Crossrail Heathrow fares

The fares for Crossrail to Heathrow have been announced today, these fares will come into operation when TfL Rail takes over from the Heathrow Connect on the 20th May. The fares represent good value as they are capped in line with normal zone 1-6 fares so if you travel within London before or after your journey to Heathrow you will be charged a maximum of £12.50 a day if you use Oyster or contactless.

The single fares will be more expensive than the Tube but will be slightly cheaper than the current Heathrow Connect and significantly cheaper than the Heathrow Express.

A look at G-MEDN

British Airways are going through a process that they call 'densification' of their Airbus 320 and 321 fleet. In plain English we'd call it cramming more seats into the aircraft. The Airbus A321 will have an additional two rows added, more space will be made by moving the rear toilets from their current location just before the rear doors and instead use half the space of the rear galley. There will still be two toilets in the rear, but these will be smaller than before.

Our YouTube policy

The best way to sum up our YouTube policy is we do not have one! Our official social media channels are Twitter and Facebook. Our YouTube channel is currently just a mix of random content, just like this blog section content may be off topic but any content relating to Virgin Trains East Coast will get posted to this site.

Here's some of the things we've used YouTube to showcase:

Email to VTEC staff

The following email from Managing Director David Horne was sent to all Virgin Trains East Coast staff.

Hello team, 

As you know we've been in discussions with the DfT for some months now and they're going well. 

I updated you recently about the Secretary of State's (SoS) announcement on 5 February 2018 around the future of the franchise, and in this statement he also commended the great job we've done to keep our customers happy. 

Experimental changes to ads on this site

For the moment we're experimenting with automatic ad placement on this site. This is where Google Adsense places the ads in the most optimum location. We'll be monitoring it over the next week or so to see whether they're more obtrusive, they may appear in some odd places to begin with.

In the blog 'Why we have ads on this site' (basically we don't make much off them but they cover our website running costs and also give us the chance to run the occasional prize draws).

A visit to Canary Wharf Crossrail station

When Crossrail announced they were doing a 'behind the hoardings' event for Canary Wharf station I had to take a look. The event was free but required pre-booking and space was limited. I couldn't get my preferred timeslot as it ran out within minutes of going live but fortunately I did manage to get another time. The event was held on 28 February 2018 which had heavy snow throughout the UK but it wasn't severe enough in London to call off the event so an email was sent round confirming it was still happening. It did mean queuing for a few minutes outside in the cold though.

VTEC don't care about loyalty

It's not uncommon for companies to give special offers to encourage new customers or indeed to win back former customers but there is a major issue with the way Virgin Trains East Coast handles this. They only appear to care about attracting new customers (even if they're just occasional customers on very cheap fares) and neglecting those who travel regularly even if they're spending a lot.

VTEC memories

A lot of 2017 was spent covering the failings of Virgin Trains East Coast. It's easy to forget that they did some good things too. Let's look at some of the positives.

Hop on Board

After GNER stopped selling bottled guest ales in 2002 there's not been anything in the way of interesting beer on board. On the west coast Virgin Trains had partnered with a local brewery to make Tilting Ale and so it was nice to see Virgin Trains East Coast come up with Hop on Board brewed by Rudgate Brewery in the Vale of York.

What about Virgin?

Although Stagecoach were quick to issue a statement after this week's news that their franchise was in trouble, we've not heard anything so far from Virgin. Although Virgin only own 10% of Virgin Trains East Coast they're always happy to take the credit when things are going well and also act as the face of the company when some publicity is needed.

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