Your experiences of cases on the railway where the less premium offering is superior

py_megapixel

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Basically as the title - what cases on the railway are there where you could buy what is positioned as a premium product, and have a worse experience than if you'd gone for a cheaper option?

I know this is going to be highly subjective, but I'll start with a couple of examples:
  • thetrainline.com - their marketing has convinced much of the general public that they are doing something magical to reduce train fares and are therefore the creme-de-la-creme of ticket buying services. In reality their magic is called selling advance tickets, and it actually works out more expensive because you have to pay a booking fee

  • Kings Cross to Edinburgh on the ECML - once the new FirstGroup budget oriented open access operation starts, they'll have near-identical rolling stock to the LNER service but with seats which are expected to be far nicer!
 
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R

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To the best of my knowledge, Grand Central’s AP tickets are less expensive than LNER’s between York/Doncaster and Kings Cross and I’d take an Adelante any day over an Azuma.

On the topic of Doncaster, I’d definitely rather take a less premium Northern Turbostar from Doncaster to Sheffield over a TPE 185 or a Voyager.


Controversial perhaps, but I'd say if you're travelling London - Birmingham then Chiltern is nicer than Avanti - and considerably cheaper in the peak!
Absolutely! Especially if you can ride a locomotive hauled set.
 

py_megapixel

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Controversial perhaps, but I'd say if you're travelling London - Birmingham then Chiltern is nicer than Avanti - and considerably cheaper in the peak!
Yes, that's a commonly referenced money saving tip I believe but I'd choose a Mk3 over a Pendo any day!
 

Howardh

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Euston first class lounge compared with, well, any local pub!! Dunno if it's been done up since Covid, but it's a disappointment, although having a shower is a plus if you need one.
 

DavidB

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I thought Chiltern had replaced their IC70s! shows how much I know about TOCs I rarely use...
Eight in each carriage have been replaced I believe (the four end pairs) as that gives a sufficient percentace to satisfy the rules. The new ones are the Primarius-designed ones as fitted to ECML HSTs and Mk4s, and XC HSTs, in a slightly modified form (head section changed a bit) - Prmarius went bust a few years ago but the design rights were clearly bought (is it Transcal who make them now?)
 

LancasterRed

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Subjective I know but Northern's 195s and TPE's 397s are the better offering between Preston and Lancaster compared to Avanti West Coast's 390s.
 

Ianno87

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At certain times of day/week, Greater Anglia between Cambridge and London can be more pleasant than GTR, with quieter trains for not much of a journey time penalty.
 

py_megapixel

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Fainsa Sophia. But the layout is quite nice, low density, window aligned and lots of tables.
Yes. Which hopefully is proof to all the people on here who were blaming CAF for the poor window alignments on the 195s that it was just lazy specification on Northern's part.
 

61653 HTAFC

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Another planet...
If I'm going from Batley to Mirfield or v.v. (a regular journey for me) I always aim for the Northern 158 services rather than the TPE 185s, but that'll probably change when all the middle cars of the 158s get downgraded to the new seats.
 

4F89

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Old school, but Skegness is not "bracing", as sold to the Midlands public since time began, its crap.
 

dk1

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At certain times of day/week, Greater Anglia between Cambridge and London can be more pleasant than GTR, with quieter trains for not much of a journey time penalty.
There where plans to bring in a third 'semi fast' service on the Canbridge/Liverpool St route once the 720/745 timetable was implemented. Planned for Dec 2021 now but will have to wait & see if it still happens.
 

Alfonso

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1st Class on a SouthEastern class 375 same seats, no benefits
The near-as-dammit-identical-to-standard first class on Southern and Southeastern has one crucial difference...the other first class seats will often be either empty, occupied by Railway staff, or ocuppied by people who haven't paid the first class fare, not all of whom are completely savoury
 

[.n]

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On SWR refurb 444, in 1st class, the seat pitch (I think that's the term) on the 4 person table seat is worse than that on standard class.

Other things the seats no longer recline, I don't think they have separator arm on the 2 seaters any more [I may be wrong, so long since I've travelled!), the faux leather is actually unpleasant and "sticky", the QI charging seems to never work, etc, etc
 

Bletchleyite

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On SWR refurb 444, in 1st class, the seat pitch (I think that's the term) on the 4 person table seat is worse than that on standard class.

Other things the seats no longer recline, I don't think they have separator arm on the 2 seaters any more [I may be wrong, so long since I've travelled!), the faux leather is actually unpleasant and "sticky", the QI charging seems to never work, etc, etc
Yeah, those are a bit borderline. I do like the FISA LEAN seat, but I won't pay for 2+2 First Class; to me the only selling point is a seat that is both window and aisle on the 1 side. There is a row in Standard which is where the old, larger 1st started which has extra legroom - that row beats anything in 1st! :)
 

Hassocks5489

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Over in Vienna, you can travel from the airport to the city centre on a CAT (City Airport Train) for €12 single in 16-17 minutes, or on an ÖBB Railjet for about €4 (I'm sure it was under €4 last time I was there, actually!) in … 15-16 minutes. Different destinations in the city centre, admittedly, but Wien Mitte and Wien Hbf aren't exactly miles apart :D
 

py_megapixel

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Over in Vienna, you can travel from the airport to the city centre on a CAT (City Airport Train) for €12 single in 16-17 minutes, or on an ÖBB Railjet for about €4 (I'm sure it was under €4 last time I was there, actually!) in … 15-16 minutes. Different destinations in the city centre, admittedly, but Wien Mitte and Wien Hbf aren't exactly miles apart :D
That's not too different to Heathrow, where you will soon be able to pay HEX prices to travel on an Electrostar with ironing board seats to Paddington, with a requirement to change if you're going to T4 - or far cheaper TfL prices to travel on an Aventra from any terminal to your choice of about half a dozen city centre locations in only about 5-10 minutes more. (Those minutes might well disappear once you factor in the need to change from HEX to Tube at Pad to get to most of the key attractions!)
 

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