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What A Pickle...
Date: 09/09/00, updated on 09/09/00 (22 review reads)
Advantages: Can't think of any
Disadvantages: Too many
Travelling to London recently, I booked on-line via thetrainline.com and the cheapest route was by Virgin trains. Now, it seems (in the public eye) that Virgin Trains ranks as about the wworst train operator in the UK but is this right? Yes. Virgin trains - and their staff -are awful.
I may have been looking in the wrong place but I could not find an on-line timetable (perhaps they are too ashamed to publish one). For travelling between two of the UK's major cities (Liverpool and London) and the last service being 9.00 pm, this is not very good.
Having booked a reserved seat, I was most annoyed to find that some old biddy had piled her luggage on my reserved seat and the virgin staff (who were constantly up and down the train) did not remove or ask the offending person to remove the luggage. Not a good start. The washroom had no running water and the entire train was very dirty - especially the windows in the carriages.
Having not using virgin trains before (and am not likely to again if I can help it), I was a bit confused about the tickets. It stated on the ticket that "travelling restrictions may apply" but gave no indication to what, if any, they were. On the return journey, I went to board the train and noticed on a monitor, that there were ticket restrictions on this particular train. To be sure, I asked a member of virgin staff if my particular ticket was valid. The "gentleman" said that it was okay to travel. Imagine my embarrassement when the "train manager" (?!)informed me a couple of stations later that the ticket was not valid on that journey. Naturally, I explained about the virgin staff on the platform and to be fair, the "train manager" accepted what I said and said he'd take the matter up. I wonder if I was the victim of some subtle "regionalised racism" from the staff member on the platform. If so, it would not have been the only encounter of this &quo
t;regonalised racism". Although I live in Liverpool, I don't have a broad Scouse accent but it is obviously has a northern undertone (with a bit of Irish thrown in, too!). Not that it should matter.
Let's see what Mr Branson has to say about this. (I wonder if he should change his name from "Branson" to "Branston", as his train service is always in a pickle. Hmm... Maybe he should change the name of "Virgin" to "Screwed" (or is that too strong?)