Operator: LNER Headcode: 1E22 Route: EDB-PBO Class: First Seat: L05 Date: Monday 5th October 2020
Before I start with the actual blog, a small celebration is in order as this is the 100th blog post on Flights and Times! Wooo! Now, enough of that, and on with the blog…
After an excellent week in Scotland, we took a train from Glasgow Queen St, back to Edinburgh with enough time for us to have an enjoyable lunch at our favourite restaurant in the capital (Maxies!) before catching our LNER service back south of the border and home. Having paid to leave our bags at left luggage (this one was open, however as it’s staffed it costs a fortune), we made sure to pick them up within the 3 hour time period and so headed to the first class lounge for somewhere to dump them and sit in the warmth until our train.
The LNER first class lounges are another area that have suffered due to Covid restrictions, with no refreshments or facilities available and just somewhere (still with wifi) to sit and wait for your train. For most of our stay we had the lounge to ourself and the comfy and quiet environment allowed Beth to nap whilst I tried to catch up with some writing. As an added bonus, the lounge has great views over some of Waverley’s platforms allowing me to train spot whilst writing.
With about 20 minutes until our train departed, the platform was announced, and we got to discover the seemingly erratic system that is Waverley’s platform numbering. With the lounge by platforms 6 and 7, we had to go beyond 10 and literally through a wall (not quite Harry Potter style) to find platform 9. Find it we did though, and we were settled into our seats with about 10 minutes to go before departure.
Shortly after leaving the city suburbs the onboard crew came around first-class taking our orders for what food we would like, given a more expanded, but still limited, offering was now back in first class. Opting for the Ham and Mustard roll along with a coffee and some brownie, I was surprised to find that although the catering had improved since last week, the coffee had got worse. Having been presented with a cup of boiling water along with sachets of sugar, milk and instant coffee, I tweeted my thoughts on the catering and had one of the LNER social media bods try to tell me it was filter coffee!
Despite the decline in coffee standards, the food provided was tasty and essentially means LNER is now offering its pre-Covid weekend service throughout the week in first class. What I especially like about the LNER food is that the vast majority is sourced from suppliers across the route, with the brownie being from Beckleberry’s in Gateshead and Pipers Crisps being based midway between the LNER destinations of Doncaster, Hull and Lincoln.
Unlike our journey north, there were no stops scheduled between Edinburgh and Newcastle on the southbound trip and so, other than slowing to pass across the Royal Border Bridge in Berwick, we sped south enjoying the East Lothian, Borders and Northumbrian coastline before arriving into Newcastle about 90 minutes later. The stop at Newcastle also means a crew change on LNER services and with us not scheduled to leave for about seven minutes, I took the opportunity to stretch my legs, get some air and take a photo of the station.
With the crew change complete, we continued south stopping at Durham and Darlington, before ticking off another new station for me, Northallerton. Northallerton is a market town in North Yorkshire and has been a settlement since Roman times. Becoming a centre of religious affairs in the 11th century the town grew in importance and until the arrival of the railways was a key stopping point for coaches. Railway wise, the station is served by LNER, Grand Central & TransPennine Express (who run the station) giving the county town of North Yorkshire direct connections to London, Scotland and the North East as well as Manchester and Liverpool.
With fading light, we continued south, arriving into the glorious station at York about two and a half hours after leaving the Scottish capital. As I’ve mentioned previously, the northern approach to York passes the National Railway Museum and as we passed the museum on this journey the locomotives ‘Tornado’ and ‘Union of South Africa’ were stabled outside the museum buildings.
One advantage of the crew change at Newcastle seemed to be the fact that the coffee now arrived ready made and seemed to be the filter coffee that is usually served on LNER. I’ve no idea why north of Newcastle, coffee was served D.I.Y style, but it is what it is, and with coffee and some more brownie, I decided to stop blogging for a while and enjoy the view out of the window for as long as the light lasted.
Our final stops prior to Peterborough, Doncaster and Newark Northgate, were familiar ground and as we pulled into Peterborough station, we were glad, although slightly sad, to finally be home. The journey south took three hours and 50 minutes and overall was what I have come to expect from LNER. I’m glad that the onboard service is returning to some sort of normality and looking at the website, it seems a new menu is coming soon, so I’ll have to try that out when I can.
Lounge 3* Seat/Facilities 4* Food 3* Service 4* Punctuality 5* Overall Rating 19/25 (read about my rating system here!)