Sunday, 25 November 2012

Back on Chiltern Railways...

With work taking me North this month - thanks Virgin, Scotrail, and Transpennine for smooth journeys - I haven't been South for some time so it was with delight that I accepted a Friday lunchtime invitation in London. I was particularly pleased that the timing meant I could use the 1055 Silver Train from Birmingham Moor Street as I hadn't been on Chiltern since Paul Bigland wrote a critical account in Rail 708 of a journey north which he taken in August.

Now, as regular readers know, I am a big fan of Chiltern and particularly of their Silver Trains so Paul's account surprised me. Having said that, Chiltern are very good at shooting themselves in the foot and the start of Friday's journey was in the classic 'Chiltern, what are you playing at' mould...

Turning up at 10.40 for the service, I found two doors open and the rest inoperable. Not surprisingly, passengers were milling around on Platform 3 wondering if the train was in service. It seems that the generator in the trailer vehicle had not been left running so it wasn't until the driver started up the locomotive that the power to all the doors was restored. Apparently, the same had happened at Marylebone on the 0837 journey which this set works so it was either a fault or bad train management. I am still waiting to hear from Chiltern on this question...

The connecting LondonMidland train from Kidderminster was running late so we were 5 minutes late departing. At least the delay gave the on board host a chance to offer tea or coffee to those of us in Business Zone (still a bargain at £10 supplement on top of the £27.50 super off-peak rail fare). It seems that that days of individual pots of tea / coffee have ended but at least the milk is still fresh and in a jug, and, of course, the cups are very generous in size.

Once underway, it was a very pleasant journey: quiet (despite the two internal doors being locked open), plenty of space, working free WiFi, working power points, and regular top-ups on the tea / coffee. Oh, and the toilet was clean despite this being the third trip for the set that day... Paul, I think that you must have been unlucky!

An almost pristine toilet on the 1055

Business Zone on the 1055 - a quiet working environment

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