East Coast DUNDEE – KINGS CROSSBack to Forum
Anonymous1 May 2013
Travelled for leisure in first class from Dundee to London, and have to say I enjoyed the experience.
Got to Dundee early enough to grab a coffee, and we made our way to the quiet carriage. This carriage used to be their dining one and as such had no power sockets, so tip to avoid carriage J.
We had a nosey around and found another unreserved pair of seats together, however, this carriage also had no power due to some problem or another. I have to say this is the 3rd time I’ve been aboard East Coast and the power didn’t work, they need to sort this. We did find yet another seat with working power sockets. Good news is that the wifi DID work and it worked well (for a change) all the way on our route.
I read on other threads people complain about the condition of the carriages, East Coast have their first class areas clean, modern and comfortable. I wasn’t too hot or to cold. I had downloaded a couple of movies from Blinkbox and donned by Bose’s ready for the long journey. Something of a misnomer is that EC only serve booze and a full kitchen service on weekdays. That seems a little ludicrous to me as you’d expect them to offer their drinks service at weekends to leisure travellers, as it was I wasn’t wanting an alcoholic drink on the way to London but I found it rather old fashioned! You can get a drink but you have to go buy it from the bar yourself.
Cold sandwiches, crisps and fruit are brought around reasonably frequently, loos were a little tired but reasonably clean – as clean as an aircraft loo anyway.
So, we enjoyed the teen-flick (was travelling with teen) Pitch Perfect and got most of Jack Reacher watched and we arrived into Kings Cross a couple of minutes ahead of schedule.
We left at 09:06 and arrived 14:45, I was in the Savoy just after 15:00. I’ve said elsewhere my flight timings are below:
09:00 Leave Dundee
10:30 Arrive EDI
11:40 Depart EDI
13:10 Arrive LHR
14:10 Arrive Paddington
All in all the train ‘costs’ me less than an hour of my time, I reckon it is worth that hour to not have the pain-in-the-rear which is flying.
Return journey was marred by taxi driver taking forever to get to station and a missed train, much tutting at agent behind counter when I had to buy another ticket to get home as my advance one was no use. I’ll write to East Coast today and have a whine at them, no real need for the agent to be such a pill about it, we arrived ar 10:00 on the dot to see the train leaving having left the hotel at 09:30.
Journey back was great, Life of Pi and Seven Psychopaths (hilarious) watched and a quick change at Waverley for a local train back to Dundee, was still in fine condition and perfectly clean. I had some hot food which was decidedly average and the coffee was like dishwater….but again the service was adequate and frequent. The time passed really quickly and we were at Waverley quickly.
I can’t see a downside to this, my daughter who is almost 17 also hates flying, not because of any fear or anything of the sort, just all the hassles, she loves the train too and we both think it a far better alternative that EDI – LHR…..far far better. Tickets cost £230.00 for the advance and another £143.00 for the missed replacement tickets, these were in standard class but I sat in First and pleaded ignorance to the conductor fella, he was fine about it.
AOTG.1 May 2013
Not sure that your flight comparison is the best if you are starting from Dundee. Why go to Edinburgh in the first place?
What would be wrong with DND – LCY on AF5170, leaving at 08.20 and arriving at 10.00, at about £100.00?1 May 2013
Have used the DND – LCY service over 100 times, never (ever) have I attained a rate of £100.00. I priced that journey for this trip but there were two main issues:
1) Cost for my daughter and I was double train cost at over £400.00
2) Return flight isn’t until 16:20 getting in at 17:55, train got me back at 15:40 and allowed me time to do stuff I needed to do.
If there was an earlier return flight I might have taken the hit on the price for convenience, but it isn’t convenient getting home at 18:15. Hence the EDI comparison which would have given me the same sort of time for a similar price.
AOTG.1 May 2013
Just priced the DND – LCY flight out Sat back Tues in June – £481.38 if we want to place a bag in the hold, £401.00 if we don’t.
We’d have a bag.
AOTG.1 May 2013
A good read AOTG and thanks for posting.
I’m not surprised that the power sockets don’t always work. East Coast uses ancient HST diesel trains on this route and they work hard, all day every day and cover huge mileages.
In addition they were manufactured in the days when mobile phones, laptops etc were unknown. So the power sockets would be a retrofit rather than something designed and built into the original manufacturing process.
Did your daughter use her Young Person’s Railcard ? It offers one-third off most rail fares in both first and standard class.
In future it would be best to allow one hour for the taxi ride back to Kings Cross. London traffic is unpredictable at any time of the day.1 May 2013
We got a railcard at Kings Cross when we had to buy the 2nd set of tickets.
I think in future I’m going to stick with the tube, as you say London traffic is so unpredictable! At least with the tube you are fairly sure of an on time arrival, well, nothing is certain I suppose! The journey from Kings Cross to Hotel was a breeze, less than 15 minutes…..oh well, £143.00 worth of lesson for me.
I’ve written to East Coast asking them for refund….not sure I’ll get it but worth the ask.
AOTG.1 May 2013
The F service on East Cost is not really worth the cost. I have found many of their trains to be very tired in all cabins but reasonably comfortable. I have used them between London and Newcastle and is certainly more convenient than flying but not always the cheaper option. To save money on the food, go to the Pret just outside of Kings Cross station.1 May 2013
The tube can be a sweat when you arrive at Kings Cross. But probably more reliable when you return.
I believe (but would need to check this) is that if there is a tube delay outside a passenger’s control then the train company would understand and let you travel on the next train.
I know that when making connections to Advance ticketed trains by other national rail services then passengers holding through tickets are always protected.
Not so sure about the London tube, though.
East Coast fares can be great value. It depends on the route and which ticket type you book.
I agree that London-Newcastle fares are expensive. That’s because rail has the lion’s share of the market and therefore prices accordingly.
But London-Edinburgh fares are far better value because rail is up against air.
In some cases you can book a London-Edinburgh ticket for less cost than a London-Newcastle one.
East Coast’s great deal is its £229 first class return Scottish Executive ticket valid for London-Edinburgh.
It’s far cheaper than any similar first class fare on the London-Newcastle route. All you need do is book this ticket by 1800 on the day before departure. The return sector can be left open-dated and so you can use it on a ‘walk-up’ basis.
If you buy the Scottish Exec ticket from the Edinburgh end then East Coast will throw in a Zones 1 + 2 Travelcard.1 May 2013
I’ve used East Coast First ex Aberdeen quite a few times over the past few years – daughter was at college in Leeds so it was usually the best option. Strangely enough, on a couple of occasions I got First fares that were only between £5 – £15 more expensive than Standard. I don’t know how this happened, and I don’t know if it still would, but certainly great value for me Aberdeen/Leeds (via York).
Whilst the carriages are tired, the service more than makes up for it.
Every staff member on every journey have been outstanding – I’ve done weekends and midweek, and the drinks/food hardly stops all the way down. One Friday afternoon I think I had 3 red wine/sleep cycles which certainly passed the journey very quickly!
I would highly recommend it – especially if you get lucky and find the cheap First fares I happened to find.1 May 2013
Great to see so many threads and posts on train travel!
Another factor in the price debate is the cost of getting to/from the airport, taxi, parking etc. This can add considerably to the fare versus arriving in the city and going straight to hotel with a short taxi ride.1 May 2013
LuganoPirate – 01/05/2013 12:24 GMT
Another factor in the price debate is the cost of getting to/from the airport, taxi, parking etc. This can add considerably to the fare versus arriving in the city and going straight to hotel with a short taxi ride.
Using the same EDI – LHR option my additional costs for a 3 night weekend break in London would be:
£39.00 Round trip from my gaff to EDI airport in fuel (130 miles at 20 MPG x £6.00 per gallon)
£50.00 Airport parking (I could do long-stay for cheaper but I won’t, every time I fly I use the multi-story car park)
£68.00 Heathrow Express return tickets
And, just to be fair I shall deduct the £20.00 it cost me for a taxi from my gaff to the train station in Dundee.
So, the net cost saving to me is £137.00 by not flying, this assumes of course I could have got 2 return tickets to LHR for £230.00, I’ve just looked at a weekend in June and the fare is £531.00 for two passengers to arrive into London and back home in Dundee at around the same times as the train.
So, £668.00 total cost with loads of hassle and interaction I don’t enjoy or £230.00, a couple of movies and one hour longer point to point with no hassle, as much luggage as I can carry and a wee snooze here and there…..perhaps an occasional G & T and some grub en route.
I am back to London again end of May, and I can tell you normally I hate the journey, quite looking forward to my train adventure, I am 100% converted.
Now, where’s that old anorak of mines……..
AOTG.1 May 2013
Maybe I’ve been lucky but I’ve always thought the F fares I’ve had from East Coast have been good value which is more than I can say for Virgin.
Yes, the trains are getting tired particularly the 125s but they operate very few services now and the Mallard trains are rather better – but far from the ICE.
The on board offering on East Coast is also pretty good and the service generally very good though I do find that depends a bit on the origin of the crew. The London and Edinburgh crews are generally excellent, those from the other crew point are so so and sometimes very full of attitude and self importance.1 May 2013
You were asking why first class with East Coast from Aberdeen to London can sometimes cost only a little more than standard class.
I presume you were referring to Advance tickets.
In fact there are occasions where Advance first class can be cheaper than Advance standard class.
This was the question I asked East Coast. See last month’s Platform:1 May 2013