London Baby! (The Journey)

Posted: 27/11/2011 in General
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London Baby!

On Wednesday myself and my girlfriend travelled down to London. Now I know a lot of you will be thinking “well that’s nothing special” and normally we’d agree, considering that we’ve both spent considerable time down there ourselves over recent years. The difference this time was we got to travel down there on first class! Her brother had won tickets and decided he didn’t want them, so he offered them to us for £20. It was an offer way too good to turn down so naturally we grabbed them with both hands.

The alarms went off (I use the plural there as we both set our alarms as we knew we’d be tired), and our minds were going “oh my god! We get to go to London today! FIRST CLASS!”, but our bodies were going “oh hey bed. You’re incredibly comfy. Goodnight!” After a short battle our minds prevailed and we got up, ready and headed off to the train station.

Waiting for the bus it was a pretty chilly morning. Nickie tends to feel the cold more than I do and bless her she was shivering. I did my best to keep to her warm, but thankfully the bus arrived dead on time (the bus service where she lives is absolutely atrocious and I will be covering that in a later blog). The bus took us to the city centre and then we had a short walk to Derby Railway Station. The first thing we did when we got there was head over to Upper Crust, and got ourselves some breakfast. I was quite surprised by their selection of sandwiches as they had no vegetarian option. I felt sorry for Nickie here as with her being a vegetarian it didn’t really leave much of a choice. After we chose something to eat we then heading over to platform 3 to wait for our train, and this is where our first class adventure began.

We arrived at the platform with some 40 minutes to go before our train was due to arrive and so we decided to walk into the first class lounge. We had never been in one of these before and I must say it was very nice! The best way to describe it, is that it’s like a mini hotel lounge. The place even has its own receptionist who you have to show your first class tickets too. In there was two sofa’s and  number of tables and chairs that you could sit on. On the wall was a TV playing Sky News. Two sides of the room were just glass windows looking out on to the platforms and on the back of the wall was a little place that had tea, coffee, fruit juices and a selection of biscuits that you could help yourself to. Nickie had a couple of cups of coffee, and even though I should have followed suit, I decided to go with the fruit juices. It was pleasant experience, made all the more pleasing by the fact that they had Wi-Fi in there that you were allowed to connect too.

9:20 came and our train arrived. From Derby the direct service is provided by “East Midlands Trains” which takes you in to London St. Pancras. We boarded the train and proceeded to walk into the first class area. The one thing that immediately grabbed my attention was the amount of room you had compared to the standard class carriages. The seats were wider and taller, and the backs were slightly curved. We had a table in front of us, and on that table were 2 glasses, 2 cups and various items such as brown and white sugar and stirrer. We sat down and almost immediately a lady came round to check our tickets. Shortly after that  they came through the carriage again with a free newspaper for everyone. It was the Independent but still allowed a good chunk of the journey to be killed. Next came the café trolley where we could have tea, coffee, juice or water at no extra expense as it’s all part of paying extra for first class. I must say that both the coffee and the juice was extremely fresh and Nickie who doesn’t normally like too much juice, thoroughly enjoyed the apple juice they had on offer. The final part of the first class service was of course, the on board WiFi, which enabled us to quite happily use our mobile devices (me with my Bold 9700 and Nickie with her Bold 9780 and her Playbook).

The journey itself was smooth enough. The train stopped at a number of stations in the East Midland area (Long Eaton, East Midlands Parkway, Loughborough and Leicester) before heading straight down to London St. Pancras. All in all it probably took the train around 1 hour and 45 minutes to get from Derby to London which wasn’t too bad at all :).

We arrived at our destination around 11:05 and that is when our day began…

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