Double bass player says Virgin Trains wouldn’t let her on board with her instrument

26 July 2018, 14:38 | Updated: 30 July 2018, 11:56

Margarida Castro was refused entry to a Virgin train with her double bass
Margarida Castro was refused entry to a Virgin train with her double bass. Picture: Getty / Twitter

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Double bassist Margarida Castro says she’s taken her instrument on trains many times in the past without an issue.

A double bassist says she was denied entry onto a Virgin train with her instrument on Monday night (23 July), after playing at a concert in London.

Margarida Castro, who plays double bass for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, claims station staff said her instrument wouldn’t fit on the train.

Ms Castro tweeted on Tuesday: “Got refused to board @VirginTrains with my double bass – having a 1st class ticket… Horrible costumer service, appalling treatment and consideration for such an expensive (inefficient!) service! I fly home to Portugal for cheaper!”

Read more: Airport staff forced this musician to carry her viola on her lap

She followed the tweet with an image of her instrument, saying: “@VirginTrains seems to fit just fine, so what is all the fuss about? And it still doesn’t make up for rude and threatening staff on the platform.”

Virgin Trains later replied to her tweet, saying: “Really sorry to hear that, Margarida. Unfortunately we do advise on our website that items exceeding 30 x 70 x 90 cm cannot be taken onboard.”

They continued: “I’m afraid it’s because if all passengers took luggage onboard that was over that size, there would be no room for anything. Glad you managed to get it on though and we do apologise for your experience when at the station.”

Ms Castro replied to Virgin Trains on Twitter, saying: “It’s my working instrument and for 11 years I have travelled with it on Virgin Trains without any problem. I have never once experienced any lack of space for it onboard.

“I suggest you update your policies and be considerate of working musicians who are also your regular customers.”

A Virgin Trains spokesperson has since told Classic FM: “The train Miss Castro was booked to travel on was very busy with little luggage space available. We do need to take into account all of our customers so have rules around luggage, particularly very large pieces. We’re pleased our station team arranged for Miss Castro to travel on the next service instead.”