Monday, 8 March 2010

Monday 8th March

Back on the rails again - this time with a standard class Tame Bridge Parkway to London (any route permitted) 7 day season...

Birmingham New Street ticket office sold me for £215.30 (once again no mention of London Midland's cheaper offering, though I did ask for any permitted route) and I was in good time for the 9.10 Pendolino from Platform 2. As this is an arrival from Wolverhampton, I had the pleasure of using the waiting room at the 'b' end of the platform. Warm, tidy but hardly inspiring...

On time departure accompanied by a very thorough and clear rendition of the 'peak' ticket restrictions that applied to the train. Quiet coach 'A' and coach 'E' were lightly loaded, especially after Coventry, and 'B', 'C', and 'D' reasonably full.

No announcement regarding the shop until a '10 minute to closure' one as we sped through Milton Keynes. Of course, the shop had been open from New Street...

Tickets checked, and rubbish collected as the journey progressed. Loos clean and working! On time arrival at Euston.

Overall, another efficient example of the Very High Frequency service being offered day-in, day-out by Virgin. Just a pity about the fare structure (see below).

Returned from London on the 16.23 Pendolino from Euston platform 3. One of the downsides of Euston is the length of the walk to the standard class accommodation, especially if you want to reach Quiet Coach A. New Street's access arrangements definitely score in this respect!

On time departure accompanied again by the 'peak' ticket restrictions announcement. Reasonably busy in all the coaches. No shop announcement at all though the shop was open. Tickets checked during the journey. Loos ok.

Alas, quiet coach 'A' is not quiet after Coventry due to the influx of commuters there. On time arrival at New Street. Another good journey!

By the way, Hotline magazine is very good and informative.

Returning to the fares... if I had bought a Return for this journey from New Street, I would have been charged £140 (shows what good value a season ticket is...). However, by buying an Anytime Return to Coventry (£4.70) and an Anytime Return from Coventry to London (£122), the cost drops to £126.70. Still an awful lot of money but a saving worth having (and it gets better on those trains which stop at Rugby: £115.80 using 2 Anytime Returns). I plan to highlight such savings as my Birmingham2London website develops!

Finally, Barry Doe in Rail 639 (in all good newsagents on Wednesday) highlights the anomalies in London Midland's ticket restrictions to London Euston. It makes you long for the simplicity of the Wrexham & Shropshire ticket structure (of which more later in the week).

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