The Scotsman vs. Business Traveller?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  goalie11 5 May 2011
at 11:07

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  • Anonymous


    This is an interesting live blog between two journalists seeing which is quicker – East Coast First Class or a Shuttle flight from Edinburgh to London.

    One assumes, given the sponsors, and the fact that the schedules have been specifically chosen to hobble any chance of the plane winning, that East Coast trains will win out.

    Now I am a big fan of the train in the UK, and especially the ability to dine and work on board.

    But I just don’t think comparing a midmorning train journey with a Heathrow flight is a fair competition.

    Why wasn’t London City considered?

    And, naturally, you can be at home at 0530 and in Edinburgh by 930am if you fly and live in central London; this is not necessarily the case for the train.

    Is BT going to accept the challenge of beating The Scotsman at its own game, and proving the advantages of the plane on this journey?


    I do like the idea of a Top Gear style BT race. The train and plane could be the venue for the next BTFP meetings.

    City centre to city centre usually favours trains, not always in end to end timings but certainly in the quality of uninterrupted time. *If*, as VK says, the city centre is your start and end point. But from the south coast it is a different story. Cross London or Cross Country Trains or flymaybe: the plane is least time and least hassle.

    Tom Otley

    It’s a good idea, and one I think we did in the dim and distant past (1980s or 1990s).

    The difficulty, as you point out, is deciding what’s fair for the sake of comparison.

    If you have an apartment in Canary Wharf then LCY is going to be first choice, or a house in the South West (London – not Devon) then LHR. Alternatively if you live in Islington….

    We’d also have to consider not only the duration and cost, but how productive you were on the journey.

    Flexibility of ticket, I think, also, and peripherals (lounge access because of tier status.


    It would still be an entertaining challenge, especially over the summer months!


    VK, the ability to work and dine onboard has been somewhat diminished by the recent decision to remove all dining cars on the East Coast line and replace them with extra seats !

    I do like the 05.50 Edinburgh to Kings X train which is just over 4 hours and provides marvellous scenery in the summer months.


    This is definitely unfair, as trains are clean and BA planes contain up to 2cms of tea in the seat area, as recently confirmed by P Sepsas.

    Vote for (your) life, take the train 😉


    I like the sound of this challenge!

    How about we do trains, planes and automobiles? we can test for speed, cost, carbon foot print etc.

    Meet at the BT offices in London at say 8:30 for coffee and set of at 9am. Then meet in on say the Lothian Road in Edinburgh’s financial district .


    ginger1 – why do you say that? I understood EC were doing at seat dining similar to VT – have I misunderstood?

    robsmith100 – I’m up for it. Don’t mind being a guinea pig for any method.


    EC recently began offering free meals at seat in F class. The difference today compared to previously is that the restaurant car is now unavailable to standard class pax.


    Hi folks

    This is something I compared some time ago. For 7 years I travelled from Edinburgh to London on Monday morning, returning on Friday afternoon and I tried both options to test which was really quickest.

    For me the plane won hands down every time. I caught bmi’s flight BD51 at 0630 (varied depending on season), which meant leaving home at 0520 (had security timed to perfection to get straight onto plane). The earliest I got into my office in Westminster was 0850 but usually it was 0930.

    For the train I would still leave home at 0520 to catch the 0550 from Waverley to Kings Cross and that train doesn’t get into KGX until 1012 with an additional 30 mins from there to Westminster.

    The return journey was almost the same, so bmi wins this one for me.

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