Midland mainline first class

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evil_hippo

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I am considering buying an advance purchase first class ticket on midland mainline. I will only do this, however, if the service is nearer the Virgin trains end of the scale than the GNER end of the scale. I woudl be travelling in the evening, probably the 1925 ex St. Pancras. Does anyone ahve any experience of MML's first class thet could enlighten me about how well you're served?
 
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metrocammel

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Me & yorkie invested the huge sum(!) of £5 (for Child) and £9 (for Adult) for a FC advance purchase from Sheffield to London (the 1127) (last Tuesday) We got prime seats next to the Valenta and copious amout tea and coffee, plus some nice pretzels and muffins things (or cookies if you wanted). I also ordered a lovely bacon barm, while Yorkie indulged on a delicious cheeseburger. The food on MML seems "better value" when in FC, as for the same price as STD, you get it served up on proper plates (with proper metal knifes & forks) with accompanying side-salad, rather than being "plopped" in a bit of damp cardboard a la STD class.
 

andel

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Of all the services I travel on (a majority FC due to work), I find Virgin by far and away the most generous. You get free tea/coffee from MML anyway as well as a free paper - and thats just in standard. But the seats in first are nicer.

GNER - why do i feel the staff are very snobbish in the 1st section? Is it just me who gets that impression?

Finally, if you get the chance, try Virgin at 05:15 in the morning from birmingham to Euston. Breakfast on a plate ;)
 

Max

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I can't really make a sound conclusion of MML first class, as I was travelling over the Christmas period, during which there was no service at all - not even any complimentary drinks and biscuits! Also, bear in mind that coffee/tea is free in standard anyway.

However, I would certainly recommend the food. Although not served on posh plates (:lol:) it was very appetising and made up for the lack of restaurants in Bedford. But then again, the food from the onboard chef on FGW looked very nice when I travelled with them.
 

ChrisCooper

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Don't bother with first class on MML at a weekend though, unless you are upgrading to weekend first. You get absolutly no at seat service at all and it's often quite busy and noisy. Even the weekend first is a little bit iffy, but I often use it since it's better than standard (or on occasions standing) class, and their is the bonus of travlling next to the powercar. If it's a 4 car Meridien you're on, you can travel in the decalssified first class in the composite for free anyway, so weekend first doesn't even get you better seats. Tea and coffee is free to anyone, and you'll still have to que at the buffet and have it in a plastic cup like the standard class plebs. The service during the week is good though, although it's the only TOC I've done proper first class on, but the level of service when doing weekend first on GNER is not far off MMLs normal weekday service, so I'm interested to know how much better GNERs weekday service is.
In conclusion, if it's during the week, go for it, if it's at a weekend don't bother, and if you're going one way at a weekend, check if it's cheaper to buy a single and then upgrade (or not).
 

yorkie

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On a weekday, and providing you are on an HST, it's well worth it IMO, providing you are there to enjoy the (long) journey and not in a rush :D

I am not sure it would be worth doing on a weekend or during a holiday period though with no service, as it would cost you 3 times the price for just a wider seat and IMX it's easy to get a seat on MML's spacious HSTs (although those short Meridian things are another matter - avoid!!!)
 

voyagerdude220

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laverack222 said:
I can't really make a sound conclusion of MML first class, as I was travelling over the Christmas period, during which there was no service at all - not even any complimentary drinks and biscuits! Also, bear in mind that coffee/tea is free in standard anyway.

However, I would certainly recommend the food. Although not served on posh plates (:lol:) it was very appetising and made up for the lack of restaurants in Bedford. But then again, the food from the onboard chef on FGW looked very nice when I travelled with them.
Personally, IMO, I wouldn't go anywhere near FGW's FC, after their "performance" between Taunton & Penzance (return) last week. (And my return Bristol to Reading trip) The complimentary things are just crap! Drinks- water, oringina, lemonade, coke (one or two other soft drinks) food= biscuits. When I said to the buffet person about any complimentary sandwhiches she immediately pointed to ordinary overpriced ones.

I'll tell you one thing though- DON'T buy a FGW "fullfilled" bacon bap! They're nothing, compared to VT's lovely Bacon rolls. I'd heard that the VT ones were now called "premium", but they realllly are nice! (And that's in FC on the weekend, with my free upgrade) Having said that, the biscuit thingys on VT were very nice, and the retail service mananger lady was lovely with me. (This was on 390007)

I did however enjoy Bristol to Reading literally at the seat nearest the leading 43, and between Didcot & Reading decided to sit on my suitcase in the vestibule directly behind the PC with the window partly open, at 125 m.p.h. The train movement noise was that noisy that I couldn't actually hear any engine noise, apart from when we thundered under bridges.

Conclusion- FGW FC (anytime)- crap. Yuck buffet food! Snack box would have been better.

VT food- XC- I do think the snack box's aren't sufficent, but compared to FGW, IMO, they are alot nicer. If the limit of 1 p.p, per journey was removed, it would be better.

WC- Miles better, although I'm interested in Pendolino Primo. Unsurprisingly, I can't get any child VT1st fares on any Primo services, APART from the 17:15 Euston to Preston (continues to Carlisle & Glasgow), when booking months in advance, for around £25- 30 child, and double it for adult.

Edit: I just go VT1st for the fun of it, but when adult fares kick in, I don't know..
 

evil_hippo

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I wouldn't know what to expect on a leeds train tbh. I wouldn't mind a meridian though, I like meridians a lot although you don't get the h-o or the paxman valenta.

At this point I have a big choice to make. I have looked into mml and have found that I can't get the cheapest first class tickets unless I arrive into leeds after midnight. This leaves me with two options; both costing about the same price:

1. First class West coast to Penrith
2. Standard class MML to Leeds and then S&C to Appleby after using the second bed in a hotel room occupied that night by my mum; at a total cost to me of nothing.

I don't know which one to chose!
 

voyagerdude220

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Jim said:
FGW FC is good


http://jimsphotoallery.fotopic.net/p24402152.html

We got through that lot after Exeter on the way to PNZ (near Bodmin PW)
Well you got the same service as me, but my main point was that the drinks selection was good ( as seem in your photo), but the food wasn't.

Like I said, Virgin XC's snack box's would deem to be suitable, especially because you get the exact same pretzals as part of most of the snack box's.
 

voyagerdude220

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Harry Potter said:
Your not old enough to drink anyway, so what you complaining about?
You are when your offered it by a VT trolley guy on a VWC service between Brum & Coventry on a Friday evening ;)

Although I didn't know what they had, so I stuck to a basic lemonade. I knew I was going to see people I know at Warwick uni, for the night, so they should have enough ;)
 

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voyagerdude220 said:
Well you got the same service as me, but my main point was that the drinks selection was good ( as seem in your photo), but the food wasn't.

Like I said, Virgin XC's snack box's would deem to be suitable, especially because you get the exact same pretzals as part of most of the snack box's.
I agree strongly here. The complimentary offering on FGW was very poor, and when I asked about the free 'cakes, pastries and muffins', the train manager said these are only at 'certain times', which is hardly fair - this is not advertised on the website as being only at certain times. However, I did appreciate the wide reclining seat and the drinks, as standard looked rather wild to say the least with kids running riot! :lol:

Having done Leeds all the way to Plymouth on Virgin I have to say I was extremely satisified - I don't know what everybody is moaning about! I recieved a lovely quiet coach for 5 hours with a seat and large table on my own, the services of a host for most of the journey, two lovely snackboxes with sandwiches and delicious snacks and biscuits, as well as Virgin Coke on tap :) Great value for a tenner! However, returning on the Saturday was a different affair. No service, not even a sandwich! And the snackbox selection was very unappetising. I managed to bargain a chocolate bar in exchange for the snack box in the end after much effort, however, I still had to buy a sandwich. However, again, it was far more pleasant than the cramped and busy standard class coaches.

To be honest, GNER first is pleasant but nothing to shout about. You only get free biscuits and drinks - no proper food. Hull Trains is very good mind you. You get a complimentary cooked breakfast or three course meal, both delicious, during the week and loads of free drinks, as well as beautiful women on hand all the time ;)

If I were you, I would go for the Virgin. Midland Mainline is very slow and my opinions of Virgin have gone up after my trip last week.
 

metrocammel

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evil_hippo said:
1. First class West coast to Penrith


I don't know which one to chose!
Dont "sell-out" on us!!! Please avoid the Pendolino temptation.... You know better Zoltan!!! Anyway, Pendolino FC seats are hard an very uncomfortable in comparison to the MML mk3's.
On another note if anyone is ever travelling between Brum & Picc, I reccomend the FC on the class 90 set. The seats are the traditional "relaxing & comfy" style, with a lush burgundy moquette. These are a real improvement on the Voyagers excuse for FC. The only drawback on the cl90+mk2 set is the lack of hot food, however the snack boxes are available, with the normal amount of cold sarnies, and hot & cold drinks.


Also, GNER's restaurant looks very pompous indeed, with the Malmaison chefs, "a confit of duck with a terrine of redcurrant jus avec mange-tout"
 

andel

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Go virgin - i second it. After 4 years of train travel for work, Virgin trains (for all the complaining ppl have) won me over in the high levels of service. So what if trains catch fire? I'm just nice and toasty in first!
 

voyagerdude220

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andel said:
Go virgin - i second it. After 4 years of train travel for work, Virgin trains (for all the complaining ppl have) won me over in the high levels of service. So what if trains catch fire? I'm just nice and toasty in first!
That's what I allways say, but people just reply with rubbish like "vermin trains, fried etc"

The only complaint being, like you said, the snack box's when they don't have the normal, good, rolls.

Just out of interest, did the F.C host give you both of the box's on the way down? Do you seem to find a stingy limit of one as well from the host?
 

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Virgin first class is fine, i don't know what people are moaning about. Plus with West Coast, punctuality is waaay up, so you're fairly likely to arrive on time, plus the catenary isn't quite as feeble as over on the other side!
 

metrocammel

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AlexS said:
Virgin first class is fine, i don't know what people are moaning about. Plus with West Coast, punctuality is waaay up, so you're fairly likely to arrive on time, plus the catenary isn't quite as feeble as over on the other side!

Yes that is true, quality 1960's steel, instead of the wires held up by tension on the East. Plus on the West, there may even be a chance of a mk3 FC soon (albeit on awful diagrams), but I'd deffo take that opportunity, when it comes- and if theres no "trolley host", you wont have to walk through the standard portion like you do in a Pendo, because the MK3 buffets are in a much more convinent place for FC pax.
 

voyagerdude220

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metrocammel said:
Yes that is true, quality 1960's steel, instead of the wires held up by tension on the East. Plus on the West, there may even be a chance of a mk3 FC soon (albeit on awful diagrams), but I'd deffo take that opportunity, when it comes- and if theres no "trolley host", you wont have to walk through the standard portion like you do in a Pendo, because the MK3 buffets are in a much more convinent place for FC pax.
I did some very good exercise at least 3 times, between 7 cariages, going to/from my FC cariage & the shop 2 Saturdays ago between Birmingham & Preston. FC was sooo quiet, but SC wasn't exactly overcrowded or anything either.

I wonder how many people actually know of the weekend first fare, or the fact you can go in FC for free with a standard open ticket on VT, on the weekend??
 

evil_hippo

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As it happens, i've gone for virgin trains so I can be back in my bed at home seeing as the night before I will have been on the sleeper. Not only that, but this means my brother can stay in Leeds that night instead and he can make better use of it; getting two long days in west yorkshire on either side, whereas I'd probably be shattered and catch the first train back to Appleby.

Plus free alcahol is something that I can never refuse.
 

Techniquest

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I LOVED MML FC when I did it in September 2004 from Nottingham to Loughborough. Good coffee, nice snacks, FANTASTIC seats and environment. It was annoying to have to leave at Loughborough, could EASILY have stayed in it all the way to London!

Voyager FC, well it was OK, but I had no at-seat service til BTM, which was annoying. The TM was very down-putting too. 'First Class is THAT way' 'Yes I know, I'm TRYING to get to the buffet'. I'd have used more words, but I was just wanting to get my snack box so I could eat and get some value out of the FC fare. Finally got a coffee after BTM, but when going to Parkway it wasn't going to be much value in FC there. Didn't get much value out of my FC fare onwards to Newport either on the FGW HST.

FGW FC, I've loads of FGW FCing under my belt, thanks to Weekend First and Forward membership. I enjoy the nicer, bigger seats, free drinks, light snacks (biscuits are available all day, croissants and that stuff are available morning only. Should be fruit available too M-F), nicer atmosphere (until the big family with screaming kids joins, or until you pick up the football hooligans on match days).

GNER FC - Never tried.

Pendodildo FC - Never tried in motion

FSR FC - Nothing to write home about TBH. Only ever done it on a busy service from Haymarket to Edinburgh Waverley on a 158 once.

FTPX FC - Did this once on 158974 from Leeds to Manchester Piccadilly via all manners of routes. Nice seating, that was it. But then it was free due to it being too busy for ticket checks!

If it were me, I'd go for the MML option, nicer way to go. But then alcohol on the way home, mmmmmmmm....
 

Craig

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andel said:
GNER - why do i feel the staff are very snobbish in the 1st section? Is it just me who gets that impression?
I've travelled first class on GNER a number of times and never experienced that.

Richard Armstrong said:
GNER has the best first class of all mainline operator. Virgin is crap.
Depends where you're travelling to though. GNER might have a great service, but that's no good if you're travelling (for example) between Warrington and Rugby. You're right though, it is the best :D
 

voyagerdude220

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IMO, I prefer VT, not GNER, because you don't get any complimentary items (or at least I didn't).

The service they offer however, is very good, especially the expensive restaurant food.

I'm not complaining about GNER, but VT definately ISNT crap. Having said this, It can be if your on a VXC service at a bad time, especially after 20:00, when the shop isn't open. Thats the BIG blow to VXC- their shops aren't open "all day", unlike the majority of other IC companies.
 
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