Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Chiltern Railways Business Zone / Virgin Trains First Class

When everything comes together, the services offered by our Train Operating Companies are simply 'First Class'. Take yesterday as an example...

For those of us fortunate enough to have afternoon meetings and evening events in London the +Chiltern Railways 10.55 Silver Set from Birmingham Moor Street cannot be bettered for the journey south. For a fare of £27.50 Super Off-peak return, you get comfortable seating, large windows, tables with power points, FREE WiFi, and access to the very good Expresso Bar. Pay another £10 to add the quietness and extra space of the Business Zone, unlimited tea / coffee / water and service at your seat.... Even better, it arrives into London Marylebone in time for lunch (or you can try one of Chiltern's hot meals for £3.50...).

However, the downside of travelling with Chiltern is the slow return trains once evening starts. Knowing I would be finishing around 8pm, I looked on the Virgin Trains site on Sunday afternoon to see what Advance First singles were available. To my delight, a £23.50 fare was being offered on the 20.23 service from London Euston to Birmingham New Street - ideal!

Travelling First Class with Virgin does bring the touches that add to the pleasures of the close of day: the First Class lounge at Euston, the fact that the First Class is at the barrier end of the departure platform, the efficient at-seat service with a range of complimentary drinks and snacks, and, of course, the 84 minute journey time. Even the WiFi is free in First Class....

Fare note: Virgin are offering a £25 Super Off-peak return between Birmingham and London on Saturdays and Sundays from 30 March until 28 April. Travel will be valid on departures from Birmingham or London between 10.30am and 4.30pm and after 6.30pm each day. Looks like a bargain... For extra comfort with refreshments and WiFi included, upgrade to First Class on board for an extra £10 each way.

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