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Monday, 14 January, 2002, 13:57 GMT
Your train tip-offs
The bad and beautiful of rail journeys
We asked you to nominate the UK's best and worst train journeys. Using your tip-offs, BBC News Online will hit the rails to sample the peaks and troughs of rail travel.

The Bad

The South West Trains (SWT) service from Reading to London Waterloo was mentioned in scores of damning e-mails we received from BBC News Online users.

Andrew Turpin said he and fellow passengers had dubbed the commuter route the "Misery Line".

A passenger boards a train
All abroad for misery?
"It must be the dirtiest, most old-fashioned, most attacked by vandals line in the UK - very scary for a lone female to travel in at any time of the day or night to be honest," says Allie Hopkins

"Most unpleasant when they put on trains without toilets and you've got children with you," says Anthony.

Hamish says the "fast service" leaves punctually only 40% of the time, "and I'm being generous".

Kim says she moved so as not to use SWT because her commute saw her "arrive home totally stressed out almost every night".

Virgin Train's service from Birmingham New Street to London Euston was also the subject of some stinging criticism, with Dawn Hickey calling it "dismal".

"The coaches are dirty with the seats falling to bits and the platform staff are typically hopeless," says Kevin Laughton.

Dave Meredith points out that Virgin has improved its rolling stock, and praises the "laptop and mobile phone power points, onboard radio stations, and clean, comfy seating".

However, Robert Lawrence found few creature comforts on a recent trip to London which took twice the time it should have.

Passengers leave a train
Late again?
"There were no hot drinks available on the coldest day of the year, most of the toilets were blocked, and we eventually ended up having to disembark onto another train leaving us crammed in like cattle and standing for the remainder of the journey."

Newer trains are not necessarily better, says Rick Anfield of Arriva's York to Manchester route.

"Matters became much worse when the old slam-door trains were replaced. At one time there was plenty of space for luggage and now there isn't any. Yet many people are travelling to or from Manchester airport. It can be pretty unpleasant."

And the Beautiful

The Chiltern Line was the subject of a number of glowing reports from gushing passengers.

"Quiet, clean and efficient," says Chris Gullick. "It's the king of trains!" says Mark Ewe. "If I could buy shares in Chiltern Trains I would, they're that good," says Alex Banks

New Zealander Tony Krzyzewski was even more liberal with his praise for GNER: "I'd like to nominate its services to and from London Kings Cross as one of the great railway journeys of the world."

GNER also recently afforded Andrew Wright his "best train journey ever". While Barry Crosby praises "the courteous and helpful staff".

Passengers waiting for a train
No room for luggage?
But before GNER thinks about resting on its laurels, Jonathan Shiell says the service is merely "the best of a bad bunch". While David Topham decries the eight weeks it took GNER to reply to a complaint "with a second class stamp!"

Asif Masood made the case for the South Wales main line between Cardiff and Bristol operated by Wales and the Borders Trains.

"A truly reliable service to be proud of. They are very rarely late and are very punctual. The average travel time is just a mere 45 minutes!"

On Tuesday, BBC News Online will be putting your tips to the test, finding out how bad and how good those services really can be.

BBC News Online's in-depth coverage on the state of the UK's railways

10 year rail plan

See also:

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.

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