I was delighted to attend the official opening of the shiny new East Midlands Trains First Class Lounge today (Friday 1st February 2013).
At 10am Neil Micklethwaite, Customer Services and Commercial Director said a few words to introduce the official ribbon-cutter for the opening: Milan Mandaric – Chairman of Sheffield Wednesday.
Guests were treated to the same top-class welcome First Class Ticket holders now can now experience with complementary coffees and teas and pastries offered by bubbly hosts Kat, Victoria and Dawn. I am told that fresh fruit and yoghurt are available for the breakfast visitors and wine and cheese available for the evening commuters; alongside an array of newspapers and magazines, a free shoe-shine machine and a (thankfully) silent TV screen. And the all-important train departures board sits gently above the welcome desk.
For one day only all today’s guests were treated to the almost surreal experience of the Lounge being blessed by St Pancras Chaplain Jonathan Barker who led prayers from the doorway to the kitchen into the main room and even to the tables.
Not only has the relocation brought the Lounge closer to the trains (it used to be the other end of the station), but it has also got more space and – most importantly – it’s own “en suite” toilet facilities which were previously lacking and meant that guests had to go out and downstairs to use the Station’s public conveniences.
Given the “Destination Station” status for St Pancras and the abundance of amazing facilities the station has to offer, I questioned the need for any train operator to have a First Class Lounge at all. Steve Leyland, Route Manager reminded me why it was so important “The EMT routes are the life blood for connections to London (did you know they have four trains an hour from Leicester?). We’re extremely proud of our service and recently scored 89% for customer satisfaction; so it is great to be able to offer an excellent Lounge service to our First Class travellers – a warm and quiet place to work or relax”.
I spotted George Osborne only this morning heading towards the EMT trains. Next time, maybe he’ll be popping into the Lounge on his way back..?
The lounge is located on the Upper Concourse near the East Midlands Train platforms and is open Monday to Friday from 7am to 8.30pm and open for First Class Ticket Holders only.
More photos here.
More info about East Midlands Trains First Class Lounges.