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Rail travel Pictured: Chiltern Railways


There is no doubt that Virgin has done a good job on the West Coast route, and customer satisfaction is high,” says Stone. The travel services manager of Balfour


Beatty WorkSmart, Nicola Spence, warns that further fare increases risk driving people off the trains, and she also reports high satisfaction with Virgin. “Even advance fares are getting high, and


this will push people back into their cars,” she predicts. “The cost of flights can be lower, and that’s a concern. Our margins are important and while we are committed to cutting carbon, that is very difficult when rail travel is more expensive.” Spence continues, “People sometimes





Sirius business travel consultancy, says: “A lot of companies still use first class because, like business class on airlines, it is hierarchical. But I also see an increased drive towards giving managers a travel budget that they have to stick to, which might mean standard class. There is huge concern about fare increases, and whether the rail network should be a public service or operated for profit. It seems the


continental railways have got it right because they hold fare increases in check, and if that was done here a lot more companies would switch to rail. “The choice of whether to travel by rail is


driven by economics, but if you can also tick the carbon saving box, that’s the icing on the cake. The important things are wifi on board, space to work, a calm and peaceful environment, and punctuality.


say they need to get somewhere quickly so they fly, and higher productivity on the train doesn’t come into it. As employers we also have to consider the impact on people’s lives of another night away from home, if they go by train instead of by air on routes to Scotland, for example. “Our people say they prefer Virgin over other train operators for the quality of product and service. The franchising





Kick your £158 per day habit. Anytime Return fare to London - Virgin: £158, Chiltern Railways: £95 Fast trains from


Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone.


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