The Virgin group operate train services in the United Kingdom and I regularly take the service between Milton Keynes Central and London Euston. It is generally busy all the time though you always get a seat.
While I always travel in standard class, I decided to give First Class a whirl on my last trip. It was under £20 and I figured I would have more space for my large suitcase so I went ahead even though the journey is just over half an hour.
Virgin Trains First Class
First class is at the front of the train when heading to London and at the rear when heading in the other direction. It is a small compartment with seats arranged in a one by two configuration.
When you board, there are luggage racks just inside the door which are too small for the giant Samsonite I was toting with me. Bottles of water are also available for refreshment on weekend services. The blue LED lighting is a nice touch!
Each seat has a table which has a little pot full of sugar for tea or coffee. An interesting thing and one that probably comes into its own more on a week day service which actually has service.
Device charging points – or standard power points if you will – are available at each table. The seats are comfortable but the immovable table reduces your space somewhat.
As I took a weekend service, the cabin was not busy. Apart from me, there were two father son combinations sharing the ride. The kid across from me was about 11 and was a definite train buff. I overheard his conversation and he knows his trains!
Wireless Internet And What Could Have Been
Wireless Internet is free which is great and is probably a godsend on the longer services. Nothing is worse than patchy 3G when you’re travelling. When you log in, you find out there is a thing called Beam which appears to be streaming provided on the train, featuring a selection of movies and what not. It reminds me of the Qantas QStreaming on domestic flights.
There is also a lot of information about what you get in First Class on Virgin Trains. Most interesting to me are the week day menus delivered at your seat by smiling ladies in red. Of course, on a weekend service you can content yourself with a bottle of water which seems a far cry from what could have been.
I have no complaints at all with the Virgin Trains service. It is very fast, quiet, comfortable and has free WiFi as well as streaming entertainment which is something I’ve never seen on a train before.
Perhaps the good people at Irish Rail should take note, though most Irish train journeys top out at about 2.5 hours. Now I’m going to have to try a long trip on a week day… just to try the food of course!
Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.