|Franchise(s):||Integrated into several franchises|
(East Midlands Trains and South West Trains)</td></tr>
|Main Town(s):||Sheffield, Portsmouth, Southampton, Nottingham</td></tr>|
|Other Town(s):||London, Chesterfield, Leicester, Loughborough</td></tr>|
|Fleet size:||28 Class 43 HST power cars|
17 Class 153 Super Sprinter sets
11 Class 156 Super Sprinter sets
27 Class 158 Express Sprinter sets
23 Class 222 Meridian sets</td></tr>
|Stations called at:||n/a</td></tr>|
|Parent company:||Stagecoach Group</td></tr>|
In the UK, prices are advertised as starting at £1, with a 50p booking fee. Megatrain follows the yield management model typically used by low-cost airlines where the lowest fares are offered to those who book early or on less popular journeys. A similar scheme operates on Virgin Trains West Coast between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly, offering fares from £1 each way rising to about £10, this is operated by The Trainline as The Trainline Print@Home. The crucial difference is that passengers are required to print tickets at home rather than take note of a reservation number.
Tickets must be purchased in advance, with the more in advance, the cheaper they are, via their website or by telephone. As a virtual train operator, it uses carriages of trains operated by Stagecoach and most Virgin Trains services. The Times commented on this on 15 November 2005, a special Megatrain carriage has been set aside to avoid the mixing of Megatrain and non-Megatrain passengers. The article goes on to state, however, that there is nothing to stop those paying ordinary fares sitting in the Megatrain carriage, as the signage only instructs Megatrain passengers on where to sit - not the normal fare ones.
Timeline of servicesEdit
The concept was piloted on South West Trains, Stagecoach's first franchise. The first service of Megatrain was on the London Waterloo to Portsmouth and London Waterloo to Southampton routes. The trains continue to be operated as standard timetabled services by South West Trains but with designated areas for Megatrain customers.
From 22 April 2006 the scheme was expanded to provide cheap rail travel on South West Trains services from London Waterloo to Bristol Temple Meads, Bath Spa, Exeter St Davids/Exeter Central, Yeovil Junction, Bournemouth, Weymouth and Salisbury in addition to the Southampton Central and Portsmouth and Southsea/Portsmouth Harbour services. Poole has since been added as an option on the Weymouth line. From 29 October 2007, following the completion of the Portsmouth area engineering works, it now also runs from London Waterloo to Havant, Honiton and Axminster.
As a result of the East Midlands Trains franchise on 11 November 2007 being owned by Stagecoach, Megatrain services will be running from London St Pancras International to Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham, Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield, starting from 2 January 2008.
The service was available on the following Virgin Trains (which is 49% owned by Stagecoach) services as well: Penzance - Bristol Temple Meads, Bournemouth and Southampton Central - Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly - Glasgow Central/Edinburgh Waverley and Morpeth - Edinburgh Waverley. Tickets are also available from some intermediate stops on these routes. These routes were withdrawn on 11 November 2007 when the train services were transferred to CrossCountry, owned by Arriva.
Routes operated Edit