Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Virgin Difference

I've used my fair share of awful train services, so I felt that it was worth mentioning the little differences that make Virgin Trains the least frustrating and least murderous rage inducing train company I've travelled with.

Most train companies cram their trains full, giving you no warning and no solution. I used to travel every day to work with East Midlands Trains. The train was supposed to be a 4 carriage train, but 90% of the time would turn up with two; leaving people standing for 50 minutes, becoming unbearably crowded as it got closer to Manchester.

Did East Midlands Trains ever apologise for this? As far I heard, not once in 10 months did they even say sorry.

Virgin on the other hand. Have a sign at Euston station which warns passengers of huge demand for the 19.00 train to Manchester, and recommends they book a seat in advance.

Even better, they provide an extra train 20 minutes later (and a relief train on Fridays to deal with the crowds). At least understanding that a train that is always busy can be planned around, rather than leaving customer to stand for 2 hours.

Better yet. They announced on the 19.00 that any customers still standing could go to the 19.20 train and get first choice of seats.

So simple, but a mile better than the abysmal service most other train companies provide.


David Mortimer said...

Ahhh, East Midlands Trains. Even two years after those daily commutes, they're still easily my most hated brand ever.

Rob Mortimer said...

Yep. They were that bad.

(For those who don't know, David and I used to get the same train each morning - we share our mutual loathing of the service we received)