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Virgin Trains - Branson's Got It Spot On
Member Name: angel_clown
Advantages: Excellent passenger service, good range of products in shop, smooth journey, clear information
Disadvantages: High train fares, some delays, can get very crowded
As a Scot living in Reading I've had to travel back and forth across the border quite a lot, as well as travelling to various other places in between. This means I've had quite a lot of experience with Virgin Trains over the past few months.
I've travelled using both First and Standard Class and overall my experiences have been quite pleasant. Plenty of legroom in both class carriages, friendly shop and carriage staff, smooth journey and little delays... departing, at least. Any problems and queries regarding train times and connections when there is a delay are promptly answered in full detail. First Class, as expected, offers a satisfactory complimentary service - and if you're lucky enough to be travelling through certain stations, this is delivered at your seat.
Long-distance Virgin Train journeys do have a tendancy for delays once the train is in motion, however they tend to be mostly out of Virgin's control (line faults, unruly passengers... at one point there was a delay due to a kite on the line!), and staff do make the effort to ensure that any inconvenience to the passengers is minimal.
I can only recall one particularly bad journey, where due to a staff mixup the shop was closed for the majority of the journey, and to top it off a long delay in Carlisle resulted in me missing a connection in Birmingham New Street. However, staff were as always on hand to offer information on next trains and availability of seats.
Overall I've been impressed with Virgin's high standard of service, and I'll be disappointed when Arriva take over a large number of the Virgin Train routes.
Summary: Deserves every bit of its highly positive reputation
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