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Trains that go slow, trains that go fast...
East Midland Trains
Member Name: vickitoria10
East Midland Trains
Advantages: Relatively clean and mostly on time
Disadvantages: Lack of luggage racks, prices (if you don't get the good advance fares!)
Living in Sheffield our train station is served by East Midlands trains for going down to London. We usually make this trip 2 or 3 times a year, usually for football but recently we travelled to Heathrow and took the train and I went on a day trip to see a show. The reason I've stated my reasons for going is because you definitely experience a different experience on a train depending on when you go!!
Last year I think all my trips were for football and although personally me and my husband are not your hooligan type travelling on a train, we know what can occur and if it does I feel really sorry for your ordinary people on the train!! 9 times out of 10 if you travel on a train when there is football on (most Saturdays!) you will not even notice it, and most people travelling are courteous and aware of people around them. You do get the odd few that can spoil it for others - the big groups that think it's clever to get other people involved in their 'games' and this can make people feel uncomfortable (it does me and I'm normally going to the same place as they are!). You can always move to another carriage and if they get too rowdy you can always speak to the guard. I've never seen any major trouble on a train and you generally find that there are more police around the stations and sometimes on the trains so you still feel perfectly safe. They do seem to have it pretty sorted for coping with groups. So that's good!
The two trips this year have been on weekdays, one was a day trip and one was travelling down on a Friday night and back on a Thursday lunchtime. Both of these, although busy were reasonably quiet.
One thing that does annoy me on a train is the lack of luggage space. Every single train I have been on the luggage racks are always overflowing and spill over into the aisles and people end up squashing cases in other areas of the carriage. Just a couple more luggage racks and the problem would be rectified!
The pricing structure for trains have supposedly been simplified over the last year - I don't really agree! I don't think I've ever paid the same price for a train fare ever! Advance fares are supposedly available 3 months before but realistically it can be anywhere from 2 to 3 months and it is really luck whether you are checking when they are released! If you get a cheap advance fare I think the train is a good value for money mode of transport. For my day trip to London I paid £10 return - this is the cheapest I have ever got it! For our trip to Heathrow we paid £34 return each. The most we have paid was when we booked tickets about 3 years ago a week before travelling and it cost us £108 return for 2 people....I dread tot hink whatt he fare would be a week before now!
We very rarely get food or drinks from the buffet car and instead choose to take something on the train with us. The odd time we have got something it has been reasonably quality but extremely expensive!
Our route has recently received quite a few new trains and I have to say this has greatly improved the comfort onboard the trains. The old style trains were getting quite grubby and rickety. The new trains are kept quite clean - considering the amount they are used! Even in standard class you now have access to a plug which can be handy for people with laptops/charging up phones etc.
We have only travelled first class once on East midlands trains. This was because it was actually the same price as travelling standard class and to be honest I really didn't see much difference. Slightly bigger seats and the general atmosphere better and quieter. However we travelled in an evening and were never offered any food or drink for free, I had been told you could get tea, coffee, biscuits etc but this was never offered. I'm not sure if we could have got it from the buffet car but it definitely wasn't advertised. So, I don't think I would pay a lot extra to go first class - if I knew the train was going to be really busy, I may pay a bit extra for a bit more comfort but it wouldn't be a lot!
Unless I travel to Doncaster, East Midlands trains is really my only option for travelling to London, I wouldn't say there is anything special about them but there isn't anything bad either! As a train company they serve our line pretty well, with 2 trains an hour to London and if you book in advance the prices aren't too bad!
Summary: As far as train companies go I suppose it's not bad!
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