An airline industry approach has been adopted by Hull Trains on its new Paragon Fleet, which promises customers a “new beginning in rail travel.”
Key characteristics found as standard on the airlines, including a personal at-seat food and drink service for every passenger will be mirrored on the Paragon Fleet.
Currently, it is only customers in First Class who enjoy an at-seat service, with passengers in standard class needing to leave their seats and walk through the train to the café bar.
During detailed market research ahead of the launch of the new £60m Paragon Fleet, Hull Trains’ customers told the firm they would prefer a trolley service – which is why on the new fleet, an at-seat service will be available for every customer.
Louise Cheeseman, Managing Director at Hull Trains said: “The Paragon Fleet takes an airline approach because that is what our customers tell us they want.
“Everything we do is based on feedback from our customers. We don’t just decide to do things on a whim, we have done a lot of market research and the same message about the café bar keeps coming back to us.
“People do not want to have to leave their seats, leaving their laptops and bags, and people fear losing their seats if they get up to go to the café bar.
“Families have told us they don’t want to leave their children on their own, so instead of them all going to the café bar, one adult stays behind, but then the adult that goes to the café doesn’t always know what the others would choose.
“There is a simple solution to these problems, and that is to bring the food and drink to every seat, so that everyone can settle in and stay where they are, relax and still have the option to buy food and drink – just like it is done on planes.
“I believe the airlines have got it right and I’m looking forward to that being mirrored on the Paragon Fleet.
“We have had customers ask us why the café bar is being removed – but it’s not a case of us removing it, it’s a case of us replacing it with something so much better.”
The Paragon Fleet is a £60m investment into five trains which will revolutionise travel between Hull and London.
The name of the fleet was chosen due to its stand-alone meaning and significance to Hull, and the first of the trains will arrive in the UK next month.
The extensive market research, which was carried out with a range of customers, including the business traveler, students, families and empty nesters will heavily influence decisions made for the Paragon Fleet, with the aim of providing a ‘perfect rail service.’
Customers taking part in the Market Research were also asked for their opinions on the new proposed menus for the Paragon Fleet.
Work is now being carried out to create the perfect onboard offering – to have a food and drink selection which will provide something for everyone.
Louise added: “The Market Research has proved invaluable to us because we now know exactly what our customers want.
“Our customers want their train journey to be affordable, stress-free, direct, comfortable, secure, clean and connected, and in the Paragon Fleet we will deliver all of that, and more.
“It’s an exciting time for us as we gear up for the arrival of the fleet and so much work is being done behind the scenes to make sure we have everything right ahead of its arrival.
“This fleet is not just about new trains – it signals a re-launch of the business as a whole and will be something the people of Hull can be so proud of.”
[Dan Clark – Mercury]