How to get a Caledonian Sleeper bargain berth ticket

UPDATE Feb 2013: Unfortunately, Scotrail have removed the separate booking tool for Bargain Berths. Links on this page will now go to the Mixing Deck on the Scotrail.co.uk website.

It is still possible to find the bargain berth fares via the Scotrail website, but you will have to manually search for trains from London Euston to your preferred Scottish destinations. Search 12 weeks ahead and play around with your dates and you may find a bargain. We think this is a big shame as it was a useful tool, but we hope to find more tricks to find the cheap fares soon.


Travel by train between London and Scotland for £19 one-way with a Caledonian Sleeper bargain berths. The bargain berth tickets on the Scotrail Caledonian sleeper can be elusive, with many people paying above the odds for train journey between London and Edinburgh, Glasgow or the Highlands. It's possible to buy a one-way fare, including the sleeper for £19. Here's how:

How much can I expect to pay?
The cheapest bargin berth is £19 for a one-way fare from London to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Fort William, Aberden, Dundee and Carlisle. And from the same destinations in the opposite direction.

However, there are limited number of £19 tickets (only 4 tickets of each price are released in each batch), so once they're sold the price goes up to £29, and continues to rise in increments of £10 as each fare sells out, until it reaches £49. One they're all gone you'll have to try your luck with a advanced one-way train ticket and pay the usual £40 supplement (i.e. the non-bargain berth way!).

Before you start
First of all you need to plan ahead, approximately 12 weeks ahead to be specific. The tickets are released by Scotrail on Friday mornings for journeys commencing 12 weeks in the future. If you want to book a ticket for a Monday, you should search for tickets 12 weeks in advance of the Friday of the same week. It's not as simple as 90 days in advance as is usually the case with booking trains.

For example, if you want to purchase tickets for Monday 16th July, you need to look for tickets on Friday April 27th. I used this time and calculator tool to work out the dates.

You'll need to be an early bird in more ways than one though, as each Friday the batches of tickets are released at 9am (or thereabouts - Scotrail told me they don't stick to it religiously). If you're determined to find a bargain, get into the habit of logging on first thing in on Friday mornings and running your search. Apparently tickets are occasionally released mid-week as well so it pays to check back regularly if you've got a specific trip in mind.

It helps if you're flexible about dates, and days of the week, as you are more likely to find a bargain ticket for trains departing London between Sunday and Wednesday, or returning on a week day in the other direction.

Bookmark the website and get to know how it works. It sometimes runs slowly so if you know what you're doing, or even better have 2 or more windows open, your chances of getting one of the cheap ones is higher. You'll notice that once you've selected your departure point from the drop down, you have to wait for the available destinations to load. Sometimes it get stuck so you might want to refresh the page or start again to speed things along.

How to find and buy a Scotrail bargain berth
The first mistake people make is searching for tickets on the websites they usually use (e.g. National Rail, Trainline etc). Others are on the right track when they search on Scotrail's main website, but none of these sites will show you the bargain berth fares. I did a search today and found a £39 bargain berth ticket available, but the cheapest I found on Thetrainline and Scotrail was £100.50 (one-way advance single £60.50 plus £40 sleeper berth supplement) for the same train.

The only place you can buy a bargain berth ticket (as far as we know) is on Scotrail's Bargain Berth Page. The page should look like this:

Once you've input your departure and arrival points you'll be directed to a calendar page which shows all the trains with available bargain berths.You'll immediately see that the trains which are closest to departure will have little or no availability, but those 3 months ahead should yield more results.

If you can't find the tickets you want then do persevere and consider alternative end points. Some destinations may be sold out (e.g. Edinburgh), but you may still be able to find one to Glasgow for example and then pay £12 for a single one-way fare for the 1 hour onward train between the two cities.

If you've got any comments please join our community and share your questions or advice. And if you know any other great deals please post them so other people can benefit, or contact us. Happy railing!

Head over to our Destinations section for more information on how to get to the most popular destinations in Europe.

2 years ago
Kate
1006 2 2 7

4 answers (answer)

1

Just found out that it's possible to print your own e-ticket for this service, or even receive your ticket by text - just enter your mobile number and they'll text you the ticket confirmation. Brilliant!

2 years ago
Kate
1006 2 2 7
0

En route to Fort William to go on a superb family canoeing and camping trip with Wilderness Scotland , my son made a quick video of our most enjoyable night on the Caledonian Sleeper train

Taking the Caledonian sleeper from London to Fort William from catherine mack on Vimeo.


2 years ago
C.Mack
1
0

having joined this forum yesterday I was so pleased to find this advice as my partner and her daughter are currently looking in to going to Scotland for a few days this summer. I got home to tell Heather how to get the cheap fares only to find she had already worked it out herself. Or to put it another way, I can confirm that this method works!

1 year, 12 months ago
dbroada
21 1
0

Thanks for this advice. I had been trying to get tickets for me and my sister to go to Scotland for my birthday in April, booked using this method yesterday and got them for £30 each London-Inverness. Before they were showing at £150 each one way, which we couldn't afford. Now I can wake up on my birthday to beautiful Highland scenery! Going to try for the return next week but at least we have a cheap fare one way.

1 year, 2 months ago
Ruth B
1 1

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