Thursday, 8 March 2012

Travelling Chiltern Railways super off-peak

The Spring 2012 issue of the Colmore Business District digest suggests that the £85 Anytime Return fare between Birmingham Moor Street and London Marylebone offers significant savings over the fares on the Euston route. Whilst certainly true, even better savings are to be had by travelling Super Off-peak on the Chiltern services. Those of us whose work takes us to London for lunchtime / afternoon meetings know that you can't do better than the £25 fare using the declassified business zone on the 10.55 Silver train to Marylebone.

Yesterday's trip was typical of the value you get from Chiltern. Lots of space in which to work, friendly staff, and a reasonable journey time. The experience was enhanced by working power points (hooray), a free copy of the Financial Times, and the sausage bap / coffee combo from the Expresso Bar at the very good price of £3.50

Coming back to Birmingham on the 1537 Clubman wasn't quite as comfortable though a table with working power points was to be had. The main problem that Chiltern have with their value proposition is that timings after Banbury are held back by station stops off-peak: 96 minutes to Moor Street once an hour without catering doesn't really compete with Virgin's Very High Frequency timetable.

Another problem that Chiltern seem to be having at present is poor WiFi connectivity. Yesterday, I got no connection on the 1055 or the 1537 and I see from Twitter that other users suffered too (although @alexcburrows tweeted that he had gained a connection on the 1055). Hope to hear from Chiltern or Icomera on why problems are occurring...

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