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Trains, First-Class vs. Standard Class

Can anybody tell me what extras one would get by traveling first-class on a train vs. standard class?

Posted by
7452 posts

Look at www.seat61.com

I don’t pay for first class unless the difference of the early-purchased tickets (purchase months ahead) between the two classes is small, and it’s a longer ride.

Posted by
11368 posts

Seat is larger, fewer passengers and there is more room for your luggage.

Posted by
713 posts

This is from my experience in the UK, not elsewhere in Europe.

First class carriages have more comfortable seating, with a bit more space per passenger.

You can reserve a seat in first class (and probably should). Edited to reflect that apparently you can reserve seats in standard class. I wasn't able to but maybe it was a function of the pass I was using. The train will leave the station carrying as many ticketed passengers as have boarded. This may mean, literally, standing room only in standard. I don't know how that would work in first class.

Depending on the train operator and the journey, in first class you are likely to be offered food and drink (free coffee/tea/water, alcoholic drinks for purchase, complimentary sandwiches). Again, not all operators, not all trips. Happened to me on the longer trips I took in first class.

I was glad to be in first class on long trips including York to Penzance and Penzance to London. For Edinburgh to York: first class was nice, I'd probably have been fine in standard. For short trips like Glasgow to Edinburgh and London to Brighton, standard was fine.

Posted by
8638 posts

umm, I believe we had reserved seats in second class on our three trains, 2017. Booked online when buying our tickets.

Posted by
713 posts

Cool. I stand corrected. I was using a BritRail First Class pass for most of the longer trips, maybe that's why I couldn't reserve standard class seats.

Posted by
5383 posts

On some trains all you might get extra is an antimacassar with 'first' on it.

If you give your intended journeys then the difference can be detailed.

Posted by
6113 posts

On my local line from Kent to London, there is absolutely no difference between first and standard, but on say the Virgin service from London to Manchester, you get a drink in first class and possibly a snack, depending on what time of day you are travelling. You can reserve seats in both classes.

Posted by
9 posts

The train journey that I will book goes from Bath to Plymouth. The reason behind my initial question has to do with my booking a split ticket (Bath Spa to EXD and EXD to Plymouth). If I make a first-class split ticket booking it will cost less than a single, standard class ticket, so I thought to splurge instead of saving a few more pounds.

Posted by
5383 posts

If this is all on one train it will be GWR. If there is a connection somewhere one of them could be Cross Country.

GWR offers "complimentary light snacks and refreshments with at seat service". The seats if an HST service will be leather, but will be 2-1 style whatever.

The menu is here, along with some more details.

Posted by
9 posts

The routing goes from Bath to Bristol where we change trains, so the bulk of the travel is between Bristol and Plymouth. Would GWR serve the Bristol to Plymouth leg?

Posted by
5383 posts

They could do, but more likely to be Cross Country (the direct London-South West trains tend to go via the Berks and Hants line to Taunton). It should say on the itinerary.

They also offer complimentary refreshments and food - see here.

Posted by
2492 posts

You can find out whose train you are going to travel on by going to www.nationalrail.co.uk and put in for your journey - then click DETAILS & it will tell you. Some GWR trains do in fact go through Bath on the London to Cornwall route but most use a more direct line. That being so, it is in all probability that you will change at Bristol Temple Meads to a Cross Country Train.

PS. If the train between Bath & Bristol (takes 15 minutes) has not come from London, then it will not have 1st class.

Posted by
5383 posts

PS. If the train between Bath & Bristol (takes 15 minutes) has not come from London, then it will not have 1st class.

Good point. I'd assumed the OP had looked at the underlying services, but maybe not. A First Class Advance can be sold with part of the connecting service being standard class only.

Posted by
13 posts

I took the morning train from Moreton-in-Marsh to London Paddington last April on a weekend, traveling in standard class. There were 2 first-class carriages completely empty of passengers while we were crushed with standing room only. This could be because it was a weekend vs a weekday and the train made stops; however, had I known in advance, I would gladly have paid extra for the space and comfort, and I'll pay more attention in future to when I travel. Normally, standard class is just fine.

Posted by
5383 posts

On a weekend you can buy a 'Weekend First' supplement on many services. For example Moreton-in-Marsh to London is £15.