THE TRAIN: Left from London Euston on time at 09.07 for the 2hr8min journey to Liverpool Lime Street. I was sitting in the First Class of this Pendolino train.
THE PROCESS: Boarding began 15 minutes prior to departure. Tickets were checked at the end of the ramp to platform 16.
THE CARRIAGE: I sat in a First Class carriage at the back of the train. All seats have a table and the carriage was clean, with adequate luggage storage both by the door and overhead, though there's no at-seat storage, as there is on Eurostar. Good reclining seats, and there's a coat/jacket hook on the back of the seat.
THE BUSINESS: There's in-seat laptop/mobile power, a table light, complimentary newspapers and free in-seat food and drink. I was sitting at a single table and it’s a bit of a squeeze once your laptop hogs the bulk of the surface; better to opt to sit in the group of four seats and spread out.
THE SERVICE: A tea and coffee service started immediately after pulling away from Euston station and soon afterwards a smiley Virgin Trains staff member took breakfast orders. The choice was a full grill, a fruit platter or salmon and scrambled egg. There was real cutlery and stylish white china. The food temperature could have been hotter, and the plate could have been larger and preferably without the irritating ridge in the middle of it! The staff were very slow to clear the table.
THE DETAILS: Virgin Trains operates an hourly service from London Euston to Liver-pool Lime Street stations at seven minutes past each hour. First class returns start from around £101.50; First Class advance purchase – bookable up to 12 weeks in advance – brings it down to around £68. Advance singles in standard class are from £12. Tel: 08457 222333.