Tried & Tested

Rail check: Virgin Trains Standard class

1 Apr 2010 by AndrewGough

BACKGROUND I arrived at Euston 15 minutes before my 1620 departure to Manchester. I was heading for an evening event and the train was due to arrive at 1828. For those aiming for a morning meeting, the 0617 gets into Manchester Piccadilly at 0828. From 0800, trains depart every 20 minutes, with the last one leaving at 2200 and arriving in Manchester at 0035.

THE SEAT I had pre-booked my ticket and was allocated coach C, seat 28A, so had to walk quite a way down the platform after queueing up to show the guard my ticket. The carriage was configured 2-2, a mixture of groups of four seats with a table between them, and pairs of seats with small, pull-down tray tables. Mine was a window seat at a table, travelling backwards. Someone was sitting in it, despite it being reserved, but I was happy to be by the aisle. I put my wheelie bag on a luggage rack halfway down the carriage. There are also racks by the doors, but you should keep an eye out, as British Transport Police has warned of people getting on just before the train leaves and taking them.

THE JOURNEY The train was busy and left on time. I did some work on my laptop (there was a spotlight above the seat and plugs at the table). Wifi costs 75p for ten minutes, £5 for an hour, or £10 for 24 hours. An onboard shop sells snacks and drinks – a meal deal including a sandwich, crisps and a drink costs £4. The train was far too hot and I was relieved I was not sitting near the window, where a vent was pumping out stifling air. This was also the case on the return journey, and I overheard other people saying they had experienced it before. We arrived on time.

VERDICT A punctual service but the train was uncomfortably hot.

CONTACT virgintrains.co.uk

Felicity Cousins

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