Snacks on a Train!

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Mar 18th, 2009, 08:15 AM
  #1
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Snacks on a Train!

Hi,

We'll be traveling from London Waterloo to Salisbury on a day trip on March 29. Since the trip is almost two hours and early in the morning, we'd like to eat breakfast on board. Questions:

1) Are we allowed to bring our own food/drinks aboard?
2) If so, are there stores near Waterloo selling bread/cheese, etc to bring along? This is a Sunday morning, before 8AM.
3) Is there a dining car on these short distance trains?
4) Finally, a bit off topic, how early would you suggest we arrive at Waterloo station to purchase tickets for the 8:20 train? (There are six of us, in case that makes a difference with seating, etc).

Thanks! (It's getting close now. Expect to be bombarded with questions!)

LauraG
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Mar 18th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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1/ Yes, you can take grub on board.
2/ There are places in and near the station to buy food - but why don't you get it the day before if you are worried about opening times, which can be later on a Sunday.
3/ Don't know. Do a timetable search on the operators website and there will usually be more detailed info on onboard facilites once you've selected a departure. Unless we are talking short commuter routes, most rail services have a trolley service as a minimum, and often a buffet car (though not a dining car in the sense you mean).
4/ Not sure, but I imagine the queues won't be very long that hour of the morning on a Sunday.
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Mar 18th, 2009, 08:56 AM
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My Thomas Cook rail timetable shows snacks and drinks only, probably a mobile trolley service that moves through the train. My experience with these is it's usually expensive and not much variety. If I were you, I'd either put together something to take on board the night before or, more likely, I'd stop for coffee and a scone or something light to eat before boarding, then enjoy a late breakfast or early lunch in Salisbury. The journey is only about 90 minutes.
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Mar 18th, 2009, 09:02 AM
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There are virtually no dining cars on Sundays. Go to the www.nationalrail.co.uk and plug in your train. Follow the "details" links, and it'll tell you what catering facilities are available.

If - as is likely - this is a train to Exeter, ther may be a buffet car, which sells hot drinks and sandwiches. HOWEVER, advertised buffets on Sunday mornings sometomes don't open if the one employee responsible is late for work.

There are dozens of ticket machines at major stations. seating's not an issue: you're just sold six tickets, and find your own seat. There really is no need to arrive more than 15 mins early on a Sundsay morning.
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Mar 18th, 2009, 09:44 AM
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And see if the machine has a Cheap Day Return button. That gets you a discounted off-peak fare that can save you a packet.
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Mar 18th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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ALL ticket machines offer more or less the full range of fares.

There's no special button: you're presented with a range of fares for the journey you've requested, with both the brand name and the price. At 8 am on a Sunday, assuming you're coming back the same day, you simply choose the cheapest return fare displayed (it gets messier on weekdays) - though allow a bit of time for dealing with a technology that always takes people longer than they expect.
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Mar 18th, 2009, 10:07 AM
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And if relying on the Buffet car "small change will be greatly appreciated" - a ubiquitous announcement that the train purser inevitably makes several times.
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Mar 18th, 2009, 10:53 AM
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Thank you all for the replies. I think I will pack snacks ahead of time since the the pickings seem slim on the train and there is no guarantee that shops near Waterloo will be open early on a Sunday. Julia, having food on the train may keep the 9 and 12 year old from bickering the entire time!

Robispierre and Flanner: I had hoped to buy a Groupsave ticket (4 for 2 plus 1 pound for each child) for this train trip since we are a group of six, two under 15. Am I to understand that Cheap Day Return is in addition to Groupsave or is it instead of Groupsave?

Thanks again,

Laura
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Mar 18th, 2009, 10:55 AM
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Are we allowed to bring our own food/drinks aboard?>

yes and Brits do this more than any other train riders i've been around in Europe

the typical second class train car is a chaos of empty drinks cans, wrappers from junk food, half-eaten fruit, etc.
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Mar 18th, 2009, 11:11 AM
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I travel to London fairly frequently by train and go second class.
At least twice during the journey, an attendant comes along the train with a bag into which passengers put their rubbish.
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Mar 18th, 2009, 01:58 PM
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The morning commute is quite sedate. It's all lattes and the FT.

Coming home it's tie and jacket off, the ES shredded into a million pieces, and McDonalds bags everywhere!
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Mar 18th, 2009, 02:04 PM
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I travel to London fairly frequently by train and go second class.
At least twice during the journey, an attendant comes along the train with a bag into which passengers put their rubbish.>

it may depend on which train line of the 28 or so private franchises you travel on as well as the clientele on that route.

I ride Southeast Trains a lot when i'm in London as i stay in the burbs - and these trains are always full of refuse - esp at night. Last time i stepped on a pile of vomit that was right by the door - someone had covered it up with an old newspaper - yet it squished out and onto my shoes - the vomit had obviously been there quite some time.

and i've never seen any rubbish collector come thru on those trains though i do on other lines like Ms Prism says and that really helps as there are few rubbish bins on trains like in the Continent where there is one by each seat it seems. Some lines have tin rubbish bins under the seats between the rows. I always make a point of taking my garbage off the train with me but few others seem to do that.
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Mar 18th, 2009, 02:16 PM
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To be fair most UK trains DO have bins - a lot of people are just crap at using them. And on commuter routes they are cleared at each terminus before going out again a few minutes later.
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Mar 18th, 2009, 02:59 PM
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Sounds like Palenque needs to stay in different 'burbs.

Man, I miss the spotless, efficient, comfortable and quiet Japanese trains already, and I'm six weeks away from our departure to the UK.
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Mar 18th, 2009, 03:36 PM
  #15
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Hi Laura - I'm pretty sure some shops will be open at Waterloo where you can get some snacks, but to be on the safe side you can pack something. If I remember correctly, there are vending machines as well if you just need some chocolate bars or chips.

Usually a staff will push a trolley through the train and sell snacks, coffee/tea, chocolates, chips (crisps).

I have never tried using a US credit card to buy train tickets from a machine in UK. It probably will be safer if you line up at a ticket window. I doubt it'll be that busy on a sunday morning, but by the same token, there won't be that many ticket windows open either.

The train location (ie, platform #) usually gets posted 20 minutes before departure. Again, I doubt the 8:20am train will be that busy, but given there's 6 of you and you'd probably want to sit close to one another, I'd aim at getting there 30 minutes before departure time. You can delegate some to buy tickets and some to buy snacks.

Enjoy Salisbury! It's a lovely town.
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