Edinburgh to York by train

How to make the beautiful train journey from Edinburgh to York

The typical train service from Edinburgh to Newcastle has never been more frequent and it now comprises three or four trains per hour during the day (the departures become less frequent after 18:00).

The four departures per hour consist of:
(1) 2 x trains operated by LNER,
(2) 1 x train per hour operated by TransPennine Express (most of these trains are currently suspended)
(3) 1 x or 2 x trains per hour operated by CrossCountry



From Edinburgh Waverley to York

Travel Information

Final Destination:
London King's Cross (and Leeds) - the LNER trains
Liverpool Lime Street - the TransPennine Express trains these trains are currently suspended
Penzance or Plymouth or Bristol or Birmingham - the CrossCountry trains.

Some trains also call at: Durham and/or Darlington

Aside from environmental considerations there are three very good reasons for opting to take the train from Edinburgh to York:

(1) Edinburgh Waverley station has a fabulous location in the heart of the Scottish capital, and York station also offers easy access to the city centre

(2) Now that TransPennine Exress has also begun to operate trains on this route, they are now more departures than ever before to choose from, when travelling by train between these cities.

(3) Very few routes taken by trains between cities are as fabulous as this journey!

3 or 4 x trains per hour


Choosing a departure

As there are three operators which provide the trains on the Edinburgh to York route, the recommendation is to use the National Rail booking service when looking up this journey.
By doing so you'll have an overview of the ticket times and prices of all departures, no matter which company is operating each departure, and you will also avoid any booking fees.

One company doesn't always offer the cheapest fares on this route, so it's worth making an easy comparison across all departures.

Booking Advance Tickets

If you want to travel at the cheapest possible price, look for the 'Advance tickets', though the three key things worth knowing about booking and using 'Advance' tickets are:
(1) Your ticket(s) will only be valid on the departure you selected when making a booking
(2) A fee will be payable if you want to transfer your ticket(s) to a different departure ahead of your travel date - and you will only be able to choose alternative departures operated by the same company that's providing the service you were originally booked on to.
(3) This type of ticket can't be refunded if you subsequently change your travel plans, or miss the train in circumstances not to do with a connecting train.
(4) If the train you are booked on is delayed, you cannot then just hop on an alternative train operated by a different company.


When you book an Advance ticket for an Edinburgh to York train journey, you will be automatically assigned a seat(s), but if you book the other types of ticket ahead, you can request a complimentary reservation - more info on this
Tickets can now be booked online up to a couple of hours prior to departure

However, if you buy Off Peak or Anytime tickets just prior to boarding at the station, a seat reservation WON'T be automatically included with your booking.

That's because reservations at stations need to be booked by the end of the previous day for morning departures and around two hours ahead for afternoon/evening departures - so also keep that in mind if you will be using a rail pass, including a Britrail or Eurail pass.

Travelling on Monday - Friday

Tickets are usually available 12 weeks ahead of the travel date.
However, when you look up a journey you may see dates further ahead on the calendar, but you'll be informed that tickets aren't yet available for those dates.
Travelling on Saturday-Sunday

Tickets are usually available 12 weeks ahead of the travel date, but maintenance work on the route is periodically undertaken at weekends and if it is scheduled on your travel date, it can affect when tickets will be released for sale.

If you're looking up a journey less than 12 weeks ahead and tickets aren't available, it can be a good indication that works will be impacting on your travel date.
It can be worth checking this on the National Rail website

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
NationalRail *

NationalRail Guide

In Great Britain each Train Operating Company provides its own booking service for journeys by its trains, but many of their websites also sell tickets for nationwide journeys, regardless of which company operates the trains on the routes you wish to travel by.

The National Rail website is plugged into all of the train operator's booking services, so when more than one of these companies offers tickets for a route, it in effect offers a price comparison service.
It isn't a ticket agent, so you will be connected to the website of your choice in order to make a booking.

RailEurope *

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - YesCoastal views

Good to Know

Which company and train is used on each departure won't particularly impact on ticket prices, travel at quieter times and you'll be more likely to find the cheaper Advance ticket prices, irrespective of which train is being used for a departure.

The train you will be travelling by also doesn't particularly impact on the journey times, as they all follow the same route.

What affects the journey times is how many stations between Edinburgh and York that each specific departure is scheduled to call at.

Though if the prices are similar across the departures when looking up the journey, ShowMeTheJourney's preference is to avoid the trains operated by Cross Country.
The other trains on this route are more modern and have more comfortable ambience than the Voyager trains which CrossCountry uses on some departures.

Sadly there is  no guarantee of rainbows as the train leaves Edinburgh behind Sadly there is no guarantee of rainbows as the train leaves Edinburgh behind
Look out on the left for the view of the Bass Rock Look out on the left for the view of the Bass Rock
By the coast to the south of Dunbar By the coast to the south of Dunbar
An attempt to capture the ride across the clifftops north of Berwick An attempt to capture the ride across the clifftops north of Berwick
Looking east from the Royal Border Bridge on a greyer day Looking east from the Royal Border Bridge on a greyer day
Heading south from the town of Berwick Upon Tweed Heading south from the town of Berwick Upon Tweed
Passing by the town of Alnmouth Passing by the town of Alnmouth
The view of the Tyne Bridge as the train arrives in Newcastle The view of the Tyne Bridge as the train arrives in Newcastle
Looking down on the River Tyne as the train departs Newcastle Looking down on the River Tyne as the train departs Newcastle
The stunning view over the city of Durham The stunning view over the city of Durham

For the majority of the train ride between Edinburgh and York the railway lives up to its name of the 'The East Coast Mainline'.

It's a journey of three phases:

(1) Most of the journey between Edinburgh and Alnmouth is beside the coast

The sea views kick in before the train has even left Edinburgh behind; and they initially continue until south of Dunbar.

To the north of Berwick-upon-Tweed the train will travel across the clifftops as it crosses the border into England; these are the most dramatic coastal views on the journey (though they are tricky to photograph).

Minutes after the train has passed through Berwick-upon-Tweed, the next highlight is the view from the majestic Royal Border Bridge.
Between there and Alnmouth there are views on the left over the dramatic Northumberland coast.

(2) Between Alnmouth and Darlington the railway snakes its way through the towns and cities of north-east England, and just before Newcastle station  on the left there are views of the city's iconic Tyne Bridge

The next highlight of the journey is the passage over the River Tyne, as the train departs from Newcastle Central station and heads over the King Edward VII Bridge.
Looking to the left, five other bridges that span the river can be seen.

Around 15 mins after leaving Newcastle comes the final highlight of the journey - the stunning views over the city of Durham.
Over on the left before and after the station, the town's stunning castle and cathedral can be clearly seen in all their glory.

(3) The train will attain the highest speeds of the journey as it races across the flat landscape between Darlington and York.

If when you board, you discover that your assigned seat(s) are on the right-hand side of the train, when facing the direction of travel, see if you can find available seats on the left of the train.
If you move to a different seat(s) it won't affect the validity of your ticket.

The sea views on this journey are on the left.
If your ticket(s) don't include reserved seats, then try to choose seats on the left, when facing the direction of travel.

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This is one of more than 1000 journey guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.