Newest Review: ... that a train has turned up on time when this happens and throws the whole timetable out of kilter... Generally I've found the South E... more
A great train service
South Eastern Trains
Member Name: thehonesttruth
South Eastern Trains
Advantages: Friendly staff, nice stations, usually clean and punctual
Disadvantages: Cleanliness slips at busy travel times
I never really used trains very often until I met my wonderful boyfriend online in October 08. He was perfect for me in so many ways - gorgeous, intelligent, kind, funny - the one minor fly in the ointment being that he lived in Eastbourne, some 160 miles from my home in Nottingham.
Pretty soon, we found ourselves travelling back and forth on a regular basis- he always by train, myself by a combination of coach and train due to being a bit scared of the tube!
Generally, I find myself hopping on a South Eastern train from London Victoria, heading for Ore , with me hopping off at Eastbourne . Return journeys have gone various routes, one directly from Eastbourne to London Victoria, and one route that goes from Eastbourne to Brighton, and then onto London Victoria from there .
Having used the trains, I have only ever had one train be late either in arriving or departing from the station. The one time a train left the station late, the intended route being Eastbourne -Brighton - London - Dreaded Tube - Nottingham , it was inconvenient, but worked out in my favour a little .
The train was ten minutes late leaving Eastbourne station, and naturally, it arrived in Brighton ten minutes late, just as I saw the train I SHOULD have been catching to London Victoria pull out. I'm a natural worrier, and anxiously approached the station guard to ask what I should do, and within about 3 minutes was seated on a train travelling directly to London St Pancras, bypassing the tube altogether, and still getting me there *just* in time to catch my train back to Nottingham .
South Eastern Trains cover Kent, South East London, and East Sussex.so chances are if you're in that neck of the woods, you'll be using this company, and I have to say that overall its been a very pleasant experience . On most occasions the trains have been clean and tidy, with plenty of space available in the storage racks and plenty of seats . Obviously, when travelling during the holidays, as I did today, the service is much busier, and sadly this showed a little . When boarding the train this morning just before nine am, I was greated with tables that still had litter on them, copies od the Metro strewn across the floor, and a bin stuffed full of rubbish . Given that the train hada twenty minute period of waiting in the station, it would have been nice for it to be clean, but I did at least manage to grab a table for myself and my daughter, and after moving some beer cans (who drinks that early!) we enjoyed a trouble free journey to London Victoria. The train had a couple of stops for attachment of carriages , and became a little crowded towards the last part of the journey, but considering it' the end of the Easter holidays, not bad at all really .
The trains temperature is usually quite confortable, and there are electronic signs letting you know what the next stop is, as well as regular annoucements letting you know which station is next. For someone that panics when travelling as much as I do, this is very welcome, as are the friendly attitudes of the guys that come and check your tickets. I have never seen anything less that warm service from these guys, and a couple of the staff have actually been so friendly as to make me feel my presence on thre train was giving them an honour!
On the services I have used, they have a buffet wagon, which sadly is as overpriced and as limited in range as any other. Expect to pay £1 for 2 shortbread fingers, £2.80 for a can of lager, around £3 for a sandwich and about £1.25 for a cup of veggie soup that tastes like it's out of a vending machine. I would recommend taking your own food and drink on board to get better value for money, and luckily, the stations from which I have use South Eastern trains have all had various food outlets inside .
At Eastbourne there is a Subway and a WHSmith, as well as a small coffee concession, and just outside the station are a few cafes that also offer take away options. At the London Victoria end, there is Burger King, M&S, Yo! Sushi and a variety of other places, so the optons are never too limited.
I tend to buy my tickets in advance and then pick them up from the machines in the station , so I never have to queue to get them on the day . Eastbourne station never seems to have a queue for tickets, although the same cannot be said for London Victoria, so if travelling out from London then advance tickets are the way to go .
Overall, my experience with South Eastern trains has been mostly very good, with excellent customer service, good puntuality, and generally quite a clean and cosy environmont . I do think they let themselves down on cleanliness at busy travel times though, something that I feel they could improve on, as no one wants to travel back in a carriage covered n beer cans and discarded copies of the Metro. I will be taking one star off for this, but that is still a respectable four stars , and a train service I would recommend!
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