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Voyager from B'ham bit like a curates egg
Author Name: Graham Bloxsome
Advantages: Reliable and quick
Disadvantages: Let down by tired rolling stock
I daily use Virgin train services between West Midlands and Crewe and there are good and bad points.
Firstly the good, the trains, Super Voyagers are usually on time and their reliability is excellent. Speed is good and they ride the track well although whether you like them tilting is personal choice. The staff onboard are attentive and polite and do announce when there are delays ahead.
Poor points: The voyager trains are now due for a refit, they have had 10 years of heavy use and it shows, dirty carpets, worn upholstery and the interior decor is now dated, the silver panelling for example is cold and univiting. Seats are hard for long journeys and have poor legroom in the bus like configuration and with a maximum of 5 coaches there often are not enough seats for passengers. The Voyagers design with equipment mounted in the roof means they are claustrophobic, especially the seats located against a blank wall and not a window. Digital reservation displays often fail and the card replacements just say seat reserved but no details between which stations, so you can't be sure if you can occupy a seat or not. Other points have been covered before regarding catering eqwuipment failures, poor PA systems and my own pet hate doors at the carriage end that shut on you. Older trains had doors that opened automatically and then stayed open whilst you passed through. Some things are a result of financial pressures of operating a franchise rail service in the modern era others are due to initial poor train design. This was acknowledged by the make Bombardier when many of the Voyager design faults were rectified in their subsequent train design called the Meridian and operated by East Midland trains.
Overall a pretty good service let down by poor designed trains
Summary: Quick and reliable but don't expect it tpo be too enjoyable.
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