Alternative Flying Scotsman to EdinburghBack to Forum
Following on from my review in December of my rail and sail experience to Amsterdam I thought I’d share my experiences of my recent trip to/from Edinburgh. I arrived at Kings Cross at 0820 for my 0900 train and headed to the First Class lounge. The lounge was relatively quiet and a coffee machine with a fridge of cold soft drinks and juices. Food offering was crisps, fruit and pre packaged pain au chocolate. I took one with a best before date of 4 days away and it was hard, dry and tasteless. The banana was bruised and inedible but the coffee was good. Just as I as about to head for the platform new pain au chocolat were put out and I took one.
On boarding the train we were told our carriage had no airconditioning so we had been rebooked to the next carriage. Very well handled IMO . We left about 15 mins late due to a faulty door but the train manager was hopeful we would make the time up.
Juice and tea/coffee came round followed by a pastry basked with toast and breakfast orders were taken. I had the full English breakfast the other options were Greek yoghurt or a Welsh rarebit. Breakfast came which was tasty and it would have been better had there been a top up of tea/coffee and juices. WHen food order were taken you were asked if you wanted breakfast or lunch.
New to Virgin trains is Beam an onboard entertainment app that you download to your smartphone or tablet prior to joining the train. Once onboard all passengers can access this free of charge. Beam had a selection of films for all ages and tastes (about 15) an identical similar range of tv programmes including box sets, games and magazines including Business Traveller. I hav to say this was one of the bet entertainment systems that I have. Used.
On arrival at Doncaster we were told that there had been a lightning strike take out signalling meaning all trains to Newcastle were currently delayed. The train manager advised we would leave the statin shortly and told us why we were crawling along (congestion) why we were stopped and kept giving us a revised ETA. It seems drinks runs are done after leaving teach station and passengers asks passing crew for top ups to be told we would have to wait but after about 30 minutes of going nowhere they relented. This amazing train manager left the train at Newcastle where we were about an hour late.
The rest of the journey was uneventful with food served for those that didn’t have breakfast. In the final stages of the journey to Edinburgh we again crawled along for a while with no update from the new train manager until we pulling into the station about 90 minutes late.
This delay although not mentioned onboard will cover a full refund of the cost of the ticket under the delay repay scheme.
For my return journey I arrived at Edinburgh Waverley station shortly after 1pm for a 2pm departure. Whilst the lounge was funky there was only crisps and biscuits available and the only drinks was tea and coffee and water and juice in a fridge.
Again the Beam entertainment system was available and I etched another film and a few to programmes and finished reading Business Traveller.
Lunch orders and cold drinks were taken and.served first followed by hot drinks and desert. It would have been better for this to come after the food as I had my coffee and desert on my table before my main.
Regular drinks runs and further food runs throughout the journey arriving on time.
I was travelling on a promotional “plane relief” ticket costing £30 each way and I will receive £30 for the outward journey back in cash. You can elect to have rail vouchers should you wish.
The verdict. I was travelling for leisure so the delay was not a major inconvenience especially as I will get that leg refunded.
Beam is amazing and passed the time though on board wifi was fast too.
Food offerings a bit hit and miss. Good food but limited choice. Eg if you had chosen lunch and had a sausage roll that is all you would have had on this nearly 6hour journey apart from crisps fruit or biscuits.
Lounge funky but offerings poor. Effectively a place to wait away from the me lee of a station where you can grab a coffee.
On board crew amazing apart from Newcastle to Edinburgh where they were just carrying the motions.
For leisure I’d use it again. Corporate policy won’t allow First Class train travel in the UK but even if it did it wouldn’t be practical for Edinburgh
I do travel to Newcastle fairly frequently and might consider this option now if the fares were reasonable as this would be very comparable with flying which I always do.
1 user thanked author for this post.21 Jul 2016