LM's description of their "first-class"

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MKB

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"Our First Class offers comfortable recling (sic) seats with more legroom than Standard Class, power points and a smaller private compartment so you can easily work or sit back and relax." From http://www.londonmidland.com/tickets-and-fares/tickets-and-fares/first-class-travel/

The picture painted is not one I recognise. "Comfortable" may be subjective, but the seats I'm used to certainly don't recline -- instead the seat bottom has to be forced one inch forward being careful not to trap your fingers (reducing the leg room in the process) -- and they are not private as you have a steady stream of standard-class passengers going through trying to find a working toilet or somewhere to sit.

The power point is shared, so if the person in the adjoining seat is using it, you don't get one. Oh, and there are no seat reservations, so your "comfortable" seat may actually be occupied by somebody else, and, if your thinking of travelling with someone else, don't expect to be able to sit together in order to work or relax.

Has the person who writes this marketing puff ever actually been on one of these trains?
 
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Ivo

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Sorry to anyone at LM - I have to agree with this.

comfortable recling (sic) seats

Little difference in comfort. The reclining mechanisms are easy to cut oneself on - as I found out the hard way <(

with more legroom than Standard Class

Not in comparison to bay seats they aren't!

power points

Availability and reliability cannot be guaranteed.

a smaller private compartment

Which is often at least half-full.
 

MK Tom

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Putting first class in the middle of the unit always struck me as the most bizarre decision. Either standard class passengers may not pass through and end up trapped in one half of the train, unable to reach free seats or a working toilet, or they are allowed through, which somewhat defeats the whole point of the private compartment and the concept of first class to begin with. I'm amazed anyone pays for it to be honest.

It's got to be the second weakest first class in the UK after Southern's ''doesn't even have a door'' set up at one end of the 377s.
 

Ivo

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Putting first class in the middle of the unit always struck me as the most bizarre decision. Either standard class passengers may not pass through and end up trapped in one half of the train, unable to reach free seats or a working toilet, or they are allowed through, which somewhat defeats the whole point of the private compartment and the concept of first class to begin with. I'm amazed anyone pays for it to be honest.

It's got to be the second weakest first class in the UK after Southern's ''doesn't even have a door'' set up at one end of the 377s.

Not even close. Greater Anglia would be red-hot favourites for "Worst First Class Provision". Southern's may not have a door, and it may still be pretty much identical to the rest of the train (besides being 2+2, and then this is only notable where 3+2 exists), but at least it is decent. Once you've been in First Class on a GA 321 - others will tell you the 317s are even worse - you will realise how good others are.
 

12CSVT

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Little difference in comfort. The reclining mechanisms are easy to cut oneself on - as I found out the hard way <(

Doesn't this contravene health & safety law ?
 

Smudger105e

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Doesn't this contravene health & safety law ?

Most certainly it does, and I have sent an email to LM pointing out the dangerous mechanism, I await a reply.

This is the email I have sent.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a Health & Safety Representative for **My Company Inserted her**, but also have a wider interest in Health & Safety particularly when it covers the Rail Industry in general.

I post on a railway forum I have come across a thread regarding your Company which concerns me.

Apparently your advertising literature makes some statements such as

Our First Class offers comfortable recling (sic) seats with more legroom than Standard Class, power points and a smaller private compartment so you can easily work or sit back and relax. Source: http://www.londonmidland.com/tickets-and-fares/tickets-and-fares/first-class-travel/

Ignoring the error (you might want to address that in time), users of the forum have made the following comments about the above statement.

“…seats I'm used to certainly don't recline -- instead the seat bottom has to be forced one inch forward being careful not to trap your fingers…”

“The reclining mechanisms are easy to cut oneself on - as I found out the hard way ”

I believe there is this very real risk of injury when operating a seat reclining mechanism in your First Class areas, this could be a major issue. I would suggest that LM should consider disabling this facility and considering modifications to the seat adjusters before another traveller injures themselves, or someone loses a finger!

Please let me know what action is being taken to address this serious issue with your Engineering and/or Customer Support departments.

Many thanks

**My Name here**
TSSA Health & Safety Representative


www.tssa.org.uk
 
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Schnellzug

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I've never understood the logic in having First class in a little compartment in the middle of a carriage in the middle of a Train; SWT do it on the 450s as well. Would it not be slightly more sensible to have it in one of the end carriages, like on 444s?
 

jopsuk

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when you've got unit interconnections that passengers can use, and up to three units per train (444s are only a maximum of two), it makes little difference. On my usual morning 379, 1st class is in carriages 1, 5 and 9. Would it make much difference if it was in 2, 6 and 10?
 

Schnellzug

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when you've got unit interconnections that passengers can use, and up to three units per train (444s are only a maximum of two), it makes little difference. On my usual morning 379, 1st class is in carriages 1, 5 and 9. Would it make much difference if it was in 2, 6 and 10?

They're usually only coupled up in the rush hour periods, and people tend not to move up & down very much then.
 

rail-britain

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Has the person who writes this marketing puff ever actually been on one of these trains?
I don't think so, as they didn't notice the curtains!
I have had a few emails to London Midland, and it is one of the more unusual TOC to discuss matters with
 

hozza94

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I thought Southeastern one is just a rip off? no doors, same seats as standard class, etc
 

Butts

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I thought Southeastern one is just a rip off? no doors, same seats as standard class, etc

Are the differing levels of First Class facilities reflected in "The Premium" charged by the various providers.

Are South Easterns relatively modest compared to say East Coast or Virgin where First Class actually means something other than a name ?
 

tsr

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Are the differing levels of First Class facilities reflected in "The Premium" charged by the various providers.

Are South Easterns relatively modest compared to say East Coast or Virgin where First Class actually means something other than a name ?

A lot of Southern services have extortionate First Class fares for what you get. I can't really gauge how Southeastern charge in comparison to other TOCs. I'd only use Southern or Southeastern First Class in conjunction with a relatively superior offering from another TOC used as part of the same journey (e.g. Virgin/EMT/East Coast (eh... what's that you say about EC First Class? ;) )).
 

Mintona

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The idea of first class on TOCs such as Southern and Sourheastern is more for commuters to guarantee a seat instead of having to stand up, as opposed to at seat service, reclining seats etc. Virgin Trains and Southern are two very different railway operators.
 

Ascot

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If you don't like it walk along the M6. I'll quite happily take your place daily compared to standard. :p
 

jopsuk

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Technically Chiltern have no 1st (though Business Zone is not-1st-Class-no-sir), the same goes for ATW (same proviso on the WAG Express!), Northern, Merseyrail and London Overground (the latter two are of course metro operations).

Frankly, most 1st class on commuter services is nothing more than a cynical way of taking money from commuters who are willing to pay over the odds for a better chance (by no means a guarantee!) of a seat- the West Anglia 379s are perhaps an exception, with 2+1 seating and complementary wifi, but miss the 379 and you could be on a 317/5 with grotty 2+2 seating and no compartment doors. You'll pay about 50% more for this privilege.
 

tsr

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The idea of first class on TOCs such as Southern and Sourheastern is more for commuters to guarantee a seat instead of having to stand up, as opposed to at seat service, reclining seats etc. Virgin Trains and Southern are two very different railway operators.

Quite frankly, if I happened to want to travel First Class between London Victoria and Southampton Central (admittedly one of Southern's longer routes, but a nonetheless well-used and relatively frequently-served one), I'd quite like a bit more than a slightly dirty headrest cover and the option of a free coffee if there happens to be a trolley. This is a long route for a suburban TOC with Electrostar stock, and, whilst nowhere near the outer extremes of the journey lengths and times offered by Virgin, to take one example, it does appear that First Class provision is not proportional to the journey length. They've taken away the free wifi, it's virtually impossible to get a light meal on board with the options on the trolley, power sockets may or may not be provided, there is absolutely no effort to make the seats comfier than in Standard Class... I could go on, but my point is that basic comforts applicable to the title "First Class" are indeed not there.

As for LM, who operate far longer routes, their provision is exceptionally disgraceful. Just because they are somewhat the slower of the principal WCML TOCs does not mean that their services should be focussed on only cramming people into Standard and ignoring demand for safe, comfortable and adequately served First Class facilities.
 

LE Greys

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I've never understood the logic in having First class in a little compartment in the middle of a carriage in the middle of a Train; SWT do it on the 450s as well. Would it not be slightly more sensible to have it in one of the end carriages, like on 444s?

It used to be standard practice on most trains, except for BCKs, which were often used as through coaches. There were two reasons for this. It is nearer the booking office/waiting room/footbridge at most stations and it is safer in the event of a crash (values of the time determin who gets the safest place). Presumably, on expresses, it was also convenient for the restaurant car (second class passengers could pass through the corridor of an FK). Later, they started putting it at the city end on expresses, because it was more convenient for the terminus and you can put the buffet in-between the two classes. Since EMUs can run either way round (and often do) but tend not to have buffets, some designers put first in the middle because it's traditional.
 
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Many of the problems identified could be solved had the previous design of First Class corridor (such as on 423s and 421s) been retained.

First could be located pretty much anywhere on the train without disturbance caused by other passengers passing through. And the compartments offered privacy by the very nature of their design. Not exactly radical or revolutionary - a simple solution which sadly seems to have been deemed outdated.

Plus in busy periods, a lot of standing room was provided in the corridor!
 

Butts

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The idea of first class on TOCs such as Southern and Sourheastern is more for commuters to guarantee a seat instead of having to stand up, as opposed to at seat service, reclining seats etc. Virgin Trains and Southern are two very different railway operators.

Why don't Northern have any First Class provision as I'm sure they must have a lot of Commuters....

From my experience they have the worst rolling stock in the UK:lol:
 

Failed Unit

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I suspect lack of demand from BR days, I remember class 101 DMUs with first, demand was low on the short journeys. Maybe times have changed but it isn't well used on the Edinburgh - Glasgow shuttles. (but well enough to retain it)
 

telstarbox

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And on flows which are long enough to warrant FC service, there's usually a faster TOC which does offer FC such as TPE on Liverpool-Manchester/Sheffield/Leeds, XC on Sheffield-Leeds-York). Northern tend to operate the "stoppers".
 

calc7

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With the stops being so close together, you're likely to get the local social flotsam riding in FC "for a laugh".
 

Butts

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And on flows which are long enough to warrant FC service, there's usually a faster TOC which does offer FC such as TPE on Liverpool-Manchester/Sheffield/Leeds, XC on Sheffield-Leeds-York). Northern tend to operate the "stoppers".

Well I'm doing Middlesborough to Whitby on one of my jaunts and thats 90 minutes :oops:
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
With the stops being so close together, you're likely to get the local social flotsam riding in FC "for a laugh".

I quite fancied being the "non-local flotsam" on my trip down from Falkirk to Whitby :oops:
 

MidnightFlyer

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Well I'm doing Middlesborough to Whitby on one of my jaunts and thats 90 minutes :oops:
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


I quite fancied being the "non-local flotsam" on my trip down from Falkirk to Whitby :oops:

But I doubt there's enough FC custom on that line to justify it, just as you wouldn't find it on a rural branchline in East Anglia or Devon / Cornwall (aside from Newquay in high summer).

You can buy a first class ticket between Falkirk and Whitby I think, you'll get it as far as Darlington.
 

All Line Rover

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London Midland a. has too many First Class season ticket holders and b. devalues their First Class through offering too many cheap Advance tickets (on almost every train). If they want their First Class to be a "private compartment so you can easily work or sit back and relax," they need to a. increase their First Class season ticket prices, especially on the long-distance routes and b. get rid of those cheap Advance tickets (£16 Birmingham to Euston, £19 Liverpool to Birmingham, £21 Liverpool to Euston).

Why would someone pay £90 for a Birmingham to Euston LM Only FOR if the night before they could have purchased Advance tickets at just £32 return? Even if you buy the FOR for the flexibility alone, surely you would be annoyed at finding the First Class compartment to be very busy because it is full of people on cheap Advance tickets?

I also question the logic of a Birmingham to London First Class season ticket costing £7876/yr and a Milton Keynes to London First Class season ticket costing £6836/yr.

I've given up on London Midland's First Class as it is so pathetic.* If you're a leisure traveller, simply avoid the busy peak services and sit in a Standard Class priority seat. They have plenty of legroom (much more than First Class) and many have an excellent window view.

*Except when First Class is cheaper than Standard Class, which happens on almost every peak service when booking at short notice, again devaluing their First Class accommodation!
 
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