Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Grand Central

I took the train to York yesterday for a customer meeting.  The timing wasn't locked down until quite late so I wasn't able to book my ticket until Saturday evening.

So I was probably naive to be shocked by the prices quoted for the journey. 

However, I played around with the "single tickets" option to get the price as low as possible and managed to get a reasonable fare by taking a hit on the (peak) outbound and getting a great deal on an off-peak "any train" ticket for the return journey.

However, it was only when I picked up the tickets from the machine at King's Cross on Monday morning that I realised that my off-peak return ticket was actually with "Grand Central" rather than with National Express East Coast.

Now this could have been a big problem: they only run three trains a day in each direction so it drastically reduced my options. However, their 14:10 departure from York fitted with my plans so I wasn't too upset.

It proved to be a good mistake to have made... the journey was smooth, with no station stops at all and it arrived on time.

Nice to see competition on the railways in action!

2 comments:

Henry said...

And now that Greed Inc has done away with most of their restaurant cars, I gather GC is the best bet for food.

Dave said...

If you're not happy with the decline in quality of National Express East Coast (NXEC) train services please sign the petition.

The main problem is that NXEC overbid for the franchise and the greedy government took the highest bidder without regard for the quality of service they'd offer passengers.

This year already NXEC have laid off a lot of on-board staff and have announced more cuts to come. Previously happy ex-GNER/British Rail staff now have morale at an all time low thanks to their new employer.

They cut back on their restaurants, now according to The Times they want to rip out the kitchens to save space meaning that the restaurants will never make a return.

It's also no longer possible to turn up and go and buy an affordable ticket at the station (unless you travel Grand Central - with GC you can buy a ticket on the train for the same price as you paid online).