A seat is all I ask for

Posted on 28 November 2007 in Transport (1 comment)

Sorry to drag you back to the world of railways and trains again, however today I tried once more to get some seat reservations for the annual trip up north on the old Virgin Train, and I feel the need to share. And hey, it's my site, so I can.

The experience was an interesting contrast to trying to get some for the return journey on East Midlands Trains, who just popped some in the post when I emailed them.

Virgin Trains's email customer support on the other hand just told me to give it a week or so and ring them up.

The first problem with that is that the people phone line won't (or perhaps more accurately, can't) do anything like that without a booking reference. No booking reference, no help, natch. Not even the slightest incling of help.

Thankfully the Trainline's website tells you your booking ID, so I phoned them up instead. At which point, much becomes irrelevant, because you quickly find that The Trainline and Virgin's phone team are actually the same call centre. That's perhaps not hugely surprising given that The TrainLine was originally part of the Virgin Rail Group, although now seperately owned.

After a brief interlude which consisted of their phone line hanging up on me because (and I quote) "This phone number is not allowed to accept incoming calls" I got through on an appalling connection where everything I said was echoed back to my ear, whilst talking to someone who, with the combination of a strong accent and dodgy phone line, was pretty incomprehensible.

Still, in the end I got an answer. I'd actually booked my tickets "too far in advance" (which was very amusing given I'd booked them a whole five weeks before travelling, which isn't normally a problem) So nothing available, try again two weeks before departure when they might be.

I was speaking to a friend the other day who spent all 2 hours of a journey to Manchester recently, standing up. I have this ever increasing feeling that I'll be doing the same...

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Kirk said:

For my trip next week I have a reserved seat on the way down (Saturday early morning, so it might be busyish) and on the way back I have a reservation on Virgin but I'm going back the not London way, which should be quiet on a Wednesday midday.

But going home for new year... Liverpool Street is closed for a start, and I'm probably going down on the 27th. Probably going to be a bit rammed... And I'll have to go on East Midlands Trains...

Posted on 28 November 2007 at 1:03 PM

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