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Anonymous5 Dec 2013
Next month I will take the train from Dublin to Belfast (and very unfortunately return by bus as no train is scheduled after dinner time). Being tall, I usually buy 1st class tickets. But here I have an intellectual problem (the EUR amount being nominal): First class costs … 4 times (yes, four) standard class! So either first class is particularly exceptional (doesn’t seem to be the case) or they only discount standard class when buying in advance or I missed something! Any hindsight?
Thanks5 Dec 2013
For a journey lasting little over 2 hours, that sounds excessive. There is a bar wagon for all travellers where you can stretch your long pins. Why not make a night of it and stay in Belfast?5 Dec 2013
The train is called The Enterprise and it is comfortable enough if you manage to get a seat. I think the last train from Belfast most days is 8.00pm. You can, subject to availability buy and upgrade on the train and ,unless it’s a rugby weekend, there will be lots of availability….two coaches worth! It is rare to see more than 6 people in First. If memory serves, from DUB the upgrade is 20 Euro and the other way its 16Stg. You might have the whole carriage to yourself.5 Dec 2013
Thanks all for your comments!
Seems like the best strategy is to buy a cheap standard fare online and buy an upgrade on board… (that would be a EUR 20 + 20 instead of 60+). As I mentioned, it is not about the EUR 20, it is about the 50% difference…
@Alexpo: I am spending the week working in Dublin and prefer to go back on the same evening rather than early in the morning.6 Dec 2013
If you are travelling from Dublin to Belfast on the 11:00; 13:20 or 15:20 trains there is usually plenty of room in Standard Class to spread out. The catering in First Class, apart from a glass of orange juice, is not free, unlike some UK trains. The carriages are seating is very similar to the Eurostar trains. You can see pictures, and read about the journey here:
Scroll down to bottom of page for the pics.6 Dec 2013
The first class service is good value for money at £65 for an anytime return ticket (Euro101 from Dublin). In seat service is available on all services seven days a week and the menu is extensive enough to satisfy most requirements. An equivalent journey in England (London to Birmingham) is priced at £271 for an equivalent unrestricted ticket. Admittedly, food is free but its a hefty premium for catering offering from Virgin!6 Dec 2013
It’s a pity that the Irish Rail website doesn’t allow one to actually book or even quote a first class fare. After scrolling through the pages, it appears you can only access first class by upgrading from standard class but no information is given on how much the upgrade might be.
A number of links did not work so was unable to ascertain what “first class” was all about.
Also disappointing that Irish Rail charges an online booking fee of up to Euros 3 whereas in the UK, our TOCs levy no fee for bookings made from their own websites.6 Dec 2013
It’s worth adding that four times more than standard is still the best value First Class ticket (for the distance) compared to UK equivalent.
Walk on fare is about £65 in First. You will pay extra for
meals but good value. Last time I used it I had a full breakfast for
£9 which came with a cafetiere of coffee, which was replaced free
when I had finished the first one.6 Dec 2013
@NIRscot: UK trains seem to be rather expensive, in general! 2 hours train in Switzerland would cost about GBP 75 (average price – in Switzerland, fares are by the distance). And this is Switzerland, so in theory, much more expensive… Second class would be sold at about GBP 45. None offer any extra service.6 Dec 2013
I ended up by buying online a Second class ticket at EUR 11.99 (one way) with the idea of probably upgrading on board. When I got to the 16:50 train, it looked packed. To the First class gate keeper, I said I wanted to upgrade. His reply was bad: “not on this train”! Had to go back to the cashier to buy it (luckily I was a bit ahead of time!). When the train is full, there is no doubt: First class. In my case it costed EUR 11.99 plus 20 upgrade fee. Far better than the initial EUR 60!24 Jan 2014