June 15, 2024

LNER, Newcastle to London King’s Cross in Standard

THE JOURNEY: I travelled on the LNER Azuma train in Standard class from Newcastle, in northeast England, to London King’s Cross on Monday, April 22, 2024. 

BEFORE DEPARTURE: Making a journey booking via the London North Eastern Railway (LNER) website was straightforward. The process took just a couple of minutes to complete.

I was sent an electronic ticket via the LNER mobile app and downloaded it to my phone’s wallet. I received a reminder about my journey and ensured that my phone was fully charged before leaving the house so that I could show the QR code on request. I scanned it to pass through the gates at Newcastle Central Station, to enter the platform, and then crossed the walkway to Platform 3.

BOARDING: The train departed at 8.58 am from Platform 3 in Newcastle. Screens provided information and I also received a message about the departure platform via LNER’s mobile app.

Digital signage alongside the track provided information about the level of business in each of the carriages. Having booked a seat, I was aware that I had to make my way to carriage A, which would be on Section 9 of the platform. That was marked clearly.

Standard class carriage on an LNER Azuma train
Standard class carriage on an LNER Azuma train.

THE SEAT: My seat, A47, on the right-hand side of the train’s rearmost carriage. Though technically a window seat, most of the space to my right consisted of the carriage wall. Between that and the seat in front of me, only a few inches of glass provided views of the countryside.

That was a factor in me laying flat the seatback tray and cracking on with administrative work for most of the journey. The onboard Wi-Fi was stable enough to read and answer emails and upload a handful of news photos to the Onboard Hospitality website.

Messages relating to the journey were effectively conveyed via the public announcement system and via an electronic display midway along the carriage.

Storage space was available directly above my seat for backpack and there was room for suitcases on racks at either end of the carriage.

Ultimately, the Standard class seat was comfortable. It was wide enough and had sufficient legroom for me, somebody 6’4” tall, to disembark nearly three hours after boarding without feeling cramped.

Seatback information in the LNER service between Newcastle and London King's Cross about how to access the Let’s Eat At Your Seat service.
Seatback information in the LNER service between Newcastle and London King’s Cross about how to access the Let’s Eat At Your Seat service.

THE SERVICE The conductor who scanned the QR code which I had downloaded into my phone’s wallet was cheery and made me feel welcome aboard the service aboard a Hitachi British Rail Class 800 Azuma train to London.

Intermittently, cleaning crew members passed through the carriage with large waste sacks to collect rubbish. That helped ensure that it remained clean throughout the journey south.

The Onboard Wi-Fi was easy to connect with and relatively stable, despite several tunnels along the East Coast Main Line and our velocity of travel.

I scanned the QR code of the Let’s Eat At Your Seat service with a view to ordering a hot drink midway through my journey. LNER stocks products from suppliers based along the route and I quite fancied the idea of a mocha made with Taylors of Harrogate coffee (£2.60). For an extra 90 pence, I could have upgraded to a Bakery Deal: the choices being a piece of fruitcake, shortcake or a vegan double chocolate cookie. However, I didn’t like the idea of supplying my payment card details via a form and transmitting it via the onboard Wi-Fi and couldn’t see a pay-at-seat option so aborted the transaction.

The Let’s Eat At Your Seat menu was logically grouped and the navigation was intuitive. The breakfast option was limited to a Moma Golden Syrup Porridge Pot on the train that I travelled on but there were several sandwiches and other savoury snacks to choose from, including a Mini Margherita Calzone (£3.50), Chickpea Curry Naanster (£4.10) and Gudness Poha Rice Pot (£3).

Additionally, I noticed that alcoholic drinks, bundled deals and even an activity book for children could be ordered via Let’s Eat At Your Seat

The service that I travelled on departed Newcastle Central Station on time and arrived into London King’s Cross punctually.

THE VERDICT: Travelling on this LNER service to London proved punctual, arriving at 11.48 am. It was comfortable and enabled me to work for the duration of the journey. The journey was an example of rail travel at its best.