As one of the founder members of Rugby Rail Users’ Group I read the article by Pete Horton [Concern as Virgin loses franchise, Advertiser August 23] with a touch of dismay.
Too little has been made of the fact that Virgin Trains has systematically reduced services from Rugby during their tenure.
It used to be possible for commuters to catch a regular service to and from Milton Keynes: a former colleague was forced to leave her job when Virgin abandoned stops such as Rugby and Milton Keynes in their pursuit of competing with the airlines between London and the north west.
We also used to be able to catch a regular Virgin service for trips to the Lake District or Scotland. This disappeared too a few years back.
Virgin has unashamedly chased the business class travellers, conveniently excusing themselves by blaming the Department for Transport whilst abandoning Rugbeians.
As a cyclist, I have suffered endlessly at the mercy of Virgin train managers bemoaning having to allow me on or off their trains. I am too much of an inconvenience I guess, regardless of booking in advance.
Indeed, one early morning (catching the only remaining daily direct service to Glasgow) the train manager was adamant that we could not get aboard as there were already bikes in the space. It turned out these bikes had boarded at Euston without tickets and thus permission - an error of his making. We were eventually and begrudgingly allowed on after intervention from the excellent staff at Rugby station.
Since the Pendolino came along we have had to endure fewer seats, smelly toilets, poor quality catering, noisy ‘quiet’ coaches and a drastically reduced timetable of direct services to places we want to visit. Does Richard Branson really believe he has improved things? Having travelled in Scotland frequently I can only commend the service offered by First. Long live competition!
Oxford Street, Rugby.