The great Virgin Trains Rip-off ?

Should Richard Branson be such a revered figure of British industry? Well, if you consider being able to formulate a business plan that charges more for catching a train from Carlisle to London than flying from Manchester to New York a shrewd business model, yes, I suppose he should. If however, like me, you consider a £282 (standard) or an incredible £415 (first class) return rail fare for Carlisle to Euston a pure-and-simple rip-off, no! I’d rather see Virgin Trains and Richard Branson branded as the thieves they are.

To put this into perspective, here’s an example £348 flight from Manchester to New York…

OK, I know that’s hardly the same journey – comparing apples with pears and all that – so here’s a journey from Manchester to London, just £93 return! In other words, I could fly to London and come back again three times for the price of one standard fare on Virgin Trains!

And to think Virgin Trains have the audacity to attempt to portray themselves as “green” – a better option than driving. Huh! So how much does driving a car cost? Michelin’s site suggests £32.34 each way, maybe that doesn’t account for wear and tear on tyres etc. – so lets double it: the return journey then is just £129.

I wouldn’t mind quite so much if there was a choice – I can’t even vote against the Virgin Trains West Coast monopoly and take my business elsewhere, there is nowhere else. Herein is the problem, allow a private (for profit) company like Virgin to operate without competition and they charge what they like! Simply, there should either be public-sector (not for profit) public-transport services, or more than one competing private-sector operators, not a monopoly (especially on crucial lines like the West Coast mainline).

As a final thought, what about a Virgin Atlantic rip-off flight to New York? That’s just £1425… 😯 That kind of reinforces my point that it’s Richard Branson and Virgin that are ripping us off, i.e. it isn’t just a rail issue.

Hopefully this summary table helps to make my point without the angry words above:

Fly BMI Manchester – Heathrow £93 Cheapest
Car Carlisle – Euston £129  
Train Virgin Trains Carlisle – Euston £282 Most expensive
Train Virgin Trains Carlisle – Euston £415 First class
New York
Fly Delta Manchester – New York JFK £348  
Fly Virgin Atlantic Manchester – New York JFK £1425  

Do I recommend using Richard Branson’s Virgin services? No. Perhaps they’d be better renaming their website virgin.con? Of course the choice is yours to use Virgin Trains … oh wait, no they have a monopoly operating trains to London on the West Coast mainline don’t they!

:angry: :angry: :angry:

5 thoughts on “The great Virgin Trains Rip-off ?”

  1. Pete, it’s all in the branding mate. We Brits love our prestige travel. An company can get us to pay well over the odds just by putting the right badge on the front and back. :sarcy:

  2. You’re right of course Pete, but the trains are usually packed, so Virgin will continue to charge these fares. 👿 👿
    My advice: drive. You go door to door and can choose your own company. 😎

  3. It’s all in the branding mate. We Brits love our prestige travel. An company can get us to pay well over the odds just by putting the right badge on the front and back
    As BMW have proved for years. If they stuck their badge on a turd then folk would still pay £500 for it. P.S. If you take their standard single then it’s only £36 each way. Pretty reasonable I’d say.

  4. I travelled from West Sussex Haywards Heath to Birmingham International on 18th Nov. ret19th nov2011 There were 3 trains to reach destination. It was the most horrific ordeal and need justification of the cost direct from Crawley Virgins Rail Ticket service of £194.00 inc.£1.00 admin/Delivery.
    You start off with South east trains at HH standing to Clapham Junction
    change onto a mind the gap which is a hole of about 18″ people with prams ,children suitcases, take your life in their hands Health & safety comes to mind dangerous dosn,t even begin to describe it.then on to Watford Junction where seat res made on another change Virgin Train to BM.Int station That was the only virgin train in the travel of£194. The attitude of station staff when you ask for help is beyond belief , half dont know someone at each coach where these huge gaps are especially platform Clapham Junction platform 14 you have to experience it to believe it , and for it to be allowed to carry on without assistance on departing the train.Where there are staff they just stand there and look at people in shock and struggling without any help whatsoever . Richard you shpould be ashamed of yourself allowing this sort of behaviour at this high cost of fare please justify and an accountable explanation would be very nice.
    I can understand why people prefer to drive their cars , and pollute the environment if this service is going green, NO THANKYOU. I will be driving in future.for Peace of mind. comfort, and not having to drag heavy luggage about with train experience definately not for me in the future go safe take your own life in your own hands for safety and comfort ,and luggage in boot .a lot cheaper and more of a pleasant journey, stop off at your leisure for comforts stops along the way. having a seat for complete journey and very much cheaper.

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