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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Essexman, 10 Jan 2019.
£14 for a lamb shank is cheaper than you’ll pay in most restaurants.
I could see that being a sensible thing to do. Aberdeen isn't really a touristy place, and CS do seem to be basing the whole operation on tourism rather than weekly commuters e.g. to the oil rigs.
Yes, I guess you have a point, although I note that the Aberdeen portion always ends up leaving Dundee at its scheduled time as it ends up in amongst the early trains running there.
Scheduled arrival and departure times are
Edinburgh arrive 0354. Inverness departure 0418, Aberdeen departure 0443, Fort William departure 0450
Monday 0410 - 0446, 0449, 0517
Tuesday 0347 - 0416, 0427, 0458
Wednesday 0343 - 0429, 0440, 0507
Thursday 0344 - 0404, 0418, 0452
Friday 0347 - 0416, 0425, 0510
Saturday 0344 - 0412, 0414, 0452
Problem is that Aberdeen is not the only place people are going - I think numbers for Leuchars, Dundee and other stations contribute as well. My experience is that fewer people in the seated coach are going through to the Fort William side, perhaps put off by the need to change, than to the Aberdeen route.
On 14 October, the seated coach was pretty full and only three people changed for the West Highland side.
The order of the Highlanders and the Waverley shunts has now changed, so there is now a need for Fort Bill passengers to get off the Aberdeen seats promptly otherwise find they are going east not west. (The rationale for the change is so the half-set with the 1x PRM Sleeper and 7x Sleeper coaches stays on Inverness (Highlander) and Edinburgh (Lowlander) - but that's a different debate...)
Northbound, 1S25 is now formed up as it arrives into Waverley as: ABD-FTW-INV-Class 92 (East End) [It used to be INV-ABD-FTW-Class 92].
The Inverness portion is drawn forward from the ABD/FTW to allow the INV 2x 73/9s to run in across the scissors crossing and take INV away to the west (again via the scissors and past the FTW/ABD still in the original platform).Meanwhile, the Aberdeen 73/9 hooks on what was the rear of 1S25 and takes 1A25 (Aberdeen portion) away to the west.
Finally the seats/brake are shunted onto the FTW's east end by the 73/9 (after the 92 has been detached) and then the loco runs round to the west end to take 1Y11 (Fort Bill portion) away.
For obvious H&S reasons etc. passengers cannot alight the Fort William (1Y11) until the day coaches are attached and the train properly set up (TCMS etc) and ready for boarding.
Following these moves through, it does mean the Fort William seated passengers have to get off ABD soon after it arrives and wait until the Fort William is all set up some time later. Plenty of interesting shunt moves to observe during the wait though
As illustrated, the whole portions would need to be switched over (i.e. ABD becomes FTW and FTW becomes ABD, FTW leaves first, ABD has the day coaches shunted on etc) to make this work. It's probably logistically unfeasible as things such as timings/paths, the infamous TCMS and booking systems would need to change with the seasons - and would need significant forward planning. Would probably end in (more) chaos.
Please do let me know!
Thanks to both
No theres not, its an at seat service.
I travelled on the first day of the new arrangements but haven't been since. We were held on board the Aberdeen bit until the three bits were split up and the Inverness was ready to leave - ie half way through the shunts.
Either way, it's not a buffet counter and you have to wait for them to get around to doing it, unlike before when you could go to the counter when you wanted. Whether it's a physical trolley or someone taking orders is far less relevant.
My recent experiences are that, in the seats, you're unlikely to be offered anything until 90mins - 2hrs into the journey. I now take my own supplies.
Did you push the call attendant button above your head??
I did Euston-Fort William in the seats on Tuesday, after arrival in Edinburgh I was approcahed by someone in high-vis and asked if I was going to Fort William, then just told to "wait at the end of the train" which turned out to be for well over half an hour in 4 degrees with no real information but plenty of staff busy working and seemingly discussing the best method for the shunting(!). Inverness portion leaves first, then Aberdeen and then finally the WHL day coaches are attached. I was the only passenger in the seated section and just before depature was handed a plastic-wrapped blanket with warning that the carriage "gets very cold." Can't really recommend it, I didn't mind so much as I got to see the new shunting process but I can only imagine any normal passengers would not be at all happy with the whole ordeal at 4am!
There's no at seat service, it's the same as before. I did hear before there was going to be though it's better this way anyway, you don't have to go far to get refreshments and it means you can whenever you like without getting your sleep disturbed when you don't want to.
From my own days working offshore, crew change flights lifted around 0600, with checkin as early as 0400. Few would take the sleeper northbound, unless they fancied a full day in Aberdeen prior to their hitch. Southbound possibly more useful, though you're always at the mercy of schedule changes (e.g. due to weather) so wouldn't want to book non-refundable.
Also - while Serco's marketing clearly targets the leisure market, this doesn't mean they're no longer interested in working travelers. I'm sure they'll take anybody's money. Back when I lived in ABZ (a good 20 years ago), it never occurred to me to take a spin on the sleeper - never crossed my mind, and I've no idea why.
i would have thought rig workers were unlikely customers. How many of them live far enough South to make the sleeper worthwhile?
More relevantly the helicopters land them at the airport.....an airport from where they can fly to a load of airports across the British Isles. It would be a bit weird to instead make the not hugely convenient transfer to Aberdeen station to get a train that probably costs more.
Where are the oil company offices, by the airport or in central Aberdeen? If they were in central Aberdeen then the executives needing to get to/from London are more likely customers than the rig workers.
I don't know how many - but I do know one - he lives in Towcester just north of MK. He flies there, though, he doesn't use the train.
My sister-in-law used to work on rigs out of Aberdeen and lived in London. She used to fly north though.
Yes, but for the first 'run' you're expected to wait for the steward to pass through the carriage taking orders. The call button can then be used for any subsequent orders. In practice staff have been focused on the lounge car with the seats only getting served once the initial rush in the lounge is cleared.
Now I know what to expect it's no problem, I eat before I board and bring my own nightcap.
The 3 weeks on 3 off (or similar) nature of offshore work makes living anywhere in the UK entirely practical, and with the rise of budget flights even further. I know of one guy who 'commuted' from Italy. Knowing his shifts well ahead of time return flights could often be booked for less than I paid for a week of rail commuting based on 50 mile return journey.
This. Precisely. The Aberdeen portion is not for rig workers, but for those working (or living) in Aberdeen itself.
Cheers all. The last time I was on the Sleeper the lounge car was out of action and I had to make a quick dash to the Church Street Co-Op for a meal deal.
Forgive me if this has been answered up-thread, but what order does the southbound Highlander run in south of Edinburgh, please? Has it changed from the Mk2/3 days?
Yes, it has. Departing Euston (1S25), the Aberdeen portion (A, then lounge, then sleepers B-D) is closest to the buffer stops, followed by the Fort William portion (Sleepers E-G), with the Inverness portion (H, then lounge, then sleepers J-P) at the front directly behind the loco. Then coming into Euston (1M16), the loco has the Inverness portion directly behind it (H, then lounge, then sleepers J-P), then the Aberdeen portion (A then lounge, then sleepers B-D) then the Fort William (sleepers E-G) at the rear.
This means that if you’re in the Inverness portion, you’ve got much more of a walk than you were used to when boarding the down train in the evenings, but coming back into Euston, you’ll be surprised to find yourself much closer to the buffer stops than you remembered
That's perfect - thank you! As it happens, I do INV-EUS and the shorter trudge at Euston in the morning will be very welcome!
Hopefully you’ll have better luck next time with the Mk5s, as one thing that can definitely be said of the Mk5 lounges is that they are more reliable than their Mk2 predecessors! The worst of the staff shortages seem to be over now too, so hopefully you can look forward to a full lounge car service. Here are some pics of meals I had on my last trip. As the lounge was absolutely packed until Crewe, I had soup, then chicken, then a lovely chocolate mousse cake served to my room. This was all of surprisingly good quality and served (even to a room in coach P) with proper cutlery on proper plates. Then in the morning, I had the Highland breakfast in the lounge which I thought was very nice (100 times better than it was in the days of the Mk2s). On the trip back, I had the sea trout in the lounge followed by the whisky marmalade pudding; both were very nice I thought.
Surely there comes a point (4hours before departure?) where any extra income, even £10, is profitable.
You have the loco the staff, the track access charges, and the food and drink purchased and on board. None of those increase if there's 201 people on board compared to if there's only 200 people.
In other words, the one extra person paying a tenner has increased your income by a tenner without increasing any of your expenditure.
Yes, but, it Then becomes a game of chicken, as in this scenario there will always be some people who wait till the very last moment before booking if that is a possibility to catch low prices. If the operator doesn’t sell the least few available spaces at low prices, the customers are more likely to pay a higher price.
In any case, there are a few extra costs:
1. Cleaning the linen, replacing the consumables (soap etc.)
2. Opportunity cost of staff serving these people (you might be short staffed, have someone new etc. where a little slack helps)
3. Opportunity cost for those who paid full whack having to wait a bit longer for service, when in reality you want them to repeat
4. Cost of retailing the ticket (if you're doing it at the station) and managing the business rules for this ticket (how is who can buy it and when controlled?)
A lot of time and effort for no strategic gain I should think.
But equally that one extra person on board, having got a great ticket deal, may spend treble the amount as someone else on food and drink on board.
Surely the 4 points you mention cost pennies in relation to everything else?
Nobody's going to book a sleeper last minute on the off chance of a cheap ticket anyway. What do you do if you've rocked up at the station with your luggage etc at 11pm and there's no bargain to be had? Go home or pony up 200 quid?
That's another reason they don't sell off the last few berth cheap. No need to do so.
Or they might not by extra food. And no, they don't cost "pennies". In any case, as another poster said, you have now started to set an expectation of lower prices. Lots of people will wait to buy till the last minute. Revenue will decrease, or become less certain. Your economics will get even worse.
There's a lot of Mk3s going spare now, so the opportunity is there for anyone wishing to pursue this business model...