Newest Review: ... Spa, Banbury, Bicester North and High Wycombe. The journey time is just under two hours. London Marylebone is a small station but ... more
Best service in the country
Member Name: massyou
Date: 11/08/02, updated on 11/08/02 (277 review reads)
Advantages: Nice Trains, Punctual, Clean
Disadvantages: Class 168 units dont run at weekends
Chiltern railways is in my opinion Britains best rail service. They opearte services between London and Birmingham and I would say that Chiltern is your best bet for travel between London and Birmingham. Even though Virgin are faster the Chiltern service is far superior.
The excellence Begins as soon as you reach Marylebone station which has the best atmosphere of all London termini. The station is small, clean and maintained to a very high standard with less crowds then you get at other stations such as Euston. There are good catering outlets with a Bagel Bar, a Soup Stall and the more common Burger King and Upper Crust. There is also a small pub that serves real ales. Shops include a flower stall, barbers and WHSmith. Toilets here are free and cleaner then other stations.
The only real downside Marylebone is that it is only served by the Bakerloo Line. However Baker Street is within walking distance and coming off a sub surface line (Circle, H&C and Metropoliton) it is probably best to walk. However from the Jubilee it is easiest to get the Bakerloo one stop as it is on the same level.
There are 2 train types class 165 and class 168.
The Newer trains are the class 168 which are excellent. They are spacious with a good ambience, better than the current Virgin stock. Seating is 2+2 with a mixture of face to face and airline(airline seats are not cramped). They are also air conditioned. Class 168 units mostly operate the weekday London to Birmingham Services.
The other trains are the Class 165. They are around 10 years old and operate mostly on shorter services. They have 2+3 seating. Their ambience is not as good as the class 168 units. They are due for refurbishment. This will hopefully make their ambience similer to the class 168 units. There are of a good standard for outer suburban services. However the 3+2 seating makes the slightly too cramped for london to birmingham services.
Chiltern trains are punctual.
I think 5 minutes is about the longest delay I have ever had compared with frequent half hour delays with Virgin.
I would reccomend that you traval with chiltern when there are engineering works on the West Coast Main Line in the Autumn. Rather then using the replacement bus service which could add an hour on the journey.