* Prices may differ from that shown
I would never use East coast trains again, their air conditioning never works and in summer it is a nightmare
I regularly use East Coast trains to travel between University (York) and home (London Kings Cross). East Coast operate trains out of their London Base (Kings Cross) and up the East Coast of the country up to Scotland. I have never experienced any problems with East Coast - my trains have never been delayed by more than a few minutes and the service is always quick and efficient. ==Bookings and reservations== I usually buy my East Coast train tickets from thetrainline because they tend to have the best deals and easiest to use website, but I usually check East Coast's own website because sometimes they have extra special deals. Their website is less easy to use because when viewing all available tickets for a day, it's harder to move between times which is annoying when I'm just looking for the cheapest ticket rather than a particular time. The busy trains are usually fully booked so it's well worth reserving a seat which is usually a free option when you book online. You usually get a few preferences such as window or aisle which allows you to choose a seat suitable for your needs. I have never not got a seat with all my preferences met, but they say they cannot guarantee this. Prices vary depending on the time of day and day of the week so if you are flexible it's well worth looking up various times. ==On board== The trains have both table seats and airline seats. There are plug sockets for use on laptops and mobile phones underneath the window of most seats. The open spaces between carriages are quite large and you often find people sitting there who haven't got a seat. I've had to do this once and it was quite comfortable because of how much space there was. Individual seats are fairly spacious, but not overly luxurious. All airline seats have a pull down table so even if you don't have a table seat, there's still something to put your laptop/drinks on. The arm rests can be retracted if needed. Luggage racks either end of the carriages are always absolutely filled to bursting. The majority of customers travelling on East Coast are going on long journeys, likely to be needing a suitcase and the luggage holders are just not suitable for this. There are overhead racks, but I struggle to even fit my small suitcase (just over hand luggage size) up there safely. In between some of the seats there is room for a suitcase, but still it's not enough. The trouble is that there are so many suitcases piled on top of each other that if you're one of the first on and first off you're going to be having a panic trying to get your suitcase when you get to your stop. There is a Wi-Fi service which gives you 15 minutes free Wi-Fi per journey or you can top up for 24 hours for . Unfortunately it's a really bad connection, especially as you go through the countryside. Quite often I can't load a single page in my free 15 minutes and it's wasted. I've never felt the need to top up for 24 hours, because it just wouldn't be worth it for the amount of surfing you'd be able to do. On most journeys there is a refreshments trolley going up and down which is very handy because you don't have to leave your seat, but it is so overpriced I can never afford to get anything from it. There is also a catering carriage on most of the trains that you can visit at any point during your journey. I have been on a few journeys where this service has been unavailable (usually late night services) which doesn't bother me because I don't use it, but if you're peckish on a long journey I imagine this would be quite annoying. I would advise always bringing some food to eat because the food is pricey and isn't always available. There are a number of rubbish bins on board and I've never had a problem disposing of my rubbish like I do on some trains. The cleanliness is also really good because there's never rubbish left on my table or seat when I board. Toilets are as good as any train toilets; there's nothing fancy about them, but they always have plenty of toilet paper, hand towels, soap and hot water. Like most train toilets, you can't use them when the train is in the station. They never smell too great, but if you end up sitting right outside one, the smell isn't noticeable. ==Overall== Overall I don't have much choice when it comes to using East Coast as they've pretty much dominated the market for my route, but luckily they don't give me much reason to complain. They have always been reliable, efficient and reasonably comfortable and on other routes on which I have a choice of train carriers I would definitely choose them. The Wi-Fi does need improving, but I think it's impressive that they even have Wi-Fi at all. Overall it's a 4/5 because overpriced snacks, small luggage racks and low quality Wi-Fi.
Our original train was cancelled. OK - not their fault. We tried to get some assistance from their staff and almost without exception they just did not want to know. We were eventually pointed at the next train. Very few seats were available. No help from the on-board staff to locate any spare seats. We managed to find a couple for the children but we ended up standing at the end of the carriage from Peterborough to York (there wasn't even room to sit on the floor). To cap it all the air-con failed so the temperature climbed to the point where people were almost fainting. After all that the best that East Coast could offer was £25 in vouchers. This implies that the travel portion of the cost was worth at least £75. I don't think so!!
East Coast on a Friday night, in fact pretty much any time, is the place to be, if you want to party party with lots of other drunken passengers. In which case the overflowing non-working toilets and filthy, ancient carriages might add to the enjoyment. The "special deals" on wine and beer in the so-called buffet just about sums it up - drunks and bums welcome, everyone else just has to put up with it. If you want to sit quietly and enjoy the view, forget it. The company makes a big thing out of the "free" meal in first class. But you can get a free meal in standard class too, unfortunately it belonged to a previous passenger and is all over the floor. Probably the passenger is all over the floor too. I find it more comfortable to sit in the space between carriages, because even the so-called "quiet" carriage is more like a dive bar than a form of public transport. And the only "quiet" rule is to turn mobile phones to silent - shouting from one end of the carriage to the other or talking loudly into a mobile is allowed and, it seems, encouraged. All in all a very unpleasant experience. Not recommended.
The East Coast is the name for the company running the route that connects London Kings Cross and Edinburgh with various stops in between. It was formally know as Great North Eastern Railways (GNER) but that went under and was taken over by National Express which also subsequently went under leaving us with East Coast. Despite all the various owners, that's about the only thing that has changed. The service has remained pretty bad throughout and delays are a common occurrence So first things first, fares. As with most operators, the later you leave it to buy your fare, the more expensive it is. It is also more expensive if you buy it at the ticket office at the station as opposed to online. Saying that, when I say online, I mean from a third party website like the train line as they are much cheaper. As an example, I recently went to Newcastle for the weekend (up on Friday and back down on Sunday) and looked at the East Coast website for trains. I was travelling about 2 months later so was hoping to get good tickets. Looking at the East Coast website I was looking at paying around £120 for 2 single's as this was the cheapest method available. I then had a look on the Train Line and exactly the same tickets were available for less than £50. Needless to say I got my tickets from there. It is worth noting that these tickets I got are very strict and only allow you to get on one train and there is no flexibility or refunds. Once I got to the station I was greeted by the usual delays that are experienced more often than not although this one was only 10 minutes so it could have been worse. Once I boarded the train I made my way to my seat reservation which, when I booked my ticket, I had asked for a table and a power socket nearby and this was indeed the case. In terms of the actual look of the trains, the best word to describe it is dated. The trains aren't spotlessly clean but they are to an acceptable standard but the seats look worn and the general feeling you get when you sit on the trains is that it needs a bit of looking after. Once the journey started I was happily sat there with my computer plugged in ready to do a bit of internet browsing in order to kill some time. However, East Coast have now put a cap on free internet usage to 15 minutes which is one of the most frustrating things I have seen. If you wish to use it for longer you have to pay £5 for an hour or £10 for 24 hours. However, if you are in first class then wi-fi is completely free. So, as the train moved across the country everything else was pretty much ok. You get the usual snack cart coming through the train selling various items as well as a buffet card. Both of which charge more than you'd like to pay for what they are selling but it could be worse. To be fair, the trip upto Newcastle wasn't too bad. It could have been better but could also have been a lot worse. However, it was the journey back down on the Sunday which was most frustrating. When I got to the train station I found that the train was on time (great!). However, upon entering the train I was greeted with an announcement from the conductor that due to a mix of a lack of crew, earlier trains being delayed and engineering works, this particular train had no seat reservations, no wi-fi at all, and you could not buy any food on board until we got to our first stop about 30 minutes away. Unfortunately this is not too uncommon on a Sunday. I used to make monthly trips to Leeds and come back on a Sunday and always used to face the same problem. That means that this problem has been going on for years and still they do nothing about it! So before we even set off the journey home was already going to be painful and this was not helped but the engineering works affecting our journey which meant we arrived in London 30 minutes late. Despite all the annoyances, the only good thing that has been consistent on the train line is the staff. While you do get a few power hungry ticket inspectors, the majority of people are very helpful and polite. The problem is that there is often nothing they can do! My biggest problem with the trains and this has been consistent throughout the various owners, is that the tickets are a fortune and the quality of the trains and the overall service provided doesn't justify the massive price tag. So overall, what can I say? In my opinion East Coast aren't very good at all but then again the only real alternative is to drive so I guess it's a case of like it or lump it!
Unfortunately, you don't have much choice when travelling from London to York. I do this journey once a week. East Coast is a terrible company! The coaches are dirty, shaking all the way long, and they are usually either freezing cold or super hot. No one respects silent sign in the quiet coach, and the controller, when he shows up (I have done many journey without seeing one) doesn't say anything. From my experience, their trains are at least 40% of the time late, from a couple of minutes to more than an hour. The "funniest" is that they display on the notice board "arrived" when the train is not there yet, certainly to improve their stats. Customers are always confused. When their trains are very late, they are supposed to refund you. They send you a voucher (it takes them more than 6 weeks to do it!!!) that you CANNOT use on-line, so you have to go to the counter or call them. As the results you cannot benefit from the online discount. it is such a RIP-OFF! They are soooo bad! I take Grand Central Train as often as I can!
I've always had something of a love/hate relationship with the East Coast mainline. I love telling everybody how much I hate it. In recent years, the line has passed through three pairs of hands. Initially the franchise was awarded to Great North Eastern Railways (GNER), but was eventually rescued by National Express East Coast after GNER got into trouble, only for NX East Coast to go the same way, leaving the line to fall into the hands of a government-run group called East Coast. In essence, my complaints about the service have remained almost entirely consistent throughout the life span of all three operators but unless somebody considers these issues properly, I fear that we will never get the service that such an important, arterial rail route deserves. The East Coast franchise runs North to South connecting Edinburgh to London King's Cross. It is the major intercity rail operator between London and Leeds and trains up to Scotland also stop in Peterborough, Doncaster, York and Newcastle. Currently, there are also services between Edinburgh and Glasgow but I understand these are to be withdrawn, as the West Coast line now has better connections between London and Glasgow. There are various 'add-ons', including occasional services to Bradford, Aberdeen and Hull, but the two key routes are the London to Edinburgh and London to Leeds lines. The East Coast line boasts one of the best stretches of railway in the UK, in my humble opinion. The journey between Durham and Edinburgh is gorgeous, from the picturesque cathedral at Durham, across the Tyne at Newcastle and along the North East coast, up through Berwick and Northumbria. The line that runs along the coast of Devon and Cornwall is pretty dramatic, but there's something majestic about the coastal stretch of the East Coast line. It's lovely on a sunny day or a dark, cloudy day, when the crashing waves on the shoreline just seem more dramatic. It's a great route for children, who will enjoy all the sights out of the window. The East Coast line, more so than any other, is threatened by and/or competes with other forms of transport. It boasts a much better journey experience than the painful car journey up the M1 but is also often compared on the basis of price and journey time to domestic flights between the two capitals. It remains the most traditional of the operators, offering breakfast or evening meals in a dedicated dining carriage long since discontinued on other lines, and even runs an overnight sleeper between the two capital cities. But as much as this can make the service quite charming, it can also be its undoing. It's often easy to forget that the train operators have responsibility for stations as well as trains. The main stations on the East Coast line are pretty unremarkable and in many cases in need of some attention. London King's Cross is currently going through some major refurbishment works, which have seen the addition of a new platform (called Platform 0 bizarrely) and which will also add new facilities. Kings Cross suffers a little from being overshadowed by St Pancras, which is outstanding, and when you come into King's Cross you can't help be disappointed by the rubbish waiting area and the lack of shops. The first class lounge is reasonably new and well fitted, although, in line with most operators, holders of advance tickets have to pay £5 to use it. At Edinburgh, the station is much nicer. I've always liked the open, bustling feel of Edinburgh Waverley station, they way you take your life in your hands dodging the taxis and guessing which way your train will come in. The facilities are generally better than London King's Cross, although the first class lounge is a bit of an afterthought. You come in through the information desk, where the staff members just look at you, even if you're struggling with about ten bags and the lounge itself is stuffy and smelly. Newcastle and Doncaster aren't much better, either and these things make a big difference if you find yourself stuck there for longer than you expected. The rolling stock is getting on a bit now, but a programme of refurbishment has been underway since the early 2000s, which I understand is now entirely complete. Both the Intercity 125 and Intercity 225 remain in service, the latter with slightly higher top speeds, but both types operate across most routes. The trains are easily the most comfortable across the modern network. The First Great Western 125s have also been refitted, but to incorporate far more seats and far fewer tables and are much more cramped. The Virgin rail services lack the headroom of the East Coast services and both the First Great Western and Virgin train seating is harder, narrower and more uncomfortable in standard class. The East Coast carriages have far more tables than any of their competitors, which is far better for families. The first class accommodation on the East Coast trains is pretty good. There's lot of legroom, the seats can be reclined and every seat has a table. The first class accommodation in the First Great Western services is arguably better, with very comfortable leather seating but I particularly like the fact that on the East Coast services, there are compartments at the end of one of the carriages where there's a screen dividing you from the rest of the train. This is particularly good for privacy, peace and quiet or if you're in a big noisy group, respecting everyone else's privacy, peace and quiet. I find the first class accommodation on Virgin Trains barely different to the standard class. There's more leg room but the seats are still rock hard and uncomfortable. All the carriages on the East Coast line are air-conditioned but this regularly seems to pack up, which is pretty lethal. On a sunny day, without air conditioning, those carriages are nothing more than greenhouses, and if this happens in service, they'll almost completely evacuate the carriage if it gets too hot. It's a symptom of two things. Firstly, despite the refit work, the rolling stock is getting on, and is more prone to failure. Secondly, the trains are completing long journeys. If it's a five-hour journey and the air conditioning fails an hour in, it's realistically going to have to wait until you reach the final destination. Four hours can be a very long time to wait. The East Coast services have (pointless) quiet coaches the same as other operators. I can never really see the point. I find people talking and laughing really loudly just as irritating as a mobile phone ringing but neither is as irritating as the constant barrage of announcements after every station stop, which are as deafening in the quiet carriage as anymore else. I'd prefer to see 'Pissed Jocks and Geordies' coaches, in which they could fight and swear to their own content (because they're not really fit to travel with everyone else.) One of the big selling points for the East Coast line is the unlimited free wireless Internet access available on all the trains. This is unmatched by any of the other big operators. First Great Western doesn't offer anything at all, and the service on Virgin is chargeable unless you are in first class. On East Coast, it's free to all, and it's nice to know that when you're going to be on the train for a long time, you will still be able to get online without paying extra. But let's not get too excited. You have to register your email address to use the service. I suspect that in accepting the terms of service you're authorising them to share your email address with others. Deep joy. The speed of connection is, at times, too poor to be worth the effort. There are parts of the line (notably between Newcastle and Edinburgh) where the signal seems very weak and it's barely worth trying to connect. Even at times when it's working 'well' it's quite slow, and often freezes, which, to fix, means that you have to shut down and restart. The internet service provider is also Swedish, which sets the default language on certain web sites to Swedish, which is vaguely weird. Since the service was instated, the staff members on the train have clearly been bombarded with queries and now insist that you telephone an 0845 number for support issues, which probably won't be included in your free call allowance on your mobile. The train guard *can* reset the service on the train (apparently) but that's all he can/is prepared to do. If the train is very busy, I don't normally bother with the Internet now. It's too slow to bother with. I'd actually rather they charged a reasonable rate and guaranteed a good connection speed. The service on Virgin trains definitely seems better. There are power connections at most of the seats in both standard and first class (a necessity on a long journey with a laptop, let's face it). These are, again, a bit unreliable. I've found that there can quite often be whole carriages where the power supply doesn't work. Again, the train guard *can* reset this, but is rarely in a hurry to do so. The toilets are a problem. On the plus side, it's good that most of them are not contained by those awful revolving doors that most people forget to lock. I understand that they're for wheelchair users (and certainly don't begrudge them) but if I open them once more and find some old lady with her knickers round her ankles, I think I shall probably make myself go blind on purpose. They're also a nightmare if you have 'playful' people who stand outside and press the open button before you can lock the door. But that aside, most of the toilets aren't like this on East Coast services. The trouble is that, more often than not, they pack up. They simply can't cope with the volume of people using them over a five-hour peak journey and I've regularly been on services where every toilet has packed up. I would suggest that on such long journeys, they might need to schedule a slightly longer stop at one of the stations to have the toilets serviced. Even if they're working, they often run out of soap/paper/hot water and/or get filthy and smelly. It's not good. The East Coast catering is easily the best of all the rail operators (although that is a little like saying Fred West was the kindest serial killer of the 1990s). It helps that they have proper kitchens in operation on many of the services, such that if you have a panini it is actually cooked on a hot plate as opposed to in a microwave. The quality and choice of the food in the shop is still very average. There are sandwiches, crisps, chocolate and cakes but nothing too extraordinary. They do have quite a nice cheese and mushroom flatbread but this simply leads me on to the next criticism, which is that they run out of everything about half way into the journey. Given that they charge a fortune, it seems like extremely bad business sense to me to have a train full of waiting customers, only to not have enough stock to keep feeding them - and that's before you take into account all the delays whilst they change staff or do actually have a little restock. Sort it out! I hate the trolley service in standard class, which blocks up the entire carriage and seems to think it's OK to wheel around sandwiches that should be refrigerated, letting them get all warm and sweaty instead. Yuk. The dining car is the main saving grace, which actually serves up reasonably good hot food with proper table setting and is absolute heaven after a long day in the capital to while away with friends or colleagues. The food is actually quite tasty - something like roast chicken, with vegetables and potatoes will be served quite smartly (considering you're on a train). This is the kind of thing that sets this way of travelling out from the competition. There's an 'at seat' service in first class, although only teas, coffees, water and biscuits are free with a first class ticket. They will, at least, go and get you things from the buffet car, but this doesn't compare well with the likes of Virgin, where a hot (albeit processed) meal is included in the ticket price. The only good thing is that you can jump to the front of the queue at the buffet car if you go for a walk, something, which appeals to my feudal sensibilities enormously. I've seen a gradual improvement in service standards since GNER lost the franchise. GNER staff members were legendarily rude and unhelpful but these days, things aren't as bad they once were. (A member of staff once scolded me when she dropped a milk jug and it splashed up my trousers, on the basis that I was in her way). I still don't feel that the staff members who serve food and drinks in first class are particularly conscientious, nor do they acknowledge that you may have spent several hundreds of pounds on a ticket. Arguably, they should treat all customers with respect of course, but the first class issue is extra annoying. They seem quite reluctant to carry bicycles. I saw a couple run into real trouble at Durham when they wanted to bring their bikes onto the train and this seemed a bit daft to me. Some of the train managers are excellent. They obtain information and announce it for onward connections or other services, genuinely helping you to get to your destination as soon as possible. Others are the complete opposite; it's almost as though you are a nuisance. Generally, I think there is a long way to go, although I sympathise with the constant changes of operator, which must have been very unsettling for the personnel. East Coast trains vary enormously in terms of reliability. The trains are always ready fifteen minutes before departure at London, giving you time to settle and/or find a seat if necessary. Indeed, departure times are pretty reliable, whichever end of the country the train departs from. The problems occur in between! This is another problem of running trains for such a long route in that they can inherit delays that just get worse and worse. It doesn't help that the line out of London often suffers with congestion, signal failures and flooding (!), resulting in problems for the East Coast services without failure. These trains have more than their fair share of issues too. I've been on trains where fights have broken out, birds have flown into and broken windows, the driver has been taken ill and countless other excuses never seen on other lines (at least by me). I have never reached London on time. Arrivals into London always seem to be at least fifteen minutes late. The line doesn't, at least, seem to suffer from endless, disruptive engineering works at weekends though. The service are, at least, reasonably frequent. London-Leeds services run half-hourly, as do services to Newcastle and the Scotland services are hourly. You can't assume that all services stop at the same intermediate stations. Places like Grantham, Peterborough and Doncaster are not so rigidly served so you should always check that before you travel. It's not a cheap service at all. A standard anytime return from Edinburgh to King's Cross is now £271. First class is more than £400 - that's a lot of money! There's a lot of inconsistency in the fares too, with no real regard for the distance travelled. So an equivalent anytime return from London to Leeds is £223, almost the same price as the Edinburgh journey but half the distance. The operator would, of course, argue that you can save a fortune by travelling off peak and by pre-booking a ticket, which you can. But for many travellers, it can be extremely difficult to commit to a specific journey and with the rigid 'no refunds or revisions' rules on these advance tickets, they're often not worth the risk. East Coast services remain a very mixed bag. Over the last five or six years I've seen improvements in reliability, staff attitude and catering, but prices remain very high and the rolling stock is getting too old. I much prefer the train for this journey than flying, particularly with the great scenery and the dining car, but I'd prefer to see the longer routes stopping less frequently to trim those journey times down a bit and the ticket prices are still way too high. As for the free wireless Broadband, well that needs a complete rethink. But I do generally quite enjoy my trips up and down the east coast, even if it's just to take in the scenery.
I generally do not like travelling by train thanks largely due to South West Trains. South West trains have a tendency to treat their customers like cattle, seeking to fit as many people on the trains as they can whilst at the same time removing basic conveniences and facilities in an effort to reduce costs and increase fares. So, when I had to make a journey up to Leeds from London's Kings Cross, I was not particularly excited. In this review, I talk about my experiences onboard, encounters with staff and comparison to other train companies. WHO ARE THEY East Coast operate high speed passenger rail services on the East Coast Main Line between London, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland. Key routes are London - Leeds, London - Newcastle, London - Edinburgh - Glasgow. A journey from London Kings Cross to Leeds takes just over 2 hours. ONBOARD EXPERIENCE An announcement just before you depart, welcoming you onboard and informing you of the facilities. Most notably the restaurant, trolley service and free wifi. A very pleasant way to undertake a journey which shows how much of a difference there is between good rail operators such as East Coast and terrible ones such as South West. The seat were comfortable and the train had clearly been cleaned to a decent enough standard. The seats were larger and more comfortable than those found on South West. The only down side is that they had less padding but still were more comfortable. Sockets are provided by most seats to allow you to charge your laptop or mobile phones. You will have to pay for a first class ticket to receive such 'luxuries' on South West trains! The experience only got better when I discovered that they offer free wifi to their passengers. They could've easily charged for this service and I know other operators would have so East Coast get a massive thumbs up for this. The speed of the internet varies but during the course of my journey found it sufficient to undertake email including downloading attachments, facebook, browsing etc. It can handle youtube but I didn't use this although expect a little buffering depending on your signal strength and journey location. Another nice feature of connecting to their wifi network is that you can track the progress of the train along your journey as it displays it in graphical format on their homepage much like airlines do. You also can get information about their onboard facilities such as the food options available and prices. A trolley service came by and I asked for a coke which they did not have. The attendant was friendly, polite and helpful in as much as he said he would get one from the restaurant and return to me with it. Again reinforces the notion of customer care and providing a good customer experience. Only if more train operators could be more like that. FARES My off peak journey cost just over £83 for a London - Leeds return train ticket. Whilst not cheap, train travel in the UK is generally expensive. However, if you are flexible and know your dates then you can make significant savings even on the super off peak rate I got. Advance booking usually provides discounts and opting to buy two singles instead of a return can also make the journey cheaper. By being savvy and flexible, you could shave 50% off the price I paid. Still not exactly a bargain but as good as it gets. OVERALL EXPERIENCE I was not looking forward to the journey as I had previously spent 2 hours on a South West train before boarding the East Coast train. I just hoped that I could get a seat. I found the journey to be fast (arriving on time and in Leeds in just over 2 hours) and enjoyable as I had access to the internet meaning I could get some work done and browse. I know such is possible on many mobile phones today but it is annoying to lose 3G signal. I encountered no such issues when using their wifi other than requiring me to register for which I have received no spam. The journey was smooth and I actually enjoyed the ride into Leeds. I would thoroughly recommend this rail operator. If you are used to a great operator such as East Coast you may not appreciate the little things as much as myself but when you see what we have to offer down south in the name of South West trains you'll know how good you have got it! Only downside is that I did not use the toilets onboard but have been assured by a travel companion that they were up to the standard in that it was clean and did not smell.
As the name suggests, this train company runs services on the east coast. The speed of the train is one of the most impressive in the country, from London Kings Cross to York in about 2 hours and to Edinburgh in about 4h30. I find these trains very comfortable; they have plenty of legroom, the tables are decent sizes, the whole train comes with free, easy-to-use WiFi and powerpoints are provided at each table. Of course, because these trains are long-distance, you can reserve a seat at no cost, which is really useful, especially on a commuter train where otherwise you'd be standing for hours. In terms of customer service, the staff have always been helpful, and make themselves available for anything you require. These trains are often quite busy, and so can be noisy, but there are quiet coaches which are much better for travelling in in my opinion. There's always a trolley which comes through, serving refreshments, and it's no more expensive than on any other train company (although it's certainly not cheap; you really are paying for the convenience). I can't comment on the toilet facilities provided, as I, like many people, have a natural aversion to them (although I haven't noticed the tell-tale smell which so often emanates from train toilets). However, my favourite feature of this train company is their website. It's clear, compact, easy to use and, even better, they give you the cheapest fares - special "online fares" which can be significantly lower. For instance, booking a train from King's Cross to York a couple of days before normally costs £28.40 with a railcard. On eastcoast.co.uk it's a mere £20! It's also got a handy table of times and prices, so that you can pick the time and price that suits you best. Overall, great service, and a great website.
East Coast trains operates on you guessed it the East-coast mainline. I usually board at Newcastle when I am commuting to Lancashire and change at York. The trains are always clean and tidy looking but this could be because I usually get the 4.30am from Newcastle to London kings cross. The train operates a kitchen for all your onboard catering needs (the food is decent enough but expect to pay OTT because your on a train). The trains come with very comfortable seats and tables, power sockets so you can charge your mobile phone or laptop. Onboard WIFI is also provided which works easy enough on my laptop without the need for any reconfiguration (doesn't work on my iPod touch though). The staff are always extermely polite and will endavour to help you should you need it. You are informed of safety procedures before leaving over the PA and this is sign posted all over the entrances of the train. The toilets provided are always clean when I get on but obviously I am on the first train of the morning so they should be anyways. My Journey usually lasts about an hour and I can safely say that the onlytime you think your moving is when the train is breaking to stop at a station the journey is that smooth. I am really impressed with the overall service provided by East Coast i'd give them 5 out of 5