THE JOURNEY: I travelled in a First Class carriage on LNER’s 10:58 Azuma train, Newcastle to London King’s Cross.
THE BOOKING: Reserving a ticket via the LNER website was straightforward. Easy to navigate, the website made it clear which services were available on the day I wanted to travel. The booking was complete within a few minutes. Selecting the e-ticket option meant I had a PDF version of the ticket emailed to me so I could access it from my phone. Scanning the QR code at the barrier gave me access to the platforms at Newcastle Central Station.
BOARDING: At LNER’s First Class Lounge I grabbed a complimentary cup of coffee and a packet of Reids’ Baked Treats biscuits. Tea, chilled Harrogate spring water, Piper’s crisps and other refreshments were also available. I used the Wi-Fi to do a zoom meeting, during which I received a notification on the LNER app reminding me of my carriage, seat number and telling me where I should stand on the platform for my carriage, so I boarded feeling relaxed. The train left Newcastle on time.
THE SEAT: Seating was around tables of four or individual seats on the other side of the aisle. My seat (K14) was a large, single seat with a table, ample legroom and recline. A USB charging point and three-pronged plug below the seat arm gave power for my devices. Luggage racks near the sliding doors provided storage space for large items. I used the overhead rack, above my seat, to store my briefcase and coat.
THE SERVICE: LNER’s seasonal Dine menu was on the table when I boarded the train. The free food and drink is sourced from producers along LNER’s routes. Breakfast choice includes porridge, waffles and fruit and a cooked option of Lincolnshire sausage, bacon, hash browns, baked beans, tomato and a fried egg (with vegetarian or vegan alternatives). Wi-Fi was reliable and the carriage was quiet. The 2hr 54min journey was 17 minutes delayed but it gave me extra time to work.
THE VERDICT: A pleasant and comfortable way to travel, with lounge access, reliable Wi-Fi, comfortable seating with adequate space to work and good refreshments.
THE DETAILS: One-way Newcastle- London First Class fares from around £62 (£27 standard) but prices vary considerably depending on time of booking and time of day. lner.co.uk