Great Western Coffee Shop

All across the Great Western territory => Meet the Manager => Topic started by: grahame on August 05, 2019, 04:57:17 pm



Title: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: grahame on August 05, 2019, 04:57:17 pm
Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director" hosted by the Coffee Shop forum.  In a few minutes our own Red Squirrel (also know as Tim) will place the first question on a new thread for the team that's seated in Swindon and waiting to answer.   Picture take by our own BobM - there to provide forum support. "Hello" to others there to support too.

Enjoy the session everyone, keep it within forum guidelines please and I'm sure we will learn a lot.   I'm looking forward to watching for the next hours or so

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/mhopwoodmtmd.jpg)


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: MarkHopwood on August 05, 2019, 05:00:41 pm
Good Evening - good to be here! I havenít invented a silly name so apologies for the lack of imagination in using Mark Hopwood


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: CyclingSid on August 05, 2019, 06:06:28 pm
Can I thank Mark for taking the time to respond to questions.

And to CfN, Red Squirrell and Grahame for organising.

Not understanding the etiquette of forum status, should Mark be advanced beyond Jr Member? Assuming he is not black-balled by the forum gastronomes (tongue firmly in cheek)


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: grahame on August 05, 2019, 06:09:18 pm
Looking at the top of the forum I note

Quote
Most liked recent subjects
[211] Qn.6 for Mark Hopwood: Finally: Three wishes!
[112] Qn.5 for Mark Hopwood: Are the jobs of train guards secure?
[88] Qn.2 for Mark Hopwood: Decarbonising local railways
[53] Qn.4 for Mark Hopwood: When things go wrong...
[30] Qn.3 for Mark Hopwood: Trolley service on IETs
[19] Qn.1 for Mark Hopwood: Future "Meet the Manager" ses...

and that say a big THANK YOU and more than just a high thank you - a real appreciation of you coming here to talk with us, Mark.  Thank you too to the rest of the team in Swindon, in the WECA area and to members from far and wide.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Timmer on August 05, 2019, 06:10:55 pm
Many thanks for your time Mark. Appreciate it.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Red Squirrel on August 05, 2019, 06:11:43 pm
Absolutely! Many thanks.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: MarkHopwood on August 05, 2019, 06:12:13 pm
Thanks all - Iíve enjoyed it. Mark


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: bobm on August 05, 2019, 06:12:48 pm
Not understanding the etiquette of forum status, should Mark be advanced beyond Jr Member? Assuming he is not black-balled by the forum gastronomes (tongue firmly in cheek)

It is based on the number of posts - and youíll note he is now a Full Member following todayís event.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: MarkHopwood on August 05, 2019, 06:13:16 pm
Thank you for your comments and questions this evening.  I hope the answers have been helpful.  For any members who werenít able to join live, weíll be picking up any additional replies tomorrow.

Thank you for inviting me to do this session.  Have a good evening!


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: johnneyw on August 05, 2019, 06:14:42 pm
Most informative, many thanks.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: rogerw on August 05, 2019, 06:16:53 pm
I add my thanks as well for very forthright answers.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: grahame on August 05, 2019, 06:17:24 pm
Can I thank Mark for taking the time to respond to questions.

And to CfN, Red Squirrell and Grahame for organising.

Not understanding the etiquette of forum status, should Mark be advanced beyond Jr Member? Assuming he is not black-balled by the forum gastronomes (tongue firmly in cheek)

Thanks to the the hidden team - BM, CC, PG and were there others with you?  Very happy to name you with and present badges of honour.

The membership levels are automated based on the number of posts an adding special code in to re-rank members would make the upgrade I'm going through all the more "interesting".  What I could and should invite Mark to become is a "Transport Scholar".  That's not count based and opens a further board of technical discussion which can get esoteric and frightening to the "newbie" and scare him away.



Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Westerncrusader on August 09, 2019, 05:56:04 pm
I've read the correspondence with Mark Hopwood on the replacement of buffets with trolleys on the longer distance inter city services with interest.Is this the same Mark Hopwood who,when interviewed in Modern Railways in April 2009 in his capacity as MD of First Great Western admitted that trolleys did not work on long distance services and outlined plans to create a new fleet of Trailer Standard Buffets for its HST fleet to ensure every set had a buffet? He was quoted as saying" I dont think anyone is suggesting that if you're going to be making a journey for several hours we want to withdraw the ability for you to buy food and drink on the train...and yes, the original franchise proposition has changed in that we're not going for the trolley service in Standard Class now"
His current attitude to buffets also contrasts strongly with that of the East Coast where it has been reported that Virgin East Coast fought successfully to secure the inclusion of buffets.I'm afraid my interpretation of the situation is that GWR no longer have an appetite for running the   business beyond the current franchise period,have no longer a vision for delivering a quality service and were accordingly  prepared to be rolled over by the DfT


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Charlie (in Gloucester) on August 09, 2019, 09:46:00 pm
I've read the correspondence with Mark Hopwood on the replacement of buffets with trolleys on the longer distance inter city services with interest.Is this the same Mark Hopwood who,when interviewed in Modern Railways in April 2009 in his capacity as MD of First Great Western admitted that trolleys did not work on long distance services and outlined plans to create a new fleet of Trailer Standard Buffets for its HST fleet to ensure every set had a buffet? He was quoted as saying" I dont think anyone is suggesting that if you're going to be making a journey for several hours we want to withdraw the ability for you to buy food and drink on the train...and yes, the original franchise proposition has changed in that we're not going for the trolley service in Standard Class now"
His current attitude to buffets also contrasts strongly with that of the East Coast where it has been reported that Virgin East Coast fought successfully to secure the inclusion of buffets.I'm afraid my interpretation of the situation is that GWR no longer have an appetite for running the   business beyond the current franchise period,have no longer a vision for delivering a quality service and were accordingly  prepared to be rolled over by the DfT

Firstly, the choice that is made by the DfT and the TOC is one that is the most practical, that hopefully works the best and suits the design a lot. Now, whether the MD did make these comments a lot I am sure that he could have a different opinion or the original attempt of using trolleys was not the best trial and that later on it proved more successful. The reason that East Coast were able to have a buffet on their trains is because they were allowed minor interior adjustments and (this was after the GW design was confirmed) were allowed to have a buffet on their trains.

Seats are the main thing that DfT want when it comes to new trains and railway upgrades. GWR do still work hard to run the franchise and if they were so incompetent then I am sure they would have been stripped of their franchise. As far as I am concerned I am unaware that the main requirement when running a TOC is to have a buffet and the catering offering is looking to be improved at the moment.

(Apologies if this should be on the buffet question thread however I thought here would be an appropriate place to reply.)


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: grahame on August 10, 2019, 05:35:36 am
Welcome to the forum, Westerncrusader.

I've read the correspondence with Mark Hopwood on the replacement of buffets with trolleys on the longer distance inter city services with interest....
... (Apologies if this should be on the buffet question thread however I thought here would be an appropriate place to reply.)

Yes indeed that was a very interesting correspondence ... big subject around here.

I have written a longer reply - but posted it under the specific thread that's related to catering on IETs, and I've quoted the previous two posts there.   Always hard to know where to post - especially for a newcomer - and our team of moderators / admins is quite used to some moving of the furniture - especially as threads drift.

P.S. That longer reply is at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=22019.msg271105#msg271105


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: broadgage on August 10, 2019, 10:20:03 am
I've read the correspondence with Mark Hopwood on the replacement of buffets with trolleys on the longer distance inter city services with interest.Is this the same Mark Hopwood who,when interviewed in Modern Railways in April 2009 in his capacity as MD of First Great Western admitted that trolleys did not work on long distance services and outlined plans to create a new fleet of Trailer Standard Buffets for its HST fleet to ensure every set had a buffet? He was quoted as saying" I dont think anyone is suggesting that if you're going to be making a journey for several hours we want to withdraw the ability for you to buy food and drink on the train...and yes, the original franchise proposition has changed in that we're not going for the trolley service in Standard Class now"
His current attitude to buffets also contrasts strongly with that of the East Coast where it has been reported that Virgin East Coast fought successfully to secure the inclusion of buffets.I'm afraid my interpretation of the situation is that GWR no longer have an appetite for running the   business beyond the current franchise period,have no longer a vision for delivering a quality service and were accordingly  prepared to be rolled over by the DfT

Welcome.
Also is this the same Mark Hopwood who has previously said that DMUs with underfloor engines were not wanted or suitable for inter city journeys ?
So we now have DMUs with underfloor engines AND no buffet. Progress I know but still regrettable.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Rhydgaled on August 10, 2019, 11:33:59 am
I've read the correspondence with Mark Hopwood on the replacement of buffets with trolleys on the longer distance inter city services with interest.Is this the same Mark Hopwood who,when interviewed in Modern Railways in April 2009 in his capacity as MD of First Great Western admitted that trolleys did not work on long distance services and outlined plans to create a new fleet of Trailer Standard Buffets for its HST fleet to ensure every set had a buffet? He was quoted as saying" I dont think anyone is suggesting that if you're going to be making a journey for several hours we want to withdraw the ability for you to buy food and drink on the train...and yes, the original franchise proposition has changed in that we're not going for the trolley service in Standard Class now"
His current attitude to buffets also contrasts strongly with that of the East Coast where it has been reported that Virgin East Coast fought successfully to secure the inclusion of buffets.I'm afraid my interpretation of the situation is that GWR no longer have an appetite for running the   business beyond the current franchise period,have no longer a vision for delivering a quality service and were accordingly  prepared to be rolled over by the DfT

Welcome.
Also is this the same Mark Hopwood who has previously said that DMUs with underfloor engines were not wanted or suitable for inter city journeys ?
So we now have DMUs with underfloor engines AND no buffet. Progress I know but still regrettable.
I think Mr Hopwood also wrote in a Modern Railways article that GWR (or it may have still been First Great Western back then) did not want to fall into the "class 180 trap" of having trains too short for the job (I've not checked the quote so may be remembering incorrectly), and yet we still ended up with far too many 5-car sets in my view. The 5+5=10-car formations really only have the capacity of a 9-car set and the 9-car set has far more potential to be a good train (shame about how hard the seats are and the lack of hot food for standard class passengers though).


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: MarkHopwood on August 13, 2019, 06:34:01 pm
Good grief! What rubbish!

The point I made about the 2+7 HSTs back in 2009 or whenever was they had no catering capability at all pretty much. IETs have kitchens and full capability to support a trolley. So please donít go scraping the barrel of previous quotes in a desperate bid to prove I said something that suits you. Fundamentally, we are selling more items from the trolley today than from the HST buffets this time last year.

As far as underfloor DMUs are concerned. The IET is an electric train with diesel capability and the fact they spend varying proportions of time on diesel but quite significant time on electric changes the goalposts. The other thing is that the sound of an MTU engine under a 800/802 is a world away from the sound, vibration and smell of a Cummins QSK19 under a 180/22x.

That said Iíd prefer to see more electrification!

Goodness knows what I said in 1989 that will get dragged onto this site to make some point shortly ... !


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Western Pathfinder on August 13, 2019, 09:26:52 pm
The Mark of a good manager is to be proactive,and in doing so be willing and able to adapt to changing situations 1989 is a hell of a long time passed and the Railway along with many other forms of business,whether transport or not ,do not now even vaguely resemble what was the case in the late eighties,so no comment from then is worth considering.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Red Squirrel on August 14, 2019, 11:59:42 am
...the sound of an MTU engine under a 800/802 is a world away from the sound, vibration and smell of a Cummins QSK19 under a 180/22x.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of travelling from Bristol to Bridgwater and back on short-formed ex-HST sets - and it really was a pleasure! I was trying to put my finger on why this experience was so much better than the previous DMU's - and then I read MarkHopwood's post, and it was obvious.

It is odd how we've almost tuned out the hideousness of vibrating internal combustion engines; we live with their soul-destroying awfulness and hardly even notice. The motors in the IETs are without doubt a lot better than their wheezy grumbling predecessors, but I can't help noticing how my spirits lift somewhere east of Chippenham when they shut down... is it just me?


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: broadgage on August 14, 2019, 12:38:57 pm
Good grief! What rubbish!

The point I made about the 2+7 HSTs back in 2009 or whenever was they had no catering capability at all pretty much. IETs have kitchens and full capability to support a trolley. So please donít go scraping the barrel of previous quotes in a desperate bid to prove I said something that suits you. Fundamentally, we are selling more items from the trolley today than from the HST buffets this time last year.

As far as underfloor DMUs are concerned. The IET is an electric train with diesel capability and the fact they spend varying proportions of time on diesel but quite significant time on electric changes the goalposts. The other thing is that the sound of an MTU engine under a 800/802 is a world away from the sound, vibration and smell of a Cummins QSK19 under a 180/22x.

That said Iíd prefer to see more electrification!

Goodness knows what I said in 1989 that will get dragged onto this site to make some point shortly ... !

Whilst the world has indeed changed in the intervening years, I am not convinced that if DMUs with underfloor engines were considered unsuitable for long distance routes 10 or 20 years ago, that they have now become suitable.
I am well aware that the IETs can also use electric power, but they ARE equipped with underfloor engines, and ARE propelled thereby for the great majority of a journey to Plymouth or beyond.

Likewise on train length, If 5 car Adelantes were considered inadequate years ago, I am not convinced that 5 car IETs are now suitable.




Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: IndustryInsider on August 14, 2019, 12:45:05 pm
Good point regarding the 2+7 HST's when they were trolley only.  You had practically no storage for supplies at all IIRC, just a modified toilet at the end of Coach A.  Certainly no fridges or anything like that - the potential for which I showed a couple of weeks ago with my image upload on this thread: http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=21918


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Celestial on August 14, 2019, 05:48:40 pm

Whilst the world has indeed changed in the intervening years, I am not convinced that if DMUs with underfloor engines were considered unsuitable for long distance routes 10 or 20 years ago, that they have now become suitable.
I am well aware that the IETs can also use electric power, but they ARE equipped with underfloor engines, and ARE propelled thereby for the great majority of a journey to Plymouth or beyond.

Likewise on train length, If 5 car Adelantes were considered inadequate years ago, I am not convinced that 5 car IETs are now suitable.

Remember the original plan was to have a lot of electric only units, with bi-mode for those services which extended beyond Swansea, Bristol, or on the Cotswold Lines.  That made sense at the time, and it's only because Network Fail completely cocked up the electrification for reasons that are outside this discussion that we have ended up with an all bi-mode stock.

I've been pleasantly surprised at the engine noise actually, but then I was expecting something similar to a Voyager, so my expectations were very low.  I don't think Joe (or Josephine) Public cares one jot about the engine noise in an IET if I'm honest.The toilets don't smell like Voyagers either, and you don't get an imprint of the seat in front embedded in your knees after anything but a short journey. There's just no comparison in the two types of train.

I do agree with you that there are too many 5 coach sets, but come back to the point (as per buffets) that I think you've made the point so many times that I'm not sure why you feel the need to say it again (and again, and again....) 


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: MarkHopwood on August 16, 2019, 03:54:57 am
Ultimately this is about the passenger. Most passengers have no philosophical position on underfloor Diesel engines - they want a quiet, comfortable journey. Iíve travelled with many people who have struggled on an IET to know if the engines are running or not. Itís a completely different world to older DMUs.

In addition, if you have any form of locomotive or power unit you loose huge numbers of seats. Paddington station would require massive track layout changes and extended platforms to accommodate more than a ten car set. If we had a power car each end of, say, eight carriages we would loose about 140 standard class seats.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: ellendune on August 16, 2019, 07:45:23 am
Ultimately this is about the passenger. Most passengers have no philosophical position on underfloor Diesel engines - they want a quiet, comfortable journey. Iíve travelled with many people who have struggled on an IET to know if the engines are running or not. Itís a completely different world to older DMUs.

In addition, if you have any form of locomotive or power unit you loose huge numbers of seats. Paddington station would require massive track layout changes and extended platforms to accommodate more than a ten car set. If we had a power car each end of, say, eight carriages we would loose about 140 standard class seats.


I am one who has traveled in IETs and have struggled to know if the engine's are on or not.  I agree with Mark on this.  The only problem I have with the IETs is the seats are a bit hard. They are OK on the short Swindon - Paddington Journey, but if I was going to Penzance I would need to take a cushion!  I do hope they are better on the ECML Azumas.   


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Robin Summerhill on August 16, 2019, 09:42:39 am
Quote from: ellendune
I do hope they are better on the ECML Azumas.   

I found them even harder, but I have been told that's just my imagination, as they are exactly the same as on the GWR sets.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: ellendune on August 16, 2019, 12:19:27 pm
Quote from: ellendune
I do hope they are better on the ECML Azumas.   

I found them even harder, but I have been told that's just my imagination, as they are exactly the same as on the GWR sets.

Or because the distances are further?


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Robin Summerhill on August 16, 2019, 02:49:47 pm
Quote from: ellendune
Quote from: ellendune
I do hope they are better on the ECML Azumas.   

I found them even harder, but I have been told that's just my imagination, as they are exactly the same as on the GWR sets.

Or because the distances are further?

That wasn't the case when I used them on my recent 14 day all line rover - just to and from Kings Cross, Newark and Leeds.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: broadgage on August 16, 2019, 03:21:15 pm
As I have previously stated, I would forgive or at least forget the underfloor engines of an IET if the trains were otherwise of proper intercity specification.
The present offering feels like a local train.

I accept that we can not live in the past and understand that a certain amount of downgrading is unavoidable when new trains are introduced. IETs however contain so many backward steps.

No buffet, arguably just about acceptable if the trolley was provided reliably, frequently, and in both portions of the train, even on Sundays.
Fewer tables, and yes I know this is better than the downgraded high density HSTs, but I can remember when HSTs had 16 tables per coach. and when mark 2 coaches had almost all seats at tables.
Shorter trains. Single 5 car units are still appearing all too often in place of a 9 car or a pair of 5 car units. Whilst this might get better in time, we have had a couple of years of routine short formations.
Hard seats, simply nasty.
Unreliable reservations
Unreliable toilets.
And underfloor engines, which together with the above makes the whole thing feel like a regional DMU and not an inter-city train.

I apologise for again posting about buffets, and will avoid frequently posting about this.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: IndustryInsider on August 16, 2019, 06:00:00 pm
I apologise for again posting about buffets, and will avoid frequently posting about this.

We can but hope.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: PhilWakely on August 16, 2019, 07:34:04 pm
I accept that we can not live in the past and understand that a certain amount of downgrading is unavoidable when new trains are introduced. IETs however contain so many backward steps.

....... the whole thing feel like a regional DMU and not an inter-city train.

The IETs (as designed for GWR) seem to have been designed specifically for the London to Bristol corridor (i.e as a middle-distance commuter train) with little, or no consideration, for the longer distance traveller.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Charlie (in Gloucester) on August 16, 2019, 07:51:10 pm
I accept that we can not live in the past and understand that a certain amount of downgrading is unavoidable when new trains are introduced. IETs however contain so many backward steps.

....... the whole thing feel like a regional DMU and not an inter-city train.

The IETs (as designed for GWR) seem to have been designed specifically for the London to Bristol corridor (i.e as a middle-distance commuter train) with little, or no consideration, for the longer distance traveller.

I disagree with that. Whether travelling only as far as Swindon or the entire journey to Paddington, I feel that my experience should remain the same and that the trains are built for a variety of journeys. Many people do travel from Paddington all the way to Penzance/Swansea, however, these trains also carry passengers travelling to and from intermediate stations.

I am a great fan of the HST and will miss them. However, should we be defining Intercity travel in the same way we did 40 years ago?


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: broadgage on August 16, 2019, 08:13:35 pm

I am a great fan of the HST and will miss them. However, should we be defining Intercity travel in the same way we did 40 years ago?

In my view, yes we should be defining intercity travel in broadly the same way as 40 years ago. Not EXACTLY the same, but generally similar as regards comfort and facilities.

It seems unlikely that rail be will ever be as cheap as driving or as quick as flying, so rail should be competing on comfort and facilities.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: the void on August 16, 2019, 09:07:08 pm
Challenge for Broadgage - can you go a day without mentioning 'Buffet', 'DMU' or 'Proper Intercity Train'?


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Rhydgaled on August 16, 2019, 09:20:15 pm
Remember the original plan was to have a lot of electric only units, with bi-mode for those services which extended beyond Swansea, Bristol, or on the Cotswold Lines.  That made sense at the time, and it's only because Network Fail completely cocked up the electrification for reasons that are outside this discussion that we have ended up with an all bi-mode stock.
There is actually a silver lining to the very black cloud of the electrification failure, which is that the 9-car class 800s sets got plenty of diesel engines instead of only one (ALL the 9-car 800s on the GW were ordered as class 801s). If that hadn't happened, diversions of South Wales services via Gloucester (for example) would have been stuck with 5-car units, as all the bi-modes would have been 5-car.

The argument that locomotives take up platform space and hence you get less capacity is true, but less so for intercity trains than for regional and suburban units. I think a 5-car Turbo or 158 would be slightly shorter than a 2+4 HST GTI, for example. Once you add crumple zones to exceed 110mph, and a kitchen, the numbers change. If I recall correctly, the difference in seating capacity between a 9-car IEP and a 2x5-car formation is three seats. Running intercity multiple units in multiple is almost as wasteful of platform space as an IC125. TPE's mark 5a sets (and Greater Anglia's class 90 rakes if Porterbrook's proposal to fit seats in the DVTs had gone ahead) have less deadspace in the formation than a pair of 800s.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: broadgage on August 18, 2019, 11:12:46 am
Challenge for Broadgage - can you go a day without mentioning 'Buffet', 'DMU' or 'Proper Intercity Train'?

Yes, and I have done so.
The absence of criticism should however not be taken as an indication that I am converted to liking IETs. 


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: TaplowGreen on August 31, 2019, 08:26:36 am
Can we see the questions (and preferably some answers!) that didn't make the cut for this session please?

We're almost a month on, and were advised that they would be addressed.

Thanks


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: TaplowGreen on September 07, 2019, 08:47:21 am
ÖÖÖ..another week goes by without questions, answers, or even an acknowledgement - I'm sure some of those who organised/moderated this event are aware, and I would hope they would at least have the courtesy to respond, unless of course the GWR model of communication/customer service is being followed in the spirit of the MD's participation?   ???


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: grahame on September 07, 2019, 10:46:43 am
ÖÖÖ..another week goes by without questions, answers, or even an acknowledgement - I'm sure some of those who organised/moderated this event are aware, and I would hope they would at least have the courtesy to respond, unless of course the GWR model of communication/customer service is being followed in the spirit of the MD's participation?   ???

The issues - and an apology - are due from the Coffee Shop end in this case.  Significant follow up - my estimate - during next week.   Currently with the moderator team;  some of us are widespread and on icky connections at the moment (personal story from me on that tomorrow morning) but still volunteering to run this place well above our unpay grade ;)


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: TaplowGreen on September 07, 2019, 02:02:51 pm
Many thanks for the update Graham.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: chuffed on September 07, 2019, 04:24:54 pm
The last person who should be apologising is Graham. If anyone deserves the holiday of a lifetime, it's him. He should be switching off from the coffee shop completely for a few weeks !


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: bobm on September 07, 2019, 07:45:16 pm
He should be switching off from the coffee shop completely for a few weeks !

Agreed - but pretty hard when it is part of your family.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: chuffed on September 07, 2019, 08:03:54 pm
Rather like the prodigal son he should   be spending this holiday on wine, wife and song.....when he comes back we can kill the fatted calf ( no,not you,broadgage) and celebrate his return ;D


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: grahame on September 08, 2019, 12:18:06 am
The last person who should be apologising is Graham. If anyone deserves the holiday of a lifetime, it's him. He should be switching off from the coffee shop completely for a few weeks !

He should be switching off from the coffee shop completely for a few weeks !

Agreed - but pretty hard when it is part of your family.

Rather like the prodigal son he should   be spending this holiday on wine, wife and song.....when he comes back we can kill the fatted calf ( no,not you,broadgage) and celebrate his return ;D

Going off topic here ... but all pretty much noted and very much appreciated.   You'll see how close I've got to some elements of the suggestion at http://www.passenger.chat/22179 and I'll follow up in the morning (3.5 hours behind your mornings!) with a few more comments.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: broadgage on September 08, 2019, 03:56:45 am
Please ensure that the fatted calf is killed in an EU approved slaughterhouse, that the ear tag numbers are correctly recorded, and that proper hygiene procedures are followed regarding meat handling and cooking.
Consider also the carbon emissions of transporting the live animal, the carcass, and of the cooking process.

On animal welfare grounds, a free range fatted calf is preferable to one reared in a pen. The calf should only be moderately fat if the meat is to be enjoyable.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: GBM on September 08, 2019, 10:25:24 am
Please ensure that the fatted calf is killed in an EU approved slaughterhouse, that the ear tag numbers are correctly recorded, and that proper hygiene procedures are followed regarding meat handling and cooking.
Consider also the carbon emissions of transporting the live animal, the carcass, and of the cooking process.

On animal welfare grounds, a free range fatted calf is preferable to one reared in a pen. The calf should only be moderately fat if the meat is to be enjoyable.
And don't forget to include your last inspection results, together with a link to the live CCTV recordings  :)


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: ellendune on September 08, 2019, 12:29:22 pm
Please ensure that the fatted calf is killed in an EU approved slaughterhouse ....

Just to be precise. The EU do not approve any slaughterhouses, they merely set the regulations, which together with the government's own regulations (yes we have additional regulations) are used by competent authorities in member states (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland this is the Food Standards Agency) use to approve such places. 


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: CyclingSid on September 08, 2019, 02:20:24 pm
We always have additional regulations. It has been said for a long time that we "gold plate" EU regulations, which might be part of the problem.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Robin Summerhill on September 09, 2019, 10:10:41 am
We always have additional regulations. It has been said for a long time that we "gold plate" EU regulations, which might be part of the problem.

There's no "might" about it...


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: TaplowGreen on September 14, 2019, 04:05:58 pm
ÖÖÖ..another week goes by without questions, answers, or even an acknowledgement - I'm sure some of those who organised/moderated this event are aware, and I would hope they would at least have the courtesy to respond, unless of course the GWR model of communication/customer service is being followed in the spirit of the MD's participation?   ???

The issues - and an apology - are due from the Coffee Shop end in this case.  Significant follow up - my estimate - during next week.   Currently with the moderator team;  some of us are widespread and on icky connections at the moment (personal story from me on that tomorrow morning) but still volunteering to run this place well above our unpay grade ;)

Another week gone by with no response - absolutely not directed at Graham, who quite rightly pointed out others were leading on this.

If someone could explain why cutting/pasting the questions/answers is proving so difficult it may be easier for the rest of us to understand the delay.

Almost 6 weeks on now, rather frustrating.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: broadgage on September 16, 2019, 07:11:07 pm
It might be that there is not much more that we can ask Mr Hopwood.

1) Catering has already been enquired about and has been answered by "no way will GWR allow buffets" and by reassurances that the trolley service is already acceptable and will soon get even better, as was promised previously.

2) Short formations are probably "of the agenda" as the main cause thereof is the failure of the new DMUs to work reliably. Anyone can see the ongoing number of short formations, but discussions thereof by the MD might be prohibited by legal concerns.
The new timetable should help in this regard, not of course by increasing train lengths, but by re-branding single 5 car units as being "correct and as planned" and not as "short formed" The resultant overcrowding can then be blamed on increased passenger numbers, rather than on 5 car DMUs replacing full length inter-city trains.

3) The hard seats, could perhaps be talked about, but any such complaints are easily answered "as required by regulations"

4) Ongoing IET faults such as no reservations, defective toilets, squeaks, bumps, bangs and rattles, easily answered by "get used to it, it is called progress" Though Mr Hopwood would word it much more diplomatically.

5) Ongoing staff shortage , easily answered by a simple statement "we are actively working towards recruiting more staff"

6) Signaling and other infrastructure failures "down to network rail, not us"

7)Failure to electrify, as above.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: IndustryInsider on September 16, 2019, 07:23:04 pm
However there are a many other equally worthy subjects out there as well as your perennial favourites, Broadgage.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: broadgage on September 16, 2019, 07:33:37 pm
However there are a many other equally worthy subjects out there as well as your perennial favourites, Broadgage.

I don't doubt it, but I suspect that most can answered by one of two standard replies, either,

"Not our problem, but our partners Hitachi/ network rail/ HMG/someone else  are working towards resolving this issue"

"We are working hard to further improve performance regarding this issue"


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: IndustryInsider on September 16, 2019, 07:46:37 pm
I think you are being rather unfair on Mark Hopwood, who could easily have shut down the conversation with you about buffets a lot earlier with similar responses, but tried to explain and debate in an open and honest way - even if you didnít like the answers.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Celestial on September 16, 2019, 09:15:49 pm
Moreover, it's been explained on a couple of occasions that the problem is not that GWR hasn't answered the questions, but that the mods dealing with it have not yet completed the work to prepare those answers for publication.  But that hasn't stopped broadgage take an  opportunity that wasn't there to steer the subject round to his favourite hobbyhorse.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: grahame on September 17, 2019, 01:29:59 am
Ladies and Gentlemen ... a move forward to get questions not yet addressed answered via a fresh session, with it managed such that all new questions are timeously answered, is underway.  There's a thread started on this on "Frequent Posters" but the subject will be broached in public early next month. Good on GWR - on their instigation again.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: TaplowGreen on September 17, 2019, 05:53:15 am
Ladies and Gentlemen ... a move forward to get questions not yet addressed answered via a fresh session, with it managed such that all new questions are timeously answered, is underway.  There's a thread started on this on "Frequent Posters" but the subject will be broached in public early next month. Good on GWR - on their instigation again.

Graham another session is one thing but it doesn't address the point being made here over several weeks - undertakings were given in respect of questions that weren't used as part of the session on 5th August, which haven't been met.

All that is being asked is for those questions that didn't make the cut to be published - ideally with, but if not without answers. I am baffled as to why this hasn't happened, but if someone would be good enough to articulate the apparent difficulty in doing so it would be enlightening.

You at least have engaged on this subject, the rest of the moderators who we were given to understand would be leading on this have been conspicuous by their absence/silence.


Title: Re: Welcome to "Meet the Managing Director"
Post by: Sixty3Closure on October 03, 2019, 04:30:45 pm
And a mention in the GWR Customer Panel update

"You may have seen the online 'Meet the Managing Director' session we ran with the Great Western Coffee Shop Forum in August. Here is the link if you'd like to read it:* http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?board=48.0

We will be working with the Coffee Shop to run a similar session again on 5 November, inviting their members to submit questions in advance and Mark Hopwood will be online between 1700-1800 to answer them.  The focus of this session will be on the timetable change.  If youíd like to participate, please sign up to the Coffee Shop by following this link: * http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?action=register

We are working on providing an online platform for all members to engage with us and with each other and Iíll be in touch with more details about this very soon."

 



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