London to Edinburgh: BA vs. Train

Old Mar 10, 2024, 1:37 am
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I prefer the train, but flying is usually cheaper and slightly quicker.
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Old Mar 10, 2024, 1:57 am
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For me it would be a price based issue. If I could get an Avios fare to EDI from LCY, that would decide that. If there are really good train prices in First then I’d do that. Maybe. Weekends on trains in general and Sundays in particular are often bedevilled by track work and other reasons why the thing should run at a fraction of its speed.

As the OP is going from Bethnal Green getting to LHR is much simpler with the E Line. What I would not do is go on Sleeper Trains that rock and bang all night and prevent y
ou from sleeping at all. I did it once and spent the next day exhausted.
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Old Mar 10, 2024, 3:00 am
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The sleeper is desperately poor and desperately expensive these days.
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Old Mar 10, 2024, 4:04 am
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Years ago I travelled from Oxford to Edinburgh several times. I caught the direct Edinburgh train but got off at Birmingham to fly. Much quicker.
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Old Mar 10, 2024, 4:45 am
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When you say you want to arrive by midday, is this "must arrive due to an appointment / scheduled departure or similar" or more of a "there are things I would like to do"?

There is unlikely to be weather disruption at that time of year, but strikes / who knows what could happen, so if you really need to be there on time, consider travelling the day before.
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Old Mar 10, 2024, 5:08 am
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Like many regular commuters, I live in central Edinburgh but work in London, currently travelling 2-3 times a month (it used to be weekly). Always stay in east London, sometimes Bethnal Green.

For convenience, timing and price (usually by some distance) flying from LCY will always win, the train does not really come into it unless you particularly want the experience as a one off. Both EDI and LCY are small and efficient 90% of the time, and I always check a bag - at both ends I have usually got my luggage before the last people off the flight have made it to the exit. There are exceptions to this where there can be delays to the flights or luggage, of course, and they do tend to happen more during the busy summer months.

The journeys to/from both airports are also very quick and easy; there is only really a 25 min saving by arriving at Waverley over EDI.

Some commuters from up here do prefer the train, but that tends to be skewed by different start and end points; or personal preferences to avoid flying more generally.

The other benefit of the LCY route is the sheer number of flights each day, and same day change makes this very valuable (although appreciate trains offer more flexibility to change times now). CE is also only about 50 more than economy if you want something equivalent to the first class train experience, though you only get an empty seat next to you about half the time on this busy route.
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Old Mar 10, 2024, 5:15 am
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I would rather take the train. If actually getting there were very important to me, I would book flights, and I would plan to be there a day before I needed to be there.

I might book trains as well and attempt to use them if there were no strikes planned and the network appeared to be functioning (use ) when I was setting off.

But if it's important to be there, you can't trust the train.
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Old Mar 10, 2024, 6:21 am
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Fly. I have used the trains (or tried to) over the recent 12 months and there has always been an issue which can often make a 4hr 30 journey into a 6hr one or longer.

By 2050 the UK may have a high-speed train network or a network that operates well.
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Old Mar 10, 2024, 7:02 am
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by PETER01
Personally id take the flight, sit on the A side and youll get some nice views over the city or a glimpse of the 3 famous bridges coming in.
You’ll also get to see J.K. Rowling’s house.
Unfortunately, this advert doesn’t explain how he got there so quickly:
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Old Mar 10, 2024, 7:05 am
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I'd have said take the train but as I've never flown from LCY I'd do that if the price/timings suited.
While you're in Scotland's second city be sure and save a day for visiting Glasgow.
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Old Mar 10, 2024, 11:02 am
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If you do decide to take the train round trip then you might find the Britrail pass useful. A two day First Class flexible pass costs about $250, 85% refundable if you don't use it, and allows you to use any train(s) on each day. If you set up an LNER account you can reserve seats up to 10 minutes before departure for no charge. Note that strikes have to be notified a couple of weeks ahead so you have some time to work around them. I enjoy most of the scenery between London and Newcastle, I haven't been further North in a while!
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Old Mar 10, 2024, 1:18 pm
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave
not least the scenery north of Newcastle. However the west coast line, from Euston to Edinburgh is a lot more striking
South of Newcastle, I'm pretty sure that the East Coast views of the Angel of the North, Lumley Castle, Durham Cathedral & Castle, the Vale of York, York Minster and Peterborough Cathedral would just about edge the sweeping West Coast vistas of Watford, Milton Keynes, Wigan and Warrington.

Practically, the only same-daytime train that'll comfortably allow a Leith arrival before noon is the 0548 Lumo from Kings Cross (the 0615 LNER is cutting it tight), which is a bit stupid-o-clock for a leisure trip.
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Last edited by Oxon Flyer; Mar 10, 2024 at 1:48 pm
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Old Mar 10, 2024, 1:28 pm
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Having just returned this evening on a British train (Avanti not LNER, and note Edinburgh) I would absolutely take the plane from LCY. Our first class carriage was out of action so we lost our reserved seats; people standing in the aisle and lobby in first; 45 mins late on a 2 hour jourmey; carriage heated to the level of a BA overnight CW cabin And I recall the one time we did take a train back down from Edinburgh the carriage with our reservations just wasn't there in the rolling stock and it was very similar to today's experience overall.

Don't trust British trains.
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Old Mar 10, 2024, 3:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Blumie
Thanks everyone. I've narrowed my choices to BA's 700a departure from LCY and first class on the train.

I have traveled between NYC and Boston dozens (perhaps hundreds) of times and go through this same debate every time. For years I was a regular flying LGA-BOS, particularly when the hourly shuttle flights were in operation, but now almost always take the train (FWIW, on the Amtrak Acela trains I actually prefer sitting in the Quiet Car to sitting in first class). It costs me about an hour extra door-to-door, but it's so much more relaxing. For that reason, my inclination is to take the train, but I'll continue to follow the discussion on this thread.
Just seen this now. I live in North East London (South Woodford) and have gone to Edinburgh both ways a few times. Some other considerations:

* London City has no lounges at all. Edinburgh and Heathrow do.
* The most delays on flights I've ever had have been from London City. Usually under an hour though. Not usually so bad for morning flights though.
* The trains can also be delayed/cancelled and seem to strike a fair amount.
* The view from the train on the right hand side is lovely from Newcastle up to Edinburgh. Reserve seats on the Right going north and Left coming south for the views if you are in a window seat.
* The tram can be slow in rush hour in Edinburgh.

The last time I went to Edinburgh in February I went up by train (for the views and expense) and came back by plane to City. Sat in the lounge at Edinburgh Airport for 2 hours which is quite nice. City is an amazing airport to arrive at as it's literally 5 minutes to the DLR station on a domestic arrival. Pro-tip: the planes board/depart at the front and the back at City Airport (not Edinburgh!) on this flight, so if you are flying Economy book right at the back and you can get off really quickly.
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Old Mar 10, 2024, 5:00 pm
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Originally Posted by timlewis808
Pro-tip: the planes board/depart at the front and the back at City Airport (not Edinburgh!) on this flight, so if you are flying Economy book right at the back and you can get off really quickly.
Not sure if this is a recent thing, but I’ve taken half a dozen BACF flights to/from EDI this year and all but one have used both front and back doors (the one exception had a load of 24/98 which probably explains why it didn’t). The rear steps tend to be open first for reasons I’ve never worked out.
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