Reply To: 1st Class East Coast Trains Review .LON-EDI

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Booked a return 1st class two weeks prior to travel on the EC website, travelled Tues / Weds 7/8th June 2013
Managed to choose good times for an overnight trip, ex LKX at 8am (arr 1.24pm) on Tues, returning 16.30hrs next day a Weds (arr 21.42into KX)
Each train will have a different price and these can vary considerably, but the times we chose were peak services and £65 each up, £46 back 1st. the booking system is very easy to navigate, tickets posted out for £1 or for collection.

Interestingly, a First Class fare at the lower rate, can be almost the same as a standard fare, if you choose your trains carefully. For 4.5hrs + with food and drinks, this is excellent value. The earlier you book though, the better the fare, and greater value for 1st class. A “small group discount” factors in for 3 or more, and u could use railcards on all trains.

Fares from LCY by Air on BA, or Cityjet, exceeded £350, and the time scales were comparable with airport or to Kings X, living in N ldn. Add on travel time and costs £60+, to from LCY the nearest airport for me).
one way fares proved more expensive overall to mix.

All carriages in 1st, both ways were almost full .Quiet coaches in both classes bookable, and you can alter your own seat as you book! A good breakfast service on the way out, starting as soon as the train left the platform. Vegetarian option with a chef on Board (just as Virgin trains used to have, meant fresh fare. Traditional breakfast or vegetarian, salmon, or a bacon roll. Hot and cold drinks were served, and have to say the crew worked hard for this 4.5 hrs journey.

Ever half an hr drinks were offered.

The trains are rather dated scruffy, and creaky inside and out, and certainly not as fast as the Virgin Trains. They really could do with newer trains or a refurbishment, but they were clean with an on board cleaner all the journey.

The train back was full in all 1st carriages. You could choose the “all day menu”, selection of sandwiches offered 4 times on your journey, or a hot Frittata vegetarian with salad, or a hot chicken and potato leak pie . Both of these looked very appetising, clearly a high brand item full of character. A full bar service, soft and hot cold drinks offered again every 30 minutes, crew working continuously.

The Train Manager updates services both ways regularly, and tickets checked twice when changes of crew were made at Newcastle.

Unfortunately a delay beyond their control, with a man hanging off a bridge added delays to the whole of the line at Peterborough, all commuter and main line trains affected. We were kept informed well.

To East Coast trains absolute credit, we arrived 1hr 6 minutes late. Staff were at the Kings X Platforms handing out policy and claim forms at their delayed trains. For a change, their was no confusion, a pleasant and honest offer.
30-59 Minutes you get a refund of your relevant 50% of your one way ticket. 60-119 minutes, 100%, and over 120 mins the overall return.
Their brochure “Making it up to you if things go wrong” details the policy.

This is an excellent service to come to you, and open and honest.I see it as excellent customer service.

We were able to make our claim on line later, by scanning in the tickets, or you can post off your form.

Paying £232 return for the journey in 1st class for two, our returns were slightly cheaper and we shall get approx £92 refund in National Rail E-vouchers. (fares are generally sold as singles and each carries quite a difference)
I cannot remember a company being so pro-active and up front in this country.

To boot, joining their East Coast Membership Club, to also earn 1 point per £1 for standard, or 1.5 points for First Class. You can also book any train in the UK on their site.

250 points, gets you a one way standard fare, 450 a First, but it is not limited to distance. So an EDI one way costs the same as a York one way. Could be handy for a one way by Air and Train to Scotland as a mix? Makes a change from Airline mileage programs set on distance.

Excellent customer service, honest, hard working crew, the best food on board (which used to be Virgin Trains). I highly commend them.

We were reminded on “This week” the late night Politics show this week, that East Coast hand back M£ 640 per year to Government, rather than to shareholders now, not into shareholders profits. So with the right Management, clearly some National owned services, can be excellent, and assist the public purse. they also have a 93% rating from the public, the highest ever.
Stations at Kings X and Edinburgh are smarter, great facilities, and along the route also. It is also a very picturesque route to take allowing many hours of work or relaxation, no airport security hassles or charges, and rush hour queues to and from the embarkation place

A terrific show East Coast, I will book via you, and also support this excellent service. It proves Public ownership, properly managed, works well.

If only the trains could be upgraded, but you must remain one of the best beating Virgin apart from their rolling stock now, in all senses.

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