First class dining on Virgin

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by Peter Lanky, 21 Apr 2018.

  1. Peter Lanky

    Peter Lanky Member

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    I had considered that this would be a simple question to ask of Virgin trains, but after going through countless telephone menus, unavailable lines, live chat and the website, it would seem not to be.

    In July my wife and I will be returning home from Glasgow (leaving between around 4pm to 7pm) to Wigan NW on a weekday that happens to be our wedding anniversary, so I had considered buying first class tickets and dining on the train, but would want to ensure we have the full evening (as opposed to late evening) menu. All I want to know is on which services from Glasgow the evening menu is served.

    We are not normal first class travellers and as we would be paying our own fare, would not want to go to the extra expense just to be served sandwiches. Can anyone who uses these services advise please?
     
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  3. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    If you were buying standard walk up tickets then you would normally be ok to excess to first class on the day should you confirm that the evening meal service is running. If you are buying advances then this isn’t possible without a hefty increase in price.
    I always thought the times were on the website though they can be difficult to find.
     
  4. Peter Lanky

    Peter Lanky Member

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    I would be buying advance tickets in about a week's time when they come on sale. Am I right in thinking that dining is a bit of a hit & miss affair or is that pessimistic. It seems odd to me that VT don't know exactly what they will be serving on their trains at any given time.
     
  5. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    This Link shows the timetable and the services have the relevant coloured symbol on them to show which services show an evening meal.

    I wouldn’t say it was quite as hit and miss as some would make out. Certainly their East Coast Cousins are having a few problems but I think West Coast seem to be ok generally. Of course anything can happen on the day, it would be a shame if you missed out but you should be ok
     
  6. Peter Lanky

    Peter Lanky Member

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    That's really useful thanks. Would you happen to know what the darker blue/green signifies?
     
  7. A Challenge

    A Challenge Established Member

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    I think it is where the catering is - but note also you only want the ones with the purple dots for full service

    I think this means the 16:40 is from Preston only, the 17:30 and 18:40 as far as Penrith/Carlisle (I guess that means that boarding Oxenholme onwards is not served) and the 17:40 is light snacks only as it runs via Birmingham
     
  8. Peter Lanky

    Peter Lanky Member

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    That's what I had reasoned. So it looks like the 17:30 from Glasgow is the way to go.
     
  9. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Established Member

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    17:30 and 18:40 should have the full evening meal for boarding at Glasgow. The 17:40 does not, but is also a voyager, so doesn't usually have advance fares on it either, to prevent overcrowding.
     
  10. takno

    takno Established Member

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    Worth bearing in mind that even if it's not actually sandwiches it may not exactly fill you up. It's certainly a nice snack, and if you get in reasonably early the extra cost is probably worth it for some nice seats, but I'd probably aim to have it after a decent lunch rather than as the main meal of the day.
     
  11. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Established Member

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    You can also snack away in the First Class Lounge at Glasgow before setting off
     
  12. Peter Lanky

    Peter Lanky Member

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    Can I do that with a poor man's first class ticket? I remember trying to go into the first class lounge at Edinburgh, and was told I could only do so with a full price ticket. Clearly Mr Jobsworth didn't think that the single other person in there needed any company. Having said that, another time and another person, and I was let in no problem.
     
  13. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    You can get into the very lame excuse for a lounge at Glasgow on a First Advance.

    Virgin’s evening meals have seen a shrink ray in recent years and you should not treat it as a dinner. The main course on a recent MAN-EUS trip was about the size of my hand. If you want a dinner, I recommend eating beforehand in Glasgow. Save your money and go Standard.
     
  14. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    How long ago was that at Edinburgh?
    Was it a Virgin Advance ticket. They wouldn’t let someone in with a Crosscountry first advance for example.
     
  15. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Established Member

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    Yes, any First Class (well, a valid one!) will get you in the Lounge
     
  16. Peter Lanky

    Peter Lanky Member

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    About 4 years ago with a Transpennine Advance, which is the same as I had when I was let in. Me being old fashioned thought that a First class lounge was for FC ticket holders, and not dependent on who the ticket was from. Oh for the days of a single rail company.
     
  17. TT-ONR-NRN

    TT-ONR-NRN On Moderation

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    The 1640 is. But sandwiches until Preston. I got a meal after that. Hot meal was alright for me coz I don’t eat much, but it is small.
     
  18. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Established Member

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    Edinburgh is East Coast, they are funny! They did not allow West Coast passengers in, despite West Coast saying they should. However, Glasgow is West Coast, so no issues
     
  19. Peter Lanky

    Peter Lanky Member

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    They certainly know how to please the public ;)
     
  20. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    Did British Rail have any first class lounges?
     
  21. Peter Lanky

    Peter Lanky Member

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    No idea; it was never something within my radar during BR days. I was thinking more of the concept of the desirability of having a single rail organisation rather than that organisation being British Rail. We never had situations like my seemingly simple Wigan to Preston return day trip last week, when I was offered the choice of 3 differently priced tickets, and told I had to come back with the same company as going out with.
     
  22. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    You likely wouldn’t be expecting a meal (for free at least) if it were a single company operating. Of course you’d hope that the service punctuality might be better but it’s difficult to tell really.
     
  23. Peter Lanky

    Peter Lanky Member

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    Having various companies running things wouldn't be so bad if their operations were a little more joined up.
     
  24. trainophile

    trainophile Established Member

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    I've used the Edinburgh Lounge a few times with a West Coast Advance ticket. Have I just been lucky then, or have they changed their acceptance rules?
     
  25. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Established Member

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    I'm told they have got better at it, but not been recently
     
  26. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    They changed the rules around this a while ago, and explicitly state they accept West Coast tickets these days.
     
  27. cjp

    cjp Established Member

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    I have not been on the 1640 ex Glasgow for London train this year but in the past food orders have been taken and the food came out within a short time of leaving Glasgow. The food portions are not the largest but are adequate and on one, lightly loaded, occasion the staff took pity on me and I had two meals one of which was more of a snack
    First class has never been full and the staff have been good.
    One basis of my experience get yourself a cheap advance with a railcard and enjoy nibbles before boarding in Virgin's first class lounge your wedding anniversary trip in comfortable seats.

    PS 1st class is right down the front of the train.
     
  28. TT-ONR-NRN

    TT-ONR-NRN On Moderation

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    Indeed, it started straight after Motherwell last time.

    The sandwich course was more filling than the hot course but hey ho :D
     
  29. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

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    If it helps, when I've travelled from Glasgow back to Wigan in first, the 1840 has always had a full evening meal. It's not superb, and portions are small, as others have said, but it is better than nothing.
    What I would heartily recommend are the little chocolate biscuits that you often get in 1st on Virgin West Coast - best bit of the whole meal :)
     
  30. Gareth Marston

    Gareth Marston Established Member

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    Other half and daughter used the 1909 Crewe to Edinburgh (1643 ex Euston via West Midlands) Friday. Weren't served food until after crew change at Preston. They opted for the quinoa salad and really enjoyed it had cakes, crisps , hot drinks and were given a bottle of wine. Only booked on Wednesday so the 1st AP were only 20 quid more than standard ones left so worth paying extra.
     
  31. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Established Member

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    They did indeed change the rules a long time ago. It’s just adhering to them that’s recently changed!
     

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