Thursday, 2 May 2013


Well, that was a wonderful week of travelling around in comfortable trains enjoying scenery.  I achieved many of my specific objectives, but I'll have to save the Welsh Highland for another time.

First Class

Virgin and East Coast provide decent complimentary food on some of their services, and of course Arriva's WAGs Express (Sorry, I mean "Arriva Trains Wales Premier") is something special, but otherwise what you're getting is extra space and comfort, and a much less busy carriage.

I don't think I ever failed to find a forward facing window seat in my week's travel, except on the standard class only trains, and basically that was what I was paying for.  Did I get my money's worth?  I think so.

There was a recurring theme of unclaimed reservations in first class carriages.  Towards the end of the week I was just sitting in a convenient reserved seat rather than hunting out the few "free" ones, and I was never required to move.  I wonder whether these are people buying cheap advance tickets and then not travelling, or people on open tickets choosing a different train.

Service Reliability

The last time I did anything like this in the UK was a Freedom of the North West rover back in 2006 (You can see my report here.) and in my conclusions then I complained about the large amount of late running I experienced.  This time I was pleasantly surprised, and with zero cancellations and only two trains over 5 minutes late I can't really complain.  Obviously neither occasion constitutes a statistically significant sample but nonetheless a 'well done' goes to the 2013 railway.


I travelled on 39 trains and covered a total distance of 3,725 miles and 20 chains.


Breakfast in the Highlands and dinner on the WAGs express were probably the best journeys, and the Grand Central tour of Yorkshire was great fun - The only point in the week when I needed to use a rail atlas!


My thanks to the useful RailMiles site for providing the distance information used in the tables.  Thanks also to the usenet contributors on uk.railway who provided helpful advice.

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