard the national express is fairly cheap. I calculated about ~$130 Canadian to get from Edinburgh to York/Leeds, then onto London. I just got a Britrail Flexi 4 day pass for $260...considering possibly returning it and going with buses. Question is...is it really that much cheaper to bus in the UK? Are these rates going to rise if i buy my tickets directly from the train station as opposed to in advance?

Anyone have any experiences with bus/train travel in the UK and what do you recommend? The time spent on trains is not too much of an issue if it's going to save me a hundred bucks or so.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-15-2007, 06:38 AM   #2
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Well going by what the British media say the trains are useless, expensive and never on time. I've only ever used the trains in Birmingham and was left standing for about an hour one day trying to get to the NEC/airport. The trains where new and very comfortable though.

The British road network on the other hand is one of the best in Europe (safest roads in the world acording to our news) buses should be cheaper but there nowhere near as comfortable as trains and if it was me I'd probably go for the train if the price difference wasn't to big. That National express cost £56 Edinburgh to london which doesn't seem that much cheaper than your four day pass if you get 4 trips out of it.
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Old 05-15-2007, 07:34 AM   #3
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Train. Train. Train. Train. Train.

I say this because I'm biased against buses, but hey - smoother ride, ability to wander around the car, nicer toilet, food/beverage on board.
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Old 05-15-2007, 08:53 AM   #4
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I'd definitely go by train. The National Express buses can sometimes have stops in other cities along the way for up to an hour and a half or so, which can be a pain if you just want to get to your destination.

Also, although trains can sometimes be delayed (rarely by more than a few minutes though) there is FAR more likelihood that the bus will be delayed due to traffic conditions. I got the bus back home from uni once, and due to bad traffic conditions, I missed my next bus (had to change in London) and had to wait two hours for another one.

I had a little look. To travel from Edinburgh to Leeds will take 3 hours on the train and a one way ticket will cost you around £11 (these trains are usually run by Virgin or GNER, which both have really nice trains). To get the National Express will take anything between 7 and 11 hours (depending on which time of day you leave) and will cost £37.

I know which I'd choose!
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Old 05-15-2007, 09:03 AM   #5
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Of course you can always fly, Glasgow to London £10 with ryanair. Flight time about an hour.
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Old 05-15-2007, 02:48 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the replies...I'm thinking I'll hang on to my rail pass- just need to make use of the 4 days travel- $260/4 roughly $65 per day in rail expenses. Sounds fairly reasonable- for short treks such as Glasgow to Edinburgh I'll likely hop on the bus, as i've seen them advertised for about $15!
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Old 05-15-2007, 02:59 PM   #7
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Again, just for your info, the bus won't necessarily be cheaper to get from Glasgow to Edinburgh. I found it for a little bit cheaper than $15, and it's likely to be a lot quicker again. But of course, it's up to you! You might want to experience the British bus networks and have some stories to tell!
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Old 08-02-2007, 05:22 PM   #8
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As someone who lives in the UK and is heavily reliant on public transport, i would say look into http://www.megabus.co.uk/ , it's really cheap. If you book in advance you can do Manchester to London for £1, as opposed to about £60 on the train. Trains can be unreliable but not always, i use to commute long distance to work everyday by train and I generally didnt have much problem but they are expensive.

Otherwise National Express is good albeit more expensive than the megabus.
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