Newest Review: ... bold and stands out well and isn't too cluttered. It's very easy to navigate with a simple text menu at the top, by clicking these links ... more
Elbows in we're on a Virgin Train
Member Name: karenroach
Advantages: Highspeed travel on modern trains
Disadvantages: Cramped, not enough luggage space
Virgin Trains. If you do much train travel in Britain you can't escape the reach of Richard Branson's trains. With their distinctive red livery, they stand out a mile, but of course that is the idea. When you think train travel, you think Virgin. What kind of experience can you expect when you travel with Virgin? You can board your train from most of the railway stations in the country. The train will be on time more often than not. The days when hardly any trains left on time are gone (almost).
Your first impression will be that the train is modern clean(ish) and quite narrow. The Virgin staff (cabin crew?) will be friendly and efficient, ready to help. The cool blue and grey spaces in the train have been designed very efficiently to use every inch in much the same way that it is in an ecomomy aircraft (ring any bells). This actually has the effect of making the trains seem a bit cramped. The windows are not quite large enough to alleviate this effect. If you are unfortunate enough to have luggage or baby transport, you could be in trouble. There are luggage racks, but they are quite minimal and difficult to load and unload.
When you find your seat (it's definitely best to pre book your seat) the feeling of being cramped continues. The seats are comfortable enough, but you are in them for a long time. If you are going far they need to be. during your journey you can treat yourself to some fairly standard food and drinks from the buffet if you get hungry on your journey. The buffet will be clearly signposted from your seat.
The discreet capsule toilets are a better design than the old box that you didn't even want to walk past let, alone go in. When you've got children, when nature calls, you've got to answer. They are generally clean. They are suitable for wheelchair users, so this is the one place on the train where yu don't feel you've got to keep you elbows in.
What can you do to while away the time during your journey? Plug in your laptop and do some work! Oh alright play some games. You could be old fashioned and read a book or a magazine bought from the onboard shop til you reach your destination. Overall the experience will be a positive one.
The price of all this - it varies. I can pay from as little as £38 pound to well over £100 pounds for the same journey from Wolverhampton to Plymouth return. The variation depends on when and how I buy my ticket. In short buy your ticket as far in advance as you can, and if you can buy online you can get some good reductions. If you qualify for any of the concessionary travel cards ( families, student, OAPs) you will get further reductions.
Summary: If you're on the train chances are it's Virgin