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Bargain route from London to Birmingham
Member Name: makeuprox
Advantages: Comfortable seats, flexible excellent value tickets
Disadvantages: Takes longer than other routes
I travel regularly from London to Birmingham and find the Chiltern Railways route to be really useful.
The trains leave from Marylebone and go into Birmingham Moor Street or Snow Hill.
The more popular route is the Euston / New Street route with Virgin rail. However this can be expensive.
Marylebone station is very easy to use, it is a small station so no long hike from the tube, to the plaforms or to the shops. Although small, it still has the essentials like WHSmith and M&S food.
Moor Street and Snow Hill are both in the centre of Birmingham, Moor Street is very close to the Bull Ring and from either station is about 5-10 mins to New Street station if you need it for connections.
The advantages of the Chiltern Railways trains are that they are very comfortable. There are plenty of tables and most chairs have access to power sockets for mobile phone chargers or laptops.
The other advantage is the excellent fares. They have good advance fares but they also have an off-peak return fare of £18.90 - although this is restricted to certain trains, it offers excellent value as it is a walk up fare and you aren't tied to certain trains.
The journey is also very pleasant, most trains don't stop for a hour or so and you can generally get a seat. The countryside that the train travels through is lovely.
The disadvantages are that the train journey takes around 2hrs which is quite a bit longer than Virgin. If I could get a bargain fare with Virgin I would probably travel with them but once their cheap fares go they are really expensive and this is where Chiltern wins out.
Summary: Good value especially if you need the flexibility or plan your journey at the last minute
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