Avanti West Coast - Three classes of travel to be introduced

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Worldwide, 9 Dec 2019.

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  1. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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  2. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Member

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    Perfect. I'd happily take that. I like the space and quiet but the rest of it is very little value to me
     
  3. Skie

    Skie Member

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    If you're on a train for 2-3 hours it makes sense to have a decent meal so when you get to your destination you aren't having to get food and can spend more time working or doing touristy things.
     
  4. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    That rather depends on what time of day you're on the train. And if the purpose of the trip is a meal...

    Personally I would rather pay for it if I want it and not have it if I don't.
     
  5. Skie

    Skie Member

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    It does depend on circumstances. Which is why having the option is good.

    It's just a shame it is tied to a ridiculously expensive ticket. Avanti have made mention of allowing upgrades at a 'fair' price, which Virgin weren't overly keen on doing especially with how they began handling excessing tickets at their own stations towards the last few years of their franchise.
     
  6. w1bbl3

    w1bbl3 Member

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    I've have thought the PE tickets would be sold as some form of standard class ticket to get around corporate restrictions on first class booking, the question being will a PE standard have any flexibility or be a fixed time AP? The former being far more attractive to business travellers.

    One the problems IHMO with WC at the moment is the amount of AP tickets sold can and does leave very few unreserved standard class seats negating the flexibility benefit of anytimes.

    TBH the PE concept seems to me like a service trial to understand what type of services should be offered on HS2 where journey times of 1hr+ needed for food service will be beyond Birmingham.
     
  7. Energy

    Energy Member

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    I wonder if they are doing this as more of a trial, if people hate it they just change the sign to first class, as it looks like it will be the same seat but different service, but if people like it, maybe convert all WCML first to premium economy once hs2 opens.
     
  8. CheshireCrusty

    CheshireCrusty Member

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    I used Virgin to travel to London fairly frequently but irregularly.
    Invariably I booked an Advance First on an offpeak service, often going out the day before my appointment as the difference in price paid for a London Hotel for the night and I also return in the late evening. Although the main reason is to avoid overcrowded peak services for the reasons below.
    My Company's policy is that First Class can be used for all rail journeys over 90 Minutes (provided a meal is not also charged). My usual rail journey is currently 127 minutes and incidentally total travel time will increase with HS2.
    Since April this year however a number of my services have switched from 11 coach Pendos to 9 coach Pendos with only 2 coaches of 1st Class (plus the infamous rail staff only half Coach K). The experience was so poor with what is effectively overcrowding in First Class that I now try to avoid all journeys operated by 9 coach Pendos.
    Why is first overcrowded at 66% occupancy? On a Pendo the tables are so small that you cannot use a laptop and have an a4 sheet of paper plus a coffee/tea cup on the table if all the seats at the table are occupied (even with someone who is not trying to work), also you are always playing "footsie" with the person opposite. This is particularly bad on the tables for two and the few single seats also do not have a large enough table for the above test. This means that you are not only uncomfortable but you are unable to work on the journey, especially if it the nature of your work is at all confidential.
    The food offering is welcome but has consistently degraded over the 22 years of the franchise (I did purchase an on board meal before Virgin took over the Franchise). As I used the cheaper off peak services, I haven't been eligible for the hot meal services for some time, but was generally happy with the snack/bacon roll type offering provided I got at least three tea/coffee services and the bar service was very welcome (provided I wasn't going straight into a meeting).
    Because of the 9 coach Pendo issues, I have made my last three journeys by car as I cannot count on doing any work on the journey and the road journey time is less than 30 minutes longer, when you add in time to station plus time to secure a car park space and completion of journey to ultimate destination. The cost by car is a bit more than my supercheap advance tickets plus the cost of start and finish journeys and car parking or taxi fares, but not by much and probably the biggest add on with the road journey is the cost of the meal en route.
    I don't think I am alone in my use of the service on this basis.
    What do I think of a premium standard offering? It would all depend on the comparative prices but most importantly whether I could be sure of getting the space I need. The key factors to my decision will be the cost versus the road journey alternative and whether I can continue to reserve my particular choice of seat giving me an indication of the likely loading. If Avanti are going to convert 1 coach on the 9 coach Pendos, I will not be using them at all. If they are converting coach G on an 11 coach Pendo I might either use the premium offering or continue to book 1st Class provided it meets a comparison with the car journey costs.
     
  9. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    You should not be doing confidential work on a train full stop.

    But that aside, you cannot call a coach with all seats taken "overcrowded". If the norm is to be a table per person, First Class fares will need to increase substantially - are you willing to pay that?

    More single seats at the expense of tables for two is probably the answer, but for yourself the answer is probably a smaller laptop so you can make use of those.
     
  10. nickw1

    nickw1 Member

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    Of course, if walking and cycling reduced, we'd have other problems. More people unfit with the consequent health issues, not to mention the possible mental health problems (could precipitate depression, iin some peoples' case at least) caused by being confined to the immediate surroundings of your home. I definitely think you can go to far with these sorts of arguments. I agree we need to cut CO2 emissions but arguing against walking and cycling is going way, way too far!!!

    I'd probably agree people do seem to be travelling around (by mechanised transport) a bit too much these days (compared to the good old days of 20 or 30 years ago) though - leading to overcrowded roads, overcrowded railways and generally more stress as a result - though I'm at a loss to explain why. One might think remote working would lead to less travel, not more.

    As to the original question - as long as this intermediate class replaces First, not Standard, I'm fine with it.
     
    Last edited: 16 Dec 2019
  11. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    Remote working isn't a panacea for climate change either given the need to individually heat homes (ie burn gas or use electricity) rather than pool this heating supply in an office.
     
  12. HowardGWR

    HowardGWR Established Member

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    I was surprised that @CheshireCrusty has insufficient leg room when sat opposite pax in first class on a Pendolino (post #218). Are they really that cramped?
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    No, there's absolutely loads of room, the bays are over 2m. You can't stretch out with somebody opposite, but a game of footsie is very easily avoided unless both people are wearing clown shoes.

    Pendolino 1st is really quite good. I'd say it is still the best currently available in the UK, quite a contrast from Standard which is really very average.
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Might that balance out in summer, though, as most UK homes won't have the heating on, and air conditioning in houses is very rare but is near universal in offices (and working very hard, as there is still a tendency to design office buildings like giant greenhouses)?
     
  15. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    I live in rural Kent in a 1930s agricultural workers cottage the construction is solid brick downstairs with a timber frame with cladding upstairs. There no gas in the village and I use a mixture of wood and smokeless coal. Probably a pretty much worst case scenario when compared to modern housing and heating but the cost of maintaining a temperature of 18 -19 degrees during the day (when you are paying to heat the house for the evening anyway) is really marginal probably between £1 and £2 a day even in mid winter. The cost of a gallon of diesel to do the 15 mile each way to the rail head is probably around £7 let alone the cost of the rail journey 50 miles to Charing Cross. I reckon a day working at home is of immense benefit to climate change for the majority of workers in London.
     
  16. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    OK I'll lock the thread as clearly we have exhausted the original discussion, given we only currently have limited information, and is a lot to talk about in other areas which belong in other threads (we are happy for these other topics to be discussed, in the right place please!)

    When there is an update regarding Avanti's plans, feel free to report this post and we will look at re-instating this thread.
     
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