I get a train every day of week, so it’s safe to say that I’ve seen it all. Through that craziness, I’ve also learnt a lot. So I’ve compiled all my tips into one big post to help you be more savvy on trains. Got a tip? Leave a comment below.
1. Board In First Class
If you’re on a crowded station that’s waiting for the train to come in, go against the grain and board on the first class doors. Often no-one else is standing there and you can just quickly walk into standard class before the crowds board.
2. 2nd the best
The first off peak train is RAMMED with commuters and budget-savvy families. If you’re taking the kids out or treating someone special, always go on the 2nd off peak train as the difference in whether or not you’ll get a seat is huge.
3. Get In Your Seat Before Anyone Else
Invest in the Live Trains app, it gives you a preliminary platform for your station before the train actually comes in. I don’t know how it works but it have literally never ever been wrong for me. It’s great for busy city stations.
4. Go to Unreserved Seats
On Virgin trains, the first (and sometimes second) standard class carriages are unreserved so head there if you’re got an ‘anytime’ ticket.
5. Enjoy the Quiet
There is also usually a quiet coach – head there if you want to have a nap or just enjoy quietness. If you’re in the quiet coach then respect the rules and keep the silence. If you’re not in the quiet carridge I recommend still treating it like one out of respect to your fellow passengers.
6. Don’t be an inconvenience
Don’t sit in the isle even if it’s rammed – people will need to move through the train to go to the loo or cafe.
7. Chancing It Won’t Help
Only sit in first class if you have a ticket. They do secondary checks about 10mins into the journey and will kick you out if you only have a standard class ticket. By this point, all the free seats will be taken.
8. Upgrade at the Right Time
Consider upgrading to first class for an occasion. For everyday work commutes, standard class is fine but for a hen do or someones birthday you can sometimes upgrade for around £20 a ticket. It’s worth the money every now and then as you’ll get food, tea / coffee, big leather seats and that important piece and quiet.
9. Hover Near First Class
If the train is rammed and you have to go in a vestibule, go in the one nearest first class. This is because sometimes (not always) the train conductor will move some people into first class for free if it’s so many people it’s a health and safety issue. You won’t be served any free food or drink but at least you have a seat.
10. Your Bag Didn’t Pay
If you do get a seat in standard on a busy service, don’t even try and save the seat next to you with your bag. That never works and you get (rightly so) asked to move it so someone else can sit down (and then they will hate you for the journey).
11. Don’t Make Everyone Hate You
Don’t eat smelly food on the train. Good or bad smelling, the potentness will likely be annoying for a high level of people around you.
12. Luggage Goes Up – No Exceptions
Always put your luggage in the racks or above you – not in the isles. People who are elderly or blind still use trains and you should do your duty to not cause them harm.
13. Consider a Railcard
The railcards are super worth it for you and your partner. We have the ‘Two Together’ card and easily made out money back when we went to London once. It’s £30 for a year so if even one journey is more than £90 for 2 tickets you’ve made your money back.