Trains can be much of a muchness in the UK, with train operators moving away from the ideas of comfort to the point where they densifying them to a point where an airline executive would thin “Maybe that’s a touch tight”.
Recent express and long haul stock have done not a lot to change this impression.
Chiltern Railways some time ago tried to change their game with some of their longer services, and introducing levels of comfort on its premier services – The Silver Train as part of their Main Line offering.
The silver train consists of some older rolling stock and a new locomotive – made up of a Mark III Driving Trailer Van, 5 x British Rail Mark 3 Carriages that have been through heavy refurbishment (including the fitting of retention toilets and powered doors), and a Class 68 Locomotive.
Here’s a look at the seating – you’ll notice its the classic Intercity style seats, mixed with combination of table and airline style seats.
At table seating – note, power at the table for those who need it.
Airline style seating. Apologies for the blur – I was getting off the train, and the locals were behind me.
Like the rest of the Chiltern Mainline fleet, these are fitted with free Internet connectivity, with 125mb free at 1mb/s, and then throttled heavily after that.
These trains tend to work the express services between London Marylebone, Birmingham, Stourbridge and Kidderminster – with the majority of these services heading to London during the morning peak, and returning to the West Midlands during the evening.
In terms of how long you’ll be spending on the train – it varies, but as a baseline comparison:
- Virgin Trains between London Euston and Birmingham New Street: 1 hour 22 minutes
- Chiltern Railways between London Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street: 1 hour 34 minutes
Combine this with the fares that Chiltern Railway offer (which if you book in advance start from £5.50, or a walk up fare of £29.50 if you’re buying on the day depending when you depart) , and we have a very good passenger experience on the rails – one that’s hard to match.
And it beats the heck out of travelling on noisy Diesel Multiple Units – however comfortable they are.
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