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kal
26th April 2013, 09:49
Morning

Was wondering if any of you who do a daily commute by train elect to travel first class rather than cattle (standard). At the moment I travel on Virgin between Birmingham International and Watford/Euston on a daily basis. Its costs me approx £1070 a month on standard class. I was thinking of maybe upgrading to first class, a months travel is £1490, roughly £100 a week more. It does mean that I get to avoid the huddled masses (some of those trains are full to bursting, especially in the evening), free wifi and I hear that they serve breakfast and dinner/drinks as well (which may offset the extra £££).

Any of you do this? Is it worth the extra money for a more pleasant journey. Are the food/drinks on offer of a good standard or is it similar to the ropy buffet car subsistence on offer in standard?

SimonMac
26th April 2013, 09:52
First day it will be a nice novelty, but will soon wear off and £100 a week in someone else's pocket means £100 a week less in yours

original PM
26th April 2013, 09:55
it depends - do you normally use the wifi in cattle class?

If I recall when i do my Manc to Glasgow trips it was about 6 quid for 3 hours - which if doing it every day it would be 30 quid a week - so already you have made a saving and add in the free food you may get up to £100 per week benefits? (which is better than buffet cart but I found sometimes they try a bit to hard to make it gourment when really just a good chicken sandwich would be fine)

.....

Old Hack
26th April 2013, 09:58
First day it will be a nice novelty, but will soon wear off and £100 a week in someone else's pocket means £100 a week less in yours

I tend to use first class on the way home if I am in the smoke, as I get a meal and some wine, and you can work in the, largely, sparsely populated carriages (spreading your shit around more). Also, you avoid the crush that is the reading commuters squeezing into every possible space.

kal
26th April 2013, 09:59
it depends - do you normally use the wifi in cattle class?

If I recall when i do my Manc to Glasgow trips it was about 6 quid for 3 hours - which if doing it every day it would be 30 quid a week - so already you have made a saving and add in the free food you may get up to £100 per week benefits? (which is better than buffet cart but I found sometimes they try a bit to hard to make it gourment when really just a good chicken sandwich would be fine)

.....

I can live without wifi as I usually pre-download the iplayer progs I watch when I'm on the train. Main lure is less people and complimentary food/drink offsetting the cost. And as I get the train at 6.40 am every day free breakfast and coffee would be nice :smile

stek
26th April 2013, 10:01
I can live without wifi as I usually pre-download the iplayer progs I watch when I'm on the train. Main lure is less people and complimentary food/drink offsetting the cost. And as I get the train at 6.40 am every day free breakfast and coffee would be nice :smile

I tried first class Leeds Manchester - wasn't worth it. Most of the time the train was so rammed they allowed the proles into first class.

Old Hack
26th April 2013, 10:02
I tried first class Leeds Manchester - wasn't worth it. Most of the time the train was so rammed they allowed the proles into first class.

You can claim the money back when this happens ;)

Troll
26th April 2013, 10:03
I tried first class Leeds Manchester - wasn't worth it. Most of the time the train was so rammed they allowed the proles into first class.WSS

Troll
26th April 2013, 10:05
You can claim the money back when this happens ;)Do they do that on planes too?

SimonMac
26th April 2013, 10:07
I can live without wifi as I usually pre-download the iplayer progs I watch when I'm on the train. Main lure is less people and complimentary food/drink offsetting the cost. And as I get the train at 6.40 am every day free breakfast and coffee would be nice :smile

So £20 a day for "free coffee and breakfast"

kal
26th April 2013, 10:10
So £20 a day for "free coffee and breakfast"

And dinner/drinks in the evening I think, don't know whether they dole out free booze though :D

Old Hack
26th April 2013, 10:10
Do they do that on planes too?

Interesting question. I'd venture it would be hard to simply walk into First Class and sit down.

bobspud
26th April 2013, 10:26
I try and travel First class when ever possible mostly for the empty carriage and lack of plebs. I also value the ability to open my laptop without a battle for space. It does make the journey more relaxing. :)

kal
26th April 2013, 10:32
I try and travel First class when ever possible mostly for the empty carriage and lack of plebs. I also value the ability to open my laptop without a battle for space. It does make the journey more relaxing. :)

My train pass finishes today and as I am off on holiday soon I only need to buy a one week pass next week, may as well make it a 1st class one and try it out (oh and free booze is provided, just not at breakfast :D)

original PM
26th April 2013, 10:41
I agree - nothing more annoying than sitting next to some sweaty muppet...

oh and the ladies in first class or a better class to!

Zippy
26th April 2013, 10:45
I agree - nothing more annoying than sitting next to some sweaty muppet...

oh and the ladies in first class or a better class to!

Oi! We travel first class to avoid the likes of you.

Spacecadet
26th April 2013, 10:45
I tried first class Leeds Manchester - wasn't worth it. Most of the time the train was so rammed they allowed the proles into first class.

Depends which trains you catch. I learnt early on which ones were double length and so worth catching.
Of course at least once a week First Trans-Pennine would **** it up and the train would be half length and bursting at the seems... or the train before was cancelled... or the train was so late that everyone who turned up for the next train was also on it.

But given that it wasn't a great deal extra for the first class seats I thought it was money well spent

Spacecadet
26th April 2013, 10:47
Morning

Was wondering if any of you who do a daily commute by train elect to travel first class rather than cattle (standard). At the moment I travel on Virgin between Birmingham International and Watford/Euston on a daily basis. Its costs me approx £1070 a month on standard class. I was thinking of maybe upgrading to first class, a months travel is £1490, roughly £100 a week more. It does mean that I get to avoid the huddled masses (some of those trains are full to bursting, especially in the evening), free wifi and I hear that they serve breakfast and dinner/drinks as well (which may offset the extra £££).

Any of you do this? Is it worth the extra money for a more pleasant journey. Are the food/drinks on offer of a good standard or is it similar to the ropy buffet car subsistence on offer in standard?

how does the extra £400 per month compare to your day rate?
Would you do anything useful on the train or will you just be sat in first class picking your nose and watching Game of Thrones?

Old Hack
26th April 2013, 10:49
how does the extra £400 per month compare to your day rate?
Would you do anything useful on the train or will you just be sat in first class picking your nose and watching Game of Thrones?

Part of my new contract, is that hours worked outside of the office count, so the 2 hours London to Taunton are billable.

I don't think I could justify the extra if it wasn't.

Paddy
26th April 2013, 10:50
I used first class so that I could get a seat and have space to work. My bookable day starts when I am working, not when I arrive at client co. However, South West Swindling Thieving Sh1t Trains don’t bother to clean the trains properly and the seats in first class resemble that of a 25 year old Ford Sierra with 250,000 miles on the clock and now used buy a builder. We never get free food on trains down South. We just get abusive staff and delayed trains.
Anyway, I now use standard class and leave half an hour later in order to get a seat. It saves £250 pm .

original PM
26th April 2013, 10:52
Oi! We travel first class to avoid the likes of you.

evidently not all of them!

:tongue

kal
26th April 2013, 11:03
how does the extra £400 per month compare to your day rate?
Would you do anything useful on the train or will you just be sat in first class picking your nose and watching Game of Thrones?

£400 is less than my day rate. To be honest if I had a table to myself I probably would do a bit more work related stuff (self learning and admin mainly), half the problem in standard is that the few table seats are always full/reserved and trying to use a laptop on those little fold down mini-tables behind the normal seats is more trouble than its worth...

Old Hack
26th April 2013, 11:09
£400 is less than my day rate. To be honest if I had a table to myself I probably would do a bit more work related stuff (self learning and admin mainly), half the problem in standard is that the few table seats are always full/reserved and trying to use a laptop on those little fold down mini-tables behind the normal seats is more trouble than its worth...

One thing I found out, the hard way, the other day, was ex BR people. Apparently, they have tickets which allow them to sit in first class all the time. One was sat in my pre-booked table seat and refused to move. Even the ticket collector wouldn't move him. He did eventually...

TheFaQQer
26th April 2013, 11:28
Morning

Was wondering if any of you who do a daily commute by train elect to travel first class rather than cattle (standard). At the moment I travel on Virgin between Birmingham International and Watford/Euston on a daily basis. Its costs me approx £1070 a month on standard class. I was thinking of maybe upgrading to first class, a months travel is £1490, roughly £100 a week more. It does mean that I get to avoid the huddled masses (some of those trains are full to bursting, especially in the evening), free wifi and I hear that they serve breakfast and dinner/drinks as well (which may offset the extra £££).

Any of you do this? Is it worth the extra money for a more pleasant journey. Are the food/drinks on offer of a good standard or is it similar to the ropy buffet car subsistence on offer in standard?

Breakfast on that train (IIRC) is a microwaved bacon roll and a cup of tea. I used to go Preston to Reading, changing at Stafford.

Preston to Stafford, it's the London train, so you get proper food. I had enough time to get my smoked salmon and scrambled eggs in, before changing trains. Then I'd grab a bacon sarnie after Birmingham to keep me going.

Voodooflux would have been proud of me.

NotAllThere
26th April 2013, 11:38
One thing I found out, the hard way, the other day, was ex BR people. Apparently, they have tickets which allow them to sit in first class all the time. One was sat in my pre-booked table seat and refused to move. Even the ticket collector wouldn't move him. He did eventually...So, hypothetically, what should you do to get the result?

I'd always travel first class for work. The saving of standard isn't worth it. One time I was flying to Birmingham, then getting the train to Leamington Spa. Second class was £2.20. First class £4.50. So, £2.30 got me a seat, somewhere to put my luggage, a bacon sarnie, a cup of coffee and a copy of the Times.

Old Hack
26th April 2013, 11:49
So, hypothetically, what should you do to get the result?

I'd always travel first class for work. The saving of standard isn't worth it. One time I was flying to Birmingham, then getting the train to Leamington Spa. Second class was £2.20. First class £4.50. So, £2.30 got me a seat, somewhere to put my luggage, a bacon sarnie, a cup of coffee and a copy of the Times.

I just stood their talking him out of the seat; I had work to do, couldn't he take another seat, this one I had specifically booked. He was mid 60's, and looked ot be the obstinate type, so I knew arguing with him wouldn't be the go, so thought I'd plead my case. It worked, but I was getting to the position of dragging him out, but that would have done neither of us any good.

I agree about 1st class travel. I like mroe space, less noise. Although the dining car can get rowdy at time

KentPhilip
26th April 2013, 11:55
I just stood their talking him out of the seat

Did the seat have a ticket on it denoting that it was reserved?

Old Hack
26th April 2013, 11:56
Did the seat have a ticket on it denoting that it was reserved?

Yup

BoredBloke
26th April 2013, 11:58
I've got free weekend travel on Virgin in first until nov 2014. I quite like it, mainly because it costs £0

TheFaQQer
26th April 2013, 13:14
I've got free weekend travel on Virgin in first until nov 2014. I quite like it, mainly because it costs £0

When I had that, I still found it difficult to get a ticket on the trains I needed. Managed to get quite a few one ways, but very rarely the return leg.

My first class train next week is cheaper than standard class, but no doubt clientCo will complain because it breaches their policy.

vetran
26th April 2013, 13:39
When I had that, I still found it difficult to get a ticket on the trains I needed. Managed to get quite a few one ways, but very rarely the return leg.

My first class train next week is cheaper than standard class, but no doubt clientCo will complain because it breaches their policy.

put a note on the Invoice - The FaQQer Ltd have arranged discounted rail travel at X% off standard second class cost, this is due to our exceptional purchasing strategies - consultancy on these available upon request.

Spacecadet
26th April 2013, 13:44
My first class train next week is cheaper than standard class, but no doubt clientCo will complain because it breaches their policy.

You show them the receipts?
I don't think I've ever done that when recharging expenses to a client.

eek
26th April 2013, 13:46
My first class train next week is cheaper than standard class, but no doubt clientCo will complain because it breaches their policy.

I had that in the past. I pointed out that prior planning meant I saved them money but was happy to follow their policy and invoice the standard appropriate second class fare.

TheFaQQer
26th April 2013, 14:04
You show them the receipts?
I don't think I've ever done that when recharging expenses to a client.

I think this PM may ask - FFS he asked me what I was working on this week!!!

Pogle
26th April 2013, 14:12
I always go first class - it means I get peace and quiet and on virgin - a few large vodkas too :D

BoredBloke
26th April 2013, 14:22
When I had that, I still found it difficult to get a ticket on the trains I needed. Managed to get quite a few one ways, but very rarely the return leg.

My first class train next week is cheaper than standard class, but no doubt clientCo will complain because it breaches their policy.

The only downside is the only train from Manchester on a Monday that gets in before 9 is the 5:05 one, meaning that I have to get up at 4am to catch it. I tend to just book them way off into the distance to ensure I get the return

Its a bit rubbish travelling from Manchester as BA and virgin flights land at lhr and the earliest flight out is 7:20, which does not leave a lot of time to get to Canary Wharf

Bunk
26th April 2013, 14:22
I always go first class - it means I get peace and quiet and on virgin - a few large vodkas too :D

:laugh

You probably cost them more than the price of the ticket!

kal
26th April 2013, 14:25
I always go first class - it means I get peace and quiet and on virgin - a few large vodkas too :D

So doing the Maths, it will cost me an extra £20 a day approx for First over Standard, and with that I get a more pleasant journey, breakfast in the AM and an evening meal (with a beer + a couple of JD & cokes as well) on the way home = money well spent!

I will try it out next week :smile

NorthWestPerm2Contr
26th April 2013, 14:44
So doing the Maths, it will cost me an extra £20 a day approx for First over Standard, and with that I get a more pleasant journey, breakfast in the AM and an evening meal (with a beer + a couple of JD & cokes as well) on the way home = money well spent!

I will try it out next week :smile

Best solution would be to work somewhere close to home, save the time, save the ticket cost and build up that mean warchest!

TheFaQQer
26th April 2013, 14:53
The only downside is the only train from Manchester on a Monday that gets in before 9 is the 5:05 one, meaning that I have to get up at 4am to catch it. I tend to just book them way off into the distance to ensure I get the return

Its a bit rubbish travelling from Manchester as BA and virgin flights land at lhr and the earliest flight out is 7:20, which does not leave a lot of time to get to Canary Wharf

Since they cancelled the flight into City, it's been dire. I used to catch the 630ish flight with bmi into LHR and still struggled to get to Westminster for 9. In the end, I started catching the 0820 and rock up mid-morning instead. But that was public sector :D

kal
26th April 2013, 15:08
Best solution would be to work somewhere close to home, save the time, save the ticket cost and build up that mean warchest!

Agree but there is nothing around in the West Mid's and what little there is is paying around 50% of what I am getting down south :(

Jubber
26th April 2013, 17:44
I always go first if it is a route that has trains with proper first class seats. A big, comfy seat away from the mob is worth the money, the little extras are a bonus.

If the trains only have standard seats with a bit of cloth wrapped around the top with 1st printed on them, I don't bother.

Wanderer
26th April 2013, 23:27
One thing I found out, the hard way, the other day, was ex BR people. Apparently, they have tickets which allow them to sit in first class all the time. One was sat in my pre-booked table seat and refused to move. Even the ticket collector wouldn't move him. He did eventually...

I know a few people who have these passes. Some are valid all stations, first class. I'm pretty sure they are supposed to give up their seat if there are standing passengers. Certainly, if a seat is prebooked then they have to move so this passenger and the ticket inspector should have both known better. Most likely it was a bit of an old boys club and the inspector didn't want to make waves because what comes around goes around.

I would have got my phone out and discretely recorded the conversation making it clear that this was your pre-booked seat, the other passenger is travelling on a staff concession pass and you want to take the seat you have booked. If they refuse then casually let them see that you are recording the conversation and invite them to reconsider.

I doubt that they would lose the card for abusing it like this but they will certainly get a bollocking over it if a passenger complained.

NDawg
27th April 2013, 01:08
I know a few people who have these passes. Some are valid all stations, first class. I'm pretty sure they are supposed to give up their seat if there are standing passengers. Certainly, if a seat is prebooked then they have to move so this passenger and the ticket inspector should have both known better. Most likely it was a bit of an old boys club and the inspector didn't want to make waves because what comes around goes around.

I would have got my phone out and discretely recorded the conversation making it clear that this was your pre-booked seat, the other passenger is travelling on a staff concession pass and you want to take the seat you have booked. If they refuse then casually let them see that you are recording the conversation and invite them to reconsider.

I doubt that they would lose the card for abusing it like this but they will certainly get a bollocking over it if a passenger complained.

They will lose the card. I'm ex-railway. The tickets these folks have are referred to as PRIVs (75% off standard fare). They aren't usually eligible for use in first class, but rail folks usually get away with travelling there because as you mentioned, the ticket inspector's part of the same old boys club as the traveller and doesn't care too much.

Make it clear next time it happens that PRIVs are only valid for travel in standard class (if they're REALLY old they could be part of the BR days where first class concessions were issued, but it's rare you'll see many of those around. I certainly never did) and the guidelines for usage state that fare-paying passengers have priority for seating and you'll be fine. If he still refuses to move, get his name and threaten to file a complaint.

Those PRIV passes/photocards are worth far too much money to lose over a seat. I guarantee you not a single railwayman will kick up a fuss if you're serious enough about reporting him, especially since we can technically ride back-cab on the train.

Wanderer
27th April 2013, 13:57
Make it clear next time it happens that PRIVs are only valid for travel in standard class (if they're REALLY old they could be part of the BR days where first class concessions were issued, but it's rare you'll see many of those around. I certainly never did

I am antiquated with a couple of people who have cards which are definitely valid for "free travel, all stations, first class" (except Tyne and Wear Metro or something bizarre like that). They are career railway people but not that old, certainly they are a long way off retirement. I think the story was that there are a fixed number of the "Gold passes" in circulation with a waiting list and getting one is "dead man's boots".

You clearly know more about this than me, but I'm pretty sure that was the gist of it. They are definitely at pains not to abuse what is a valuable privilege.

KentPhilip
27th April 2013, 19:39
I am antiquated

acquainted I think you mean.
Antiquated means you're an old fart.:oldgit:
Which to be fair you might be as well :D

Wanderer
27th April 2013, 20:08
acquainted I think you mean.
Antiquated means you're an old fart.:oldgit:
Which to be fair you might be as well :D

Hey, how did you know? :laugh

EternalOptimist
27th April 2013, 20:17
I dont know about spending more on first or second, flying or driving. I just try to maximise my profits.
I dont do this sh1t for fun





:rolleyes:

NDawg
28th April 2013, 13:49
I am antiquated with a couple of people who have cards which are definitely valid for "free travel, all stations, first class" (except Tyne and Wear Metro or something bizarre like that). They are career railway people but not that old, certainly they are a long way off retirement. I think the story was that there are a fixed number of the "Gold passes" in circulation with a waiting list and getting one is "dead man's boots".

Yeah you're right. Getting hold of one nowadays is damn near impossible. They're only issued to anyone that was railway before 1996 (classed as what is known as "safeguarded" status) that reached a certain grade (old BR days). They're eligible for gold, blue or silver status passes (of which first class travel is included). Usually safeguarded staff are a bit more level-headed because they're entitled to a pass that is no longer issued, so if they lose it, there's a chance they won't get it back.

PRIV staff though, different matter. PRIV holders are non-safeguarded rail staff that joined after 1996. Those that lose PRIVs at a rail company usually jump to another rail company and are re-issued one. They're easier to come by, but they don't entitle holders to first class or any of the cool perks that gold come with (such as free travel).

Still though, I held PRIV but would constantly ride in first class. Ticket inspectors never kicked up a fuss but I always knew to move the **** out of the way if a ticket holder needed a seat because that PRIV pass saved me at least a couple thousand for the time I had it and I damn sure didn't want to lose it because of a passenger.

kal
29th April 2013, 09:24
Well I have stumped up the extra 100 notes to go 1st class this week to give it a try.
One coffee and a copy of the Guardian in the 1st Class lounge then onto the train at 8 am, The comfort is miles ahead of the standard seats with plenty of space. Another coffee, bacon roll, a tea, 2 rounds of toast, an orange juice and some fruit made for a very pleasant journey. WIFI is fast and a nice to have. Am on the 6.15 pm train back which means a hot meal (and a couple of drinks!) should be in the offing :smile

Old Hack
29th April 2013, 09:32
Yeah you're right. Getting hold of one nowadays is damn near impossible. They're only issued to anyone that was railway before 1996 (classed as what is known as "safeguarded" status) that reached a certain grade (old BR days). They're eligible for gold, blue or silver status passes (of which first class travel is included). Usually safeguarded staff are a bit more level-headed because they're entitled to a pass that is no longer issued, so if they lose it, there's a chance they won't get it back.

PRIV staff though, different matter. PRIV holders are non-safeguarded rail staff that joined after 1996. Those that lose PRIVs at a rail company usually jump to another rail company and are re-issued one. They're easier to come by, but they don't entitle holders to first class or any of the cool perks that gold come with (such as free travel).

Still though, I held PRIV but would constantly ride in first class. Ticket inspectors never kicked up a fuss but I always knew to move the **** out of the way if a ticket holder needed a seat because that PRIV pass saved me at least a couple thousand for the time I had it and I damn sure didn't want to lose it because of a passenger.

He seemed to see reason, but I didn't even know they existed to be honest. Quite shocked me when he said no.

Pissed with the guard though, and I did report this to GWR, although have heard nothing back... Still, at least I now know I can kick up a fuss about it

Troll
29th April 2013, 10:08
Well I have stumped up the extra 100 notes to go 1st class this week to give it a try.
One coffee and a copy of the Guardian in the 1st Class lounge then onto the train at 8 am, The comfort is miles ahead of the standard seats with plenty of space. Another coffee, bacon roll, a tea, 2 rounds of toast, an orange juice and some fruit made for a very pleasant journey. WIFI is fast and a nice to have. Am on the 6.15 pm train back which means a hot meal (and a couple of drinks!) should be in the offing :smileI was with you right up until the mention of the Guardian...are you sure you're cut out for this contracting m'larky?

kal
29th April 2013, 10:43
I was with you right up until the mention of the Guardian...are you sure you're cut out for this contracting m'larky?

Hahaha, it was the Guardian or the FT!

Scoobos
29th April 2013, 15:07
Only on very long trips is it worthwhile imo. You also usually have to be accosted by a fat sweating git in a suit opposite who cant seem to sit without his legs at 180 degrees.

Too much money for too little advantage , unless you travel in the peak of rush hour.

d000hg
29th April 2013, 15:33
I don't think I'd take a gig that required a non-trivial train commute unless the rate made 1st-class travel possible.

Some of them have really crap 1st-class though... pre-packaged sandwiches and coffee in paper cups is NOT 1st-class fodder.

tranceporter
30th April 2013, 05:23
FGW standard class monthly travel card is exactly half price of the first class, from swindon to London. Standard class monthly is £805. I just cannot justify paying £1600 for the first class..