Saturday, 4 February 2012

Using the train as a travelling office: LondonMidland

Last Monday saw me on the 0753 LondonMidland service out of Birmingham New Street bound for London Euston. Knowing about this journey well in time enabled me to take advantage of the £16 advance First Class Fare, and so make use of the table and power points (though of course there isn't WiFi on LondonMidland services).

The 0753 is formed of a 4-car Class 350 set which works in from Crewe and arrives and departs from Platform 1B in New Street. Clearly a train which is used by many regular commuters for stations to Coventry but by not too many First Class travellers (mind you there are only 24 First Class seats, of which 8 are around tables). The key to getting to a table is to remember that the First Class Compartment is in the centre of the train..

Active ticket checks up to Northampton were in evidence but none after that station (nor on exit slightly late at Euston...), and the First Class, though getting busier, remained a comfortable working environment. Pity the trolley service has gone but one can always remember a flask (and, of course, there is the wait at Northampton which would give the chance to use the station facilities). A (Orange) mobile wireless dongle finds coverage for most of the journey too...

Coming back from St Albans Abbey, I joined the 1201 Crewe / Birmingham service at Watford Junction. Announcements here and on board made it clear that the rear four coaches were for New Street. As before, the First Class Advance Fare was £16 though of course being midday the First Class Compartment was virtually empty. Another good run - and as before, the ambient temperature was pleasant and the toilets were clean!

So, despite the lack of WiFi and refreshments, there are times when LondonMidland can be used as a reasonably priced travelling office but generally, Chiltern would be my first choice...

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