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No Better Than Its Predecessor
East Midland Trains
Member Name: stephen2001
East Midland Trains
Advantages: Good looking trains from outside
Disadvantages: Still very grotty on inside
The Connect service (ie the regional service) hasn't shown any great improvement since they took over half of the Central Trains franchise in November 2007. In fact, you could still think that you're travelling on Central Trains.
A lot of the trains used on the Connect services have still yet to be repainted in the new livery, so on the platform, the chances are, you'll still end up on a green, blue and white train with the "Central Trains" wording peeled off. In fairness, as they've inherited most of the rolling stock, it couldn't be an overnight job to get that sorted. The trains that have been repainted do look very smart; even the older rolling stock.
What could have been was their staff's uniforms. Many of them still work in the old Central Trains jackets and jumpers which personally, doesn't fill me with great confidence in the company. If East Midland Trains are unable to supply their front-line staff with properly branded clothing after nearly 6 months, they must financially be up against it, and that could quite easily impact on their self-regulated fares.
Non of what I've mentioned so far covers the most important bit of public transport, and that is passenger comfort. The Connect services on the whole use quite old trains. Whilst the newly painted ones have had a good job done on the outside, they're still very grotty inside. At the end of the day, the seats and floors are generally strewn with the days rubbish. I've even seen a East Midlands conductor casually throw a bit of rubbish onto the overhead luggage racks. Many of the seats are very worn and if it's only a one carriage service, there isn't enough room for more than one pushchair or pram.
The front line staff do the best they can, but when it's busy, they do struggle. From what I've seen, if you buy a ticket on the train using a debit or credit card is painfully slow and is probably the same for most operating companies. On a crowded route, many passengers through no fault of their own get away without having to pay; quite probably another reason why ticket prices are soaring.
I can't comment on the Mainline Service to London (formerly the Midland Mainline franchise) as I've never travelled on it. having seen the trains used, and from looking into them through the windows, East Midlands Trains seem to be a lot better than their predecessors.
Summary: Review of the East Midlands Train's Connect service.
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