Virgin Trains East Coast First Class service

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by MidnightFlyer, 16 Apr 2011.

  1. andyallen4014

    andyallen4014 Member

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    I will be travelling from Newark to Newcastle next Tuesday morning 1st class as I've done a couple of times before and always been happy with the offerings/timings. The full English is usually served just after York on that journey but after toast etc earlier.
     
  2. Marionaki

    Marionaki Member

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    I have noticed that every two weeks there is the same food. There used to be a 4 week rotation.
     
  3. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes that went only a few months into the new regime. Another 'Awesome' improvement provided by Virgin Trains...
     
  4. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Established Member

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    That's really poor for regular travellers. What a basket case VTEC is these days.
     
  5. SGS

    SGS Member

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    No hot food on the 2100 Kings Cross - Newcastle again. Short staffed, sarnies only. It's quite common now, I'm starting not to care...
     
  6. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I remember back in December 2016 (so not even a year ago) being offered the full menu on the 2200 Kings Cross - Newcastle.
     
  7. SGS

    SGS Member

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    It's like some far-away golden age...:)
     
  8. cjp

    cjp Member

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    Has the time come to offer weekend first class service every day, to reduce staffing levels, offer a hot dish for purchase and to reduce first class fares to weekend levels.
    Or is the current service level just a symptom of trying to maximise profits?
     
  9. ModernRailways

    ModernRailways Established Member

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    I doubt it's trying to maximise profits. I think it's exactly as they say staffing shortages. The issue in my view, is staff who have moved on haven't been replaced, and morale is low which makes people call in sick.

    I can totally see the entire first class offering being changed to something a lot more basic (sorry, I mean Awesome!) with the same price point being maintained.
     
  10. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    If they're not replacing staff that's a cost-cutting measure in itself.

    They've adverts for 2 chef posts on their website at the moment.

    https://recruitment.virgintrainseas...ocation=&p_category=&do_search=Show+Vacancies

    I'm not sure if they've had any others recently and whether that's enough to make a difference.
     
  11. Chrism20

    Chrism20 Member

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    TBH I can't see the situation improving anytime soon. Staff morale has been on its knees since before the "Crewing model" was introduced and all it's done is exacerbate the problem.

    I can see the current first class service being "West coasted" within the next year with hot food concentrated mainly on breakfast and dinner and sandwiches/wraps/salads for the remainder of the day.

    Out of curiosity does anyone know what the kitchen/food prep areas are going to be like in the shorter Azumas?

    Will there be enough space to provide the current service or are we likely to see something similar to the West Coast where a slightly different offering is served on the voyagers? I suppose what I'm really asking is - is there likely to be the space for a chef to cook a breakfast in it?
     
    Last edited: 12 Sep 2017
  12. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Full kitchens on both full length and short IEPs. This is the same as GWR.
     
  13. Chrism20

    Chrism20 Member

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    Thanks, at least that's something. I had visions of the five car sets having something similar to the voyagers.
     
  14. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    Im with
    CJP
    on this one. Iether do as they suggest or better still carbon coppy EMT's offer which IMO is just right.
     
  15. dave87016

    dave87016 Member

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    I am travelling first class on the 1555 from York to Edinburgh Friday 29th September the new menu changeover should be available by then I hope its got some decent offerings I think the menu changeover is Monday 18th I know VTWC is and VTEC usually do it around same time
     
  16. dave87016

    dave87016 Member

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    Does anyone know when the VTEC new menu change comes into effect? VTWC started Monday and IMO a very good menu for the evening meal menu
     
  17. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    EC usually is around November, I am sort of dreading it in case they have found further ways to downgrade and devalue the service!
     
  18. Butts

    Butts Established Member

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    Being exiled in Wales I am not getting any exposure to VEC - really miss my day trips to the North of England on a "half board" basis.

    One question if the fayre is diminished is the Scotch still flowing freely ?
     
  19. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    I couldnt tell you Im afraid, havnt ridden in First on a weekday for months its been standard for me complete with my sainsburys supplies of both food and booz related gooddies. The apple juice was certainly flowing last Saturday on the diverted 91s via Carlisle but you didnt want to know that.

    It was plastic glasses onboard that service too I noted but actually no issue with that as they are bigger than the glass tumblers.
     
  20. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Alcohol hasn't changed much that I've noticed. Still some variation depending on crew but on the whole as reasonable as ever. I was on one service a few months ago and had stepped away from my seat and upon my return it was obvious the drinks trolley had been through as they'd left a top up for me without prompting!
     
  21. Chrism20

    Chrism20 Member

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    When there still someone to serve it yes. In fact from the last few experiences I've had they are more liberal with it, particularly when the service has been reduced a second bottle is normally plonked down without any encouragement from said passenger these days.

    I think the crew have got to the "Couldn't give a toss" stage.
     
  22. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    Which from the point of view of what you may or may not percieve as a good service is good, but the fact crewe moralle is down further than the notorious Retford wires on a bad day is IMO rather sad.
     
  23. Harbouring

    Harbouring Member

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    Nothing like coming towards the end of the journey and they just try and palm you off with everything. Table next to mine on an Edinburgh train got a second bottle of wine opened as we were going throigh Alnmouth. I asked for some orange juice and I said not to worry and he came back from the galley all the way to the end of the train and filled me up.

    I will say that the staff I had were very friendly and made me feel very welcome and as though I was getting my money's worth. Just a shame it's being undermined at a corporate level it seems
     
  24. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Very much my feelings!
     
  25. SGS

    SGS Member

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    No hot food update: no hot food on the 1935 Edinburgh to Kings Cross. They're hoping some will be loaded at Newcastle.
     
  26. Blindtraveler

    Blindtraveler Established Member

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    Rail Gormet at their best!
     
  27. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Changes afoot! VTEC have been surveying people for their thoughts on their current thinking regarding first class catering once their new IEPs (I'm not calling them Azumas! :lol:) are in service.

    From the information provided the new weekday service appears to be broadly unchanged:

    Morning

    Fresh full breakfast, pastries plus an 'energy' boosting option.

    Rest of the day

    Two course meal consisting of main course and dessert (and bread roll with butter).

    Evening

    As above but an additional choice of dessert or cheese board.

    Short journeys

    Fresh pastry and snacks.

    Complimentary Drinks

    Beers, wines, soft drinks, tea/coffee remain complimentary but spirits would be chargeable.

    It would seem, from the above, that the distinction between 'Rest of the day' and 'Evening Meal' as it currently stands is going (i.e. it reads to me that there won't be an extra main course option like there is now) and the only difference will be the cheese board and an extra choice of dessert. It is not clear if that's going to be expanded to cover more services than just peak departures from the Cross.

    Also someone check on Butts to make sure he's still with us after the shock of the potential loss of complimentary spirits! :lol:

    They are also proposing to introduce more traditional table service with people being served together rather than food appearing as it's ready. So if you order one thing and a friend/family/other half/etc orders something else then you should be served at the same time rather than now where they might come separately depending on what's happening in the kitchen.

    The proposed Weekend service also has changes:

    Mornings

    Hot and cold pastries or bacon roll.

    Rest of the day

    Hot and cold pastries, hot toasties and cold sandwiches.

    Short journeys

    Pastries and snacks.

    Complimentary Drinks

    Beers, wines, soft drinks, tea/coffee all complimentary (yes including alcohol!).

    This to me is a huge change in the offer and a substantial upgrade on the current weekend catering which is distinctly lacklustre! Bacon roll on a morning is something I've thought they should do for ages and having something hot (even if it's just a toastie) is also something that's been lacking. Plus free booze! :lol:

    I certainly think that this would give VTEC, by far, the best weekend first class catering available.

    They are also proposing that service would be 'on demand' rather than as and when it's ready.

    Personally I'm very impressed with their proposals. But the proof will be in the delivery the promise is, as always with Virgin, huge but whether they can match that promise we will have to wait and see. It's also worth noting that these are proposals not a finished plan.
     
    Last edited: 28 Sep 2017
  28. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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    He has literally just imploded, the shockwave was felt nationwide.

    Although he doesn't really get down to our area now on his cheap first class forays, i'm sure he would be fine, he will just have to change his tipple.

    I completely agree, which ties into this....

    If they can provide anything near to what is proposed for the weekend service then we have a winner. Even more so when you consider many thought that the introduction of the new trains would be the death knell for decent catering on board.

    But as recent events have shown with the service, don't believe a word until the first time you are sat on board and it's served to you! :lol:
     
  29. Butts

    Butts Established Member

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    Outrageous.....:p

    Seriously though, why just charge for spirits when wine and beer are free - seems a bit silly to me. However they could have charged for all alcohol so be grateful for small mercies.

    It all looks spiffing on paper but the proof is the single or 2nd pudding :p If they can't manage the existing menu consistently thanks to the staff cuts how will this one work out ?
     
  30. Butts

    Butts Established Member

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    Hey i only weigh 15 1/2 not 25 stone :idea:

    Problem with cans/bottles you can't neck as many and they are not so portable.
     

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