Now, dear reader, you know I’m not one to complain. However…the lovely Marion and I had a couple of days away from the metropolis that is Leith at the weekend. And very pleasant it was too – until we travelled back to Edinburgh using Cross Country trains.
We (well, Mrs Smith) paid a wee bit extra for us to travel first class. That was our second mistake. The first one was choosing Cross Country Trains for the return journey in the first place.
On Sunday morning we were greeted on the train by an announcement that there would be no catering facilities on board until we arrived in Edinburgh - which is where we were due to get off. This was something we found unacceptable on a journey lasting two and a half hours. While I’m not a well man, Mrs Smith has a medical condition and she felt quite distressed at not being able to get even a drink of water on the journey. In addition, we opted for first class travel to increase our comfort and avoid the noise one can often find in standard class coaches. However, we were surprised when the ticket collector's husband and two young children got on the train halfway through out journey - and sat in the first class carriage. Perhaps this is among the perks of working for Cross Country Trains. She didn't seem to check tickets for those passengers who got on after her family did…
When we took our seats upon departure, we thought there was a complimentary newspaper at our table. However, it transpired this was left by a passenger from the previous journey. Also, our seats weren't reserved on the carriage as arranged.
We were left very disappointed by the service provided by Cross Country Trains. As I said we paid extra to travel first class but found it no different to travelling standard class - and with no refreshment available on a long journey.
By contrast, our outgoing trip with Virgin Trains two days earlier was a pleasurable experience - complimentary tea and coffee, alcoholic beverages, sandwiches, cake and other refreshments - all delivered to our seats by efficient and friendly staff.
Next time we travel by train we will think very carefully about using Cross Country.