Virgin Euston to Birmingham NS Std Class ReviewBack to Forum
Anonymous6 Nov 2014
Recently attended London Poppy Day. Due to company travel constraints, purchased two advance single tickets. Return journey was the worst I have ever experienced. Had chosen 1943 train which terminates in Preston. No-one checking tickets at barrier in Euston. Decided to board at final first class carriage and walk through the train, as did at least 20 other passengers. I can only describe it as an obstacle course of people and luggage. One passenger held everyone up whilst trying to read the allocated seat numbers on her tickets, much to the frustration of other passengers. Some did not know the meaning of “excuse me”, others saw it as an invitation to be rude, including comments about making sure we didn’t reach our seats. Finally got to seat about 10 minutes out of Euston, to find it occupied (easily resolved!). Announcement made asking that only passengers getting off at Milton Keynes should use the shop, everyone else to wait until after MK. Ticket check not done.
I know it was half-term and Boris moved London Poppy Day to a week earlier than last year, but Virgin Trains really needed to get a grip of the situation. Have already advised my manager that next time, I will buy a first class single and pay the difference, if I have to. Thankfully due to my early dinner with a friend at The RAF Club, I was more relaxed than usual.6 Nov 2014
Overcrowding on off-peak trains is a problem of which VT is well aware.
“Easyjet pricing” was proposed by some TOCs in 2010 to alleviate overcrowding. But fares are a prickly issue.6 Nov 2014
You didn’t mention how often you use trains in this country. Unfortunately what you experienced is the norm rather than the exception. And as Alex has mentioned the TOC’s ,not just Virgin must be aware of it, yet as long as we allow ourselves to pay over the odds to be treated like cattle then they will treat us like human bovine.
I had a reserved seat on a XC service from Newcastle to the Waverley ,yet was unable to even get to my seat,and had to be content with standing as the toilet recited its aromatic poetry to my nasal senses.
As a taxpayer living in Scotland I’m raging that I’m contributing to HS2 whilst the tracks between Edinburgh and Newcastle could be compared to a pot holed road on the Kenyan coast. Never mind the operators failing, with the exception of East Coast ,who are the best of a bad bunch.7 Nov 2014
Canucklad, I suggest you have little to complain about. I regularly travel Waterloo to Portsmouth and return, it is just over half the distance of Newcastle/Edinburgh but takes on average the same or slightly longer (1hr30) than your journey, a quick peek on trainline.com tells me your fares are comparable to mine but you are going twice as far. You don’t know how lucky you are!7 Nov 2014
I bet you’ve forgotten that Beeching proposed closure the line between Newcastle and Edinburgh.
The idea was that all trains to Edinburgh and the eastern side of Scotland would take the West Coast main line.
Just as well it never happened now that the trains are busier than they have ever been.7 Nov 2014
Afternoon Mr Michael…
You’re probably right, and to balance my moaning I should consider myself quite lucky as my fare also includes probably the best scenery of any mainline service in the UK. Overall you’ve got a rawer deal than me. But I still get annoyed, and I’ve only mentioned recent trips, not standing from York to Waverley in an un-airconditioned carriage in the middle of August. : )7 Nov 2014
You’ve made me laugh Alex…
How old do you think I am ? When the good Doctor was wielding his surgical axe I was but a scorpion bump in my much missed mum. Add to that the only railway I was brought up with was the fright trains that crushed my pennies back in BC. Consider yourself rebuked young sir. : )7 Nov 2014
Canucklad….I guess the fact London to Portsmouth is so poor does not mean your trip is not poor either. I did travel that route years ago, and do recall some amazing scenery.
However, correct me if I am wrong, you also have the luxury of 2×2 seating, I get mostly 2×3 and you get wifi, Believe it or not I do not even get a mobile signal for half the journey as I travel through the depths of North Hampshire and Surrey. The whole thing is a joke considering the density of population in the south and the apparent abundance of infrastructure. It is hardly surprising the roads are so congested in the south, even so my journey is quicker, cheaper and more comfortable in my nice old Jag than on SWT. The only reason I get the train is due to my employers insistence on sustainable transport being the first priority. I hate the SouthWest trains, with a ruddy vengeance. Gimme your options any day. As for standing, I do often, but being crammed in 3×2 seats on the Desiro trains when they are full leaves me actually wishing I was standing sometimes, at least standing one can move a bit. The tube by comparison is positively luxurious if one gets a seat……rant over…….for now.
Edited to add, Alex, wish Dr Beeching had taken the axe to the London/Portsmouth line.7 Nov 2014
I’ve never thought about 2 X 2 seating as luxurious, but I’ve got to say what sort of inhumane monster contrived to configure 3 x 2 seating on a modern railway ? To compound this torture by charging you extortionate fares must truly be infuriating. Still I suppose that, as I’ve already said, at least poshgirl will soon ( evolution of man time) be benefiting from a high speed service saving 15 minutes whenever she wants to head to London.7 Nov 2014
Canucklad, it goes back two century’s. Trains used to have three classes, then they changed to two I think in the 1950,s, so one had First Class and Second Class. SWT reintroduced third class with 3×2 seating when they purchased the Desiro Trains and made the first class 2×2. So in effect you can travel third class or second class, Desiro have no first class, although they call it first class. So it is SWT that thought of it …..as a part of Stagecoach group……and they are based in…..errr…..ummm……Scotland.7 Nov 2014
Hi canucklad, use Cross-country more than VT as head office in Leeds. My experience last week was certainly a one-off. On other journeys from Euston I have been cross-examined at barrier about ticket and seat reservation, both peak and offpeak.
Not surprised you are raging about HS2, you are not alone. The fares will probably be “premium” ones which will have to be justified and the travel policy amended to restrict use (sorry, my cynical side is escaping). Working on the train, apart from filing e-mails, is not an option for me due to nature of job.
Reading Mr Michael’s experiences, I consider I was lucky to finally get to my seat, which thankfully was an aisle one.7 Nov 2014
I’m amazed they allow 3 + 2 seating any more. The good news is that the new Thameslink trains are 2 + 2 as they have realized that 3 + 2 doesn’t work as often the middle seat isn’t taken – and if it is it is horrific. Sadly the design means there will be no tables – aprt from in First Class. All trains will be 8 or 12 cars – they will be fixed formations. So no more 4 car Thameslink trains from 2018.
Sadly Thameslink covers very little / no SWT ground – even of the expanded routes. Perhaps Crossrail 2 might help.7 Nov 2014
TimFitzgeraldTC your dead right. I personally always pick the 3x side as often even with people standing the middle seat remains free. If one chooses the 2x side usually 2 people will sit and then one is either jammd in to the window or you have to endure an hour and a half with one buttock in the aisle. If you do see 2×3 occupied with even average size people the aisle is blocked. The seats were built with Twiggy circa 1971 in mind. On occasions I cannot stand the very thought of it and resort to sneaking my Jag to Portsmouth at my own expense. My journey on the Jubilee line is much more comfy than SWT on their one of three mainline services.7 Nov 2014