ScotRail HST catering

Edinburgh2000

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Problem with buffets is having to leave your seat. Maybe first class passengers are less concerned about taking their stuff with them (because they are surrounded by first class passengers.....)
I think that is spot on. A buffet car only works if you are one of a group of travellers who can go to the buffet to get the food and drink for your party while others look after your belongings and your seat.

Nowadays, I usually have a laptop with me at my seat and other stuff in a briefcase or other bag. When travelling alone, I don't want to have to pack all that up and carry it to a buffet car to wait for service, hoping we don't arrive at a station in the meantime and I lose my seat.

I think that is what has killed the old 'Dining Cars'. The idea of packing up all your stuff to relocate to another carriage for your dinner and expecting your previous seat still to be available afterwards is just unrealistic nowadays. We expect at-seat service on aircraft so I don't see why we shouldn't expect service of at least that standard on a train.
 
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RLBH

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I think that is spot on. A buffet car only works if you are one of a group of travellers who can go to the buffet to get the food and drink for your party while others look after your belongings and your seat.

Nowadays, I usually have a laptop with me at my seat and other stuff in a briefcase or other bag. When travelling alone, I don't want to have to pack all that up and carry it to a buffet car to wait for service, hoping we don't arrive at a station in the meantime and I lose my seat.

I think that is what has killed the old 'Dining Cars'. The idea of packing up all your stuff to relocate to another carriage for your dinner and expecting your previous seat still to be available afterwards is just unrealistic nowadays. We expect at-seat service on aircraft so I don't see why we shouldn't expect service of at least that standard on a train.
I really don't know what trains people are travelling on, or how long people think it takes to go to a buffet car. In my experience, going up for a drink and something to eat then returning to your seat doesn't take any longer than going to the toilet. I really hope people aren't packing up all their belongings to go to the toilet then worrying that someone will have taken their seat in the intervening period. Your laptop is in no more risk at your seat (or in your rucksack in the overhead rack) than your suitcase is in the luggage rack at the end of the carriage.

What's killed dining cars is the fact that they lost money hand over fist, and took up space on trains that could've been used for more passengers. The buffet car's great advantage is that you don't need to provide two seats for every passenger who orders food. It still takes up space, but a lot less. And that space demand is why it, too, is going away - there's an expectation that seats will be crammed into every available space.

Of course, airlines do provide at-seat service - but they also don't generally have intermediate stops, and the trolley-to-seat ratio is a lot higher. If there was one catering trolley, with a trolley dock, coffee machine, and combi oven, and two staff to run it all, in each coach, you'd be able to replicate what's offered on airlines. That's a considerable uplift from what's offered on any normal rail servce.
 

mikey9

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Travelling up and down the Highland Main Line (HML) for work to the central belt - I take a flask (guaranteed boiling water) - and some milk with coffee and tea (about 2-3p per cup). Can even rehydrate porridge pots - which on the 6:50 or earlier departures can be useful.

For dinner - although most often on the Chieftain coming back - I almost always frequent the M&S at Waverley or Haymarket and never use the buffet/trolley offerings. Good choice of salads, sandwiches, cakes, crisps, sushi and beer!

Heading off for a few weeks touring mainland Europe with the family - we won't rely on the on-board offerings from SNCF, DB, SBB, Trenitalia other than checking them out for interest and comparison. We will take the flask and a big bag to be refilled with snacks, fruit, sandwiches or other as and when we can.

Perhaps it is just us being tight (I blame Yorkshire, Scottish and Dutch parents) or perhaps having other things we need to spend money on.
 

route101

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Problem with buffets is having to leave your seat. Maybe first class passengers are less concerned about taking their stuff with them (because they are surrounded by first class passengers.....)
At seat service also means you don’t have to stumble along the train carrying hot drinks and trying to operate the doors (first class won’t have as far to go)
Or work out where the buffet, when it is open, and whether it will have anything you want
I just leave my bag or jacket hen i go to toilet or buffet .
 

RichardJ

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7 Sep 2011
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Higher prices for food and drink usually bought for half elsewhere.

A chicken tikka pitta bread is a fiver on LNER. With that fiver I can buy a much larger portion of food from a full large meal at KFC, McDonald's, or Burger King, including a drink. When time is a luxury, it's a no brainer.
That's a bit unfair, as LNER do meal deals as well. You can have a 500ml drink and a packet of crisps with your chicken tikka 'nanster' for £6 in total, which I think is very reasonable.
 

Voyager lad

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That's a bit unfair, as LNER do meal deals as well. You can have a 500ml drink and a packet of crisps with your chicken tikka 'nanster' for £6 in total, which I think is very reasonable.
Meal deals are definitely a money maker - if I’m travelling with Virgin or LNER around lunchtime or in the evening I’ll almost always buy a meal deal. Whilst your losing out on the money from the sale of each item individually I imagine the cost is outweighed by the increase in sales meal deals bring. If ScotRail have a meal deal similar to that offered by LNER and Virgin I’d certainly buy it, if not I can’t see myself spending £8 (or in some cases more) on a panini crisps and a drink that I could get elsewhere for a fiver
 

hexagon789

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Soft drinks have to cold for me !
You'd hope that they could with a buffet refrigerate things properly, not sure what one can do with a trolley though in that regard.

Meal deals are definitely a money maker - if I’m travelling with Virgin or LNER around lunchtime or in the evening I’ll almost always buy a meal deal. Whilst your losing out on the money from the sale of each item individually I imagine the cost is outweighed by the increase in sales meal deals bring. If ScotRail have a meal deal similar to that offered by LNER and Virgin I’d certainly buy it, if not I can’t see myself spending £8 (or in some cases more) on a panini crisps and a drink that I could get elsewhere for a fiver
Yes, I think that particularly with a buffet there's scope to introduce a varied meal deal of some description. Perhaps both a morning and 'rest of day' one?
 

Voyager lad

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Yes, I think that particularly with a buffet there's scope to introduce a varied meal deal of some description. Perhaps both a morning and 'rest of day' one?
If they wanted to diversify even further they could do a hot and cold breakfast deal, eg Porridge or a Bacon Roll with any hot drink for £3 and any Pastry with a cold drink for £2.50 maybe. A similar thing could be offered throughout the day, with a hot or cold meal deal with crisps and a cold drink etc
 

route101

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That's a bit unfair, as LNER do meal deals as well. You can have a 500ml drink and a packet of crisps with your chicken tikka 'nanster' for £6 in total, which I think is very reasonable.
I recall GNER doing a curry from the buffet , id like to see hot meals totakeaway from the buffet .
 

cactustwirly

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The bean-to-cup coffee machine in the buffet provides a massively superior coffee to the trolley. Well worth a wee walk.
Thats one thing I miss about the IETs, the GWR HSTs used to have very good coffee from the buffet/Express Cafe.
Hopefully Scotrail have got something similar, or cannabinalised the machines from the off lease buffets?
 

hexagon789

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If they wanted to diversify even further they could do a hot and cold breakfast deal, eg Porridge or a Bacon Roll with any hot drink for £3 and any Pastry with a cold drink for £2.50 maybe. A similar thing could be offered throughout the day, with a hot or cold meal deal with crisps and a cold drink etc
That's the sort of thing that I think would go down quite well, I think it would be popular.
 

hexagon789

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Thats one thing I miss about the IETs, the GWR HSTs used to have very good coffee from the buffet/Express Cafe.
Hopefully Scotrail have got something similar, or cannabinalised the machines from the off lease buffets?
They have proper coffee from the buffet I believe, or the self-server machine. Certainly others were saying how superior it was to the usual trolley stuff on ScotRail.
 

Chew Chew

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Last week on a recent service going north, at Perth there was as usual no sandwiches left.
A few weeks back I got on an Aberdeen to Glasgow where the trolley was out of sandwiches by Stonehaven. When we asked the member of staff said they'd only been given 4 sandwiches for the entire journey.

On the trip back on the Sunday night they had no lager at all.

You're not going to make money with terrible planning like that.
 

hexagon789

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A few weeks back I got on an Aberdeen to Glasgow where the trolley was out of sandwiches by Stonehaven. When we asked the member of staff said they'd only been given 4 sandwiches for the entire journey.

On the trip back on the Sunday night they had no lager at all.

You're not going to make money with terrible planning like that.
No and it's totally ludicrous, can they really not get something as simple as sandwich stock levels sorted?
 

Highlandspring

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A friend of mine was once on a service from Aberdeen to Queen Street where a group oil workers had bought the entire stock of alcohol from the trolley before the train had left Aberdeen station.
 

hexagon789

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A friend of mine was once on a service from Aberdeen to Queen Street where a group oil workers had bought the entire stock of alcohol from the trolley before the train had left Aberdeen station.
:lol::lol::lol:

Presumably not recently though? I don't see staff selling all their alcohol like that these days somehow.
 

scotraildriver

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The problem with sandwiches is they are subject to strict food safety/temperature control standards. They are stored in a cool bag on the trolley but have a very limited shelf life and alot get wasted. This is where the buffet counter with a fridge will come into its own.
 

hexagon789

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Within the last 12 months, yes....
Seems a tad irresponsible, though I guess they might not carry sufficient alcohol anyway.

The problem with sandwiches is they are subject to strict food safety/temperature control standards. They are stored in a cool bag on the trolley but have a very limited shelf life and alot get wasted. This is where the buffet counter with a fridge will come into its own.
Hopefully, certainly you would hope that the buffet doesn't suffer the same stock issues that the trolleys do.
 

Butts

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I have to travel up to Inverness in October and was thinking of trying out Scotrails HST Service rather than LNER.

Are certain trains from Edinburgh guaranteed to be an HST (or Glasgow)

Secondly what are the freebies with regard to 1st Class catering onboard
 

Butts

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Tea/coffee/water, a biscuit/snack and I believe a newspaper in the mornings.
So no proper meals ie Breakfasts et al - aka Virgin and LNER ? What about sandwiches crisps and cake. I can't find anything on the Scotrail website that acts as a menu. What you describe above is more or less what you get on Edinburgh to Glasgow in 1st Class.

And are HST Services Timetabled to Inverness from Glasgow/Edinburgh
 

hexagon789

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So no proper meals ie Breakfasts et al - aka Virgin and LNER ?
No, they don't do proper meals really. Hot food they do soup, porridge on trolley services and I believe hot paninis, pies and bacon rolls on the refurbished HSTs buffets.

What about sandwiches crisps and cake. I can't find anything on the Scotrail website that acts as a menu.
The trolley menu is available here:
Also a vague description of the First Class offering:

First Class ticket holders.

On trains with a catering service, you’ll get a free hot or soft drink and a sweet or savoury snack for the journey. You can also buy refreshments from the trolley service.

Please note this is subject to availability of catering on-board.

And are HST Services Timetabled to Inverness from Glasgow/Edinburgh
There are timetabled services yes, more from the 19th August, but whether they operate as HSTs cannot be guaranteed.
 

Butts

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Thanks - the cheapest non-railcard Advanced 1st Class Ticket I can find between Edinburgh and Inverness is £45 on Scotrail on the dates I want to go - do they get any cheaper than that ?

Conversely LNER have £30 tickets (two weeks before as they have not released my dates yet) direct from Falkirk Grahamston on The Chieftain. Throw in a few free scotches, better free grub and I'm afraid it's a no-brainer.
 

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