Great Western Railway (Train Operating Company) - B
Great Western Railway (Train Operating Company) - B
Great Western Railway Named Trains
Great Western Railway's named passenger trains include:
Name Origin Destination
Great Western Railway Onboard Services
Great Western Railway Pullman Dining
Great Western Railway is now the only major UK rail operator with restaurant cars. These operate on certain West Country and Wales trains to or from London Paddington. They are available to first-class and standard-class passengers, though only first-class passengers may make advance reservations, and they have priority over seats in the restaurant. Meals in the restaurant car are not included in the price of rail tickets.
Great Western Railway First Class
GWR has first class on all its long-distance high-speed services. First class on the IETs includes fabric reclining seating with tables at every seat, as well as an at-seat service provided by a customer host on most journeys.
Unlike the previous HSTs, the IETs do not have leather first-class seating due to fire regulations. Like the HSTs, there are power sockets and USB charging points at every seat. There is Wi-Fi throughout the first class-carriages, which GWR describes as 'upgraded'.
Great Western Railway Standard Class
Standard class is provided on all services. Many services on long-distance and regional routes have specific seat reservations.
Great Western Railway Trolley Service
An at-seat trolley service is scheduled to operate on most IET services, with a trolley in each portion of a ten-coach train. This is different from the HSTs, which had buffet counters branded as 'Express Cafes'.
Great Western Railway Performance
Great Western Railway Punctuality
In 2004–2005, 79.6% of trains arrived on time (defined as within 10 minutes of their scheduled arrival time). On 22 December 2006, the First Great Western InterCity service was declared the worst in Britain for delays, according to figures from the Office of Rail Regulation, with more than one in four trains running late.
First Great Western admitted to misreporting the number of cancellations in the period from August to December 2007, revised figures showing the company to have breached the cancellation threshold in the franchise contract.
Specifically the company was alleged to have deliberately cancelled trains on the day prior to service without the prior approval of the DfT, and without recording these cancellations on their performance figures. The company was also accused of falsifying records in order to claim dispensation for large numbers of cancellations. First Great Western was named in a Passenger Focus survey as the worst train operating company for 2007.
On 6 September 2007, FirstGroup announced changes to its management structure, apparently designed to strengthen the First Great Western commuter services. Anthony Smith, head of the rail users council Passenger Focus commented, "A fresh management approach is welcome. Clearly, looking at the passenger satisfaction scores for First Great Western, the train company and Network Rail have a lot to do. However, passengers will believe it when they see improvements."
Some delays are attributable to Network Rail rather than the operator, as the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) found in September 2007, when it remarked that the First Great Western service continued "to suffer from very high levels of delays attributed to Network Rail" and described Network Rail's performance as "exceptionally disappointing".
By 2009, passenger satisfaction with First Great Western was described by Passenger Focus as having "significantly improved".
Great Western Railway Remedial Plan
In February 2008 the Secretary of State for Transport stated that FGW had "fallen persistently short of customers' expectations and been unacceptable to both passengers and government", issuing them with a Breach Notice for misreporting cancellations and a Remedial Plan Notice as a result of exceptionally high levels of cancellations and low passenger satisfaction.
As part of the Remedial Plan Notice, First Great Western was required to achieve improvement milestones, to lease five more Class 150 units to allow three-car trains to be used on Portsmouth-Cardiff services, to undertake a much more extensive refurbishment of the Thames Turbo fleet, to offer 50% higher compensation for the duration of the franchise, to offer 500,000 more cheap tickets on off-peak services, and to improve station customer information systems.
Failure to do this would result in FGW losing its franchise. FirstGroup's railway operating profit, meanwhile, was reported to have risen 10% in the six months to September 2007.
By June 2009, FGW had transformed its performance to become one of the UK rail network's more punctual operators, recording 94.6% of trains arriving on time. In February 2010 FGW was named Train Operator of the Year at the national Rail Business awards. Presenting the award, judges said, "First Great Western provides an extensive network of commuter, regional, local and intercity trains. The systems they have put into place over the last two years have made a significant improvement to the service they now provide."
However, in February 2015 First Great Western came 17th (out of 21) in Which? magazine's Best and worst UK train companies survey. Customers gave First Great Western a score of 47% (compared to the worst-performing operator, Govia Thameslink Railway, with a score of 43%, and the best-performing operator, Grand Central, with a score of 76%). First Great Western also scored three out of five stars across five of six specific categories, apart from Value for money in which First Great Western scored two out of five stars.
Great Western Railway Overcrowding
First Great Western has been criticised for overcrowded trains, and in January 2007 commuters on the Bath-Bristol service staged a protest against overcrowding. Participants were issued with imitation tickets printed with "Ticket type: standing only", "Class: cattle truck", "Route: hell and back", "Price: up 12%". The company threatened protestors with criminal prosecution and fines of £5,000, but staff failed to enforce ticket requirements. Alison Forster, First Great Western's Managing Director at that time, apologised to customers.
Great Western Railway Disabled Passengers
In July 2018, a disabled woman was threatened by Great Western Railway staff with police action and removal from the train she was travelling in, for using a disabled space for her mobility scooter. Canadian-born comedian Tanyalee Davis, who has a form of dwarfism, said she was humiliated when a Great Western Railway conductor made an announcement that she was "causing problems" which had delayed the train.
The incident occurred after a woman travelling with a young child demanded that Davis make way for her pram. GWR said the incident should not have happened and "No one travelling with us should be left feeling like this".
Great Western Railway Strike Action
In 2015, the imminent arrival of the new Class 800 trains provoked a series of strikes by the RMT union over who has the right to control the doors. First Great Western wanted to replace conductors with driver-only operation (DOO), however, following several discussions it was agreed to keep conductors on all IET services.
Another strike took place in early December 2016 amidst a background of ongoing rail strikes on a national level. The RMT ballotted Servest UK workers employed on an outsourcing contract to GWR as cleaners, the ballot passed in favour of strike action by 98%. A disruptive transfer period in the outsourcing contract, from Mitie to Servest UK, had resulted in what the RMT referred to as the creation of a "two-tier workforce" amongst cleaners at GWR, with an inequality in pay and working conditions between cleaners employed directly by GWR and those outsourced to Servest UK.
Two 24-hour strikes were held from 06:00 on 16 and 23 December, followed by a 48-hour strike from 06:00 on 19 January 2017. Further industrial action was suspended by the RMT following the January strike as a result of an improvement in ongoing negotiations between the RMT, GWR and Servest UK. The dispute was formally resolved in July 2017, as RMT members voted in favour of accepting a new pay deal.
Great Western Railway The temporary withdrawal of IETs
In April 2021, cracks were discovered in the yaw damper brackets (part of the suspension system) of Class 800 and 802 InterCity Express Trains (IETs). Eight trains were withdrawn from service and an investigation started into the cause.
On 8 May, all these trains and similar ones operated by other companies were taken out of service. Cracks had now been found in the lifting pads (a component fixed near the bogie) and it was feared that if these were to fall off they may cause injury or derailment.
The only IETs that were permitted to operate were those which had been carefully inspected and found to have no significant cracks. This meant that most of GWR's 93 IETs were unavailable which led to significant disruption to long-distance services. Class 387s operated additional services from London Paddington to Didcot which were later extended to Swindon and Bristol Parkway after approval was given for them to operate in service on this route.
Three additional 387s were loaned from c2c and were modified to work with GWR's fleet, mostly on services to Newbury. CrossCountry operated a service on behalf of GWR from Swindon to Bristol Temple Meads and the few available 800s and 802s were concentrated on services west of Swindon and to Plymouth. Plans were agreed on 13 May to increase inspections of the lifting pads and yaw dampers so that more trains could be returned to service.
A further six Class 387s were loaned from Govia Thameslink Railway in July 2021 and used in a common pool with GWR's existing 387/1 fleet, being surplus to requirements while the Gatwick Express service was suspended.
Great Western Railway Overview
Great Western Railway Franchise(s):
InterCity Great Western 4 February 1996 – 31 March 2006
Greater Western 1 April 2006 – 25 June 2028
Main Region(s): Greater London, South East England, South West England, Wales
Great Western Railway Other Region(s): East MidlandsWest Midlands
Great Western Railway Fleet Size:
12 Class 43 HST Castle sets
5 Class 57 diesel locomotives for 2 Night Riviera sleeper sets
19 Class 150 Sprinter units
18 Class 158 Express Sprinter units
36 Class 165 Networker Turbo units
21 Class 166 Networker Turbo units
30 Class 387 Electrostar units
57 Class 800 IET units
36 Class 802 IET units
Great Western Railway Stations Called At: over 270
Great Western Railway Stations Operated: 198
Great Western Railway Parent Company: FirstGroup
Reporting Mark: GW
Great Western Railway Predecessor:
First Great Western Link
Great Western Railway Technical Track Gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge
Great Western Railway Electrification:
25 kV 50 Hz AC OHLE
Great Western Railway Length: 1,323.0 mi (2,129.2 km)