The £1,000 train ticket
DJ Liz Kershaw offered fare higher than return flight to US
A BBC DJ has attacked Virgin Trains for charging almost £1,000 for a return first class rail fare.
Liz Kershaw attempted to book a train journey for friends to travel from Stockport to Ashford in Kent on Sunday.
But the 59-year-old broadcaster was shocked when she discovered the cost of a first class open return on the Virgin website was £951.20.
Sharing a photo of the fare on Twitter, she wrote: ‘Unbelievable! Are you SURE @VirginTrains??? #NorthernPowerhouseRail.’
And one of Miss Kershaw’s fans said it would be cheaper to fly to New York and back.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, she said: ‘I organised the trip for me and some friends, and rather than take four cars we’re being environmentally conscious and thought, “Well we’ll get trains and the others will pick the other ones up at the other end.” But the price of the ticket was just stupidly outrageous, I’ve never come across that. I can’t believe that they even post those prices.’
Fans of Miss Kershaw were quick to criticise Virgin Trains for the high price of the ticket. One tweeted: ‘You can’t justify those prices even if it comes with a gold plated souvenir model train. Absolutely ridiculous.’
Another said: ‘Cheaper to fly Manchester to NY and back to Heathrow! Ridiculous pricing.’ A third commented: ‘There’s no competition. Virgin have a total monopoly on the Manchester to London market. At least on Birmingham to London you have three options.’
But replying to the tweet, Virgin Trains said: ‘We would have had advance tickets on sale, but it looks as though these have sold out.
‘Therefore the cheapest tickets available would be the off-peak open return. This is more expensive as there is more flexibility on this ticket. This would be for a first class anytime ticket, giving you more flexibility on dates and time, travelling in first class.’
To keep the cost down, Miss Kershaw’s friends have now decided to split the journey into a series of shorter train journeys, reducing the one-way price to £42.50.
A Virgin Trains spokesman said later: ‘We cover the Stockport to London part of this journey for which there are a range of fares available, including standard advance tickets for as little as £29 for customers booking one week in advance.’
Disbelief: Liz Kershaw