Virgin tains to Birmingham

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ChrisM

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Monday 27/02/2006
Left Bournemouth on time at 06:30 with a few in first class.
A trip to the buffet/shop saw us have a snackbox with a very small roll,yogurt and bag of fruit and a cup of coffee.
Train left Southampton Central packed and by the time we left Oxford even first class ticket holders were standing.
Arrived at Birmingham New ST around 5 minutes late.

Journey home :mad:

After visiting the first class lounge at New ST eating and drinking (which it proved to be a wise desision) we left ontime but the unit had problems.
We were told that we had 3 engines down and so there was no hot water,some lighting out,no hot food or drinks.
Shortly after leaving Banbury we came to a sudden halt and after about 10 minutes we were told the unit had failed and we would have to wait until another unit could save us.
25 minutes had passed and we were told that a Manchester bound unit had been terminated at Banbury and was on it's way to drag us back to Reading then Bournemouth.
After running round us another unit coupled on and after 90 minutes we were on our way.
The journey was bad as we had little lighting,no toilets,food or drinks but the train manager found us some cans and was busy sorting out onward connections for those that needed it,one lad was told he may need to taxi it from Reading to Plymouth but in the end he only just got a train from Reading to Exter where he would be porved with a onward taxi to Plymouth.
Arrived in Bournemouth at 23:37 instead of 22:30.
Train manager did the best he could but i couldn't understand why the other unit was ok and locked out of service but we had nothing working on ours,surely it would have been best to transfer us onto the other unit.
 
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ChrisM

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Was a bad show by Virgin but i suppose these things happen.
On board staff were ok but looks like 'Virgin control' need to sort themselves out.
 

yorkie

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ChrisM said:
.
Train manager did the best he could but i couldn't understand why the other unit was ok and locked out of service but we had nothing working on ours,surely it would have been best to transfer us onto the other unit.
There must have been some reason, although whether it was a good reason or not we may never know.

But if the other unit was providing power, but just locked out of use, would it not provide power to the train as a whole? (Surely this is how all multiple units work, and I can't see how Voyagers would be an exception).

It does seem daft running a train with so many engines out though! Surely when that happens they should terminate the train at the first convenient point.

As for the overcrowding, well it's just about proven that Voyagers are unable to cope with the loadings on XC, so I am not surprised. I am, however, surprised that FC was full as XC FC is pretty much useless (IMO) and is usually empty because it's so ordinary and basic. I can only guess some passengers were allowed in First due to overcrowding of Standard, or maybe the overcrowding on that particular service is so bad that passengers actually pay the daft[1] FC fares to get a seat.

Regarding the lighting, it's usually too bright on Voyagers, and I feel that the overall lighting should be much lower, but the 'reading lights' should be more powerful to compensate, so passengers would have much more control over the lighting level.

[1] Admittedly if you do not qualify for a railcard, and if you book in advance, it may be worth considering first class.
 

ChrisM

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yorkie said:
There must have been some reason, although whether it was a good reason or not we may never know.

But if the other unit was providing power, but just locked out of use, would it not provide power to the train as a whole? (Surely this is how all multiple units work, and I can't see how Voyagers would be an exception).

It does seem daft running a train with so many engines out though! Surely when that happens they should terminate the train at the first convenient point.

As for the overcrowding, well it's just about proven that Voyagers are unable to cope with the loadings on XC, so I am not surprised. I am, however, surprised that FC was full as XC FC is pretty much useless (IMO) and is usually empty because it's so ordinary and basic. I can only guess some passengers were allowed in First due to overcrowding of Standard, or maybe the overcrowding on that particular service is so bad that passengers actually pay the daft[1] FC fares to get a seat.

Regarding the lighting, it's usually too bright on Voyagers, and I feel that the overall lighting should be much lower, but the 'reading lights' should be more powerful to compensate, so passengers would have much more control over the lighting level.

[1] Admittedly if you do not qualify for a railcard, and if you book in advance, it may be worth considering first class.
FC on the way up was packed with first class ticket holders but a few had 'BR' passes and were asked to move at Coventry as a wheelchair bound person needed a seat (was wheeled around Coventry station by staff but managed to walk to a FC seat once on the train) :walk:

We were told once we left Birmingham that we had three engines down so there was not till,microwave or hot water or air for the toilets but it was being sorted on route.
Although we had some food the retail manager was giving food and drink (virgin cola :mad: )away to 'compansate' passengers whilst stuck outside Banbury,altough only a handful received some as they ran out fast.
But no toilet (they wouldn't flush and were out of use) plus no hot drinks made it an unjoyable journey.
I emailed Virgin who have asked for my tickets and have put my reference into their 'case management system' :rolleyes:

Anyway back upto Birmingham next week and onto Wrexham,just hope Virgin get it right this time.
 

TheSlash

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yorkie said:
But if the other unit was providing power, but just locked out of use, would it not provide power to the train as a whole? (Surely this is how all multiple units work, and I can't see how Voyagers would be an exception).
Most modern units have no high tension jumpers between units, just auxilliary circuits for lighting communication.
Trying to run a train on 25% power was just asking for trouble
 

joeholmes

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Virgin Cross Country services I agree are awful!

HOWEVER. Virgin West Coast Mainline is certainly a fantastic achievement (*cough Billions *cough) But seriously saying VT are bad is a statement which i dont agree with = Only Cross Country are bad, very bad!

Joe
 

ChrisM

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Having only travelled on XC i can only comment on them.
Wrexham trip had two problems (both minor and out of Virgins control) with points failure at Eastleigh and no shop open from Reading on the return journey.
Virgin have now refunded the cost of the return tickets from the Birmingham trip with a letter explaining what happened.
 

Ascot

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Just them 2 words. Virgin and Birmingham say it all.

EDIT: But i did enjoy the Full English on a half 7 this Wednesday but then again that was WCML not XC.
 

87015

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Hope no-one is travelling on XC tomorrow. Sunday industrial action extended with just a skeleton service-should be some "comfy" scenes to/from Cheltenham! It was wedged enough on the HST set on Wednesday-and thats almost a decent length train.
 
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Yorkie, First class is often full. you must just travel on trains where there are generally not many on there.

Not quite understand what you mean by its not up to standard..
 

ChrisM

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One thing i noticed about Virgin XC FC is so many people will sit in FC and unless the Train Manager checks tickets they don't pay for the upgrade,seen a few caught out recently.
 
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I would agree XC is a real mess and needs sorted out or else i feel VT may loose the XC franchise and we may be left with someone like NatEx, West Coast is real triump and the trains are great especially to glasgow, a much needed boost !, But XC needs sorted out
 
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First ScotRail said:
I would agree XC is a real mess and needs sorted out or else i feel VT may loose the XC franchise and we may be left with someone like NatEx, West Coast is real triump and the trains are great especially to glasgow, a much needed boost !, But XC needs sorted out



Just out of interest, if any of you are intersted

http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/img/news/Flyer Lores.pdf

You can join some panel and make your voice heard
 

Mojo

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I don't think VXC is bad at all, infact, from my experience of weekly journeys they are far better than any other TOC, with the exception, possibly of Wessex (although it's not fair to compare the 2 as they're 2 different operations.)
Every train is on time, the staff are the friendliest out of all the TOCs & they operate good trains. Certaintly better Bri-Bhm on Virgin than Bpw-Pad on FGW.
 
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Tom

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Most VXC trains to Bournemouth arrive late, between 5 - 20. As the Voyager is routed ahead of a stopper, which is routed ahead of an express..!, well, you know what happens.
 

matt

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between 5 - 20
More accurately between 5 and 80 ;) Thats how late one was from Bournemouth although admittadly it wasnt Virgins fault as a train failed between Reading and Basingstoke. The Voyager I got to Leamington yesterday evening from Coventry was 25 minutes late for some unknown reason
 

ChrisM

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Virgin have a 30 minute turnaround at Bournemouth arriving in platform 3 unloading and head for the sidings before returning into platform 2 to proceed to wherever but most are so late they arrive into platform 2 and head back out or are terminated before they even get to Bournemouth and passengers are told to use a SWT service normally to Winchester or wherever it terminated.
 
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Tom

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When VT is late, it knocks out pretty much the whole Bournemouth line service for that hour (the xx05 ex-WAT is late, which is right infront of xx35 ex-WAT near Pokesdown)
 

Jim

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tubechallenger said:
When VT is late, it knocks out pretty much the whole Bournemouth line service for that hour (the xx05 ex-WAT is late, which is right infront of xx35 ex-WAT near Pokesdown)
Correct, as the voyager is ahead if a list of 2 trains, so causes many delays, due to the 2 aspect signalling
 

TicketMan

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Virgin have already all but lost the XC franchise - as I understand it they are simply operating the trains on behalf of the DfT for cost plus 1%.
 
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