Thursday 6 January 2022

By Red Arrow To Milan (2)

It is a video included with the January 2022 bulletin from The French Railway Society, forwarded by Sheffield chum Dave, that helps us enjoy a ride on the new Trenitalia "Red Arrow" from Paris to Milan. But first, fbb must make a small correction. In yesterday's blog he quoted the Anytime fare from London to Inverness with LNER at £193 - but that was "Standard" Class.

As we will see, this is not a fair comparison. LNER's FIRST class anytime single fare is £281 which can be set against the Executive fare for our virtual journey of £136. 

But here goes.
We arrive at Paris Gare de Lyon in good time to catch the train.
Frecciarossa tickets are fully exchangeable up to the booked departure time - also refundable for a 20% fee, so you could nip to the ticket office ...
... any time up to a few minutes before 0726 and upgrade or downgrade as the whim takes you.
Our video presenter can now settle down in comfort for the lengthy but enjoyable journey to Milano.
Executive class is the top deal of four levels of service on this train - and the first delight is the seats!
1+1 seating is pure luxury. The next two levels down have the more usual 2+1 ...
... and only the lowest of the low have to suffer 2+2 slumming - but with more room that on any train in the UK.
But our ride is the top class!

Where are the tables in the Executive class, you may ask? Answer; they are cunningly hidden in the arm rest from which they unfold in a neat but complex manoeuvre. Lift out of the slot ...
... fold over ...
... and open up to full width.
Lets hope that the complex mechanism is strong enough to be reliable. It would be depressing to have paid Executive price and have your meals summarily dumped in the lap!

On the opposite arm you will find the controls for adjusting height and rake of the seat ...
... again all electrically controlled. And here is the equivalent in Azuma First Class ...
... and for twice the price!

And don't forget Trenitalia's power and USB sockets ...
... giving access to a wide range of entertainment as well as fast wifi.
There are plenty of screens at roof level, showing progress of the train and probably some tedious advertising which, hopefully, can be ignored.
As tends to be usual on posh trains in Europe, they give you the current speed; in the above display just short of 300kph (186mph) - or to use a technical term, FAST!

Tomorrow, we continue the ride and enjoy the grub!

How will it compare with LNER?

Meanwhile, Empty Weirdness!
The withdrawal of all Go Ahead Southern services to Victoria is truly unprecedented and leaves more questions unanswered than explanations given! This is Roger French in his blog.
The twittersphere has provided its explorers with some astounding pictures of a very empty "Southern" side at Victoria. Here, the barriers ...
... and the very blank departure screens.
But we tend to forget that just as Victoria is empty, so is the Southern half of Clapham Junction.
Weird indeed.

We live in strange times!

 Next Red Arrow blog : Friday 7th January 


  1. Re Roger's comments on the cancellation of Southern trains to Victoria. I understand one of the main issues is the temporary loss (due to COVID) of several critical back-office staff who ensure that the required trains and train crews are in the right place at the right time. Wider staff shortages due to COVID cases and cancellations means that there aren't sufficient staff to roster a full normal service, but currently Southern don't have sufficient schedulers to compile a revised timetable, so the decision was taken to re-run the previous weeks' roster when Victoria was closed due to engineering reasons. Presumably they are confident that they can revise the situation from 10-Jan as they know that back-office staff isolation periods are ending. I expect there will be further cancellations across the network after the 10-Jan, but this won't necessitate the extreme action of cancelling all trains into Victoria, instead being spread across the network.

  2. Some airline seats use that kind of table, so the design is at least proven. Alas it does not include anything to stop you knocking things off!