Good news for business travellers on the TransPennine Express between England and Scotland: the train company has become the latest to add an on-board entertainment service, Exstream.
The Exstream service was recently launched by Game of Thrones star Kristian Nairn, beloved by millions of fans as gentle giant Hodor. Nairn joined the TransPennine Express at Glasgow Central Station to give Exstream a try. And in case you’re wondering, yes, he did catch a couple of episodes from the first Game of Thrones season – as well as finding the time to surprise passengers by reading out the train announcements.
What does Exstream have to offer?
The Exstream service lets travellers access more than 150 films and TV shows. Movie choices include big hitters such as James Bond’s Spectre, Mad Max: Fury Road and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
As for TV, passengers can enjoy a bit of everything from Coronation Street to Keeping up with the Kardashians – as well as selected episodes from Game of Thrones seasons one and two.
Travellers can also use the app to catch up with the latest news headlines, as well as unwind with digital magazine content from popular titles including Cosmopolitan, Men’s Health and Stylist.
“It’s a fantastic milestone for TransPennine Express as we open up a whole world of entertainment for our customers,” said Leo Goodwin, managing director of the train company. “So whether you want to catch up with League of Their Own, listen to some music or read the latest issue of a magazine, the free service is there for all to take advantage of.”
How do you access the Exstream service?
To access what’s available, users need to make sure they have downloaded the TPExpress app ahead of their journey. If they have the app installed on their device, they can then stream content seamlessly once aboard the train.
“Whether you use a personal or company device for streaming, it won’t eat up any of your mobile data,” notes Raj Sachdave, rail expert and director of commercial partnerships at Capita Travel and Events, who warmly welcomed the new service.
“It’s a smart enhancement that can give business travellers the chance to unwind after a productive day,” he says.
Who else is offering on-board entertainment?
The move by TransPennine Express follows Virgin Trains’ addition of its BEAM on-board entertainment service to its Pendolino services.
Other train companies hoping to banish traveller boredom include the southeast’s London Midland and c2c. London Midland offers Motion, a film and TV streaming service, via its on-board WiFi. The London-to-Essex operator c2c has Vista, another app-based service, which streams TV shows, plus news and magazine content.
Meanwhile, Eurostar added on-board entertainment and WiFi to its newest trains in 2016. Eurostar’s dedicated app lets passengers access a selection of films, TV shows, documentaries, games and kids’ content.
Are we heading into a new golden (digital) age of rail?
While many travellers are looking for train operators to get the simple things right – and that increasingly includes fast, functioning WiFi – the rise of streaming services reflects how seriously the rail industry is taking the business of keeping us entertained on the move.
“Rail users understandably value basic service factors such as punctuality, cleanliness and a seat on the train,” says Sachdave. “And, today, many people enjoy the use of digital media during their journey, so this is a great step towards customer experience improvement.”