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London Midland - worth trying
London Midland Trains
Member Name: sammy00
London Midland Trains
Advantages: Regular trains, cheap prices, decent journey
Disadvantages: Cramped, dirty carriages
I have to say first off that, although I am far from being a snob, I do not tend to use public transport unless absolutely necessary. This is simply as I don't mind driving and will happily travel around to wherever in my car. This has included in the past London for days of shopping, sightseeing and seeing shows. But as the price of fuel increases, and the congestion charge and parking fee's rise I have started to look into public transport more and more and on a recent trip to London myself and my boyfriend decided to try the train.
We had heard that the train prices were increasing and figured that when we added it all up the price would be about the same as the cost of driving down to the capital from just outside Birmingham. We first looked at the Virgin line which was giving us prices of around £70!!!! And that was each! I mean I know we had planned to go down there on a Saturday but still! After the shock at the prices I looked at the trainline.co.uk site and this highlighted the London Midland service on the weekend rather than Virgin. I popped in our details and the times we wanted to travel expecting a similar price to appear on the screen.
At first look the price seemed only around £10/12 difference, but then I noticed that if I tweaked the times a little the savings could be huge! By picking a train just 40 minutes earlier on the way there, and coming home an hour earlier on the Sunday I could get a return for £19 each! I couldn't believe it! £19 as opposed to Virgin's £70 price tag. ~So as we knew we could not get anywhere near to London for any cheaper in the car we ordered the tickets. Within 2 days they arrived and we were ready for the off.
We caught the train from the start of its journey at Birmingham New Street, it was on time, and there were plenty of seats to choose from. The exterior of the carriages looked clean enough and pretty new. Inside the carriage was more basic and the seats were quite crammed together, you had little leg room and the seats weren't very wide. Two sets of seats per carriage also had a table seat which was nice if you wanted more room but these we're taken up quite quickly. Each seat has a fold down table attached to the seat in front but with these down you are very limited on space. I also noticed that the tables were dirty with mark all over them. Overall the carriages weren't very clean or tidy and were in need of a good clean and some TLC.
However, we thought that for the price we had paid we could put up with this for the sake of 2 and a bit hours and the journey kept to time and went quickly. There are 9 stops in total including Birmingham New Street, the journey takes the following route:-
Birmingham New Street
The journey took around 2 hours, and as the carriages got full with many passengers having to stand. This made the cramped feeling more overwhelming but thankfully not for very long. London Midland trains run around every 20 minuted from Birmingham so you do have plenty of choice to pick and choose.
The train arrived in London Euston dot on time and our return journey the next day also ran just as smoothly, and was very quite so we had plenty of room. I have to say that the cleanliness of the train however was much the same.
Overall our experience of the London/Midland route from Birmingham was good value. For around £20 (or cheaper) you can get a return from Birmingham to Euston and have a lot of choice on times. The route is quick, and was on time in our instance, and was much easier and cheaper than driving down to London. But you only pay for what you get, simple, cramped carriages that do need a clean and tidy up and a packed train most of the way there. You also get to see countless Virgin trains fly past you at breakneck speed while you chug along. But saying that for conveinence and price I will definatly travel London Midland again!
Summary: Worth trying and cheaper than Virgin's London train
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