Experience of LNERBack to Forum
I used LNER today for a days meeting in sunny Doncaster. Having read (and contributed) to a few negative reviews, including the previous franchise holder, I had a fresh experience today.
My colleague a me were travelling on an F ticket. This meant we had use of the F lounge at Kings X. This was comfortable space manned by helpful staff and had the usual array of drinks and snacks. Did not see any meals or hot food.
Went to the train as soon as the platform was announced, a quick 5 minute walk. The train was clean, plenty of empty seats to use and staff were all friendly and helpful. Onboard service on the way up was excellent and one of the nice things to see was since LNER, staff are looking smart, collar buttons done up, NOT chewing gum when speaking to customers and providing a friendly, yet professional service.
I did not eat anything going up, but had an adequate pasta dish coming down south.
The return journey was similar, clean train, professional staff, all perfectly turned out. Only comment on service is, staff were unable to provide any drinks outside of the trolley service. Its a shame in F the staff don’t offer an adhoc service or allow a space for passengers to go and help themselves.
The biggest luxury though was the fact the ticket was fully open. Meaning on the return, when our meeting over ran, we were not pushed to terminate the meeting in order to catch a train. Whilst I enjoyed very much the LNER service on this occasion, having an open ticket did provide a large sense of freedom. I was discussing this with my colleague on the way back and neither of us could remember the last time either of us enjoyed an open ticket for a train or aeroplane journey. The cost for open tickets are generally way to high.
All in all, a very good day out, thank you LNER.17 Apr 2019
It just shows you that many of us have different experiences on a different day. I had been using LNER a fair amount earlier in the year and my biggest issue with them was the general cleanliness. Travelling in First (sometimes on the first train of the day and starting point) and the train was dirty. In fact, if you looked between the seats it was particularly bad. The lounges I used, mainly Newcastle, were not up to much…The coffee machines didn’t even work, and the temp tanks were empty. The service on board was OK though and food was generally fine.18 Apr 2019
April 19th? Back to the future? 🙂
When I search LNER, Wikipedia tells be it is a train operator that was nationalised in 1948. Back to the future? Probably not. Could you please enlighten me? Is it the new name of the former Virgin Train East Coast?18 Apr 2019
I have consistently good service on the East Coast mailine route. Actually, I never found the Virgin East Coast service to be poor. That said, all trains have their moment and I’ve been on some dirty trains as well.
@martynsinclair, as you realise, first class dining service is a complimentary at-seat service. It is intended to be an at seat service – you ask for what you want and it is brought to you. I always find there to be plenty of staff available.
I travelled south and then returned home yesterday. The evening train, via Leeds, to Skipton was on time to the minute. The food was actually quite good and plenty of refreshments. I chose a gin and tonic. Later I was offered top up which turned out to be two more mini bottles and cans of tonic. Then at Leeds, while the train waited to depart en route to Skipton I was offerd another drink – which I declined.
The staff were friendly and helpful. And the fare for two peak time trains was reasonable as I booked in advance.18 Apr 2019
Out of interest how much was your ticket?
I was travelling on a service recovery ticket following an ‘experience’ when VTEC had the franchise.
I checked the price of the return when a decision was made to travel and each ticket for a fixed train time would have been £175.00.
1 user thanked author for this post.18 Apr 2019
I use LNER fairly often between Wakefield/Leeds and Kings X, and I’ve found the first class at seat service to be generally good, especially at breakfast.
I’ve also found the LNER on board and station staff to be friendly and very helpful. Last year, I got off the train at Wakefield and realised as the train was pulling out of the station that I’d left my mobile phone on the table. I told one of the staff at the customer service deskwhat I’d stupidly done, and where my phone was located on the train. He contacted Leeds station and arranged for my phone to be picked up and for the train manager to bring the phone back to me in Wakefield on the next London bound train.
Thirty minutes later I was reunited with my phone.
The journey/service to the North East should improve in the coming weeks and months, as LNER have announced they will be introducing new Japanese Azuma trains, starting with the London-Leeds route on May 15
Fingers crossed the Azuma trains will prove to be better than the new Hitachi trains on GWR 🙂18 Apr 2019
As noted by Tramor01 the Azuma trainsets are scheduled to enter service on May 15.
The current trains are life-expired. HST diesels are 40 years old while the electric trainsets date back to the 1980s.
LNER does offer a superior service but, after all, it is a prestige franchise hence VTEC was prepared to pay the government a franchise fee of £3.3 billion over eight years.
As BTUK reported previously VTEC was unable to pay that mammoth fee and had to hand back the keys to the DfT who now manages LNER.
When things are smoothly I myself have found LNER very good indeed.
But it’s let down by ECML infrastructure issues for which Network Rail is responsible.
For that reason the Azumas will, initially, be confined to the southern section of the ECML
– for more details see the above link.19 Apr 2019
When things are smoothly I myself have found LNER very good indeed.
But it’s let down by ECML infrastructure issues for which Network Rail is responsible
Alex, I’d agree and disagree at the same time.
I’ve had some fantastic journeys on the ECML in all it’s guises.
I’ve also had to endure overcrowding , 3rd world toilets, cancellations , long delays , surly rude staff all amidst overpriced food and beverages
Again,in all its recent guises.
And unless I’m in control of my own time , i.e travelling for leisure ticket prices are generally more expensive than taking to the air.
Having said that, the TOC who plies the ECML tracks are consistently better than the other operators I use throughout the UK. Just not consistent enough !!19 Apr 2019
I hear what you say, canucklad.
Let us hope the Azuma trainsets (which can accommodate more passengers) will alleviate overcrowding in the future.
But as I say above the overcrowding can be down to Network Rail.
A perfect example is this Easter weekend when Network Rail works have closed Euston station for days.
The only two lines running north from the capital are with EM Trains and LNER.
So once again trains will be overcrowded.19 Apr 2019
Having had what I can only call a very recent (Easter) disaster of a journey from Paddington to Penzance in an Azuma (type) I sincerely hope that LNER do not solve the issues with their Azuma and keep the old rolling stock.
I travelled First Class and can only only describe the seat as utterly uncomfortable and cramped. I am of small stature and pity anyone of 6Ft sitting in these trains will certainly be very uncomfortable. Any one trying to put luggage in the overhead rack from gangway needs telescopic arms.
The catering service was appalling and cannot even be compared to LNER First Class. Not long after leaving Paddington we had a cup of tea and a croissant. That was it until Plymouth over 2 hours later. Constant messages were broadcast basically stating there were too many passengers on the train and subsequently no food.
The power point by my seat had a preprinted label stuck on it saying it didn’t work. The WIFI was curious and worked very intermittently and then not at all when assistant realised she had turned it off. It was restored back to its intermittent state eventually.
At Plymouth or Exeter we were grudgingly given a small bottle of water and salted peanuts (to quench our thirst) ! By the end of the journey we had stiff backs and necks thanks to the appalling seats.
I can only say to LNER if you want to keep your passengers then do not use these Azuma trains, in comparison to the current rolling stock which provides room and comfort and a working WIFI Azuma’s are a disaster. I frequently use the LNER service between London and Edinburgh so the comparison is reasonable.14 May 2019