Most of us are not that familiar with first class rail travel. But when we are all being encouraged to not fly or drive, it’s useful to see what services you get and how to save money on booking. Because the train companies are all now separate, you have to visit each site to find out what is offered. So as an example, we took Greater Anglia trains, to give a flavour of what’s on offer and how much it costs, compared to travelling economy. If you visit Split My Fare (which gives you multiple tickets for one price), you can sometimes get up to 90% off fares!
Read rules and tips for train travel with pets. Animals must be kept on leads or in carriers, and bring plenty of water and treats, to keep them happy and relaxed. Pets are not allowed on seats or escalators (they must be carried) and never allow animals near train.
East Anglia’s economy trains have just got an upgrade with spacious carriages with air conditioning and free wi-fi. The trains take bikes, and you can travel in Coach M (on London and Norwich intercity trains) for quiet chat (no calls on mobiles allowed and smart devices must be on silent mode). A return from London to Norwich works out around £65 (we think that’s hideously expensive, but that’s what happens when you privatise the trains).
So what extras do you get with First Class? You obviously get access to the First Class carriage with spacious seating, a table at every seat, more leg room and free refreshments from the cafe bar on weekdays. They advise to book in advance and travel off-peak (and use discount Railcards) for better value, and sometimes (especially on weekends and bank holidays), you can upgrade at the last minute for just £10. Considering first class costs around 50% more, is it worth it?
Where first class comes into its own is for long journeys like sleeper trains to Scotland. Whereas economy gives you an ‘airline seat’, upgrade by around £100 and you get a bunk bed room with washbasin, better than sitting upright for a near 10-hour overnight journey. The double en-suite is more luxurious, but costs over £300.