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Timing of sleeper to Ft. william, train to Mallaig, and...

California
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Timing of sleeper to Ft. william, train to Mallaig, and...

ferry to Skye?

Hi there...

I'm having some trouble understanding time tables and such for the trains, but from what I can gather it looks like the Caladonian sleeper gets into Fort William around 8 am, then the train to Mallaig leaves at noon, then gets there in time for a ferry to go over to Skye around three? Am I even close? This trip would also be taking place during the week next April, not the weekend.

If anyone is familiar with this, I'd be most grateful...

Thanks!

Aberdeen, Scotland
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1. Re: Timing of sleeper to Ft. william, train to Mallaig, and...

Train timetables for next April are not yet published but on London / Fort William / Mallaig route timings tend to change little year to year. Based on current timetable the fastest overnight journey (using Caledonian Sleeper) departs London Euston at 2345 hrs, arrives Glasgow Central 0717 hrs. Onward connection departs Glasgow Queen Street at 0820 hrs arrives Mallaig 1330 hrs; no change at Fort William is necessary. Central and Queen Street stations at Glasgow are about 8 minutes' walk apart, mainly on well signed, pedestrianised streets; I also understand there's a free bus transfer but I've always walked.

Although the timetable does not readily show it when planning the entire London / Mallaig journey by inputting 'Fort William' as the end point instead of Mallaig details for the alternate Caledonian Sleeper will appear - depart London Euston 2115 hrs, arrive Fort William 0952 hrs. There's then wait until 1210 for onward connection to Mallaig arriving 1330 hrs i.e. the same train as you'd catch using the 2345 hrs London departure.

Ferry to Armadale (Skye) departs Mallaig 1335 hrs i.e. a 5 minute connection but it's a booked connection in ferry operator's timetable as ferry should await the train; ferry terminal is right by the train station. Ferry timetables here (again I've had to use this year's summer timetable but expect similar next April): www.calmac.co.uk/summer-skye-timetable.html

Bingley, United...
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2. Re: Timing of sleeper to Ft. william, train to Mallaig, and...

So what to do in Ft William for 2 hours?

Aberdeen, Scotland
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3. Re: Timing of sleeper to Ft. william, train to Mallaig, and...

When I have an hour or two to spare I normally pop into Nevisport where there's a coffee shop / restaurant, as well as outdoor equipment etc (I'm interested in mountaineering). Less than 5 minutes' walk from the station. Just a couple of minutes further on is the High Street with a wide variety of shops; there's also the tourist information office etc. 2hrs doesn't really give you time to go much further than that.

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4. Re: Timing of sleeper to Ft. william, train to Mallaig, and...

@ podo944: just to be sure: you are going to board on the Cal. Sleeper in London, right?

I hold the paper version of the timetable valid for Dec 11 2005 to June 10, 2006 period, including journeys from Ft W to Mallaig and Cal. Sleeper London - Ft W. I assume it will just be the same in April 2007. The C. Sleeper leaves London Euston at 21:15 from Mon to Fri, there are no connection through Glasgow. You will arrive in Ft William at 9:43AM, at exactly the same time the Edinburgh-Ft William arrives. Tne next train going to Mallaig will leave at 12:02 and arrive in Mallaig at 1:30PM.

In case you would like to have a glance at pics taken by a person who made it through this route, and obviously is a rail fan, please have a look at:http://timsrailpics.fotopic.net/c840601.html and http://timsrailpics.fotopic.net/c885119.html

This site has comprehensive infos on rail travelling: http://www.seat61.com/CaledonianSleepers.htm

And this site you may know: http://www.scotrail.co.uk/slprinfo.htm

Surrey, Canada
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5. Re: Timing of sleeper to Ft. william, train to Mallaig, and...

And to add to waht the previous poster mentioned about things to do in a short stopover at Fort William: 30 feet from Nevis Sport is the public library. You may become a member of the Highland network of libraries, and as such, surf on one of the 5 PCs there are there, for free (normally it works by taking an appointment, but if there is one PC frre so early in the morning, you will be allowed to use it).

Also, close to Nevisport and the library, on High Street, there is a supermarket, if you would like to stock up on food/snacks before heading to Skye.

If you have some free time in Mallaig before heading to Skye - this is THE place I have had my very best fresh fish and chips ever. Direct from the sea to your plate. Hmmmmmmm......

California
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6. Re: Timing of sleeper to Ft. william, train to Mallaig, and...

Thanks for replies!

Questions, questions....

So I take it that there are 2 ways to get to Mallaig, and we could either change trains in Glasgow or Ft. William?

Are they both Caladoneon sleeper trains?

I'm assuming you sleep a bit longer if you go to Fort William?

Is the bottom bunk a bit wider than the upper bunk? (Planning to put our 15 yr. old son on the upper, and me and hubs on the bottom... we sleep just fine on a twin)

Also, I've been to the scotrail web site, and they have a trip planner, but I can't seem to work it out... they have the usual "leaving from and to", but then there's a window that says, "via", and I'm clueless about what they want me to put! :-P

As far as our Scotland journey, after arriving in Mallaig, we'll be taking the ferry over to Skye for a late afternoon tour, and an overnight (thinking of the Lodge at Edinbane) then going up to the Faerie Glen and Museum of Island Life in the morning, taking the bus to Kyle, then taking the train to the Inverness area. After a boat ride on Ness, we'll be staying the night in Aviemore before heading to Edinburgh for a 1 or 2 night stay. We're planning to take the train from area to area, and I'm assuming it would be Scotrail?

Thanks so much!

California
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7. Re: Timing of sleeper to Ft. william, train to Mallaig, and...

Firelover, the pics are great! I'm soooo looking forward to this trip!

Aberdeen, Scotland
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8. Re: Timing of sleeper to Ft. william, train to Mallaig, and...

podo944, you're correct, there are 2 separate sleeper trains which run 6 nights per week (not Saturday night). The 2115 hrs departure from London Euston serves Aberdeen / Inverness / Fort William and the 2345 hrs departure serves Edinburgh / Glasgow. Trains split en route into 3 and 2 sections respectively. You'll definitely have more time to spend in your bunk by taking the 2115 hrs but the downside is that views are restricted in sleeper cabins v normal carriages and there's some very nice scenery between Dumbarton (south of Loch Lomond) and Fort William. Last time I used this train there was at least 1 standard carriage attached north of Edinburgh thus you'd have the opportunity to take seats there for the scenic sections for which it will be daylight (in April).

Top and bottom bunks are the same size; for a 15 year old you might consider reserving a 3rd bunk, would be in separate cabin as in UK sleepers in standard class are 2 berth.

The type of ticket you'll need will depend on your overall itinerary - if you plan on spending the majority of your stay in Scotland and travel to / from London midweek you may well do better to purchase bargain berths for the sleeper trip around 8 weeks ahead of travel and to purchase a First Scotrail Travelpass or Highland Rover (which would be a lot cheaper than a Britrail pass). If on the other hand you also plan to visit several other places in England then a Britrail pass will be more economical.

First Scotrail operate the majority of train services in Scotland, also the Caledonian Sleeper. GNER run 1 daily service between London and Inverness and also a few daily services between London (Leeds in 1 case) and Aberdeen and Virgin Trains operate a number of daily services, mainly from Edinburgh / Glasgow and south thereof - you'd need to check terms and conditions of any travelpass to see if any of these services were included. A Britrail pass, of course, covers all services but it may be more comprehensive than you need for this tour.

Details of First Scotrail Travelpass and Highland Rover: firstgroup.com/scotrail/…ticketsandfares.php

Aberdeen, Scotland
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9. Re: Timing of sleeper to Ft. william, train to Mallaig, and...

Sorry, omitted to answer your query re the 'via' option (only original post at top of thread appears in the 'reply' option).

You only need to complete the 'via' option if you are planning to break journey en route or, for example, you wish to avoid travelling thru London. An example might be York to Bath where the default online timetable will normally return the fastest route i.e. via London. In this case you could input 'Cheltenham Spa' in the 'via' panel to use the Virgin Cross country services and avoid London completely. I wouldn't worry about it when considering London / Mallaig - the system will work out the best route for you.

To clarify my above post a bit more, practically every train service in Northern Scotland (apart from East coast to Aberdeen) is operated solely by First Scotrail - one of their travel passes would be fine for Fort William / Mallaig / Kyle / Inverness etc.

Little Rock...
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10. Re: Timing of sleeper to Ft. william, train to Mallaig, and...

When I e-mailed Scotrail they said we could rent two adjoining twin berth cabins - if available - and ask the porter to remove the dividing wall to create a "family cabin". You have to pay a small fee to make up for the fact that you are depriving them of the fare they would get from the fourth bunk. You can only reserve this arrangement 6 weeks before travel (I think he said). We will be traveling with our teenager as well, and this sounds ideal to me if it works out...

Also, if you rent a cabin, aren't you also given seats in one of the cars that would give you a nice view of the scenery? Anyway, that's what I understood about it from the website and brochure they sent me.