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Can’t reserve train seats!

(47 Posts)
OldMeg Tue 09-Jan-18 12:06:28

I’m taking two grandchildren to Liverpool at half-term to see the Terracotta Army exhibition there. We’re staying with relative for two nights, so we’ll have luggage.

I booked train tickets online and when asked for our seat preference, ticked the ‘table’ option.

It wasn’t until I printed the tickets out that I noticed they read ‘no seats reserved’. I’ve since been on the phone to their customer services department who tell me you cannot book seats on any of their trains.

So tried Virgin and Cross Country but, it appears only this company run trains in that line on any of the days I need to travel. So I’m forced to use this train company.

How can this be right?.

So i could end up in a Jeremy Corbyn situation, where I’m forced to sit on the floor with two young grandchildren.


Maggiemaybe Tue 06-Mar-18 09:19:02

I booked Northern Rail tickets yesterday up to Carlisle and was surprised that I couldn't book seats on the train. We've been on this route before and were able to, in fact I can't remember ever not being able to book seats on a longish journey. I'm not too worried as we're two adults with minimal luggage, but it's different if you have health problems or you're travelling with children.

jenpax Tue 06-Mar-18 08:12:13

Agree very much with the stress in general around Rail travel. I am awaiting major surgery and currently cannot stand for more than a few minutes! I also am unable to sit on the floor so I dread train travel, unfortunately I am having to make regular trips by train up and down to London to see my consultant and the appointments usually mean travelling either there or back on a busy service! Last time I returned at 4 the train was already packed and it was standing room only so I went and sat in first class! I feel resentful that the trains are so expensive and you can’t even be guaranteed a seat! Especially appalling is that booking a seat isn’t possible on some major routes and there is no provision made for people with disabilities other than wheel chair users and no reserved spaces for people with health conditions

Marian1412 Mon 05-Mar-18 17:07:58

I always book a seat because I have a disability and can’t stand long. However I have found on several occasions that the train has been rammed and I haven’t been able to sit.
I spoke to the ticket office on my return and was told that even if you reserved seats they couldn’t be guaranteed! Also on several occasions I have found myself on trains with no numbered seats. It makes travelling by train frustrating and increases anxiety levels.

Nonnie Thu 01-Mar-18 10:37:59

We couldn't book seats on a recent 2 1/5 hour journey to London and the one and only too was 'out of service' I asked the man selling coffee what we were supposed to do and he seemed to think it was a n unreasonable question. I tweeted about it and the train stopped at the next station and there was an announcement that we could use the loos on the station and the train would wait. He carried on selling drinks though.

On the return journey we had booked seat but the computer had stopped working so none of them were reserved.

Nothing to encourage us to use the trains again.

janeainsworth Thu 22-Feb-18 17:55:38

Glad you had a good time oldmeg.
My DGC have just gone home today having had a wonderful time up here. There wasn’t enough time to do all the things they wanted to do & see. smile

OldMeg Thu 22-Feb-18 15:11:14

Decent ‘wine’ that should read

OldMeg Thu 22-Feb-18 15:10:16

Just a quick update, just come back from this trip yesterday as it’s half-term in our part of the world.

I was reassured by all your advice, especially those who have used this Birmingham to Liverpool service. There were indeed plenty of seats available on the way to Liverpool and we managed to get a table seat...always best with youngsters.

The grandchildren were enchanted with the Terracotta Army exhibition - even the 8 year old girl, who isn’t normally a ‘museum’ type.

It’s a long time since I visited Liverpool and I’d forgotten how very friendly and helpful the Liverpudlians are. So much to see in this beautiful city.

We stayed in a hotel at the Albert Docks and dined at a restaurant there called the Smugglers Cove. Not haute cuisine by any means but basic food, decent and and great atmosphere and the GC loved it. Would recommend.

MawBroon Thu 11-Jan-18 09:15:24

Small grandchildren! Not to mention luggage.
(Nor did Jenni Murray, just her little chihuahuas)

OldMeg Thu 11-Jan-18 09:07:13

But I don’t have mobility issues!

MawBroon Thu 11-Jan-18 08:54:34

Old Meg I too was going to suggest Mobility Assistance. I once met Jenni Murray plus her little dogs in the Assistance Lounge at Euston where Paw and I were waiting for our train. While I think it is meant for those with some mobility issues, travelling with small grandchildren sounds perfectly reasonable. There must be SOME perks in getting older!
Give it a try. Meandashy you should CERTAINLY use the facility.
It was invaluable to us until Paw became too frail even to use it, including one occasion holding back a Virgin train for us because of a late platform change which involved getting the lift back up to the concourse and down to the new platform!

OldMeg Thu 11-Jan-18 08:28:09


loopyloo Thu 11-Jan-18 08:22:15

Dear Topcat, should there be a comma before or after 'Virgin' ?

Marieeliz Wed 10-Jan-18 17:03:59

I have found people in my seat when I have reserved it. One instance it was a lady of similar age to myself and she refused to move. No help from the staff of the train.

Maru Wed 10-Jan-18 15:49:25

I took my granddaughter from Nuneaton to London by train and we had to stand the whole way - well we sat on the floor. When I wrote to the train company, their response was that they only promise to get people from A to B but do not to guarantee seats...

meandashy Wed 10-Jan-18 15:20:49

Having been screwed over several times when I've booked seats and got on the train to find they've reduced the carriages and reservations no longer stand (Scotrail GGGRRRRRRR) I completely understand your anxiety. I'm a disabled woman (not wheelchair bound) and had to stand for a considerable amount of time with dgd sitting on the floor because of a cock up with seating.
I would go with the suggestion of arriving at the platform as early as possible and enlisting some assistance from a guard when boarding. (If your trains still have employ them.......)

blueskies Wed 10-Jan-18 14:58:41

Topcat7 Eleothen is absolutely right. Jeremy Corbyn has no need to tell lies. Why do people have to resort to fake news. I would only use any Virgin enterprises as a last resort. Branson is screwing our NHS and that is truth.

OldMeg Wed 10-Jan-18 14:37:44

It’s reassuring to read that there are usually seats available. Fingers crossed.

Re picking up train a station early, I can’t do that as I’m travelling into Birmingham on a different line and actually come in at a different station so have to get across to New Street.

Isn’t assistance only for those with mobility or other issues?

Eloethan Wed 10-Jan-18 14:34:20

JC was not lying, as the delayed provision of the full tape revealed. And many people who were on the train backed him up.

Legs55 Wed 10-Jan-18 14:24:25

I used to travel from Devon to Lancashire via Manchester (I use a taxi between Stations), I can book seat to Manchester but not from Manchester to Station where I used to meet DM. Depends on whether Service is a "Local" one. As long as you are travelling outside "rush hour" there are usually lots of seats. Good luck & enjoy.

Aepgirl Wed 10-Jan-18 13:16:13

My daughter and son-in-law took my grandson to his first 'proper' football match but were told they couldn't sit in the family area as it was for a minimum of 2 children!

Morgana Wed 10-Jan-18 12:26:02

If you book 'assistance' can you then book a seat? I travelled up to Midlands in December and there were quite a few empty seats. Good service but on way back my train was cancelled meaning my connections were all disrupted.

Topcat7 Wed 10-Jan-18 12:14:28

Just to be clear Jeremy Corbyn was pulling a stunt and lying Virgin proved there were plenty of seats free on the train he was travelling on. Hopefully if you are travelling outside of commuter hours you will be fine

newnanny Wed 10-Jan-18 11:19:39

Just a thought Birmingham is a very busy station where lots of people get on. Could you catch train one stop earlier so less people on train?

newnanny Wed 10-Jan-18 11:18:31

Old Meg if you travel after 9.30am from Birmingham there are plenty of empty seats. If you travel at about 8am you will find it hard to get a seat. Try to avoid the main commuting times to get a seat. Same goes on return journey if you travel after 6pm you will get seats but if about 4.30-5.45 it will be difficult. You also might have to sit in a 2 and a 1 near to each other rather than all three together next to each other.

tessagee Wed 10-Jan-18 11:18:16

I've had to give up travelling by train due to the 'no reserved seats' rule. This, together with the very limited luggage storage turned the last two long journeys into a complete nightmare. Never again!