Domestic (at least this week) rail travel review to NewcastleBack to Forum
Anonymous17 Sep 2014
Had an afternoon Monday meeting in our Newcastle office to attend so onto the corporate travel website to book travel. No chance to collect East Coast points as I’ve no choice but to use the official company site. Which ironically is more expensive than booking direct, but I’ve no time nor will to reason why!
So my company is £88.90 lighter for a Standard class Anytime return, from my local West Lothian Station. (Scotrail – Cross Country – East coast )
Taxi arrived early so managed to get there just in time for an earlier Scotrail commuter train. Such is my lack of trust in public transport that I elect not to gamble on the next one appearing. But not enough time to collect my tickets due to 2 women faffing about in front of me….. “It’s not that difficult lady’s” …….. Fair play to the conductor allowing me to travel to Haymarket without a ticket, my itinerary passed his honesty test. ….. 18 minutes of playing crowd crush & the throng are flooding the Haymarket platforms.
If you have to change trains, avoid cavernous Waverly and use the newly revamped and now modern Haymarket instead.
Tickets now in hand I picked up the Glasgow to Plymouth Cross country train, meeting a colleague already on board. Cramped table seats, surly gruff guard and one pass by of the refreshments trolley, although I didn’t bother, the person opposite chose a chicken & smelly salami sandwich at 9.30—– yoinks!!
We arrived on time in Newcastle. Alas the same can’t be said for a colleague travelling north on another Cross Country train, delayed due to “crew issues” however whilst we waited it gave me a chance to gape at the transformation of the station. Well inside at least, the taxi rank is still shambolic!!
Missed my train with a seat reservation, so enjoyed a beer with colleagues outside the Centurion, the better of the 2 pubs located in the station. I have a choice of enduring a Cross Country Service or waiting 10 minutes for an East Coast and changing at the Waverly, its final stop. 20 minutes later I’m on my way luxuriating in a nice large seat , with a table all to myself…. Bliss… Well almost. Why cant previous occupants of a seat not clean up after them. Conductor passes by and my ticket not and never checked until Scotrail train,
No sign of a refreshments trolley, but I’ve been proactive and visited Sainsbury’s before boarding , another one of my top tips if travelling on trains in the UK — Bring your own picnic. – Scheaper, fresher and more choice – chwoosoosh and a well deserved chilled bottle of cider is quaffed as we shake, rattle and roll up the East Coast.
Ohhhhh, and since our rail network has more potholes than a country road in Botswana, why can’t the rail companies design a table that doesn’t do a passing semblance of an ice rink!! …Another bottle later and I’m off to the toilet.. …. First 2 loos too disgusting to use, 3rd passes just, thankfully I’m not wearing flip flops… An easy change at Edinburgh and I’m home in good time.
East Coast trains IMO 50% more comfortable than Cross Country’s equivalent of 10 across in 777. And generally East Coast is my preferred operator. Why does political dogma threaten this ?
But all toilets are straight out of Slum Dog millionaire.
On this Monday all staff have personalities of a ….,,,,,…… well, actually they’ve all had a personality by pass (1st Scotrail chap excepted)
Value for money, this journey definitely wasn’t.
And by definition, if this is the STANARD class, then we really have let our expectations drop!
Maybe the whole cross border experience will improve if it becomes an international route on Friday : )17 Sep 2014
I did London-Portsmouth return today Canucklad, the wonderful South West Trains. I too used Sainsburys, got myself some quite acceptable Suchi and a Coffee. On the return I had a nice Sandwich from Tesco Express with beef and horseradish on malted bread….very tasty…washed down with a cold can of Magners. As you say, fraction of the price than on board, fresher and better quality than the Rail Goumet offering on board. How they call it Rail Gourmet without laughing I will never know.17 Sep 2014
What tranformation of Newcastle station are you talking about? Last time I was there was April and the work on the outside was still continuing but I can’t recall any work going on in the inside.18 Sep 2014
I’ll soon do a review as just done FGW to Falmouth from London – well Brighton actually in 1st, Cross Country (only Bournemouth to Southampton in 1st). MML to Sheffield this weekend (2nd) and then ECML 1st to EDI weekend after (Ryder Cup here I come for Singles day). So I’ll do a comparison soon. All I can say is FGW (Pullman services) had Jekyll & Hyde staff and had my Girlfriend in tears on way back as staff were incredibly rude and nasty for part of the journey.18 Sep 2014
got myself some quite acceptable Suchi and a Coffee. On the return I had a nice Sandwich from Tesco Express with beef and horseradish on malted bread….very tasty…washed down with a cold can of Magners. As you say, fraction of the price than on board, fresher and better quality than the Rail Goumet offering on board. How they call it Rail Gourmet without laughing I will never know…..!!!!
——————————28 Oct 2014