I was back on the trains this week. On Friday, I went down to an event at the NEC in Birmingham and travelled with Arriva Trains, the main operator from my local station, Chester.
I know the NEC is a Seventies throwback (there’s a project in progress to update it), but the train journey also felt liked a step back in time to Life on Mars.
I travel with Arriva Trains a lot: down to Cardiff, to Birmingham and to Crewe for connections to London with Virgin Trains.
Every time it is for business and I’m going by train specifically to work on my way to a meeting, exhibition, interview etc. I imagine I’m not alone in this.
But the 17.09 from Birmingham International to Chester on Friday, October 1st was a pretty poor effort. It was on time, but the catering and toilet facilities were, at best, poor, it was over-crowded and had no working facilities, such as power points or wi-fi.
Compared to other train operators, the trains look tired, outdated and stuck in the past.
Arriva needs to make some major changes over the next year to retain business. An alternative operator, Wrexham and Shropshire, are already winning over my business with some the innovations on their route.
For Arriva to drag itself out of the Seventies, it needs to implement some changes. Yes, I know that costs money, but that’s business. I’d like to see:
- Power sockets at all seats
- A dining car with hot food and decent coffee
- Improved toilet facilities
- The option of wi-fi access
Have you had a good or bad experience with Arriva Trains? Post up your comments here.
I’m going to ask Arriva to respond to this post, too, and hopefully get some answers about their future plans.
That’s if I can ever find a press contact on their website.