Strange blog post I know but after traveling the UK from Glencoe to Brighton on the Train Network you learn a few things about travel !
I think the rail network is great but it’s not run as well as it could be. It’s confusing, from ticket purchase to the useless signs and train information boards, it stresses people out who are first time users and there are hundreds of people a day in that category as you can see from the stress and the sweat !
I have to say over the last 10 years I have only ever had one train cancelled and one really bad delay. I did learn quite a bit from this and now travel to important Workshops or Events the day before and I always get at least two trains before the one I need so if there is a delay I will still be able to get the next train.
The worst part about train travel is the way the companies are underfunding the service, the lack of cleanliness and the amount of carriages on a service. Virgin used to be really good but over the last year the carriages are filthy. Virgin’s service at the weekends is also now suffering from lack of drivers ! Trains are getting cancelled all the time due to no train crew ! Despite all that, I have to say though they are one of the best services in the UK. I think the worst are Arriva Trains Wales and have never had a good experience. There are not enough carriages and people have to stand all the time I was once on a 4 car service from Chester to Cardiff that went from 4 cars down to 2 cars on the change and everyone had to try and get on the two car to complete the journey. Many times I have seen people of 70-80 years old standing for very long journeys !
Liverpool to Leeds is another horrendous service with lack of carriages leaving lots of people standing for over two hours and I just don’t find this acceptable in this day and age. It must lose them a fortune in revenue as well, as people know the Inspector is not going to get down the carriage and there is always booked seat arguments !
I think it’s quite simple, lets call it train etiquette, if you have booked a seat you should be able to sit in it and if you did not, sit in one that is empty. If someone comes along and finds you are sitting in their booked seat then just move. It’s not their fault that the train provider is not doing their job properly.
The South has the worst train service I have ever been on for cancelled trains and delays. I do find it strange how these companies find it acceptable ! If they had more carriages and more trained staff then they could police the system and make some huge profits instead of putting people off rail travel.
I still prefer to travel by rail at the moment despite all it’s faults. Sitting on the M6 is worse! I can be in London in just over two hours from Liverpool for about £20 by train that would be closer to four hours by car and probably £30-40 so it’s a no brainer and less pollution I guess !
I always use The Trainline to book and this is a shame as I hear it’s not a UK company but it’s by far the best App and way to book. I did try the Virgin booking system and it’s good if you just book on your computer all the time but if you book on your computer your tickets don’t show up in the App and if you book on the App you can’t book your seats, so it’s very annoying.
I am lucky as I know what I am doing in advance so can set up Ticket Alert on The Train Line to email me when the offers are on. This is a great way to get advanced tickets at great prices. I have found it best not to book return tickets but singles and if you are lucky you can get some very good first class tickets at less than standard if you are not fussy about your times. Sometimes you have to play around with times and stations to get the best fares but Ticket Alert saved me £6,000 last year alone !
Overall if you buy in advance and plan your journey it’s better to let the train take the strain. If you look at the cost difference as well from First Class to Standard at times trust me First is worth every penny.
I have also stayed in a lot of Hotels in the UK and have to say Premiere Inn and Travelodge have some great hotels. Some of the Travelodge are noise stinky pits but there is always one not far up the road that will be better, one thing is for sure you know what you are getting and the beds are always comfy ! Premier Inn beds can be hit and miss but the Travelodge do great beds and pillows. Holiday Inn are one step up but the beds and pillows are all over the place on comfort. The rest are a mixed bag, I have stayed in five star that beds are terrible so it’s all a big guessing game ! As I continue my blogs I will make sure I rate my Hotels on a few points as I go so you have some idea if you are staying in the same area. The most quirky Travelodge is the Haymarket Edinburgh one ! Every room is different and well worth a visit.
I use Booking.com for all my accommodation when not booking with Travelodge or Premier Inn and I find this a great service.