Old Sep 15, 14, 5:28 am
  #6  
KenF
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Wirral, UK
Programs: BA-Gld, BD Lifetime Gld, LH Pleb, *Wd GPG, HH-Dmd, Amex: can take their Cent card and <CENSORED>
Posts: 756
OB DISCLAIMER: I've not travelled regularly on VT for around 12 months, and my last trip was a few months ago. I've only done a few EC trips (mostly when line issues caused me to be transferred to EC) and have never travelled with them at the weekend. </DISCLAIMER>

VT:

VT in F on the GLA route can get very busy at the weekend, though this should not be a problem as long as you are boarding at one of the terminii (lots of people take advantage of the onboard weekend first upgrades, a source of some annoyance to those of us who used to pay "real" F fares and travelled one leg at the weekend).

Catering is a "snack box" (IMHO the red breakfast option is a lot better, but YMMV) plus a soft drink, water, or tea/coffee. If you are lucky they may have also stocked the fridges with water, and most weekend upgrade pax do not realise this. There only appears to be one trolley run per crew swap (so, theoretically three, but often less than that), but, again, they are a lot better at looking after pax who board at the GLC or EUS end than those who board in-between. If there is a "crew shortage" then you will be directed to show your F ticket at the shop in C to get your goodies. Coach J/K to coach C is, indeed, a bit of a marathon, (11 car pendo's go ABCDEFOGHJK - I'm sure it is just coincidence that the two coaches they added to go to 11 from 9 happen to spell "FO") and if standard is full then it is more like an assault course. No paid at-seat service at the weekend, so if you want alcohol then (preferably) bring it yourself, or get ready for the long trek.

It's really a bit of a shame, as the in-week service on VT got a lot better when the franchise renewed (better wine, addition of port with desert etc.) but the weekend offering is a bit of a joke - but still a lot better then TPE.

One thing worth noting is that if you are originating from EUS, and "pre-buy" a weekend F upgrade (i.e. buy a ticket that has the surcharge built in and is issued in F) you should be able to access the F lounge in EUS - which is a bit of a zoo at the weekend, but is still as good as it gets as far as UK rail lounges go.

EC:

Trains are more variable, but generally I find the seating in F better, though the "slam-door" carriages are a lit of a blast from the past (and a bit of a faff to open at en-route stations). From the looks of the menu card, the weekend options are slightly better food-wise than VT, but still no alcohol. Galley on EC is between F and Std, so a lot easier to reach, and I'm surprised that paid at-seat service isn't available at weekends, but it's only a maximum of 3 carriages to walk to the shop. The coastal part of the EC route is quite scenic (though so is the run through the Lake district on VT), but I'd agree that the ride can be a lot rougher on EC.

The in-week service, both in terms of food and attentiveness was universally better on EC than VT in my opinion, but VT was catching up when I stopped travelling weekly.....

I'm pretty sure that EC do not allow low-cost F tickets into their lounges, so a restricted (or upgraded) F will not get you into the lounge at EDB. (though, amusingly, an off-peak VT F ticket will )

Overall, I suspect that you may find the weekend experience on VT a bit of a disappointment if you are used to EC, but as long as you set your expectations low, then you may not be disappointed.

Willard the Bear - And you are much less likely to meet a bear on the East Coast route....
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