Manchester Airport – Gla Central Transpennine First Class, connecting to Scotrail Glasgow Queen Street – Aberdeen First Class.
I usually fly ABZ/MAN/ABZ, but had plenty time this past Sunday and thought I’d save myself some money.
I had to connect between Glasgow Central and Glasgow Queen Street, but this is no problem, maybe a 10 minute walk.
First off there was a replacement bus service from Manchester airport to Bolton due to some works on the Sunday, but no problem, that took about 25 minutes and was pleasant enough.
I boarded First Class carriage A on this 3 carriage class 185 and found someone in my allocated seat which was a single, but no problem, I got a 4 to myself.
I immediately got handed a snack box and coffee which was very welcome and a bit of a surprise as I really did not know what to expect on this service. The snack box consisted of a cinnamon pastry, a yoghurt covered biscuit of almonds and apricots and a packet of cranberries and cherries. Very tasty and perfect for this 1135 departure.
The seat was comfortable and did have a bit of a recline, probably on a par with Virgin First Class seats, but not as comfortable and soft as East Coast ones.
The carriage was very clean, seemed new, and felt very airy – I find the Virgin carriages a tad claustrophobic, but these are very comfortable.
Staff were all very friendly, so no problems on that score.
Whilst these trains are not particularly built for longer journeys – there is of course engine noise that you don’t get on the mainline trains, (which was easily sorted with my JVC Noise-Reducing headphones) and the ride is not as smooth – but for the price I paid (£53 First Class single Manchester Airport/Aberdeen) I really can’t complain and would use this route again when I have time to spare.
2 Hours into the journey I was surprised to be handed some water, cheese and crackers and a cup-a-soup (very tasty actually) with a bun – again, perfectly acceptable for a weekend service.
No wi-fi though and only window seats have sockets for re-charging electrical items.
There are 15 seats in the carriage – 7 were occupied for most of the journey.
Connecting onto Scotrail at Glasgow gave me a seat in the First Class section – that is all – absolutely no service whatsoever, not even a paid-for trolley. Dreadful, and such a disappointment to connect from such a good service on to an abysmal one.
Having sampled Transpennine, Scotrail, Virgin and East Coast’s First Class offerings recently – I can honestly say that East Coast is the cream of the crop, despite slightly older carriages. I put a high value on service, and all East Coast staff have been extremely friendly and professional – I only wish the journey to England was quicker ex Aberdeen, so I could use East Coast more frequently.