Liverpool to London by Train
The Liverpool to London train journey is a pleasant one - as is the return journey from London to Liverpool. It is run almost exclusively by Virgin Trains. There is an alternate, cheaper route but takes much longer. If you catch it on a weekday, the service is surprisingly consistent.
Journey Time: Virgin Trains has recently (early 2009) cut the Liverpool - London journey time by 20 minutes, making it a brief 2 hours 10 minutes where it used to be 2.5 hours.
Times: Direct trains from London to Liverpool leave, on weekdays, at 48 minutes past the hour. The final train leaves at 20:48.
Cost: With a young person's rail card, a return journey is £43 at any time. Full fare off peak is about £65 - which means travel times after about 10pm and before 3 or 4pm. A full fare on peak can be upwards of £100 - but by booking a couple weeks in advance, fares can be as low as £12. If you don't have a young person's rail card (or another kind of rail card) booking in advance is highly recommended.
Bicycles You can bring your bicycle on board the train but you have to book it in advance when you buy your train, as they only have room for two or three bikes. If you show up with a bike and haven't booked, they usually won't let it on board - but they have been known to cave with much pleading.
Tips In the summer months, Virgin sometimes decommissions one of their First Class coaches (coach G) to accommodate the increase in economy class passengers. Even though the headrests are clearly noted as 'economy class' many people don't realize that they are allowed to sit there without a first class ticket. While none of the first class perks are included (free drinks, food), the seats are a lot wider and all have tables and power sockets. Also because not that many people sit in them, they're usually much less crowded than the rest of the train.
Though the Young Person's Rail Card is for ages 16-25, you can actually purchase one any time up to the day before your 25th birthday. Because these last for a year, you can enjoy discount 16-25 prices even though you are technically 26.
The food on board is not great and though you can use a debit or credit card, you can only, for some reason, use the same card once per journey - so stock up all in one go. Solo or Maestro cards are not accepted.
The best position for sleeping on the train is undoubtedly with one's head on a table in a table seat, with a jumper as a pillow. The seats are too small for most people to curl up and sleep vertically across two.
The air conditioning in the summer months makes the train often really cold - a jumper may be necessary even if it is warm outside.