Megatrain coming to Virgin Trains!

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Mojo

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From Stagecoach Press release page
Stagecoach Group announced today (22 May 2006) that its innovative budget rail initiative, megatrain.com, is to sell fares from just £1 on Virgin Trains services from next month.

Bargain megatrain.com fares, which are already being piloted successfully at South West Trains, will be introduced on more than a fifth of all Virgin CrossCountry services.

From Thursday 1 June, customers will be able to book these bargain fares on the Birmingham-Bournemouth, Bristol-Plymouth, Manchester-Edinburgh/ Glasgow, Morpeth-Edinburgh and Plymouth-Penzance routes. Tickets will be valid for travel from Monday 3 July.

Fares ranging from £1 to £10 (plus 50p booking fee) will be available only for advance booking at www.megatrain.com.

Passengers will benefit from bargain fares on 41 CrossCountry trains each weekday and customers will be able to book tickets up until 3am on the day of travel.

Ian Dobbs, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Group’s rail division, said: “We are delighted to be working with Virgin Trains to bring even cheaper fares to passengers on their inter-city CrossCountry services.

“The initial pilot routes we have launched at our South West Trains franchise have proved extremely popular, attracting new passengers to the railways and helping to make the most of the capacity on the network.

“We believe the megatrain.com concept, using flexible, value-for-money pricing, has the potential to transform the way fares are managed on the rail network for the benefit of passengers and rail operators.”

Stagecoach launched megatrain.com in November 2005, introducing the cheapest tickets on the UK rail network for decades. Since then, around 440,000 people have visited the megatrain.com website and there have been nearly 45,000 bookings.

More than 5,000 cheap seats a week are now available on off-peak South West Trains services, Monday to Saturday, linking London with nine locations: Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth, Weymouth, Exeter, Salisbury, Yeovil, Bath and Bristol.

The budget rail service was launched following the huge success of Stagecoach’s market-leading low-cost inter-city coach operation, megabus.com, which now has a national network covering 40 UK cities and carries around 2 million passengers a year.
 
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Andrew

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Not all VXC services are that crowded. You could reasonably, for example, sell off peak seats between Reading and Birmingham New Street (on Reading Manchester services as they don't go via Coventry/Bham Int and haven't come from Bournemouth or go anywhere special ie the North East)
 

Guinness

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Most off-peak trains aren't crowded and Megatrain will only sell cheap tickets to fill up seats on trains that are half empty.

Personally I was hoping for West Coast tickets. £1.50 to get to London. 8-)
 

Andrew

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Chaz said:
Most off-peak trains aren't crowded
I take it this is now generally and not VXC. Many off peak VXC trains certainly aren't empty! And if enough people who would normally buy more expensive tickets for the same train buy cheap tickets, it's not worth it for the TOC. So it'll only happen on the emptiest trains - of which there are definitely fewer on VXC than on other TOCs.
 

ChrisM

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andel said:
god help us all... this should be fun.
Yep. :rolleyes:

Never seen a Voyager less then totally full between Bournemouth and Birmingham.
Maybe they are selling mega-train tickets for the room in the toilets,12 per toilet or the £1 fare is for the luggage rack.
 

Lewisham2221

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Andrew said:
I take it this is now generally and not VXC. Many off peak VXC trains certainly aren't empty! And if enough people who would normally buy more expensive tickets for the same train buy cheap tickets, it's not worth it for the TOC. So it'll only happen on the emptiest trains - of which there are definitely fewer on VXC than on other TOCs.
Which probably explains the limited number of trains that the tickets will be avilable on, 41 trains, 5 routes...about 8 trains per route per day on average, and probably a limited number of cheap tickets available on each train as well.
 

ChrisM

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Virgin have said that the services that are normally late will not any mega-train tickets available,so mega-train will operate on 1 train per month.
 

Techniquest

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ChrisM said:
Yep. :rolleyes:

Never seen a Voyager less then totally full between Bournemouth and Birmingham.
Maybe they are selling mega-train tickets for the room in the toilets,12 per toilet or the £1 fare is for the luggage rack.
I've done Southampton to Bournemouth on a Voyager that was nearly completely empty! Middle of the day too.

As for the Megatrain on VXC idea, I welcome this big time! I smell a cheaper trip down south or north! Can't wait, although it does mean getting to Manchester, Bristol or Birmingham for one of these trips. Still, if it means I spend £20 one-way to Edinburgh, that I could not argue with!
 

ChrisM

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This is good news as hopefully i will be able to use them to visit Scotland again,last time was 1988. 8-)
 

gingerheid

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Even if it's £10 for the luggage rack - it'll be better than what I've paid for a Voyager luggage rack before.

Will never call cheap tickets a bad thing.
 

Techniquest

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I've not bought a walk-on fare for long distance travel in quite some time! The amount of Virgin Advance Single C tickets I've bought is incredible. I'm fast running out of fingers to count them on! I hardly travel if it means I can't book in advance to save big money. Obvious exception is ATF, where cheap fares don't exist, so I settle for a CDR or a rover. Even got my sister on the game now, having bought her the MML Advance (Pompey to Sheffield £16.50 single!) and Virgin Advance C for Sheffield to Hereford (a bargain £10!). Pity the cheap fares don't exist on the ex-WSX network, she'd have had a cheap trip otherwise! She currently stands to spend just HALF of the money she had planned to spend by buying the above advance purchase tickets! HFD - Pompey via Newport, Pompey to Sheffield via London (to get a cheap fare via London was surprising!), Sheffield to Hereford, would have cost around £100 on walk-on fares! Currently around £50 with the advance tickets!

Here's looking forward to Megatrain on VXC, I'll be one step closer to never needing a walk-on fare again! :D
 

Jim

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I have done the 1730# departure from BMO to SAP before on a Wednesday night & had the whole carrige to myself
 

Andrew

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What code system are you using for BMO and SAP? You mean Bournemouth to Southampton Airport Parkway, I believe. When writing stations as 3 letter codes I generally use LDB ones (ie BMH and SOA in this example where BMO is Bham Moor Street and SAP doesn't exist). So I'm interested if this is just something you make up or is more official ie off TRUST or whatever (which generally uses longer codes).
 

ChrisM

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Andrew said:
What code system are you using for BMO and SAP? You mean Bournemouth to Southampton Airport Parkway, I believe. When writing stations as 3 letter codes I generally use LDB ones (ie BMH and SOA in this example where BMO is Bham Moor Street and SAP doesn't exist). So I'm interested if this is just something you make up or is more official ie off TRUST or whatever (which generally uses longer codes).
I believe National Rail also use BMH and depending on when Jim went there is no 17:30 Virgin departure.
 
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