Great Western Coffee Shop

All across the Great Western territory => Across the West => Topic started by: inspector_blakey on October 15, 2009, 08:27:12 pm



Title: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: inspector_blakey on October 15, 2009, 08:27:12 pm
Barry Doe has published his annual "subjective catering survey" (based on his own travel experiences, I believe) in the most recent edition of RAIL, and FGW come out of it pretty well. He has certainly been critical of the catering offered in the past, but in the current article has rated Travelling Chef, Travelling Chef Select and Pullman dining with an overall score of 8.3/10, including 10/10 for food quality and value for money, the best scores of any franchised operator.

This certainly seems to reflect my experience - since that start of the year Travelling Chefs seem to have been much more reliable in terms of appearing on the advertised services, and as I've said elsewhere before I really like the current menu.

Anyone else have any thoughts?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on October 15, 2009, 08:39:41 pm
I certainly rate the Travelling Chef option, though I hope his highlighting what good value the omelettes are doesn't encourage FGW to first the price up.

It was interesting how Hull Trains were slated. It would appear that like everything else about their service, since First took a grip on the operation it's been downhill all the way.

 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: devon_metro on October 15, 2009, 09:15:03 pm
Should be a new chef menu soon.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: inspector_blakey on October 15, 2009, 11:30:22 pm
Here's hoping they don't mess with the breakfast platter or the breakfast club sandwiches... two of the finest concoctions known to man IMHO.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Mookiemoo on October 15, 2009, 11:45:01 pm
I only ever see a breakfast TC and I'm not impressed.

Apart from fresh fruit there is little that suits if one is on a diet.

Bagel and jam would be a nice option - they have bagels how much would it cost to have some jam/marmalade portions.

99% certain the omlettes are cooked in oil/butter and not a no stick pan

I know, I know - ita aimed at occasional travel and not daily commute but I would be happy to have brekkie every day if the above were possible. Even if I bring my own jam it an be quite a chore explaining to the new breed of CH (mainly eastern europeans) that you wan JUST THE BAGEL and nothing else


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: willc on October 16, 2009, 12:16:36 am
I certainly rate the Travelling Chef option, though I hope his highlighting what good value the omelettes are doesn't encourage FGW to first the price up.

It was interesting how Hull Trains were slated. It would appear that like everything else about their service, since First took a grip on the operation it's been downhill all the way.

 

I think that's what's called a cheap shot. The problems are, yet again, Adelante-related. HT's catering offer had to change because an Adelante only has a buffet, whereas the Pioneers have a small kitchen in the first class driving coach. HT's refurbishment plans for the 180s include moving first class into one of the driving coaches and fitting kitchen gear as part of this work so they can serve hot meals again.

I hardly think that First Group, which Mr Doe describes as now having the best catering offer of a franchise operator in the shape of FGW and which also scores well for the Scotrail sleepers' meals, wants to let its other long-haul operation be the worst of the bunch, especially when HT was usually highly rated in the survey when Mr Doe travelled on Pioneer services.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: inspector_blakey on October 16, 2009, 12:20:10 am
I only ever see a breakfast TC and I'm not impressed.

Apart from fresh fruit there is little that suits if one is on a diet.

There's also a yogurt and granola pot for GBP2.25. or porridge (not sure if that strictly counts as healthy) for GBP2.75. For a healthy option, the yogurt and granola actually looks quite edible...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on October 16, 2009, 12:33:02 am
... or the Vegetarian blaguette, as it's rather interestingly described, on the FGW website (http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Content.aspx?id=1124):

Quote
Vegetarian blaguette (v)
(Halloumi cheese, mushroom, 2 eggs scrambled and tomato)                                                 ^6.25

Sorry, that was probably another cheap shot.  ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Mookiemoo on October 16, 2009, 12:33:23 am
I only ever see a breakfast TC and I'm not impressed.

Apart from fresh fruit there is little that suits if one is on a diet.

There's also a yogurt and granola pot for GBP2.25. or porridge (not sure if that strictly counts as healthy) for GBP2.75. For a healthy option, the yogurt and granola actually looks quite edible...

Porridge = grits (been to the south recently?),  And we'll know you gone to the dark side when you like biscuits and gravy (for the non US aware think fluffy scones with white sauce over them)

Yeah - but do you know 200ml of non fat free yoghurt (about the size of  muller light pots) is about 250 calories alone - add in the granola for another 250 and you have over 1/3 of my daily allowance for something  that fills for about 2 hours.  A bagel and jam clocks in at about 270 calories in comparison.

What is healthy is not always low in calories and I do think FGW should - like I think al restaurants should - publish calorie content on heir menus

I am not a nanny state person but eating on the run is a night mare


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Mookiemoo on October 16, 2009, 12:46:01 am
I only ever see a breakfast TC and I'm not impressed.

Apart from fresh fruit there is little that suits if one is on a diet.

There's also a yogurt and granola pot for GBP2.25. or porridge (not sure if that strictly counts as healthy) for GBP2.75. For a healthy option, the yogurt and granola actually looks quite edible...

Porridge (or grits) would be healthy if made with skimmed milk - but I bet its one size fit all at best semi skim


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on October 16, 2009, 01:13:38 am
I am not a nanny state person ...

Eh ??  :o ::) :o ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Mookiemoo on October 16, 2009, 01:15:22 am
I am not a nanny state person ...

Eh ??  :o ::) :o ;D

The nanny state wants lettuce meals available always


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 16, 2009, 02:04:24 am
I am not a nanny state person ...

Eh ??  :o ::) :o ;D

The nanny state wants lettuce meals available always

and free diet coke for all!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on October 17, 2009, 10:09:50 pm
Although I would agree that the pullman service is excellent, it is only available on four trains a day, and two of those are liable to be withdrawn in the next timetable change.

The travelling chef service has its good points, but is largely what used to be called a hot buffet.
The advertised table service in First seldom appears, and the extensive sounding menu is often in practice downgraded to toasted sandwiches only.

The hull trains catering has certainly been badly downgraded since the introduction of new trains, but that is to be expected.
New trains normally have worse catering than old ones, and also less legroom and reduced luggage space, this is known as progress !


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: inspector_blakey on October 17, 2009, 11:12:21 pm
The travelling chef service has its good points, but is largely what used to be called a hot buffet.
The advertised table service in First seldom appears, and the extensive sounding menu is often in practice downgraded to toasted sandwiches only.

The hull trains catering has certainly been badly downgraded since the introduction of new trains, but that is to be expected.
New trains normally have worse catering than old ones, and also less legroom and reduced luggage space, this is known as progress !

Whilst I've experienced the problems you describe with the travelling chef in the past, my more recent experience has been far superior with first class table service operating reliably and a full menu consistently available.

And you can't generalize about all new trains having less room than old ones; the Adelantes were very generous in this respect and the FGW HST refurbishment has better legroom than the BR interior (this isn't a subject for debate, it's factually correct). Yes there have been horrors like the Voyagers introduced but the same body shell with a different interior specification gave us the Meridians as used by EMT which are very pleasant trains to travel in.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on October 18, 2009, 12:04:06 am
Not as good as Virgin's First Class, as you have to pay... twice! (once for a sky high First fare, and then for the food!)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: matt473 on October 18, 2009, 12:15:15 am
Not as good as Virgin's First Class, as you have to pay... twice! (once for a sky high First fare, and then for the food!)

I do not agree with this statement as I have tickets from Bristol to Swansea first class on Friday at 7pm and returning at 9.30am the following Monday for ^15 overall. This means I can have afford something to eat and enjoy first class for around ^22. It seems you may have a grudge as FGW can have some very good first class ticket prices, and at more reasonable times than what Virgin offer such cheap fares at.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 18, 2009, 12:59:58 am
Not as good as Virgin's First Class, as you have to pay... twice! (once for a sky high First fare, and then for the food!)

I do not agree with this statement as I have tickets from Bristol to Swansea first class on Friday at 7pm and returning at 9.30am the following Monday for ^15 overall. This means I can have afford something to eat and enjoy first class for around ^22. It seems you may have a grudge as FGW can have some very good first class ticket prices, and at more reasonable times than what Virgin offer such cheap fares at.

Hear, hear. Finding the cheapest VWC advance first class fares is nigh on impossible. FGW's always seem to be available for a lot longer (greater quantity?) after they appear on the booking horizon. They are nearly always cheaper per mile than VWCs. The money saved allows for a sampling of the TC menu. Admittedly VWC do have free at seat food on nearly all weekday services, but the portion sizes noticeably reduced in Jan 09, the all day salads and soups disappeared leaving just a sandwich option. Curry specials also disappeared as did Friday fish 'n chips.

For excellent inclusive food, WSMR and ATW Premier Service are hard to beat, as Barry Doe concluded in his review.

FGW's third place is highly deserved. Their re-jigging of the catering following withdrawal of nearly all the Pullmans, was an excellent compromise. I hope Neil Micklethwaite and his Head of On-Board Catering continue the improvements that James Burt started. I am a little concerned because NM is currently wearing two hats, both Customer Service and Commercial Director. But I'll wait and see.....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on October 18, 2009, 01:20:17 pm
It seems you may have a grudge

There are NO Advances on the Cotswold line. There are an abundance on the 3 tph VWC service.

I am guaranteed a First Class standard seat on VT, I may get a Turbo on FGW = Standard Class standard seats.

I will get free drinks (including alcohol) and food (which I thought was excellent, and this was post Jan 09) on VT. May get NOTHING on FGW. if there is something, I'll have to pay. (bar fruit juice and biscuits etc.)

So yes, perhaps I do have a grudge. Perhaps if I used the services FGW actually care about, I would feel different.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: matt473 on October 18, 2009, 02:48:49 pm


There are NO Advances on the Cotswold line. There are an abundance on the 3 tph VWC service.

I am guaranteed a First Class standard seat on VT, I may get a Turbo on FGW = Standard Class standard seats.

This is not a completely fair comparison as the services are completely different. Yes, First should offer advance tickets if that is the case and offer more hst's, but the problem is where do they getthese from as the current hst's are diagrammed as efficently as possible. Virgin offer a completely Intercityservice calling at few places enabling them to offer more seats and better first class provisions. On the Cotswold line First are limited not only by capcity constraints but he nature of the line is not a high speed intercity line as such as the service has to stop regularly unlike Virgin. Remeber that Virgin don't have to cater for local short distance passengers as LM do that but First have to carry both local and long distance passengers. This means advance fares may not even be possible as a result of services already at capcity so cannot afford to offer advance fares. What first needs are more hst's or similair to improve services but where do they get them from.

Anyhow, back on the subject of catering, everytime I have had food on on FGW services, I have always found it tobe enjoyable served by polite staff. You will not recieve any complaints from me if this service continues


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on October 18, 2009, 03:38:42 pm
Most off peak Cotswold trains carry around air, so advances would be no problem.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: devon_metro on October 18, 2009, 03:59:52 pm
Most off peak Cotswold trains carry around air, so advances would be no problem.

Why do you always bang on about it being disagraceful that they are not HSTs then? Clearly there is no demand. And Advance fares will not solve the problem, your off peak fares are very competitive.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: matt473 on October 18, 2009, 04:59:03 pm
To further add to my previous post, to create some comparison between FGW and Virgin I checked first class fares at a similair time, similair days and similair time in advance tickets were booked. First class between London and Birmingham would cost ^60 travelling both ways compared to my ^15 paying for first class tickets with FGW. I can understand some people feel that Virgin offer a better first class experience buy you cannot fault the cost of first class tickets on FGW. Even having to pay for food I am paying less for first class using FGW over Virgin.

Ultimate conculsion of this is that despite PR given off by Virgin which is bery good, you can still get a fantastic first class service accompanied with some great quality food for what I find to be low prices. First does not deserve all of the critism it recieves regarding ticket prices.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: devon_metro on October 18, 2009, 05:07:31 pm
FGW first class is far more pleasant too, those leather seats are excellent! Beats a Virgin interior any day!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on October 18, 2009, 08:20:15 pm
I certainly rate the Travelling Chef option, though I hope his highlighting what good value the omelettes are doesn't encourage FGW to first the price up.



Sadly, I hoped in vain. Omelette prices are up from 3.25 to 4.25 in the new menu.   


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: inspector_blakey on October 18, 2009, 08:34:24 pm
A shame it's gone up, but it's hardly daylight robbery and I'd still consider it good value. Have also just noticed the Travelling Chef Select menus which are very competitively priced as well - full breakfast for ^9.50 (fruit, porridge or yogurt with fry-up, plus toast and jam) or a two-course hot lunch for ^10.50.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 18, 2009, 10:24:10 pm
I have just perused the new winter Travelling Chef menu. Looks good (despite the odd smelling pistake. Blinins? Blaguette?) Quite a variety and not overly expensive. May have to find an excuse to travel first class in the near future, as some of the options look quite difficult to eat out of a cardboard box!

Prices still fairly reasonable (even with the omlette increase!) There are also some mouth watering new options on the Pullman menu; always amazes me that such high quality fare can be prepared in a kitchen moving at upwards of 100mph. Paddington to Bristol via Taunton or Exeter for a slap up lunch coming up, methinks!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on October 18, 2009, 11:06:25 pm
Hmm.  I sometimes wonder whether there is a cheeky monkey in FGW who deliberately puts smelling pistakes in the menu, just to see if we notice?  ::)

'Blaguettes', indeed!  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: matt473 on October 18, 2009, 11:12:04 pm
smelling pistakes

pistake indeed :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: willc on October 19, 2009, 12:56:28 am
Most off peak Cotswold trains carry around air, so advances would be no problem.

Not since February they haven't, when Turbos took over the weekday Worcester and Malvern off-peak diagrams they weren't already covering. Why do you keep repeating this old, tired, inaccurate statement?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Tim on October 19, 2009, 10:06:04 am
I reckon travelling Chef is pretty good.  Not too expensive (cf cup of tea with fake milk for ^1.60!) and on journeys of less than two hours a full restaurant isn't really needed.

IFAIR, TC is not a franchise commitment so FGW should be congratulated for doing it at a time when other TOCs are downgrading catering much further.

A plea to any FGW managers reading would be to a) publicise this service better, and b) keep up the consistancy with no more chopping and changing.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on October 19, 2009, 11:55:54 am
There are also some mouth watering new options on the Pullman menu; always amazes me that such high quality fare can be prepared in a kitchen moving at upwards of 100mph. Paddington to Bristol via Taunton or Exeter for a slap up lunch coming up, methinks!

I think that you will be out of luck !
"Paddington to Bristol for a slap up lunch" Only two trains from Paddington have a Pullman, the 18-03 and the 19-03, no more lunchtime pullmans regretably.
Unless of course you know something I dont about re-instating any Pullmans.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on October 19, 2009, 12:04:18 pm


And you can't generalize about all new trains having less room than old ones; the Adelantes were very generous in this respect and the FGW HST refurbishment has better legroom than the BR interior (this isn't a subject for debate, it's factually correct). Yes there have been horrors like the Voyagers introduced but the same body shell with a different interior specification gave us the Meridians as used by EMT which are very pleasant trains to travel in.

I find your statement that the recent FGW HST refurbishment has more legroom the BR interior to be suprising, but would defer to your superior knowledge re this.
However it is beyond doubt that the refurbishment resulted in less leg room, less luggage space and fewer table than existed before the work.

I also remember the HSTs being a backward step in terms of total train length, and space per passenger, over the loco-hauled stock used previosly.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Tim on October 19, 2009, 01:43:38 pm
[quote author=inspector_blakey link=topic=5508.msg52535#msg52535 I find your statement that the recent FGW HST refurbishment has more legroom the the BR interior to be suprising, but would defer to your superior knowledge re this.

It is certainly true that the FGW HST refurb squeezed more seats in not by reducing leg room (and that is a good thing at least), but by making the seats more upright and thinner (IMO, OK on short trips, not so good for more than a couple of hours)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: devon_metro on October 19, 2009, 03:02:16 pm
Yum

Ribs
5 meaty ribs in a tasty BBQ sauce                                                    ^5.95

Shame the omelette has gone up, I was going to get one, seems ill have to pay more!!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on October 19, 2009, 06:04:56 pm
Not since February they haven't, when Turbos took over the weekday Worcester and Malvern off-peak diagrams they weren't already covering. Why do you keep repeating this old, tired, inaccurate statement?

But if they are Turbos, my original argument about there being no First Class standard seats/freebies is comes into play! :D ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 19, 2009, 09:48:07 pm
There are also some mouth watering new options on the Pullman menu; always amazes me that such high quality fare can be prepared in a kitchen moving at upwards of 100mph. Paddington to Bristol via Taunton or Exeter for a slap up lunch coming up, methinks!

I think that you will be out of luck !
"Paddington to Bristol for a slap up lunch" Only two trains from Paddington have a Pullman, the 18-03 and the 19-03, no more lunchtime pullmans regretably.
Unless of course you know something I dont about re-instating any Pullmans.

Ooops. My bad. I was of course referring to those two services and should've said dinner. Could be lunch in the other direction though on the 1200 and 1255 ex Plymouth.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: willc on October 19, 2009, 11:21:10 pm
Not since February they haven't, when Turbos took over the weekday Worcester and Malvern off-peak diagrams they weren't already covering. Why do you keep repeating this old, tired, inaccurate statement?

But if they are Turbos, my original argument about there being no First Class standard seats/freebies is comes into play! :D ::)

I wasn't referring to your previous post - I was referring to the one repeating a tired, inaccurate statement, rather like the ones you kept posting about poor punctuality, long after FGW was hitting its targets.

As for your previous post, the Cotswold Line is a completely different kettle of fish from Virgin's Birmingham route. Of course there are lots of Virgin advance tickets - they have a train with 439 seats to fill every 20 minutes between Birmingham and London - almost a third of those seats are first class, so they have to find ways to fill them.

The Cotswold Line has roughly one train an hour off peak, with 250 or 470 seats to fill, most of which are likely to be full on the Oxford-London leg of the journey anyway, so FGW don't need to go to great lengths - or great discounts - to fill seats.

Where FGW offers higher frequencies and has more seats to fill, eg Bristol and South Wales to London, then it too offers advances.

And most people's journey choices are dictated by the need to get somewhere, not what food and drink, whether 'free' or not, may be on offer along the way. Chiltern manage perfectly well without first class, or any sort of catering offer for most of the day - or have you gone off them too?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 20, 2009, 05:24:17 am
I have just perused the new winter Travelling Chef menu. Looks good (despite the odd smelling pistake. Blinins? Blaguette?) Quite a variety and not overly expensive. May have to find an excuse to travel first class in the near future, as some of the options look quite difficult to eat out of a cardboard box!

Prices still fairly reasonable (even with the omlette increase!) There are also some mouth watering new options on the Pullman menu; always amazes me that such high quality fare can be prepared in a kitchen moving at upwards of 100mph. Paddington to Bristol via Taunton or Exeter for a slap up lunch coming up, methinks!

If journey planners are to be believed, it would appear that one of the two up Pullmans (1200 ex PLY) is being withdrawn from the December timetable change leaving just the 1255 ex PLY. The down services (1803 & 1903 ex PAD) still show as running. Don't know how this is being worked re: staff rostering.

Can anyone confirm that the 1200 up Pullman is being withdrawn?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on October 20, 2009, 03:43:07 pm
It would not suprise me if the Pullman on the 12-00 is to be withdrawn, the long term trend seems to be roughly one less restaurant per timetable change.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: 6 OF 2 redundant adjunct of unimatrix 01 on October 20, 2009, 05:51:52 pm
avoid the ham and cheese panini at all costs! its not horrible its just tasteless and rubbery and its not even a panini its a bagette made from dodge bread made worse by the microwave, sorry fgw but somethings need reporting


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Mookiemoo on October 20, 2009, 06:43:16 pm
avoid the ham and cheese panini at all costs! its not horrible its just tasteless and rubbery and its not even a panini its a bagette made from dodge bread made worse by the microwave, sorry fgw but somethings need reporting

Add to that the nuked cheeseburger that drips grease down your arm.  The mozarella and basil panini also suffers from the same flaws as the ham and cheese.

However if you do want something hot, those nuker bowls of chilli stuff arent bad! And quite low in calories.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: vacman on October 20, 2009, 07:04:20 pm
avoid the ham and cheese panini at all costs! its not horrible its just tasteless and rubbery and its not even a panini its a bagette made from dodge bread made worse by the microwave, sorry fgw but somethings need reporting
Yes but thats not from the travelling chef though.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 20, 2009, 08:56:22 pm
....its a bagette made from......

Don't you mean 'blaguette'?  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: inspector_blakey on October 20, 2009, 10:40:07 pm
Aaah. Those buffet paninis. There was a brief period after the refurb when they were cooked in a proper panini oven thingy and were very good (I ate them on at least two occasions - the breakfast one was quite impressive). Then the breakfast paninis disappeared, possibly along with the ovens. And it's been hot floppy bread in a plastic bag ever since. Eaurgh.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Tim on October 26, 2009, 05:19:50 pm
I know NXEC food was criticised by Barry but on Sunday I found their full English breakfast to be great (bacon, toast, beans, really nice little toms, potato scone, saugage, black pudding, 3 cups of tea and orange juice on propper plate and cutlery for ^12 was not bad, although the ^25 w/end first upgrade was needed to get access to any food above megre buffet fayre).

was planning to try Grand Central's offering on the trip North, but the train as so crowded at KX I would not have got a seat and instead got on the NX train north 12 minutes later (GC need to put their fares up to close to NXEC or add a couple of coaches).  2hr 20 to Darlington with first stop at York was a very impressive timing.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: caliwag on October 26, 2009, 09:21:45 pm
Full English breakfast on a Sunday? Good heavens :-\


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on October 27, 2009, 06:31:12 am
Full English breakfast on a Sunday? Good heavens :-\
That's what I was thinking especially when NXEC have drastically cut back restaurant services during weekdays.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Tim on October 27, 2009, 09:47:24 am
I was surprised to see it listed in the timetable and doubtful as to whether it would actually exist, but it was there (on the first train of the day South from Darlington) and well used. 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 27, 2009, 10:25:49 am
I was surprised to see it listed in the timetable and doubtful as to whether it would actually exist, but it was there (on the first train of the day South from Darlington) and well used. 

Let's hope that ECMLCo (t/a East Coast) reverse some of the catering changes that the dire NXEC instigated.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: willc on October 27, 2009, 11:17:32 pm
If anyone is taking a journey by NXEC, the pdfs of the timetable on their website have the catering provision on each train highlighted by colour coding, be that a restaurant open to all comers, or first class only at-seat service, see http://www.nationalexpresseastcoast.com/Travel-Information/full-timetables/Timetable-information/ (http://www.nationalexpresseastcoast.com/Travel-Information/full-timetables/Timetable-information/)
but as Tim found, on Saturday and Sunday it's only in first class, on a few services, where there is a dining service.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 04, 2009, 12:23:38 pm
Restaurant provision still appears very hit and miss, with equipment failures and staff shortage a regular feature.
On the 18-03 last Thursday (29/10/2009) only a very limited number of meals were served due to catering equipment failure.
Many prospective customers were turned away including some who had booked.
I was lucky to get a meal, which was of the usual high standard and most enjoyable.

On my return journey on the 12-55 from Plymouth (06/11/2009), no restaurant service was offered, due I understand, to catering equipment failure.
On several previous trips restaurants have been canceled due to staff shortages and breakdowns.

There seems to be a general view among FGW catering staff that the service is being run down prior to closure.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on November 09, 2009, 04:39:02 pm
More problems today on the catering front, it seems.  From FGW live updates (http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/LiveUpdateList.aspx):

Quote
Service incidents
13:06 London Paddington to Plymouth due 16:29
This train has been revised. This is due to a member of train crew being unavailable.
No Travelling Chef service. Buffet service only.
Last Updated: 09/11/2009 12:21

14:15 Paignton to London Paddington due 17:24
This train has been revised.This is due to train crew having been unavailable earlier.
No catering service available between Paignton and Exeter St Davids.
Last Updated: 09/11/2009 12:37

14:31 Cheltenham Spa to London Paddington due 16:39
This train has been revised. This is due to an earlier train fault.
No buffet service. A trolley service is available in Standard Class.
Last Updated: 09/11/2009 12:34

15:22 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central due 18:45
This train will be formed of 2 coaches instead of 3. This is due to an earlier train fault.
Last Updated: 09/11/2009 12:38

16:00 Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington due 17:39
This train has been revised. This is due to an earlier train fault.
No buffet service. A trolley service is available in Standard Class.
Last Updated: 09/11/2009 13:17

16:12 Paignton to Exmouth due 17:53
This train has been revised. This train will be formed of 2 coaches instead of 3. This is due to an earlier train fault.
Last Updated: 09/11/2009 15:10

16:22 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central due 19:45
This train has been revised. This is due to train crew having been unavailable earlier.
No catering service available between Portsmouth Harbour and Newport -South Wales-.
Last Updated: 09/11/2009 15:13

17:06 London Paddington to Westbury due 18:54
This train has been revised. This is due to an earlier train fault.
No buffet service. A trolley service is available in Standard Class.
Last Updated: 09/11/2009 15:16


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 16, 2009, 09:57:31 am
The new timetable, now available on the FGW website, suggests that two up trains will retain pullmans, despite earlier suggestions that one was to be withdrawn.

If true, then this is somwhat better news than expected.

Two restaurants a day is rather meager provision, not that long ago there were seven in each direction on the West of England line, and several to/from Wales.
Still better than nothing though, I certainly enjoy it.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on November 16, 2009, 07:46:55 pm
Hopefully the East Coast restaurant service will be re-intoduced, now it is run by a competent company.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on November 16, 2009, 08:52:38 pm
Hopefully the East Coast restaurant service will be re-intoduced, now it is run by a competent company.
A review of on board catering is planned but what that will mean for the return of a decent restaurant service remains to be seen.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: inspector_blakey on November 16, 2009, 08:54:26 pm
Hang on...they're completely untested, and Elaine Holt's at the helm! Let's not jump to any conclusions that they're competent just yet  ;)

After all, according to Railway Eye, ppm for last day of NXEC was 100%. Anyone like to guess the ppm for the first day of EC? 76%  :P

(Before anyone flames me, I'm well aware that I'm quoting that out of context and there probably are all sorts of legitimate reasons - it's just a statistic that amused me!)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on November 16, 2009, 11:42:44 pm
I am open to the possibilty of great things ahead for the 'East Coast' franchise. Elaine Holt has got two years to turn the franchise around, and I wish her every success.

I have travelled to the North East on numerous occasions in the past 5 years and have always been happy to pay a premium to go via London from Bristol rather than endure 5 hours on a Vomiter. NXEC were starting to make me reconsider though, so I look forward to the promise of an improved on board service. There was a noticeable lack of morale amongst the on board staff on my last two first class trips, so here's hoping things can only get better.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on November 25, 2009, 12:28:03 am
Promo video for ATW's Premier Class Restaurant. Slightly cheesy accompanying music!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHNLayx-CQU&feature=player_embedded#


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: inspector_blakey on November 25, 2009, 03:58:56 am
How long do you reckon before the FGWComms channel posts a video response demonstrating how to massacre a cheeseburger in a plastic bag?  ;)

PS only joking, I think the travelling chef's great!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Mookiemoo on November 25, 2009, 01:35:01 pm
Promo video for ATW's Premier Class Restaurant. Slightly cheesy accompanying music!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHNLayx-CQU&feature=player_embedded#

ATW dont even have first class!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Mookiemoo on November 25, 2009, 01:38:52 pm
Promo video for ATW's Premier Class Restaurant. Slightly cheesy accompanying music!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHNLayx-CQU&feature=player_embedded#

ATW dont even have first class!

Also its stopping pattern is bizarre - Newport - Cwmbran - Abergavenny then nothing until Shrewsbury - completely misses out Hereford and Ludlow

I can understanding missing ludlow (dont like it but can understand it) but Hereford?



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on November 25, 2009, 02:03:13 pm
Promo video for ATW's Premier Class Restaurant. Slightly cheesy accompanying music!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHNLayx-CQU&feature=player_embedded#
ATW dont even have first class!
Also its stopping pattern is bizarre - Newport - Cwmbran - Abergavenny then nothing until Shrewsbury - completely misses out Hereford and Ludlow
I can understanding missing ludlow (dont like it but can understand it) but Hereford?

I agree, I've always found the calling pattern strange, completely missing out the whole of Southern Shropshire and Herefordshire!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Mookiemoo on November 25, 2009, 02:22:13 pm
Promo video for ATW's Premier Class Restaurant. Slightly cheesy accompanying music!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHNLayx-CQU&feature=player_embedded#
ATW dont even have first class!
Also its stopping pattern is bizarre - Newport - Cwmbran - Abergavenny then nothing until Shrewsbury - completely misses out Hereford and Ludlow
I can understanding missing ludlow (dont like it but can understand it) but Hereford?

I agree, I've always found the calling pattern strange, completely missing out the whole of Southern Shropshire and Herefordshire!

Which is probably why I did not even know it existed!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: inspector_blakey on November 25, 2009, 11:17:01 pm
ATW dont even have first class!

On a technicality, yes they do, on this service only. That's why rather than inventing a whole new (and largely redundant) FC pricing structure you simply pay a supplement on top of the standard class fare which also includes din-dins or breakfast.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: willc on November 25, 2009, 11:50:24 pm
FGW are plugging new Pullman menus with a link from the website homepage and clearly listing all four trains offering restaurants, plus what to do to reserve a restaurant seat on the Paddington evening departures - though only first class ticketholders can reserve apparently.

http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Content.aspx?id=70 (http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Content.aspx?id=70)

A recent article (in Rail I think) quoted an ATW bigwig as saying the WAG Express doesn't serve Hereford basically because that's not its job, which is link North and South Wales (except, of course, the biggest town in North Wales).


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 28, 2009, 09:36:15 am
The new menu does not seem much different to the old one, though that is not a criticism as the old menu was very good.
The main course still consists of steak, a fish option or a vegetarian option.

The cheese selection is now served in the proper fashion from a cheeseboard, thus allowing a choice, in the past it was ready plated.

The soup, steak and cheese were certainly most enjoyable on thursday (27/11/09) and I am very pleased to say that that my booking was honoured.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Phil on November 28, 2009, 09:44:21 am
A recent article (in Rail I think) quoted an ATW bigwig as saying the WAG Express doesn't serve Hereford basically because that's not its job, which is link North and South Wales (except, of course, the biggest town in North Wales).

I thought Wrexham was the biggest town in North Wales?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on November 28, 2009, 11:18:00 am
Isn't that the point - it doesn't serve Wrexham?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: willc on November 28, 2009, 12:45:32 pm
Just so. The train runs Chester-Crewe-Shrewsbury.

Capacity issues between Chester and Wrexham, which is a single line section, and also on the double track on to Shrewsbury where there are no intermediate signals on Wrexham-Gobowen and just one between Gobowen and Shrewsbury, limiting how many trains can run and also creating some very long sectional running times. Though there are plans afoot to tackle all these problems.

In addition, they would need a DVT in the formation to reverse direction at Chester.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Phil on November 28, 2009, 03:08:11 pm
Thanks for clarifying that, Willc. I do like a bit of clarity, me.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on November 28, 2009, 11:03:26 pm
True, but putting in a stop at Ludlow would perhaps get some Midlands - Cardiff commuters/businessmen to travel.

But I agree that the priority is to get the North - South journey time down, and that involves cutting stops. At least ATW understand the meaning of express! **cough** FGW **cough** Cornwall trains!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: devon_metro on November 28, 2009, 11:11:12 pm
But I agree that the priority is to get the North - South journey time down, and that involves cutting stops. At least ATW understand the meaning of express! **cough** FGW **cough** Cornwall trains!

Do you actually understand the market?

1000 Penzance - London Paddington was today well loaded past Plymouth, clearly the prospect of stopping at such places as Ivybridge not causing anybody any major distress.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 18, 2011, 04:51:42 pm
It would appear that the restaurant menus have recently been changed.
If I have understood the website correctly, it would appear that we now have only 2 menus instead of 4.
Very frequent users might find this a bit boring, but I only use the Pullman every couple of weeks on average, and am therefore not worried.
Both the new menus include fillet steak, which to my taste is a decided improvement.

Prices have been increased, but still compare favourably with those charged elswhere for meals of similar qaulity.

Hope they can obtain some port ! has not been available for a while, due I believe to the supplier going bust.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 08, 2011, 12:30:27 pm
Update re above.
Port is now available on the restaurant trains, and very good port it is too, better than before.
But now they have no brandy ! hopefully easier to source than port.
The new menus are in use, less choice than before, but at least fillet steak is on both menus, a decided improvement.
I have used the pullman several times in the last few weeks and been very impressed.EDIT the above was true when I wrote it, but we now have no port, again. Though there is brandy


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on June 02, 2011, 01:22:55 pm
Slightly more positive news re the Pullmans.
On a recent trip, one of the restaurant crew advises that on busy days, 35 places on the 18-03 are to be laid for dining.
Thats like the "good old days" since more recently 29 dining places was the maximum, with only 17 seats sometimes.
They also stated that dining is to be promoted, which seems better than hiding it and hoping that no one notices.
It was even suggested that a lunchtime down pullman might be re-instated.

Restaurants might even survive until the Plymouth services are downgraded to DMUs, which is not expected for some years.

The restaurant prices have recently been increased, but still compare very well with prices charged elswhere for food of similar qaulity.

Alcholic drink is cheaper on the train than in many London pubs.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 02, 2011, 02:18:44 pm
I'm a big fan of the Pullmans and like broadgage I have been told by the crews that there are plans to increase promotion.

I hadn't heard about the extra seats. I assume that means they will lay up further down coach G. The only snag with that is it is supposed to be the quiet coach. I hope it doesn't promote complaints and get the meal service pushed back into F.

The idea of a down lunchtime service is encouraging. In the past it was crewed by staff who had worked up on the Golden Hind serving breakfast. I wonder if that means the breakfast service might return or there will an evening meal on an up service which would be very good news. However it would presumably mean a London based crew which is a departure as all the current Pullman staff are Plymouth based.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on June 02, 2011, 04:39:09 pm
Well done to FGW for keeping restaurant services going on the WoE route. Who would have thought that FGW would be the last remaining TOC providing a full restaurant service. Bring back GNER to the East Coast!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on June 03, 2011, 10:02:56 am
I understand that the extra dining places in G will be laid only on busy days, which are normally Wednesdays and Thursdays, Fridays are said to be less busy which I find suprising.
In the past I have been unable to dine on  Friday services and have therefore taken to Thursday travel instead. Perhaps I have started a trend ?

I too hope that dining in G does not lead to complaints about the quiet coach being made noisy.
Perhaps this might be time to designate the end coach, H as the quiet coach ? There seems no good reason not to in present circumstances. After all A is the standard class quite coach.
In another thread it was stated that in past the end coach was for smokers, and therefore that the quiet coach had to be the other one.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 03, 2011, 10:17:43 am
I've always thought H should be the quiet coach. As you say it makes more sense as those currently in G have to put up with those walking through from H.

I was told Friday is less busy as people tend to try to get away early for the weekend but your experience doesn't seem to bear this out.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on June 29, 2011, 03:53:50 pm
Just finsished an excellent meal on the train from Exeter, delayed as one power car  U/S.
Cant fault the Pulman though, the new menu has less choice, but is well chosen and I certainly enjoyed it.
More wine available in 0.5L bottles, but less choice in full bottles.

Enjoy it while you can !


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on August 08, 2011, 12:19:43 pm
Had a couple of enjoyable meals recently, and would certainly recomend the service.
The menu served was different to that advertised on the website, but still most enjoyable.

What would be be considered a decent gratuity to the restaurant crew ?
For one meal of 3 courses for one person, with wine.
10% is often considered a guide in most restaurants, but perhaps a little more might be reasonable.
What do others think ? I would wish to be reasonably generous, but not ostentatious.
On down trains I invariably buy a first class ticket so as to ensure a space in the restaurant.
On up trains I usually only buy a steerage ticket, as this may be used in the restaurant if space permits, which it usually does.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on August 08, 2011, 12:48:15 pm
I usually do 10% and then round up to the next ^5.  So if it comes to ^35 I add 10% (ie ^3.50) and then round up to ^40.

One bit of bad news about the catering (and indeed the standard buffet counters) - they have withdrawn Plymouth Gin so it is only Gordons now.  They have been charging the same for both but now Plymouth is more expensive they didn't think people would pay the extra so they withdrew it.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on August 08, 2011, 02:41:54 pm
That is a bit of a backwards step, so much for supporting local suppliers !
Plymouth gin is indeed more expensive, but IMHO is worth it.
Some years ago the strength of Gordons gin was reduced from 40% to 37.5%, though the price remained the same.
Plymouth Gin is still not only full strength, but slightly above the norm of 40%, AFAIR it is 41.5%

Still, I suppose we should be grateful to get a restaurant at all.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Andrew1939 from West Oxon on August 08, 2011, 07:30:26 pm
I have only bought from the Travelling Chef once and this was on the Cornish Riviera Down when I had a bacon baguette. I had previously though that train fare was poor value and poor quality, It was however delicious, promptly delivered from the buffet to my seat and for less than a fiver I thought it good value for on train food fare.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on September 06, 2011, 02:53:11 pm
Not only is the supply of Plymouth Gin under threat, as noted above, but now they have no port AGAIN.

Cant fault the food or the service, but no port AND no proper gin ! The empire will fall !

I like the new menus though, fillet steak on all 3 menus, but with a different sauce, most enjoyable.Edit, the above was true when I posted it, but port is now available again.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: super tm on September 06, 2011, 03:15:06 pm
Plymouth gin has been withdrawn im afraid.  When existing stocks are gone thats it.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on October 27, 2011, 03:25:08 pm
Enjoyed an excellent meal last night on the 18-03.
Plymouth gin was available I am glad to say, and I noted that the menus included a "house cocktail" in which Plymouth gin is used, so presumably it is being stocked regularly, not just whilst stocks last.

I also noted several other improvements, real butter served on a dish instead of small plastic wrapped portions, mineral water in glass bottles instead of plastic, menus in leather effect folders.

All very impressive, it would appear that FGW are serious about promoting pullman dining.

In the menus, they state that FGW are the only TOC offering a full "silver service restaurant on high speed trains" which is true AFAIK.

Still no port though :(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on October 27, 2011, 03:28:10 pm
Sounds very encouraging.  I really must try to get on one soon.  Since moving to Swindon it is a little harder to connect into one.... ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 02, 2011, 03:08:07 pm
Not only is the supply of Plymouth Gin under threat, as noted above, but now they have no port AGAIN.

Cant fault the food or the service, but no port AND no proper gin ! The empire will fall !

I like the new menus though, fillet steak on all 3 menus, but with a different sauce, most enjoyable.

On the train now, plenty of Plymouth gin AND port, and very good port too !
Also, dessert wine,by the glass, just the thing with pudding.
The food and service  being of the usual high standard.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 02, 2011, 03:10:17 pm
.. sounds like you have pudding and the cheeseboard - glad I am not the only one!!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on November 03, 2011, 04:30:54 pm
Keep up the good work, broadgage. With a few more punters like you, long may the FGW Pullmans continue.  ;) ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 08, 2011, 08:54:13 pm
Keep up the good work, broadgage. With a few more punters like you, long may the FGW Pullmans continue.  ;) ;D

If the train is on time, I would take only a starter, main course, and cheese selection, with a little Plymouth gin and tonic with the starter, a bottle of red wine with the main course, and a little port with the cheese.
In the event of delay though, I might also take a small piece of cake and a glass of pudding wine.

Small delays are frequent.

In the event of prolonged delay, then a little more drink may be taken.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on November 08, 2011, 08:55:24 pm
Sounds almost like you're hoping for a delay.   ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: inspector_blakey on November 08, 2011, 09:06:29 pm
Anyone have a feel for how reliable the Travelling Chef service is these days, as regards how frequently it is provided on services that are advertised to have one? I know there have been periods in the past when it's been a little flaky (not appearing on advertised trains, or sometimes even appearing on unadvertised services) but I'm way out of date.

Put another way, this is a slightly longwinded way of asking what my chances are of scoring a Travelling Chef on the 0911 RDG-SWA service in the week leading up to Christmas... ;) It's advertised for one but I know around Christmas catering arrangements often get out of whack due to annual leave/cold and flu season etc.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: matt473 on November 08, 2011, 11:40:15 pm
Everytime I have travelled on a Swansea service timetabled to have a travelling chef it has been available so the chances are high. I used to travel every week to Swansea in first class on a train timetabled to serve the travelling chef menu so 100% availabilty record was pretty impressive.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: BBM on November 09, 2011, 09:26:38 am
I travelled on the 12.28 Swansea - Paddington on Monday which did have a Travelling Chef service as advertised but only a partial menu was on offer, i.e. just toasted sandwiches and hot baguettes. I was hoping to have a burger so I had a hot sausage baguette instead but it was OK, it was still very nice!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 16, 2011, 03:01:05 pm
First the demise of Plymouth Gin.  Now the end of all miniatures it seems.  Travelled on FGW three trains yesterday and on all three the range of spirits has been replaced with three ready mixed canned drinks.  Gin and Slimline tonic, Whisky & Cola and Vodka and Cola.  I'm not a fan of slimline tonic and I prefer dry ginger with my whisky so not great news as far as I am concerned.  Although the cans are chilled it seem there was no ice either.  A big step back in my opinion.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 17, 2011, 09:20:15 am
Sounds like a backward step, not serving miniatures of spirits.
A choice of only 3 ready mixed drinks is very poor.
What if someone wants brandy, or straight whiskey, or gin with fruit juice.

Does anyone know if this is a new policy, or perhaps just a "one off" due to shortage of other supplies.
(some station buffets including Taunton sell these ready mixed drinks, and supplies might perhaps be used on trains if the regular stock was not available)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 17, 2011, 09:22:23 am
Looks permanent.  I saw it on three trains on Wednesday and the signage has all been changed to show the new products.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 22, 2011, 02:43:20 pm
Looks permanent.  I saw it on three trains on Wednesday and the signage has all been changed to show the new products.

I fear that you are right.
A telephone call to FGW confirms that the downgrade is for all services, even Pullmans.

Consider the number of popular drinks that will no longer be available.
Gin and orange juice
Straight whiskey
Brandy, straight or mixed.
Vodka and tonic
Whisky and ginger ale.
And many others.

What a downgrade, especialy after they at last appeared to be taking catering seriously.

Is anyone able to confirm ? Customer services have been known to be wrong, but seemed certain of the facts when I telephoned earlier today.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 22, 2011, 03:04:11 pm
Interestingly, or perhaps not surprisingly, the  website  (http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Content.aspx?id=1136)has not been updated.

On a Pullman next Tuesday so will no doubt find out more.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 26, 2011, 12:03:45 am
Just had a reply from FGW Customer Relations. They claim the change to premixed drinks does NOT apply to the Pullmans.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 26, 2011, 12:38:31 pm
Just had a reply from FGW Customer Relations. They claim the change to premixed drinks does NOT apply to the Pullmans.

Thanks, I have just received a similar reply by email.
This is different to the information given by telephone a few days ago.
I normally only use the services with a Pullman, so this downgrade wont much affect me, but it still seems a backward step for other services.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on December 01, 2011, 12:25:32 pm
Another thing no longer carried on the pullmans ... French mustard!
 ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on December 01, 2011, 11:11:19 pm
Another thing no longer carried on the pullmans ... French mustard!
 ;D

Maybe that'll return if SNCF bid for and win the Greater Western Franchise. Perhaps with Chateaubriand replacing the Fillet Steak.  :P ;) ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on December 08, 2011, 11:27:56 am
I have recently enjoyed two meals on pullman services, both of the usuall high standard. (duck pate, fillet steak, cheesboard, gin and tonic, red wine, port)
The crew confirmed that miniature bottles of spirits including Plymouth gin will continue to be served on pullman services.
They confirmed that on non-pullman services that the offering is downgraded to the limited selection of ready mixed drinks refered to above.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 04, 2012, 03:19:56 pm
On the train now, just enjoyed an excellent meal on the Pullman, they still have Plymouth Gin, AND Port, as should be.

Enjoy it while you can.

If any FGW catering staff are reading this, many thanks for your efforts, if it was not for the meal service I would probably go by road or air.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: matt473 on January 10, 2012, 01:38:20 pm
I've just noticed that there now seems to be more travelling chef services recently with there now being evening South Wales chef services. Looks like people do want proper catering on trains after all and this is turning into a nice little earner no doubt for fgw


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 07, 2012, 08:10:54 am
I have recently heard a sugestion that from the May timetable change, that two Pullman services are to be re-instated.
On the 12-05 from Paddington, and an early evening service from Plymouth to London. These to be worked by a London based restaurant crew, the other crews being Plymouth based.

Regret can not give a source.
Is anyone able to confirm or deny this  ?
Good news IF true. Anyone would think that the franchise was up for renewal !


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 07, 2012, 09:48:30 am
That is very good news if it comes to pass. Let's hope they promote them too.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 16, 2012, 08:37:18 pm
Travelled up on the 12:55 ex Plymouth today.  Usual very good service and the port and brandy!

Is it me or has the ride on the Berks & Hants line got worse?  Twice the wine bottle almost hit the deck and the coffee - filled to the usual level - slopped into the saucer.

Might have been a rogue suspension I suppose. (and no it wasn't the port or brandy before anyone suggests it!)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 27, 2012, 11:51:14 am
Anyone able to confirm or deny the rumour that two Pullmans are to be-instated from the next timetable change ?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 27, 2012, 11:58:07 am
I've been told it by two separate stewards on the existing Pullmans but that isn't really confirmation. I have emailed FGW but not heard anything back.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: WSW Frome on February 27, 2012, 05:14:16 pm
All good news about potential NEW Pullmans, but would anyone like to comment which might be the best day on which to get a seat in the restaurant (18.03 PAD) using only a standard class ticket. Readers will realise this is because no reasonably priced First Class tickets are (ever) available. It does seem a lot to pay + the meal, if this was purely a leisure trip!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 27, 2012, 06:19:56 pm
Both the 1803 and 1903 Pullmans are always healthily loaded. It really is pot luck if you can bag a seat in the restaurant on a Standard Class ticket. I've done it once, but been turned away three times. Mon-Weds would probably be your (slim odds) best best. Little chance on Thurs and Fri night. There's a reason why there's never any cheap Advances on the 1803 and 1903. Seats can be filled by full fare passengers.

The best chance to experience Pullman dining is on the up services, 1200 and 1255 from Plymouth. I've never been turned away when travelling on a Standard Class ticket. Two most recent trips have been on the 1255 Plymouth to Westbury. Just time enough for full meal service. Dirt cheap Advance fares can be bagged, although I usually split at Taunton into 2x CDRs.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 04, 2012, 02:32:07 pm
First the demise of Plymouth Gin.  Now the end of all miniatures it seems.  Travelled on FGW three trains yesterday and on all three the range of spirits has been replaced with three ready mixed canned drinks.  Gin and Slimline tonic, Whisky & Cola and Vodka and Cola.  I'm not a fan of slimline tonic and I prefer dry ginger with my whisky so not great news as far as I am concerned.  Although the cans are chilled it seem there was no ice either.  A big step back in my opinion.

Just an update.  In the last week or so they seem to have added pre-mixed Whisky & Dry Ginger and Gin & ordinary (not slimline) tonic.  Ice still seems to be a problem with very patchy availability.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 04, 2012, 03:22:55 pm
All good news about potential NEW Pullmans, but would anyone like to comment which might be the best day on which to get a seat in the restaurant (18.03 PAD) using only a standard class ticket. Readers will realise this is because no reasonably priced First Class tickets are (ever) available. It does seem a lot to pay + the meal, if this was purely a leisure trip!

Discounted first class tickets are available, though it must be said that the discount is modest on these busy services.
I recently paid ^122.50 for a first single between London and Taunton on the 18-03, not a vast discount but still a useful saving over the full fare of ^160+

I once got a first class ticket valid on the 18-03 for about ^55 ! I suspect that it might have been a mistake, though I carefully checked it, and the ticket examiner accepted it without query.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 03, 2012, 02:32:24 pm
New timetables are now on the FGW website, but no mention of any pullmans being re-instated  >:(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 12, 2012, 04:21:04 pm
Full marks to the crew on the 12:55 ex Plymouth today. They managed to serve me a pre dinner drink, three course meal and coffee in time for me to alight at Westbury! 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 14, 2012, 12:58:31 am
First the demise of Plymouth Gin.  Now the end of all miniatures it seems.  Travelled on FGW three trains yesterday and on all three the range of spirits has been replaced with three ready mixed canned drinks.  Gin and Slimline tonic, Whisky & Cola and Vodka and Cola.  I'm not a fan of slimline tonic and I prefer dry ginger with my whisky so not great news as far as I am concerned.  Although the cans are chilled it seem there was no ice either.  A big step back in my opinion.

Very pleased to note that the miniature Gordon's and cans of Schweppes tonic appear to be back in buffets across the fleet. Had a most agreeable G&T with ice and lemon on the 2045 PAD-BRI last evening. Pricey though at ^4.80.  :-\

I chatted with the Customer Host who said that sales of the pre-mixed Gin and Slimline cans were disappointing so FGW have reverted to miniatures with choice of normal or Slimline tonic mixers. One would like to think that the complaints I (and possibly others) made were noted at FGW Towers. In the great scheme of things 'tis but a minor concern to moan about, but it's nice to think FGW listened to feedback and acted on it.  ;) :P ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on June 14, 2012, 08:48:22 am
Glad to see miniatures of gin, and cans of tonic back, perhaps other spirits and mixers might return ?

I dont consider the price to be excessive, remembering that the miniature bottle is a double measure compared to that served in most pubs.
Miniature bottle=50ml  standard pub measure=25ml.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 14, 2012, 10:14:29 pm
Very pleased to note that the miniature Gordon's and cans of Schweppes tonic appear to be back in buffets across the fleet. Had a most agreeable G&T with ice and lemon on the 2045 PAD-BRI last evening. Pricey though at ^4.80.  :-\

Travelled from Swindon to Reading on the St David as the ponderous annoucements on Platform 3 informed me (the 11:28 ex-Swansea) and as well as the G&T (which is my tipple - well one of them) they also had the mini bottles of vodka back too. Like broadgage I would welcome the whisky and brandy to return as well.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 14, 2012, 10:25:46 pm
It's possible that G&T and V&T are bigger sellers than Whisky and Brandy so FGW have gone for a compromise on what they stock.

Alternatively they may just be running down existing stock of the pre-mixed whisky cans. Don't know what, if anything, replaced the Brandy miniatures. I don't care much for Whisky or Brandy so I'm a happy bunny!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 14, 2012, 10:28:58 pm
At the end of a day I quite fancy a whiskey or a brandy in a coffee - so picked up a hip flask on a well know auction internet site.  FGW get the money for the coffee, I provide the "kick".  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 14, 2012, 11:18:24 pm
At the end of a day I quite fancy a whiskey....

<pedant alert> I don't think FGW have ever served Irish or American versions of the 'water of life'.  ;) :P ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 14, 2012, 11:23:24 pm
Jack Daniels?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 14, 2012, 11:32:03 pm
Jack Daniels?

They've served JD in the past? I never knew that.

Used to drink the odd Confederate tipple. When I did I preferred Jim Beam or Southern Comfort.  Strictly colourless spirits these days. ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 14, 2012, 11:46:12 pm
See http://web.archive.org/web/20060813094809/http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Content.aspx?id=120 (http://web.archive.org/web/20060813094809/http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Content.aspx?id=120)

From 2006 - but was available for a fair while after.  (Having just spent 5 mins tidying this list up to remove endless blank lines I realised this is the Pullman offering but most were available in the buffet car on non pullman services.)

Quote
Soft drinks - choose from
Blackcurrant Ribena 288ml 80p
Coca Cola/Diet Coke 500ml ^1.30
Elderflower Presse ^1.55
Tango 500ml ^1.30
Fruit Juices    ^1.40
Lilt 500ml ^1.30
Mineral Water Sparkling/Still 500 ml  ^1.25
Red Bull ^2.00

Hot Drinks - choose from
Cafe Bonito, ground coffee  ^1.65
Aero Hot Chocolate ^1.55
Nescafe Gold Blend ^1.45
Nescafe Gold Blend Decafe ^1.45
Nescafe Cappuccino ^1.55
Typhoo tea ^1.45
Flavoured Tea ^1.45

Beers - choose from
Arkles 3B ^2.50
Bass Ale (500ml) ^2.50
Carlsberg (500ml) ^2.50
Guinness (440ml) ^2.60
Stella Artois (440ml) ^2.60
Strongbow Cider (440ml)  ^2.50
Tetley (440ml)  ^2.60

Spirits - choose from
Bacardi (5cl) ^3.25
Bell's Extra Special Scotch Whisky (5cl) ^3.25
Cockburn's Special Reserve Port (5cl) ^2.85
Gordon's/Plymouth Gin ^3.25
Jack Daniel's (5cl)  ^3.45
Martell Medallion VSOP Cognac (3cl)  ^3.45
Penderyn Welsh Whiskey (5cl)  ^3.45
Smirnoff Vodka (5cl)  ^3.25
Smirnoff Ice (300ml) ^2.95

Mixers 80p

House Wines - choose from
2003 Cabernet Sauvignon,Louis Eschenauer (18.75cl) ^3.10
2003 Cabernet Sauvignon,Louis Eschenauer (75cl) ^11.95
2003 Colombard/Chardonnay,Louis Eschenauer (18.75cl) ^3.10
2003 Colombard/Chardonnay,Louis Eschenauer (75cl) ^11.95
Overland, Australian Dry White (25cl) ^4.10
Overland, Australian Dry White (75cl) ^12.20
Overland, Australian Red (25cl) ^4.10
Overland, Australian Red (75cl) ^12.20

Red Wines* - Choose from
ARX Negro (Tempranillo & Merlot),Navarra, Spain (35cl) ^7.00
Ch^teau Tour de Mirambeau BordeauxSup^rieur (35cl) ^10.00
Ch^teau Tour de Mirambeau BordeauxSup^rieur (75cl) ^20.00
Regenoak, Shiraz/Cabernet 2004,South East Australia (35cl) ^8.00
Regenoak, Shiraz/Cabernet 2004,South East Australia (75cl) ^17.00
Riddoch, Cabernet Shiraz 1999 (75cl)  ^19.90

White Wines* - choose from
Coppers Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2004,Marlborough, New Zealand (35cl) ^11.00
M^con Blanc Villages St. Armand 2004,Labour^ Roi (35cl) ^12.00
M^con Blanc Villages St. Armand 2004,Labour^ Roi (75cl) ^21.00
Viognier, Domaine Peiri^re, 2004 (35cl)  ^9.00
Viognier, Domaine Peiri^re, 2004 (75cl) ^16.00

Champagne - choose from
Charles Lafitte Brut ^EO^, T^te de Cuv^e (37cl) ^17.50
Charles Lafitte Brut ^EO^, T^te de Cuv^e (75cl) ^32.00


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 15, 2012, 12:50:18 am
Wow!

What choice.

I remember from correspondence with a former FGW Customer Services Director (James Burt) in 2009, him telling me that FGW buffets rarely made a profit. Subtext was they are provided as an added value service with profit and loss absorbed by other aspects of the business.

Understandable perhaps that there has been some reduction in the choice of buffet stock in recent years in an effort to make the buffets pay.

Of note though is the recent increase in Travelling Chef services. By my reckoning, looking at the network timetable, there are now four additional weekday Travelling Chef services since the May 2012 timetable changes.

And there are strong rumours of an increase in Pullman restaurant services from September. Barry Doe obliquely alludes to this in his most recent column in RAIL magazine (RAIL 698). Rumours are* there may be a return of two 'up' Pullman breakfast trains, one from South Wales and one from Devon/Cornwall with corresponding 'down' lunch Pullmans from Paddington. After the fleet settles down following the introduction of the MK 3 buffets converted to MK 3 Standards, FGW will have greater flexibilty in the fleet to utilise the existing TRFB (Trailer Restaurant First Buffet) with full kitchens** on services where the kitchen can be used in revenue earning service.

I'm slightly cynical of these changes, coming as they do toward the end of the franchise. Could just be FGW window dressing to advertise what they offer by way of added value.


*I stress - rumour. Nothing official announced.

** I believe, although I'm open to correction, that all FGW MK3 buffets are now classified as TRFB regardless of whether they have full kitchens or not. In the past those with kitchens would've been classified as TRFK (Trailer Restaurant First Kitchen). The distinction between kitchen and non-kitchen is now only identifiable by the coach's TOPS code.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on June 15, 2012, 01:46:15 am
I'd be surprised at an expansion of restaurants, as they run at a loss don't they? They also take up seats on busy trains.

That's why similar offerings on the WCML and more recently the ECML have been axed and replaced with an enhanced First Class offering. (which is very good on both I have to say!)

If there are any it could just be so FGW can say "we haven't axed restaurants" unlike EC.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 15, 2012, 03:26:59 am
I'd be surprised at an expansion of restaurants, as they run at a loss don't they? They also take up seats on busy trains.

They only 'take up seats' in 1st Class, where, even at peak times, there is normally sufficient capacity. I've never seen 1st Class full on a weekday service, except maybe out of Paddington and as far as Reading in the evening peak. A time where no trains departing offer TC/Pullman.  On more than one occasion in the recent past I travelled on the 'up' Breakfast Pullman from Bristol Parkway, before it was downgraded to Travelling Chef, where a spend of approximately ^15 got me a full silver service breakfast (cereal, toast, fruit juice, full English, coffee) which allowed travel in 1st Class comfort on a Standard ticket.

I agree though, in part, about these services running at a loss. The current down evening Pullmans, 1803 and 1903 off Paddington do, I believe, make a profit, and these services effectively subsidise the corresponding 'up' services from Plymouth at 1200 and 1255. Those 'up' services are carrying the necessary staff and correct rolling stock for the 1803 and 1903 'down', so it makes sense to offer the full Pullman service. Whether the rumoured return of 'up' breakfast Pullmans and 'down' lunch' Pullmans can pay their way, should they be reintroduced, is open to debate.

The fact that they were withdrawn in 2009 (not forgetting other FGW Pullmans withdrawn earlier in the franchise) would suggest that the losses were too heavy to sustain. Quite what's changed now that may see the reintroduction of four Pullman services I know not.

As I've alluded to previously, the rumoured reintroduction of additional Pullmans, along with the recent increase in services offering a Travelling Chef, comes at a time when First Group are busy advertising their bona fides and dressing their shop window in an effort to put some positive spin on their attempt to retain the franchise.....

These 'added value' catering services are unlikely to feature in the Invitation to Tender proscribed by the DfT. Catering provision has rarely, if at all, figured in a franchise ITT, but a bit of positive advertising of the additional 'added value' services funded solely by the TOC does show them in a good light. It has to be remembered though that the DfT's sole aim is getting the best value for the taxpayer to move folk from A to B on the railway. Slap up scran in 1st Class is unlikely to figure in their decision.

More cynically, the actual and rumoured increases in catering provision on FGW could be seen as a swan song....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 15, 2012, 09:02:50 am
I agree though, in part, about these services running at a loss. The current down evening Pullmans, 1803 and 1903 off Paddington do, I believe, make a profit, and these services effectively subsidise the corresponding 'up' services from Plymouth at 1200 and 1255. Those 'up' services are carrying the necessary staff and correct rolling stock for the 1803 and 1903 'down', so it makes sense to offer the full Pullman service. Whether the rumoured return of 'up' breakfast Pullmans and 'down' lunch' Pullmans can pay their way, should they be reintroduced, is open to debate.

I obviously don't know how many meals they need to serve to make a profit but over the lat year or so there does seem to have been an increase in the number taking lunch on the two up services.  As a single diner I have had to share a table far more regularly than in the past - not that that in itself is a problem, I've met some very interesting people that way.

Just one word about the rolling stock, much to the regret of the staff, they do not keep the same "set" for up and down journeys meaning all the equipment has to be trollied off at Paddington and then reloaded on another train.  The two up trains arrive around 16:00 and there is not the platform capacity to leave them there until it is time to go back. Although of course, as you say, the staff do need to get to Paddington so they might as well serve a meal on the way!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on June 15, 2012, 09:04:22 am
I can not agree that the restaurant "takes up seats" there are still the same number of seats on the train, and the same number of passengers, whether the restuarant be open or not.
As an example, I use the Pullman regulary on the Golden Hind, I have a first class ticket, and would be sitting in a first class seat, regardless of whether or not the restaurant appears (has been more reliable lately)

I see no need for on board catering to make a profit, providing that any losses are moderate and affordable.
Does the bike rack make a profit ? or the luggage spaces ? or the toilets ?
Providing buffets, and on longer distance services a full restaurant, should be part of running a train service, and not a means of making money.
To make a profit is desireable if possible, but not IMHO essiential.


Whilst rumours of re-instating 2 or more Pullmans are welcome, it must be rembered that reliable sources of rumours suggested that 2 pullmans would be re-instated from the recent timetable change, and this did not happen.


BTW, in the good old days, we had 7 Pullmans daily from London to the West, and a similar number of return services.
Most were withdrawn "temporarily" after the Hatfield accident, and never re-instated.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: vacman on June 15, 2012, 11:08:19 am
The "Rumour" about extra Pullmans is doing the rounds within FGW and seems to be coming from some respectable sources also. One thing i do notice about the Pullmans is that they always appear to be overstaffed and cant help but think that it could be done with a couple less people who could be re utilised on providing more Pullmans and improving the profitability.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on June 15, 2012, 11:14:19 am
I can not agree that the restaurant "takes up seats" there are still the same number of seats on the train, and the same number of passengers, whether the restuarant be open or not.

Exactly, so it does take up seats. As standard class passengers are sitting in the restaurant but also have reservations in standard.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on June 15, 2012, 11:44:05 am
I can not agree that the restaurant "takes up seats" there are still the same number of seats on the train, and the same number of passengers, whether the restuarant be open or not.

Exactly, so it does take up seats. As standard class passengers are sitting in the restaurant but also have reservations in standard.

If someone has a standard class ticket and manages to sit in the restaurant, then on a busy service it would seem reasonable for another passenger to occupy the standard class seat whilst the first customer dines.
When they have completed their meal, conflict might arise in theory if they seek to return to their seat, but in practice it should not be a problem.
It is likely that the dining customer will remain in the restaurant until at least Taunton or Exeter. After the Exeter stop there are almost allways seats for all.
Indeed there is a good chance that either the dining customer, or the other passenger sitting in "their" standard class seat will allight at Taunton Or Exeter.

AFAIK, anyone may use a reserved seat, provided that they willingly give it up when the customer with the reservation requires it.
If someone boarding at Paddington finds a reserved seat that is not taken, I believe that they may use it.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on June 15, 2012, 01:55:48 pm
I would put money on all restaurants being axed at the beginning of the new franchise, I don't see how the west country will buck the trend shown by East Coast.
It will be replaced wither by an enhanced travelling chef, or a 1st class at seat service aka Virgin.
Or nothing at all!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on June 19, 2012, 09:01:53 pm
I would put money on all restaurants being axed at the beginning of the new franchise, I don't see how the west country will buck the trend shown by East Coast.
It will be replaced wither by an enhanced travelling chef, or a 1st class at seat service aka Virgin.
Or nothing at all!

 ::)

So if the 1803/1903 make profit and subsidise any loss made by the up-trains, why would they do that and what has this got to do with East Coast??!

They do seem overstaffed at times, but then you also have the additional first class hosts who help out the restaurant staff too.  Perhaps they could be utilised better though.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on June 20, 2012, 02:05:09 am
I'm frankly amazed they make a profit. Of course, offering a complimentary at 1st class seat service with slightly reduced 1st fares would probably be more profitable as more people would go 1st, freeing up seats in 2nd.

If restaurants were generally profitable, they would still be in existence across the network. There is a reason they have been axed.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: vacman on June 20, 2012, 10:30:50 am
I'm frankly amazed they make a profit. Of course, offering a complimentary at 1st class seat service with slightly reduced 1st fares would probably be more profitable as more people would go 1st, freeing up seats in 2nd.

If restaurants were generally profitable, they would still be in existence across the network. There is a reason they have been axed.
it's a good job BTline isn't running the economy or this country would be seriously in the sh1t! why the hell would they REDUCE first class fares and then introduce FREE meals? so basically what you are saying is that trains should have an extra 5 or 6 staff to give out free food to people who are paying less than they do now?  ::) The restaurants make a nice little profit on the down workings with the up workings about breaking even, as you will see on the 18:03 and 19:03 all of coach F is laid up and the first 4 tables in G and is full before the train leaves London so there is no need to be giving out free meals. the only way to increase the number of seats in STD is to do away with all cheap first class fares and just have 1 first class coach, the increased first class fares could then subsidise free meals for first class.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 20, 2012, 10:35:13 am
I travelled on the 12:55 ex Plymouth on Monday and there were five of us dining before Exeter with others joining later.  Busiest I have seen it on a Monday for a while.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on June 20, 2012, 11:33:18 am
I'm frankly amazed they make a profit. Of course, offering a complimentary at 1st class seat service with slightly reduced 1st fares would probably be more profitable as more people would go 1st, freeing up seats in 2nd.

If restaurants were generally profitable, they would still be in existence across the network. There is a reason they have been axed.
it's a good job BTline isn't running the economy or this country would be seriously in the sh1t! why the hell would they REDUCE first class fares and then introduce FREE meals? so basically what you are saying is that trains should have an extra 5 or 6 staff to give out free food to people who are paying less than they do now?  ::) The restaurants make a nice little profit on the down workings with the up workings about breaking even, as you will see on the 18:03 and 19:03 all of coach F is laid up and the first 4 tables in G and is full before the train leaves London so there is no need to be giving out free meals. the only way to increase the number of seats in STD is to do away with all cheap first class fares and just have 1 first class coach, the increased first class fares could then subsidise free meals for first class.

Well it works for East Coast and Virgin! I believe profits and passenger numbers are up on EC since they introduced lower 1st advance fares and added a complementary offer. It then means standard seats get freed up for more commuters, reducing overcrowding.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: SapperPsmith on June 20, 2012, 12:31:38 pm
Sorry Btline - East Coast have said that passenger volumes in First are up but they have been careful not to discuss revenue.  I suspect that their yeild is down and they are not covering thier increased costs with the inclusive offer in First.  A colleague has bought a First Class ticket from Newcastle to Kings Cross for ^41 - amazing value but with the free food included not so good for the taxpayer (who own East Coast).



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on June 20, 2012, 12:50:05 pm
VT have run a similar thing to EC for years. It must be worthwhile.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 20, 2012, 01:07:27 pm
VT have run a similar thing to EC for years. It must be worthwhile.

And do Virgin have a constant 11% discount on their 1st Advance tickets when purchased from them? Or seemingly endless promotions enticing people to try the 1st Class service?

East Coast may have increased bums on seats in 1st Class but so many of those extra buttocks have come through the regular promotions. There'll probably be another one along soon. If there is then.... ^25 1st Class to Edinburgh. Yes please!  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: vacman on June 20, 2012, 10:04:44 pm

Well it works for East Coast and Virgin! I believe profits and passenger numbers are up on EC since they introduced lower 1st advance fares and added a complementary offer. It then means standard seats get freed up for more commuters, reducing overcrowding.
On Virgin you get a minute breakfast that even a worm could eat 2 of, first class on FGW is near full on most peak services anyway so no need for extra bums on seats, the best thing with paying for the food you get is that you can expect it to be good quality and you complain if its not, none of this "Well its free what you moaning about" aka East Coast.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: SapperPsmith on June 21, 2012, 08:17:33 am
The history of the VT free offer is often forgotton.

Pre Pendelino and during WCRM the service had almost collapsed and First Class customers were in open revolt and many were driving to the ECML to use GNER.  The staff were also not properly managed and there was no EPOS to reduce fraud.  As a way of compensating First Class customers and reducing the complexity of the offer (and removing the need to collect cash) VT introduced the "free offer" to justify the high fares.  It will be illuminating to see if any of those competing for the ICWC franchise have proposed to continue with the free offer.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 23, 2012, 08:44:28 am
Interesting couple of days on the trains.

On Thursday I overheard a conversation between an off duty FGW staff member and an obvious enthusiast about train planning.  It seems there are five variants of HSTs - obviously the high and low density varieties as well as different buffet/kitchen configurations.  When it comes to disruption is it not only a case of finding a train and crew in the right place which is obvious but factors I hadn't thought of before including; ensuring the set has enough fuel for the job in hand (and possibly the next one if it is to be out-stabled overnight), will end up in the correct place if it is due an exam, if it has the right buffet for Travelling Chef/Pullman if possible and what the options are for filling the role it was originally due to perform.  To cap it all those decisions then have to made quickly and put into place.  Certainly made me think.

Then on Friday I travelled on the 12:55 ex-Plymouth for the second time this week.  17 meals were served in two sittings, so much so that extra supplies had to be drafted in for the return trip at 19:03.  The only downside was the range in the kitchen (or is that a galley) wasn't working properly so the choices were a bit limited but none the less pleasing to see so many people of all ages taking a meal.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on June 23, 2012, 09:51:18 am
On Thursday I overheard a conversation between an off duty FGW staff member and an obvious enthusiast about train planning.  It seems there are five variants of HSTs - obviously the high and low density varieties as well as different buffet/kitchen configurations.  When it comes to disruption is it not only a case of finding a train and crew in the right place which is obvious but factors I hadn't thought of before including; ensuring the set has enough fuel for the job in hand (and possibly the next one if it is to be out-stabled overnight), will end up in the correct place if it is due an exam, if it has the right buffet for Travelling Chef/Pullman if possible and what the options are for filling the role it was originally due to perform.  To cap it all those decisions then have to made quickly and put into place.  Certainly made me think.

That's why they should have kept a standard fleet. 8 coaches, full buffet and kitchen. Low density seating.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: adc82140 on June 23, 2012, 01:04:24 pm
That's how it used to be. And that's why the overcrowding on the Reading-Paddington corridor was so hideous during the peaks.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on June 23, 2012, 01:33:12 pm
That's how it used to be. And that's why the overcrowding on the Reading-Paddington corridor was so hideous during the peaks.

How many more seats in a LC set than a HC set? Can't be that much difference.

But the point I was clearly making is: make all the sets the same. Even if they are all HC sets.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: adc82140 on June 23, 2012, 04:35:38 pm
Quote
That's why they should have kept a standard fleet. 8 coaches, full buffet and kitchen. Low density seating.

Quote
But the point I was clearly making is: make all the sets the same. Even if they are all HC sets.


Sorry, don't really see that- it's clear to me that you were suggesting low density seating.  ???


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TerminalJunkie on June 23, 2012, 05:10:02 pm
Quote from: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean ^ neither more nor less.'



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on June 23, 2012, 05:11:06 pm
Yes, I suggested LD seating - as I think 4 tables per coach is better for longer distance families.
But the clear message of the post was to get 1 standard fleet. i.e. no mini buffets or 2+7.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on June 23, 2012, 06:18:31 pm
How many more seats in a LC set than a HC set? Can't be that much difference.

On a LC 2+8 with buffet, compared with a HC 2+8 with mini-buffet?  Over 100 more standard class seats I should imagine.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Southern Stag on June 24, 2012, 11:34:57 pm
That's how it used to be. And that's why the overcrowding on the Reading-Paddington corridor was so hideous during the peaks.
FGW have always have lots of different types of buffets though. There are four different types of buffet vehicles in the FGW fleet excluding the micro-buffets. The type favoured for Pullman services, 407xx vehicles should be found, if they are in the correct formation, in the 16 Low Density HST sets. They are diagrammed on mainly the London-Penzance route where all trains are meant to be formed of them, with the rest of the workings across a number of different services. That means there is plenty of opportunity for the wrong type of buffet to turn up on the diagram. There are then 19 High Density 2+8 sets which have three different types of buffet vehicle in them, 9 408xx vehicles which have the same number of seats as 407xx vehicles, and I believe a full length kitchen still, so suitable but not preferred for a Pullman service, there are also 402xx and 409xx vehicles, 5 or each, they have shorter kitchens and an extra six FC seats, so aren't suitable for Pullman services and aren't ideal for Travelling Chef services either. All three of those kitchen types are diagrammed as a common fleet, so some HD sets are suitable for Pullman services and others aren't. The buffet carriages replaced by the micro-buffets were mainly 407xx vehicles with full kitchens, but of course in 2+8 HD sets, so they were suitable for Pullman services.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on June 25, 2012, 12:06:31 am
What a mess (above post)

And I'm surprised that 2 fewer tables per coach for 5 coaches equates to 100 seats even when you consider the micro buffets.

How many more seats if you compare a normal HC to LC set (with standard buffet)?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: dog box on June 25, 2012, 09:51:43 am
The difference between a high and low density set is minimal, its in the 15 to 20 region


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on June 25, 2012, 10:59:12 am
The difference between a high and low density set is minimal, its in the 15 to 20 region

But it was advertised as "thousands of extra seats" which it probably is over say a month.
Most ordinary passengers would think that "thousands of extra seats" means longer or additional trains, rather than just squeezing a few more seats into each coach.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Btline on June 25, 2012, 11:02:32 am
Right, in that case I stand by my original post. All sets should be LC. Why should all the InterCity passengers suffer just so a handful more Reading commuters don't have to stand for 25 minutes? There should be more trains after electrification/Xrail and IEP so that most peak InterCities can run pick up only/set down only at Reading.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on June 25, 2012, 11:15:47 am
The difference between a high and low density set is minimal, its in the 15 to 20 region

But it was advertised as "thousands of extra seats" which it probably is over say a month.
Most ordinary passengers would think that "thousands of extra seats" means longer or additional trains, rather than just squeezing a few more seats into each coach.

It's thousands of extra seats a day.  I think you're both forgetting that most of the the high density will be formed with 8 carriages, 6 of which will be standard class (incl. Micro Buffet) and two first class, and low density sets will be mostly formed of 8 carriages with 5 standard class carriages, two first class, and a buffet first.  As 'dogbox' says the 15-20 seats extra is over the 5 carriages but then there's the extra additional standard class carriage with its 85 or so seats.  That makes over a hundred.  Though you lose a handful of first class seats.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: dog box on June 25, 2012, 09:54:04 pm
slight mis understanding.....the 15 to 20 extra seats is as it stands now before the introduction of the converted buffets


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 20, 2012, 11:40:28 am
It's possible that G&T and V&T are bigger sellers than Whisky and Brandy so FGW have gone for a compromise on what they stock.

Alternatively they may just be running down existing stock of the pre-mixed whisky cans. Don't know what, if anything, replaced the Brandy miniatures. I don't care much for Whisky or Brandy so I'm a happy bunny!

Looks like you were right about running down the stocks. On the 10:00 ex-PAD and they have miniatures of Bells whisky and cans of Canada Dry.

Question is - is 11:30 too early to try them!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on July 22, 2012, 12:39:58 pm
It's possible that G&T and V&T are bigger sellers than Whisky and Brandy so FGW have gone for a compromise on what they stock.

Alternatively they may just be running down existing stock of the pre-mixed whisky cans. Don't know what, if anything, replaced the Brandy miniatures. I don't care much for Whisky or Brandy so I'm a happy bunny!

Looks like you were right about running down the stocks. On the 10:00 ex-PAD and they have miniatures of Bells whisky and cans of Canada Dry.

Question is - is 11:30 too early to try them!



A little early under normal circumstances perhaps, but one really ought to show support for the stocking of miniatures by buying a few !
I do my best with the Plymouth gin !


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 22, 2012, 01:52:12 pm
I did hold out til 12 noon and then had two!

Still no sign of Plymouth Gin in the buffet, only the Pullman.

Still luckily my work schedule means four planned trips on the Pullman in the next month - including the 19:03 which I've never travelled on before.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on July 29, 2012, 09:00:31 pm
I was pricing up some Pullman journeys today and noticed this on the menu:
Quote
The Great Westerner - our signature cocktail made with Plymouth Gin, apple and ginger cordial and a twist of lime     ^6.00
Is this something new?  Don't remember seeing it previously.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 29, 2012, 09:23:00 pm
I think it has been on the menu for about a year but I've never tried it nor seen any one else order it.  I'm on the Pullman in a week's time I might just take the plunge....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 29, 2012, 09:38:03 pm
Been on the menu for about a year now. Very nice it is too!

Although I stress to add I've not purchased one on The Pullman, rather, I've knocked some up at home after asking a Pullman host about the recipe. I didn't write it down or see one being prepared but they used Belvoir Ginger Cordial if I remember correctly and a good quality apple juice. Belvior Cordials are a bit pricey mind. You'll find them in Waitrose. Oh, and I used Bombay Sapphire Gin.

My recipe was:

  • 2 parts gin (50ml)
  • 3 parts Copella Apple Juice (75ml)
  • ^ part Belvoir Ginger Cordial (12.5ml)
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Squeeze of lime juice

Put all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake until condensation forms on the outside of the shaker. Add plenty of ice to a tall glass (Collins or highball) and strain mixture into glass. Garnish with a wedge and twist of lime.

That's how I did mine. FGW's may be different.

Sl^inte mhath!



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on July 29, 2012, 09:47:49 pm
Sounds good  :P


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on July 30, 2012, 08:50:08 am
I dont much like any food or drink that contains ginger.
I have however observed the cocktail served and enjoyed on a number of recent trips.
And hopefully it means that Plymouth gin will continue to be available.

If anyone wants to look back through this long topic, there is a post by me that refers to the then new great westerner cocktail.

Edit to add, see post 87.
I posted that shortly after the cocktail was introduced.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on September 03, 2012, 04:58:42 pm
Recently returned from the West on the 12-05 from Plymouth, most enjoyable meal on board.
The menu is more restriced than in years gone by, but still most enjoyable.
AND we have proper (Plymouth) gin, and port also, to go with the cheese.

If any FGW catering staff are members here, thanks for your hard work and help.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on September 03, 2012, 06:07:13 pm
Recently returned from the West on the 12-05 from Plymouth, most enjoyable meal on board.

Glad you enjoyed it.  How many others were making use of the restaurant?  Obviously the main trade is on the return service in the evening, but it'd be interesting to know how well the crew balancing service eastwards is used.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on September 03, 2012, 06:20:41 pm
I have travelled on the 12:55 ex-Plymouth three times in the last month and in each case there have been at least nine diners and in one case 13.  I did report on this thread a while back an occasion when there were 17.

I suspect the crews on the 12:55 are celebrating this week as the 12:55 reverts to starting from Plymouth rather than being a through service from Penzance.  It means they can complete most of the laying-up before the service leaves Plymouth rather than having to do it on the move as they do with the earlier service which starts at Penzance at 10:00.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on September 04, 2012, 08:51:01 am
Recently returned from the West on the 12-05 from Plymouth, most enjoyable meal on board.

Glad you enjoyed it.  How many others were making use of the restaurant?  Obviously the main trade is on the return service in the evening, but it'd be interesting to know how well the crew balancing service eastwards is used.

AFAIR 14 seats were taken out of a maximum available of 19 seats.
This was a little busier than normal, 10 or 12 seats taken seems to be about the average.

The train was busier than usual and slightly late. I suspect that the slight lateness was due to extended station dwell times as passengers tried to board with outsize baby cariages and luggage.

I think that we waited for at least 3 minutes at Taunton, presumably for this reason.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on September 04, 2012, 09:37:23 am
I have travelled on the 12:55 ex-Plymouth three times in the last month and in each case there have been at least nine diners and in one case 13.  I did report on this thread a while back an occasion when there were 17.

AFAIR 14 seats were taken out of a maximum available of 19 seats.
This was a little busier than normal, 10 or 12 seats taken seems to be about the average.

That's not bad at all.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on September 04, 2012, 09:42:04 am
On a couple of occasions they have had to ask for extra supplies to be put on the 15:00 from Plymouth to ensure they have enough for the return trip following heavy demand for some menu items on the 12:55.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on September 17, 2012, 07:22:03 pm
Was on the 12:55 ex Plymouth today and came across a new seating arrangement in Coach F for the first time on a Pullman.  Seems there is a group of three seats on one side nearest the buffet and the single seat (normally number 7) is replaced by a double seat round a table making a total of at least 21 seats - might even be 23 - can't remember what was opposite the bay of three.

The only down side apparently is it makes the kitchen (even) smaller.  Crews call it the wendy house apparently.

I suspect it has been around for a while - just not seen it on a Pullman diagram before.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Southern Stag on September 17, 2012, 09:02:11 pm
Plenty of those vehicles around, one of the numerous different types of buffet vehicles there are. They aren't meant to be put on Pullman services though, because the kitchen is smaller.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on September 18, 2012, 08:56:51 am
Yes, they are not recently modified, but have been like that for years or maybe since new ?
Not meant to be on Pullmans, and yes they are known as "wendy houses" by the crew !

Properly known AFAIK as a TRUB (trailer, restaurant, unclassified, buffet)
Rather than as a TRUK (trailer, restaurant, unclassified, kitchen)

The crew are to be commended for doing what they could with the inadeqaute facilities, rather than cancelling the service.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on September 18, 2012, 09:02:36 am
Two Pullman Chefs are going to be at the Cornwall Food & Drink Festival at the end of September.

http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Destinations/Festivals/Cornwall-Food-and-Drink-Festival-2012 (http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Destinations/Festivals/Cornwall-Food-and-Drink-Festival-2012)



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on September 27, 2012, 11:30:07 am
....and if you tweet a picture of them and their dishes to @FGW you could win a trip with a Pullamn meal thrown in....  (shame I can't get there!!)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: EBrown on September 27, 2012, 12:08:15 pm
I think you'll actually want to tweet @cornwallfood.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on September 29, 2012, 10:35:52 pm
Looks like another change to the miniatures in the buffets. Gordon's Gin seems to have been replaced by Beefeater. The only snag - at first glance they look like the Smirnoff vodka bottles. On two occasions today the steward has picked the wrong one by mistake. (Not sure if that says more about him or about my drinking habits! ;D)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on September 30, 2012, 12:15:44 pm
I recently travelled in the dining portion of a charter train, and the service whilst acceptable, fell far short of that offered by FGW on their few remaining pullmans.

On the Golden Hind, orders for drinks are invariably taken within a few minutes of boarding and served promptly.
Offers of futhur refreshment are made with each course, or before if glasses are seen to be empty.

On the charter train, it was far from easy to attract the attention of the staff in the event that more drink was desired, and when the order was eventually placed it took ages to arrive. I fancied another by then !

It is not my intention to name the charter operator, since I do not want to cause ill feeling, nor tedious debate as to which charter firm is better or worse than the others.
It does however show FGW in a very favourable light. (we cant really compare  them to restaurants run by other TOCs, as there arnt any)

To certain extent of course you get you pay for, and the first class charter fare, including 2 meals was less than half the price per mile of first class travel on FGW, on which of course meals would be extra.
On the other hand though, drink was not included, and the profit on the extra sales would probably have paid for an extra waiter.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on October 16, 2012, 09:01:55 pm
Oft reported but never happened, it seems the possible expansion of Pullman Services is on hold again, possibly as a result of the delay in the franchise process for the GW.

I gather from the staff it has gone quiet again, but the existing four services do remain in the draft timetable I have seen from December.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on October 17, 2012, 09:27:00 am
A cynic might suspect that the often rumoured re-instatment of FGW pullmans was due to the rapidly approaching franchise renewal on the Great western route and the West coast.
Now that the west coast fiasco has delayed this, there is no point in re-instating any Pullmans just yet.

I predict a short term re-instatement when the franchise renewal process restarts.

Officialy the franchise for the west coast will be granted on facts and figures and not on public opinion, nor on the catering offer on another franchise run by the same company. In practice though I expect that public opinion, or the subjective impressions of those making the decision may play a part.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on October 17, 2012, 07:31:24 pm
A cynic might suspect that the often rumoured re-instatment of FGW pullmans was due to the rapidly approaching franchise renewal on the Great western route and the West coast.
Now that the west coast fiasco has delayed this, there is no point in re-instating any Pullmans just yet.

I predict a short term re-instatement when the franchise renewal process restarts.

Officialy the franchise for the west coast will be granted on facts and figures and not on public opinion, nor on the catering offer on another franchise run by the same company. In practice though I expect that public opinion, or the subjective impressions of those making the decision may play a part.

That is why I objected to Mr Branson's publicity campaign that falsly criticised First's bid saying they would cut this that and the other, unecessarily worrying thie own staff.  I am sure many people in WC land believe that First is the rail equivelant of the devil incarnate. They are not perfect but this is not a view supported by my experience of FGW.

Branson seeking a judicial review that has to be based on evidence was fine. 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on October 17, 2012, 08:36:02 pm
FGW certainly have their faults but are not IMHO that bad.
I feel that a lot of the anti-first group publicity is from people whose main experience of First group is say First capital connect, still commonly called Thameslink.
Anyone regulary subjected to FCC would probably be appalled at the thought of giving another franchise to that lot.

And of course a few probably think that 4 car class 319s will be used between Euston and Scotland!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 05, 2012, 04:17:13 pm
Just back in London after visiting friends in the West.
The restaurant on on the 18-03 last week was of the usuall high standard, and the return today on the 12-05 from Plymouth was as good.
I was especialy pleased to note that on todays train, that only 1 or 2 seats remained in the restaurant, with about 16 customers taking lunch.
Hopefully the service will ccontinue and perhaps be increased.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 05, 2012, 04:21:53 pm
Just missed you!  I was on the 12:55 today.

Certainly the number taking lunch does seem to have increased in recent months.  Let's hope it continues!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on November 05, 2012, 05:14:58 pm
I'm booked to take lunch on the 1255 ex Plymouth on 14th December. It's been a while since I've sampled the excellent fare on the Pullman and on this forthcoming occasion I shall be dining with the girlfriend. Trains hold little appeal for her, but when I explained the food and service that was on offer she was more than happy to head south-west before doubling back to our ultimate destination in Berkshire.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 06, 2012, 08:47:34 am
I was not aware that one could book in the up Pullmans ?
I thought that booking was only possible on the 18-03 and 19-03 from Paddington, until recently there was no need for bookings on up services, as space was virtualy allways available.
With the recent increase in numbers dining on up services, there might be a need for a booking service, or has this been introduced, unoticed by myself?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 06, 2012, 09:13:04 am
You can't book the actual seats but you can book an advance ticket for the train which is what I tend to do.

If joining at Plymouth if you have a quiet word with the staff while they are waiting on the platform they will usually reserve you a seat in the restaurant.  I tend to go for the single one - Seat 7 - if I'm on my own.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on November 06, 2012, 12:19:49 pm
Sorry broadgage, what I meant to say in my post was that I was booked to travel on the 1255 on 14th December. Got a couple of bargain Advance Purchase fares from Totnes to Reading.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 26, 2012, 04:48:51 pm
Does anyone know if the restaurants are still being provided in the current flooding chaos ?
Seems a bit unlikely that we would still get a pullman, but there is nothing under "catering updates" to indicate otherwise.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on December 05, 2012, 09:04:24 am
No restaurant last week.
A restaurant WAS however provided on the 12-05 from Plymouth yesterday (04/12/2012) and was of the usuall high standard.
Not very well patronised, but a lot of people may have been put off by the recent disruption.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on December 05, 2012, 09:17:52 am
I was on the 12:55 from Plymouth yesterday and the patronage was also lower than I have seen in recent months with only seven of us dining.  In fact the numbers on the train as a whole seemed lower.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on December 05, 2012, 08:02:57 pm
Plenty of watercress, spring onions and water biscuits on the menu?  :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on December 05, 2012, 08:35:27 pm
You forgot leeks, Chris.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on December 05, 2012, 08:41:28 pm
The leek, Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum (L.), also sometimes known as Allium porrum, is a vegetable which belongs, along with the onion and garlic, to family Amaryllidaceae, subfamily Allioideae.  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on December 07, 2012, 02:45:47 pm
You forgot leeks, Chris.

These are more usually found on voyagers, in or immediatly outside the toilets.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on December 07, 2012, 06:29:36 pm
  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on December 07, 2012, 08:15:40 pm
Well make up your minds, frequent travellers.  I read here that Voyagers were rated highly for toilets but the only time I travelled on them, years ago, they were so foul, they could be smelled in the cabin (or whatever is called where the pax sit.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on December 07, 2012, 08:22:31 pm
I must admit swrural I try to avoid Voyagers for that reason and on two of the last three occasions when I have ended up on one because there was no other choice I have been proved right.  (and that's before we worry about some poor soul screaming because they forgot to lock the door and someone has pressed the open door button).

I am also a little concerned that a thread about superbly cooked meals has drifted down the pan....   ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on December 07, 2012, 08:31:08 pm
Well, 'broadgage' started it: I was merely trying to introduce a bit of culture (Latin :D ) to the discussion ...  :o


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on December 07, 2012, 08:45:30 pm
Indeed.... and in your favour you also mentioned the link between leeks and garlic which reminded me why I look forward the on-board meals.  Leeks quite often make it onto the menu on but thankfully garlic doesn't which suits me as I hate the stuff!!   ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on December 07, 2012, 09:11:49 pm
Conversely I don't particularly like leeks (I'll eat them under protest), but love garlic. In fact I've just had some hot buttered crumpets brushed with a hint of garlic. Delicious.  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on December 07, 2012, 09:15:44 pm
You can buy M&S mushroom and white wine sauce then.  I did that the other night and ruined a fillet steak.....it must be 50% garlic!!!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on December 29, 2012, 05:12:17 pm
The FGW Travelling Chef menu has had a revamp. More 'meal' type dishes and fewer freshly prepared sandwiches/baguettes. Glad to see the return of a burger and the addition of a few desserts.


http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Your-journey/On-board/Food-and-drink/Travelling-Chef

Many of the ingredients continue to be locally sourced and the above page lists the provenance of major menu items. One thing I noticed though... the Cumberland Sausages are apparently from Worcestershire.  ???


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on December 29, 2012, 05:41:09 pm
That is a revamp - and for the better too. If I can't get a Pullman I often opt for a Travelling Chef but you can't always have the breakfast platter!  Nice to see more 'knife and fork' dishes.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on December 29, 2012, 06:30:31 pm
That's the first time I've taken a look at the Travelling Chef menu in a long while.  All I can really say is :o at the prices.

I do wonder how many customers specifically want the food to be "gourmet", especially when it involves paying sums like ^9.50 for a burger and chips.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on December 29, 2012, 06:44:52 pm
Is ^9.50 for a main course that excessive? We're not talking McDonald's or JD Wetherspoon quality here. This appears to be burger made from quality ingredients and the price is about par for a similar dish in your average restaurant or dining pub.

I really missed the burgers from the Travelling Chef. They were excellent quality, even when eaten out of the waxed box in Standard Class. I hope these new ones are just as good. I aim to find out as soon as possible!

And if the customers don't want 'gourmet' they can stick with the microwaved Express Cafe hot items, or a sandwich.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: EBrown on December 29, 2012, 06:49:51 pm
I do wonder how many customers specifically want the food to be "gourmet", especially when it involves paying sums like ^9.50 for a burger and chips.
A local restaurant to me is ^7.99 for a burger and chips, except the beef is sourced locally (Kent). I think the price is probably a bit over inflated but not too bad.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: devon_metro on December 29, 2012, 08:22:59 pm
What conditions do the chickens live in to charge ^7 for 2 eggs on toast I wonder!! Must be well over 700% profit on that dish (ingredients wise)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on December 29, 2012, 08:34:26 pm
The provision of on board catering is always going to be expensive.

Take the Pullmans. Ignoring the cost of the ingredients you need people to load it on the trains, a chef to cook it and staff to serve it BUT your maximum clientele is going to be 17 people (or a few more if you lay up part of Coach G).

That means the costs can only be divided against a few bills.

The staff costs for the Traveling Chef are obviously lower but the same principle applies. On board catering is never going to be cheap. The customer (passenger) can vote with their wallet.  I for one will always chose a decent meal on board but if others would rather bring their own sarnies that is their choice.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: signalandtelegraph on December 30, 2012, 03:59:46 pm
What conditions do the chickens live in to charge ^7 for 2 eggs on toast I wonder!! Must be well over 700% profit on that dish (ingredients wise)

I think thats a typo on the website, it should be ^4.50 (thats what I paid on 20th Dec  ;))


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 03, 2013, 05:52:06 pm
Plenty of watercress, spring onions and water biscuits on the menu?  :D

And free range fish, caught en-route !

More seriously, I hope that the Pullmans will be running next Monday, 07/01/2013 as I hope to take lunch on an up train.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 03, 2013, 05:56:48 pm
And I hope they are running on the 9th. I and a fellow forum member have planned to take lunch on an 'up' that day.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 03, 2013, 06:32:40 pm
Spoke to a steward today and he confirmed they are back on Monday - which is good news as I am taking lunch on the up on both the 7th and the 9th!  (Dieting was not a New Year resolution!  ;D )

The full crew travelled both yesterday and today on the 12:01 but in both cases they were only running a Travelling Chef - and then not the full range.  To be honest yesterday would have been a non starter as the train was full and standing coming out of Cornwall so it would have caused problems trying to clear Coach F at Plymouth to lay-up.  Not sure that applied today as the train was back to its normal loadings.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 07, 2013, 04:54:10 pm
Travelled up on the Pullman today - only four of us dining sadly but as the steward mentioned it was the first day after the Christmas/New Year break.  The whole train was lightly loaded.

Apparently new menus in next week.  Prices are going up but there will be four main courses to choose from.  Steak remains but there will also be a curry and a salmon dish among the others.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 08, 2013, 08:49:05 am
Glad to hear that choice will be increased in the new menu, and that steak will be retained.

Rumours continue to circulate regarding re-instating one or more Pullmans, is anyone able to confirm or deny this ?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 09, 2013, 09:10:45 pm
Today, myself and fellow forum member bobm travelled down to Plymouth to pick up the 1255 up Pullman to Reading. 2012 was a barren year for me and Pullmans. Various plans throughout last year never came to fruition so I was really looking forward to this trip which was suggested by bobm before Christmas.

Sadly because of rolling stock issues the 1255 didn't have a full kitchen so we were only able to partake of starters and desserts. bobm and I made up for the lack of a main course with alcohol!
(http://www.sherv.net/cm/emoticons/drink/very-drunk.gif) (http://www.sherv.net/drunk-emoticon-1198.html)

We each had two starters followed by cheese and biscuits. The food, as ever, was top notch, as was the service. A bonus was being given menus and window stickers for keeps, as the menu is changing from next week. I now have in my possession a menu folder containing the last three menu rotations as well as the rather natty window sticker. All added to my growing collection of FGW ephemera. Who knows, one day it might be worth a bob or two!

Looks like I will have to arrange another trip to get my fillet steak!

Here are some photos of the scran that was polished off today. Oh and a random picture from the train on the way down:

XC HST entering Kennaway Tunnel, Dawlish
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/100_1425.jpg)

My first, and bobm's second starter. Orange Soused Cornish Mackerel Fillets
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/100_1431.jpg)

bobm's first starter. Baked Cornish Brie
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/100_1432.jpg)

My second starter. Ham Hock Terrine
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/100_1433.jpg)

With Cheese and Biscuits to follow for both of us
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/100_1435.jpg)
Apologies for the out of focus pic and poor presentation. The G&T, wine and brandy was kicking in and I forgot to grab a pic before tucking in.

Finally, the two of us after being fed and (liberally) 'watered'. I have the menu and window sticker in my possession.  ;) ;D
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/100_1439.jpg)

Only slight downer, aside from the lack of a main course, was an obnoxious solo diner who had had far too much to drink (or perhaps the same as us but less able to handle it). A bit loud and at one point singing 'Happy Birthday' for no apparent reason. The Chief Steward was excellent in dealing with him and hastily dispatched him back to Standard Class once he'd settled his bill.

All in all and enjoyable way to spend a few hours in the company of a fellow forum member and FGW. Seriously considering heading to Newton Abbot tomorrow to pick up the same service as far as Westbury. Time enough to tuck in to the fillet steak I missed out on today.....

Finally, my mother has just seen the pictures and has told me off for wearing a hat at the dinner table. Sorry Mum, but that's me. I feel naked in public without a hat of some description.  :P


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on January 09, 2013, 10:40:32 pm
I can't resist this.  I'm glad you identified who was BNM, as one might have thought that ...........

Perhaps this belongs in Drunks on a Train which has just started up somewhere else.   ;D

Looks like tremendous food, thanks for the advert.  I will be arranging a trip out shortly down the coast.   :P


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 09, 2013, 10:59:13 pm
Well my hat looks like one of Bill & Bens from the flowerpot men so be grateful.

Nothing really to add to what BNM said about the day except to say all the crew were very attentive and very apologetic about the lack of main courses.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: EBrown on January 10, 2013, 12:42:49 am

Only slight downer, aside from the lack of a main course, was an obnoxious solo diner who had had far too much to drink (or perhaps the same as us but less able to handle it). A bit loud and at one point singing 'Happy Birthday' for no apparent reason. The Chief Steward was excellent in dealing with him and hastily dispatched him back to Standard Class once he'd settled his bill.

I may well know him. Erm, I shall have words.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 10, 2013, 01:55:43 am
I may well know him. Erm, I shall have words.

Really? care to expand on that interesting response?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: EBrown on January 10, 2013, 02:13:15 am
Really? care to expand on that interesting response?
I shall send you a Private Message.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 14, 2013, 09:00:26 pm
The first of the new menus took to the tracks today.  The prices have increased but the number of choices have also gone up.  The menu credits chef  Mitch Tonks  (http://www.mitchtonks.co.uk/) of the Seahorse Restaurant in Dartmouth as the developer consultant which perhaps explains the number of fish dishes.  Main course prices now range between ^19 and ^26 - before it was ^17 and ^23.

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/pull1a.jpg)

Note there are two fish/seafood starters.  Not a problem for me as I like salmon, but might not appeal to everyone.

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/pull4.jpg)

For the main course I had the steak which is largely the same as the previous menu although it is now served with a Cafe de Paris butter. (I think a previous menue may have had this for a while). I thought this would have garlic in it, but if it does I could not taste it - and I HATE garlic!  I noticed someone else having the chicken and that looked equally appetising.

The wine list has had a revamp.  Four whites, four reds and full and half bottles of champagne.  Some wines are half bottles, others full and there is still the 50cl (threequarter) bottle size.

Things that have gone?  Well the Great Westerner cocktail seems to have been dispensed with which I won't really miss.  However the Plymouth Gin is no more which is a bit of a surprise given FGW's attempts to use locally sourced products.  However the brandy and port are safe!

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/pull3.jpg)

Also a couple of things which give hope for the future.  The salt and pepper pots have been replaced with Cole & Mason mills...
(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/pull2a.jpg)
and even the after dinner chocolate has had a makeover!
(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/pull6.jpg)

Today was the first day but the food was again excellently prepared.  A nice touch was my brandy glass being taken away to be warmed before the drink was poured. 

I gather there is to be an official launch next week by which time hopefully the website will have been updated.  I gather there will be more new menus and they will rotate on a fortnightly basis.  The menu draws attention to the fact the FGW Pullman is the only high-speed service in the UK and long may it continue!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Kernow Otter on January 14, 2013, 09:07:27 pm
Nice to see St Austell Brewery's Tribute ale still on the menu.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: devon_metro on January 14, 2013, 09:20:54 pm
On a similar note, amusing to see 'Strongbow Cider' on the menu. You'd think FGW would have found a slightly nicer cider, not like the West Country doesn't have much choice!!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 14, 2013, 09:30:33 pm
Thatcher's Gold for preference.  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 14, 2013, 09:52:49 pm
Hard to describe Hereford, home of Strongbow, as the West Country - but at least FGW do send trains there!   ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on January 14, 2013, 10:00:50 pm
Thatcher's Gold for preference.  ;)

Totally agree


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on January 14, 2013, 10:02:23 pm
Nice to see St Austell Brewery's Tribute ale still on the menu.

Totally agree.  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 14, 2013, 10:07:01 pm
Nice to see St Austell Brewery's Tribute ale still on the menu.

Totally agree.  ;D

Proper Job!  ;D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 15, 2013, 02:21:35 pm
The removal of Plymouth gin is a regretable backward step, but apart from that the new menu looks excellent, glad to see that steak is retained.

I believe that are 4 menus, to be used in rotation, all very similar and all sound most enjoyable.

The smoked salmon starter, the fillet steak, and the cheese selection are the same on each menu, but the other choices alter with each menu rotation.

It would appear that FGW are belatedly taking restaurants seriously.

Perhaps we might hope for a few more ? 2 return services a day is rather paltry, no matter how good those services are.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 15, 2013, 07:49:02 pm
AFAIK cafe de Paris butter DOES contain garlic, which I enjoy in moderation, though not everyone likes it.
Previous menus have contained "herb butter" with the steak, which is a bit vague though I recall enjoying it. There was some doubt at to whether the herb butter was to be melted and poured over the steak, or served as a round placed chilled on top of the cooked steak.

Cafe de paris butter is normally placed chilled or even frozen atop the cooked steak and then very briefly grilled in order that part of it melts and runs over the steak, but part remains solid.

The making of the butter is rather involved and I would presume that it is purchased ready made.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 15, 2013, 08:08:51 pm
I suspect FGW are indeed using a pre-made Beurre Cafe de Paris. Highly unlikely the Pullman Chefs/Rail Gourmet are knocking it up either on the day or the day before. Perhaps they are getting it from this Somerset based supplier:

http://www.cafedeparisbutters.co.uk/home

It's a great addition to a steak, although my preference remains a Diane or peppercorn sauce.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 29, 2013, 09:52:35 pm
New menu two launched this week.

The salmon remains as a starter but in place of the scallops or caprese salad are dressed devon crab or oakwood smoked cheescake.  Tried the crab - as usual nicely presented with the white and dark meat separated plus a salad and mayonnaise.

Onto the mains and the steak remains but is joined by rump of lamb, lemon sole and mushroom wellington.

The alternative to the cheeseboard is a treacle pecan tart.

Good numbers dining today too - 15 taking a meal on the 12:01 from Plymouth.

note for the FGW website - you still have the pre-Christmas menu..... :P


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on January 29, 2013, 10:39:42 pm
note for the FGW website - you still have the pre-Christmas menu..... :P

* Paging Ollie and EBrown ;D :P *


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 30, 2013, 09:01:20 am
note for the FGW website - you still have the pre-Christmas menu..... :P

* Paging Ollie and EBrown ;D :P *

I have telephoned customer services and pointed out the outdated webpage about pullman dining.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 01, 2013, 12:34:37 am
It seems somebody heard.

The  FGW Website  (http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Your-journey/On-board/Pullman)has been updated with the new menus - including option 3 which is due to start on the 11th February.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on February 01, 2013, 11:00:53 am
I looked up the 12 01 ex Plymouth and it only shews a teacup.     >:(  The 1255 shews cross forks though.   :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 01, 2013, 11:18:21 am
Both trains have a Pullman Restaurant.

I think this was mentioned before but it seems the confusion arises because the 12:01 starts back from Penzance at 10.00 but only gains a restaurant after Plymouth, where as the 12:55 starts, outside the summer period, from Plymouth.

The 12:01 certainly had a restaurant on Tuesday.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 01, 2013, 06:43:07 pm
The 1201 is shown as having a restaurant in the National Rail printed/.pdf timetable as well as FGW's printed/.pdf timetables.

It's the booking engines that don't show the correct information. They also omit the 'hot buffet' (Travelling Chef) symbol from services where the facility isn't available from the origin station but begins part way through the journey. Hence none of the Penzance starters that acquire a Chef at Plymouth are shown as having the 'hot buffet' service.

If in doubt, refer to FGW's printed or .pdf timetables (http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Train-times-and-tickets/Train-times/Current-Timetables). They have the correct information, including from precisely which stations Chef services are available from.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on February 01, 2013, 07:03:36 pm
Yes BNM, that was the source (booking info) tht I saw.  That there is a bit of paper somewhere or a computer file that tells the true story is of no use to the average punter whatsoever is it?  It's a minor point, well perhaps not, as one might think that one has to go all the way to Paddington on a lunchtime train with just a cup of char and a wad, or in modern terms, a coke and packet of crisps, is not a terrific sales point to my mind.    >:( 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 01, 2013, 07:17:02 pm
If the average punter wants to know about catering facilities they have many avenues to explore. Those I have mentioned, as well as customer services or asking at a staffed station.

That one booking engine (WebTIS) doesn't show the information is but a trifling matter. If FGW were still using thetrainline, you'd get no catering information at all.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on February 01, 2013, 08:16:56 pm
Was it so, indeed and thanks.  That could be an interesting thread,  - which booking system is easiest and most useful and most informative to use.  I quite like SWT's.  You'll probably tell me that's thetrainline really.    ::)

 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 01, 2013, 08:38:17 pm
SWT's backend is indeed supplied by thetrainline! 

My preference is for WebTIS, now the majority supplier following First Group's decision to switch all their TOCs to it.

But each to their own. ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 01, 2013, 11:00:43 pm
Just getting back to the Pullmans for the moment...

As part of the launch of the new menus FGW have published a "Little Black Book" by Mitch Tonks promoting some of the seafood restaurants in the South West.  The book is only ^1.50 with proceeds going to charity.  It is also possible to get a digital copy on line.

http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/About-Us/Media-centre/Mitch-Tonks-and-First-Great-Western-launch-Little-Black-Book-of-Seafood (http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/About-Us/Media-centre/Mitch-Tonks-and-First-Great-Western-launch-Little-Black-Book-of-Seafood)

If you follow the link there is also a video with a slightly annoying musical track giving more details.

I am also told there will be a feature in this weekend's Mail on Sunday.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on February 02, 2013, 09:15:21 am
I looked up Mitch Tonk's web site and forgot to mention that his prices at his Blackboy Hill restaurant were very reasonable indeed.  So if you are in Whiteladies Road (everything in Bristol has a colour, e.g. Redmaids), then it would be a good option.  I shall certainly find my way there (within a short walk of Clifton Down station too).


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 04, 2013, 03:30:15 am
A review of the new Mitch Tonks menu on the FGW Pullmans from Tom Parker Bowles writing for The Mail on Sunday:

Click here for article (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-2271371/TOM-PARKER-BOWLES-You-wont-rail-train-fare-Is-First-Great-Western-right-track-Pullman-dining-car-revival.html#axzz2JsktTmEr)

It's a large article with numerous pictures so I won't quote it here. Save to say I'm definitely going for another trip on the up Pullman in the coming weeks.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on February 04, 2013, 08:12:20 pm
The fillet steak looks lush.  In fact, all the photographs I have seen recently look very good.

I'm far too busy at the moment, but hope to dine on a Pullman sometime nearer the summer.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 04, 2013, 08:30:57 pm
I can vouch for the steak Brucey, slightly less so for the article.  I am not sure where he got the idea that the dining cars have been sitting in sidings for two years - they might have been on the east coast but certainly not on FGW!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on February 04, 2013, 08:34:49 pm
Can I confess that I didn't actually read the article, just look at the pictures  :-[

Having actually read the article, it would seem the author probably misread the press release.  ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 04, 2013, 11:23:21 pm
Just to note for anyone planning on travelling on the Pullmans immediately after Easter...

From the 2nd to 5th April the ones up from Plymouth still leave at 12:01 and 12:55 - except on the 2nd when the 12:55 becomes a 13:03.

The two down will leave at 17:33 and 18:33 from Paddington.

The 12:01/17:33 will go via Bristol Temple Meads (not calling) and the 12:55/13:03/12:55 with their Westbury stops going via Melksham (also not calling  ;D)

Extra mileage to eat your tucker!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 04, 2013, 11:43:17 pm
Wednesday 3rd April 1255 for me then. Pullman through Melksham!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Network SouthEast on February 05, 2013, 05:58:00 pm
Wasn't sure if this justified a new thread or not, but I see that FGW have a YouTube video about their new Pullman offering.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/DD_0zZj69dY


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 07, 2013, 04:51:57 pm
I'm back and forth between Bristol and Taunton all this week, and today, not being required in Taunton until mid-afternoon I decided on a jolly to Reading so I could pick up a lunchtime Travelling Chef service and sample an item from the new menu.

I travelled on the 1211 Swansea service from Reading (1145 off PAD), which in the good old days was a Pullman. :-\

I went for the Premium Gourmet Burger:

(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/TCBurger_zps3e7233e5.jpg)

Have to say, I was somewhat disappointed by this. When a burger was last on the TC menu (then known as 'Build Your Own Burger') you could add items such as cheese, bacon, tomato, onion and mushrooms. Now you get the burger with just cheese.

The chips and side salad were absolutely fine, but then its hard to go wrong with those. The burger itself was the real disappointment. For something described as 'Gourmet' the quality of the beef was below what I was expecting, remembering how good the beef was in the last incarnation of a Travelling Chef Burger. Somewhat chewy despite not being overcooked. Also bland - crying out for some chopped onion and seasoning. The cheese was also on the bland side. I like tasty cheese and this was very mild cheddar - not a great accompaniment when the burger itself is bland. Then there's the bun, or rather, toasted ciabatta roll. What's with the current obsession for arty-farty breads? A ciabatta is too crusty and has the wrong consistency for a burger.  This maybe a personal thing, but I prefer a soft sesame seeded bap for a burger.

The tomato relish is nice though!

Presentation 4/5
Taste 1/5
Value for money 2/5

Overall 2/5. Should be a lot better for ^9.50 and for being named a 'Premium Gourmet Burger'


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 07, 2013, 04:59:56 pm
I haven't sampled the burger yet so will have to try to see if it was just a one off.  Interesting to note they do chips - I don't think I can ever remember them doing them before.  I assume they are oven chips - would they mess about with boiling oil on a moving train?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 07, 2013, 05:15:10 pm
The chips will almost certainly be cooked in the fast convection oven. I didn't ask, but there's no way they'd have a chip pan in a Mk3 kitchen. They did have a 'fried' taste though.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on February 07, 2013, 05:52:16 pm
BNM you could get paid for doing these gourmet reviews.  Now, don't be a 'neigh' sayer, anyway, I hope you weren't saddled with one of these Irish burgers.  I expect in the mane the food is reliable though.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on February 07, 2013, 05:52:47 pm
I've been trying my hand at this "photographing the food I'm served on the move" lark ... but I had a small problem ...

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

Hunger  ;D

Other pictures - and article - here (http://www.wellho.net/mouth/3998_Travelogue-from-the-Netherlands-to-London-via-Hook-and-Harwich.html)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 07, 2013, 06:12:23 pm
BNM you could get paid for doing these gourmet reviews.  Now, don't be a 'neigh' sayer, anyway, I hope you weren't saddled with one of these Irish burgers.  I expect in the mane the food is reliable though.

The beef is apparently from Somerset. I've tasted better.

And I've tasted horse.

I've been trying my hand at this "photographing the food I'm served on the move" lark ... but I had a small problem ...

Hunger  ;D

Pancakes and ice cream with a Flemish beer? Seems like a perfectly acceptable combination to me. And perfectly acceptable to have tucked in before taking the picture. I did just the same on my recent trip with bobm on the FGW Pullman.  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 07, 2013, 06:20:43 pm
Pancakes and ice cream with a Flemish beer? Seems like a perfectly acceptable combination to me. And perfectly acceptable to have tucked in before taking the picture. I did just the same on my recent trip with bobm on the FGW Pullman.  ;)

I had to remind him.....  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on February 07, 2013, 08:27:50 pm
BNM you could get paid for doing these gourmet reviews.  Now, don't be a 'neigh' sayer, anyway, I hope you weren't saddled with one of these Irish burgers.  I expect in the mane the food is reliable though.

Go for it BNM... Every little helps (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21054688)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Gordon the Blue Engine on February 08, 2013, 10:18:42 am
I must admit to having insufficient confidence in the catering provisions on HST's to rely upon it on our occassional long trips from Reading to St Ives.  So Mrs GTBE and I visit the excellent M&S on Reading station and buy ourselves a 3 course picnic plus bottle of Cava.  We can then enjoy our food at our leisure.

We still remember some years ago just grabbing the last 2 seats in the restaurant car, and then not really enjoying a very rushed service which I think got lunch done and dusted by not long after Newbury. 

 

 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 08, 2013, 10:40:33 am
We still remember some years ago just grabbing the last 2 seats in the restaurant car, and then not really enjoying a very rushed service which I think got lunch done and dusted by not long after Newbury. 

I think you must have been unlucky.  The last time I caught a Down service we got to coffee about Taunton while on the Up journeys from Plymouth, which I make more frequently, I'm usually paying the bill as we whistle through Bedwyn or Hungerford and finishing a second cup of coffee as we prepare to make the inevitable stop around Reading West.  I have heard tell that when a new crew go out on their first few trips there is a tendency to race through the meal for fear of not getting it served in time but they learn!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 16, 2013, 09:23:04 pm
Seems FGW are taking steps to promote the Pullmans...

I booked a ticket on the company's website for Monday a few days ago and tonight I got an email reminding me of the purchase, wishing me a relaxing journey and pointing out that "On selected services to and from London Paddington you can enjoy a delicious a la carte meal in our Pullman restaurant...."

Only snag was the ticket was a return from Swindon to Yatton....   >:(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on February 16, 2013, 10:57:06 pm
One of the Customer Hosts on the 1730 Swindon to Yatton this week was wearing the Pullman Uniform. Though unfortunately he was only able to serve me my usual evening diet of tea and crisps. Having read the correspondence here with a degree of envy over recent weeks I was looking forward to something better.  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on February 17, 2013, 01:29:32 pm
Haha, At least you got served at your seat John ;)

Few weeks back I was on the 21:50 BRI - PAD and I went to the buffet for a cup of coffee having a longish journey in front of me. The lady in the Buffet said the complementary snacks were in the blue boxes on the  Luggage Rack in Coach G (Was a Micro Buffet) and that I could "help myself" I resisted the urge to take the whole box back to my seat ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 08, 2013, 03:49:06 pm
More pictures of the food available on the FGW Pullmans. From a trip made on 06/03/2013. It's worth restating just how good it is. How attentive the staff are, with their very smart new uniforms, and how there is no better way to enjoy fine dining, at speed and with a constantly changing scenery. I urge all forum members to find the time (and money!) to try this service. Remember, on the up services (1201 and 1255 off Plymouth - 1201 restaurant service available until Taunton. 1255 available until Castle Cary) you are almost guaranteed to find space in the Pullman Restaurant, so there's no need to fork out for a 1st Class ticket. A cheap Advance or Super Off Peak tickets will suffice. If you are bailing at Reading there are also some split ticket options.

Also mustn't forget to mention the pleasant company and engaging Train Manager on this most recent Pullman trip. You know who you are.  ;D

Pullman Reserve Smoked Salmon - oak smoked in Somerset, with cornichons, cream cheese & rye bread
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/PMst_zpse19ad154.jpg)

Prime Somerset Reared Fillet Steak - with Caf^ de Paris butter and a choice of mustards
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/PMmn_zps3c28ce01.jpg)
Take care with the English mustard. It's strong - very strong!

Chocolate Nemesis - with Dorset clotted cream
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/PMds_zps7517b321.jpg)

Introduction from Chef Mitch Tonks
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/PMmt_zps1d23b3e1.jpg)

Rumours continue that a breakfast service will be trialed some time soon. The up Golden Hind (0505 off Penzance), looking like the favourite candidate for a trial. Hopefully added to that will be a balancing down lunch service.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 08, 2013, 04:11:10 pm
I'd agree with all bignosemac has said - even though my mother told me never to play with my food, let alone photograph it. (Glad I had clean nails for picture one!  ;D)

Was on the Pullman again today - another good show, including a very well behaved young lad who couldn't have been more than seven but ate all his vegetables, put me to shame.  He also showed up another diner who insisted on putting her heavy bag on the seat next to her and then ate her meal with one hand and tapped away on her laptop with the other!!

For those thinking of partaking; the menus rotate on a fortnightly basis.  Details are  on the FGW website. (http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Your-journey/On-board/Pullman)  Menu 2 starts again on Monday (11th March) for two weeks.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 08, 2013, 04:49:38 pm
Seafood it is for my next trip on the 20th March then. Dressed Crab for starter then Lemon Sole for the main.

It'll have to be the Chablis to go with that.  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on March 10, 2013, 02:47:58 pm
Also mustn't forget to mention the pleasant company and engaging Train Manager on this most recent Pullman trip. You know who you are.  ;D

Cheque is in the post  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Gordon the Blue Engine on March 15, 2013, 09:34:45 am
Mrs GTBE and myself sampled the Pullman lunch on Monday on the 1201 ex Plymouth.  Apart from the excellent food and service, the timing was most relaxing (our last lunch was a very rushed affair between Reading and Bedwyn).  You can sit down at Newton Abbott, the starter comes out at Exeter, and the service is timed so that you are ready to pay the bill around Newbury.  Overall a very pleasant experience which we shall do in future whenever we come back from Cornwall.

There's a downside for non-dining passengers.  A lady opposite us in coach G before we moved to F was complaining there was no Travelling Chef, and it seems that only sandwiches were available, and no hot snacks.  I think I've come across this issue before - maybe the scaled down kitchen facilities just don't have the capacity for cooking a good lunch and preparing hot snacks.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 15, 2013, 10:14:13 am
Our paths crossed!  I was on the same train.  Very good turnout for a Monday too with 13 taking a meal - boosted, it now seems, by three from the Coffee Shop!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Network SouthEast on March 15, 2013, 10:16:12 am
If I wanted to book myself on the Pullman, is it possible to occupy the same seat for my whole journey, or will I get turfed out after I've paid the bill?

I don't mind having a 1st Class ticket, but would rather stay in the same seat... unless there's a reason why I should leave the carriage after the journey?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 15, 2013, 10:36:38 am
I have only once seen someone being asked to return to their seat elsewhere on the train after their meal and that was someone who was a little the worse for wear and getting disruptive.

Depending on which service you plan to use you may not even need a first class ticket.  The two lunchtime trains are rarely full and standard class passengers are just as welcome as first and are free to remain after their meal.

The two evening journeys from Paddington are a different matter and are usually full with priority going to those with First Class tickets but you might be lucky with a standard.  If you do have a first class ticket you can book by telephone on 08457 000 125 before 15:15 or at the First Class lounge at Paddington after that.

For the two lunchtime services you will have to occupy a seat elsewhere on the train until about Newton Abbot while the crew lay up coach F. 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 15, 2013, 12:41:14 pm
If I wanted to book myself on the Pullman, is it possible to occupy the same seat for my whole journey, or will I get turfed out after I've paid the bill?

I don't mind having a 1st Class ticket, but would rather stay in the same seat... unless there's a reason why I should leave the carriage after the journey?

If you have a first class ticket from London then you may normally remain in the restaurant until your destination, there is only one sitting, and no harm in sitting in first class with a first ticket.


If you have a first class ticket TO London, then normally you may remain in the restaurant until arrival in London, the only exception being if you have completed your meal by Taunton, and someone boarding at Taunton wishes to dine, and no other seats are free. Almost never happens



If you have only a steerage ticket then you are meant to move out of the restaurant on completing your meal, enforcement is patchy and may depend on the extent of the tip offered.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Southern Stag on March 15, 2013, 03:05:26 pm

There's a downside for non-dining passengers.  A lady opposite us in coach G before we moved to F was complaining there was no Travelling Chef, and it seems that only sandwiches were available, and no hot snacks.  I think I've come across this issue before - maybe the scaled down kitchen facilities just don't have the capacity for cooking a good lunch and preparing hot snacks.
I'd guess it just isn't possible to other both the Pullman and the Travelling Chef on the same service. The chef on the Pullman will be occupied preparing the Pullman menu and the kitchen isn't really big enough to have two chefs working in there.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 15, 2013, 03:13:21 pm
Probably also issues with storing the uncooked food.  Remember the up services also have to carry the food which will be served on the crew's return journey in the evening so the fridges are pretty full.

Although not of the same quality, it is still possible to get hot food by way of the microwave at the buffet.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 15, 2013, 03:35:37 pm
Being almost 20 years lder than BNM, I feel honour bound to mention that you may need to watch your waistline after 40! There seems to be a correlation between thinning hair ( not a problem for BNM , rarely seen without his trademark cap!) and expanding girth, so perhaps some of these slap up feeds courtesy of FGW may need to be curtailed a little ! ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 15, 2013, 04:03:00 pm
One more trip next week chuffed. But I'm going for fish as both a starter and a main, so a bit healthier!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 15, 2013, 04:07:35 pm
You are not alone BNM, they had a run on the fish on my latest trip, seven taking the lemon sole and just one having steak.

I had the steak.....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Gordon the Blue Engine on March 15, 2013, 04:32:03 pm
Our paths crossed!  I was on the same train.  Very good turnout for a Monday too with 13 taking a meal - boosted, it now seems, by three from the Coffee Shop!  ;D

Good heavens!  We were sitting in the bay of 2 one away from the vestibule - were you sitting in the window facing seat in the bay of 4 oppposite, with a lady joining your table at Taunton?  (NB I'm not implying any assignations etc here!!)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 15, 2013, 04:36:26 pm
No when I am on my own I tend to go for the single seat (number 7) nearest the kitchen.  (So I was behind you!)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Jonty on March 15, 2013, 06:35:34 pm
Would be interested to know the approx price of a 3 course meal- say ^35 per head?

Wish I could claim on company expenses - being self employed everything ends up being paid by me anyway...!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 15, 2013, 07:21:05 pm
Would be interested to know the approx price of a 3 course meal- say ^35 per head?

Wish I could claim on company expenses - being self employed everything ends up being paid by me anyway...!

^35 if you take the cheapest option for each course, ^40 to ^43 more typicly.
Plus a little gin beforehand, some wine with the meal, and perhaps a morsel of port with the cheese.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on March 15, 2013, 08:16:10 pm
Would be interested to know the approx price of a 3 course meal- say ^35 per head?

Wish I could claim on company expenses - being self employed everything ends up being paid by me anyway...!
I can't see many employers paying ^35+ anyway.  Where I work, all employees (at all grades) are limited to ^25 for dinner, which is to include a 10% tip and one alcoholic beverage.  No first class travel is permitted either, without the employee paying the difference.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 16, 2013, 11:04:40 am
Just to note for anyone planning on travelling on the Pullmans immediately after Easter...
From the 2nd to 5th April the ones up from Plymouth still leave at 12:01 and 12:55 - except on the 2nd when the 12:55 becomes a 13:03.
The two down will leave at 17:33 and 18:33 from Paddington.
The 12:01/17:33 will go via Bristol Temple Meads (not calling) and the 12:55/13:03/12:55 with their Westbury stops going via Melksham (also not calling  ;D)
Extra mileage to eat your tucker!

Thanks for the info.
I hope to dine on the Wednesday following Easter on the earlier service, boarding at Taunton.
Have I understood correctly that this service leaves Plymouth, at the usual time and calls at Taunton at 13-34 as usual ?
I appreciate that arrival at London will be delayed by the diversion via Bristol, this is of no consequence.
But I obviously want to be at Taunton at the right time.
And if I do miss it, does the following Pullman service still call Taunton at 14-23, or perhaps a few minutes later as it leaves Plymouth a few minutes later than normal.

Have looked on the FGW site but the temp timetable wont display on this PC.

Presuming that these services do actually run, then full marks to FGW for still running Pullmans during disruption, in years gone by I doubt that they would have bothered.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 16, 2013, 11:14:14 am
Yes on the 3rd the early train calls at 13:34 and the later one at 14:23.  Due to arrive at Paddington at 16:00 and 16:59 respectively.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 16, 2013, 11:40:01 am
Thanks for that :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: BBM on March 21, 2013, 07:20:48 pm
The April edition of 'Modern Railways' magazine has a 2-page article entitled 'Pullman Dining - The Great Western Experience' about the new menus developed with Mitch Tonks, and FGW's rationale in maintaining a full Pullman dining service.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 21, 2013, 11:26:29 pm
From the First Great Western press release:

Quote
First Great Western rewards students' miracle menus

Hospitality students at Stoke Damerel Community College, Plymouth, honed their culinary skills on Tuesday [19 March 2013] when they presented a three-course ^ la carte menu to a renowned seafood chef and restaurateur, as part of a First Great Western initiative.

The Year 9 students have been working on a project called On Board with First Great Western (FGW), the brainchild of former student and FGW Pullman Dining chef Paul Tregillis and college staff Hazel Lethbridge and Karen Burn.

Seafood guru Mitch Tonks, who works in partnership with FGW developing their Pullman Dining menus, agreed to be part of the judging panel.

Two teams of students each created an original menu and a poster to represent the FGW Pullman Dining service, which operates on the Penzance to London Paddington route.

Team Armada made up of four Year 9 students. Head chef Sophie, Shannon, Elijah and Tiffany won the cooking challenge by just one point, with 26 against Team Hind^s 25. Team Hind, also four Year 9s, Ellie, Davina (head chef), Ross and Keelan, won the poster challenge.

FGW chef Paul has worked with staff and students since the autumn term to plan the cooking event between two teams, who each created their menus with a focus on showing off the best produce from the South West. ^500 prize money was donated to the School, and the winning teams will also have the opportunity to drive a train at an FGW train simulator.   

The Team Armada menu included: salmon fingers with watercress salad and mushroom topped with local seasonal vegetables and Cornish Yarg; Cornish crab cakes with watercress and rocket salad and Devonshire potato and vegetable platter; followed by sugar spun cream tea and Cornish mess.

Team Hind cooked up: Cornish mussels with rock sapphire, sweet scrumpy and chilli and mushroom souffl^; lamb cutlets with crushed new potatoes and seasonal vegetables with rosemary sauce, stuffed beef tomatoes with Somerset goats cheese; followed by Plymouth gin and tonic tarts with strawberry macaroon cake.

^It^s a real coup for us to have Mitch Tonks as a judge,^ said hospitality teacher Mrs Burn. ^This has been an amazing opportunity for our students and we were also delighted to welcome a former student back to the College to work with us on this challenge.^

Paul said: ^It's been a really good experience for me going back to my old school. The students have been so enthusiastic. And I have to say the dishes they have come up with are fantastic, they taste stunning. They^ve learned a lot about how to develop a menu and about marketing and advertising too by designing the poster. I^m very impressed with how well the students have done.

Mitch Tonks, who owns the Seahorse restaurant in Dartmouth and recently announced plans to open a restaurant close to Plymouth^s National Marine Aquarium, was joined on the judging panel by Paul and two of the College^s governors.

^It is so important that we have an understanding of where our food comes from and how it is produced,^ said Mitch. ^This initiative by Paul is a simple yet fun and effective way of teaching these children those vital skills.

"While working with First Great Western to refresh their three course Pullman Dining menu, Paul asked if I would help judge the competition. I feel privileged to be involved in the project." 

Judges looked at presentation, locally-sourced ingredients and creativity in the design of the menu. 

Another group of students was schooled in the art of silver service waiting by FGW customer host Sarah Major so that they could serve the competing menus in a professional manner to the judges on the day.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 21, 2013, 11:41:54 pm
Yesterday, 20th March 2013, I and bobm again ate on one of the Pullmans from Plymouth. The usual high standard was maintained. I went for the fish dishes this time. I'll post some photos of the dishes in due course.

Following on from the FGW press release quoted above, the local BBC News programme for the south west, Spotlight, covered the competition in a broadcast earlier this week.

The item can be viewed on BBC Spotlight's Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=113023425556006&set=vb.150467675018739&type=3&theater


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 22, 2013, 12:02:02 am
Quote
Team Hind cooked up: Cornish mussels with rock sapphire, sweet scrumpy and chilli and mushroom souffl^; lamb cutlets with crushed new potatoes and seasonal vegetables with rosemary sauce, stuffed beef tomatoes with Somerset goats cheese; followed by Plymouth gin and tonic tarts with strawberry macaroon cake.

Yes, that gets my vote.  :P


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 22, 2013, 09:18:40 am
One interesting note about the new menus which have not been running, in rotation, for the last two months is that the fillet steak is no longer the top choice.  The steak has always featured on each menu and has usually been the most expensive option.  In the past the crews reckoned they served three steaks for every one of the other selections.  Now it seems steak is no longer the front runner.

On both of my last trips when between six and ten have been dining I was the only one having steak.  Talking to the staff it seems this is quite typical.  So either the menu has greater all round appeal or as a nation we have fallen out of love with steak!  I don't think it is the price because, as I mentioned above, it has always tended to be the dearest.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 22, 2013, 10:08:44 am
IME, on previous menus the steak was usually the best qaulity item, with the other choices being a bit cheepencheeful.
On the new menu, a top qaulity freshly cooked fish dish is offered which competes well with steak.
On the old menu, the "non steak" choice was often some variety of pie, casserole or other made up dish, that even if prepared on board looked a bit like virgin microwaved airline mush.

I am not that keen on most fish dishes and much prefer the steak, virtualy allways ordering this.
I certainly enjoy the smoked salmon starter, but am less keen on most other fish.

Rumours continue regarding the reintroduction of another pullman, but nothing has happened as yet.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 24, 2013, 10:25:02 pm
In my day job these days (food retail) I can confirm that beef fillet steak remains a 'must-have' option on our counters - it has a loyal following, despite the price for such quality meat.  :-X


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 24, 2013, 10:32:00 pm
Including me as I can cook it and it doesn't end up as tough as old boots as other steaks do when I incinerate them!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 24, 2013, 11:11:59 pm
Hot and fast. Hot and fast. Get that pan as hot as possible. Sear both sides then turn the heat down to a moderate setting and cook until the required 'done-ness'.

Back to the Pullman and away from steaks for a moment. Here are the fish dishes I sampled last week:

Dressed Devon Crab - with salad & mayonnaise
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/odds%20n%20sods/100_1594rd_zps1ca2712f.jpg)
Grilled Lemon sole - from Devon with parsley, lemon & butter
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/odds%20n%20sods/100_1598rd_zps13b1b3f4.jpg)

And a very nice wine to accompany them:
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/odds%20n%20sods/100_1593rd_zps4731b5dd.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on March 25, 2013, 09:24:01 pm
Fish looked good BNM.  I assume one can eschew the mayo if desired.  On the main course, I like the look of the leeks, but what are the orange things on the other side - toms?  I don't think toms go with fish.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on March 25, 2013, 09:35:46 pm
Look like roasted carrots to me   ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on March 25, 2013, 11:19:42 pm
Thanks II.  That would be on account of them being orange instead of red of course wouldn't it?  :-[  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 25, 2013, 11:34:53 pm
Tasted like roasted carrots too!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 26, 2013, 08:28:18 pm
There would have been no difficulty telling the difference between tomatoes and carrots today - there were none - broccoli and cabbage on this week's menu.

Also a personal first... sent back a bottle of wine.  Never done it before in my life but the steward was concerned when he opened it and after I tasted it, and got a second opinion from my colleague opposite (bignosemac of this parish), it was changed without fuss or further comment.

Cheese and biscuits featured a goat's cheese among the selection for the first time in a while which was welcome.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 27, 2013, 11:18:15 am
I dined last night, and the steward was most concerned as to the qaulity of the wine, seemed to be not the normal polite "is everything all right sir" but an actual concern that it might well be defective.
The wine had a slightly sharper taste than usual, and I am still uncertain if it was meant to be like that or not.
Not bad enough to send back, but perhaps not as good as usual.

No plymouth gin available, but I was advised that it will soon be returning.

Excellent meal, smoked salmon, fillet steak, and cheese.
Steak, no matter how good and well prepared can tend to be a little dry and the present offering of cafe de paris butter is a most welcome change.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on March 27, 2013, 05:05:48 pm
He was probably still smarting from the wicked look that BobM gave him.   ;D

I don't think one could send wine back for being 'sharp'.  One could if it were corked, which I assume BobM's was.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 27, 2013, 07:37:33 pm
If broadgage was on the 18:03 it would have been the same crew.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 02, 2013, 07:31:03 pm
After months, if not years, of speculation about additional Pullman Services on this thread FGW have confirmed to Barry Doe that from May 20th there will be two sittings of breakfast served on the 05:05 ex-Penzance from Plymouth onwards. The crew will then serve the current dinner menu on while returning on the 12:06 from Paddington.

The news is in the Fare Dealer column in issue 719 of RAIL magazine.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 02, 2013, 10:20:58 pm
I therefore predict that the waistlines of members bobm and bignosemac will expand even more from May onwards ...  ::) :o ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on April 02, 2013, 10:26:56 pm
Especially if they are going to eat 'dinner' at lunchtime on the 1206 (see BobM's post); that is, unless the 1206 takes that long to get to Plymouth, they are serving dinner after Exeter?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 02, 2013, 10:39:35 pm
I therefore predict that the waistlines of members bobm and bignosemac will expand even more from May onwards ...  ::) :o ;D

You are very welcome to join us Chris and see what we have been talking about!  ;)



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 05, 2013, 08:54:41 am
I therefore predict that the waistlines of members bobm and bignosemac will expand even more from May onwards ...  ::) :o ;D

And perhaps also my waistline  :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 05, 2013, 09:02:41 am
After months, if not years, of speculation about additional Pullman Services on this thread FGW have confirmed to Barry Doe that from May 20th there will be two sittings of breakfast served on the 05:05 ex-Penzance from Plymouth onwards. The crew will then serve the current dinner menu on while returning on the 12:06 from Paddington.

The news is in the Fare Dealer column in issue 719 of RAIL magazine.

Excellent news, glad to hear that the rumours did have some substance behind them.
I doubt that I will use the breakfast service, but hopefully others will enjoy it.

I wonder how well the "two sittings" will work ? Is there not a risk that those served first will try and remain in the restaurant thereby not allowing others to dine.
I would expect that the average spend on breakfast will be much less than for lunch or dinner thereby requiring a fairly quick turnover of customers to make the service viable. Most customers would presumably not take wine with breakfast !


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 05, 2013, 09:06:37 am
They used to have two sittings on the 07:30 Paddington to Penzance when it had a Pullman Breakfast in the past.

The first sitting was usually full but the second after Bristol less so. I think they used to allow people to stay unless there was a demand for seats. It is a bit harder to spin out eating a breakfast over more than an hour unlike a dinner!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 05, 2013, 01:46:02 pm
Just been looking at fares and timings to try out the Breakfast Pullman and down lunchtime Pullman (not the same day!) in the first few weeks of operation. Good value Advance Purchase fares mean I'll probably try breakfast from Taunton first.

I also note that the 1206 has the requisite 'knife and fork' symbol for a full restaurant in WebTIS booking engines from May 20th. The up breakfast Pullman hasn't got the catering symbol but that is to be expected with WebTIS as it only shows the catering that is available from the origin station which, being Penzance, is just a buffet until Plymouth.

Now for some advertising from FGW....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on April 05, 2013, 10:56:55 pm
That's a helluva way to go from Shirehampton just to get breakfast BNM.  I assume champagne will be served.  ???  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 05, 2013, 10:58:43 pm
Shirehampton to Taunton isn't that far.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on April 06, 2013, 12:26:23 pm
Will look forward to your reviews, which are much appreciated, BNM.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 16, 2013, 03:21:06 pm
If anyone fancies a meal on either of the evening services from London, it would appear that services are significantly altered and leave London earlier, at 16-30 and 18-00 instead of at 18-03 and at 19-03.

From tonight for nearly three weeks, details on the FGW site.

Important edit, this is as shown on the pullman dining section of the FGW website, but others have stated that the information is incorrect and that the two evening Pullmans are in fact re timed by only 3 minutes


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on April 16, 2013, 03:24:41 pm
All to do with the Castle Cary diversions....thread elsewhere.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 16, 2013, 03:39:56 pm
If anyone fancies a meal on either of the evening services from London, it would appear that services are significantly altered and leave London earlier, at 16-30 and 18-00 instead of at 18-03 and at 19-03.

According to the special timetable the evening Pullmans are on the retimed 18:00 and 19:00. 
http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/~/media/Taunton%20to%20Castle%20Cary%20April%20Block%20-%20WEB.ashx (http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/~/media/Taunton%20to%20Castle%20Cary%20April%20Block%20-%20WEB.ashx)

Of the Pullmans in the other direction, the 12:55 from Plymouth calls additionally at Bristol Temple Meads, Bath Spa, Chippenham and Swindon but not Castle Cary or Westbury.  The 12:01 also goes via Box but only calls additionally at Temple Meads.

EDIT to add: Services go at normal times and normal routes on Fridays 19th, 26th April and 3rd May.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 16, 2013, 04:04:23 pm
If anyone fancies a meal on either of the evening services from London, it would appear that services are significantly altered and leave London earlier, at 16-30 and 18-00 instead of at 18-03 and at 19-03.

According to the special timetable the evening Pullmans are on the retimed 18:00 and 19:00. 
http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/~/media/Taunton%20to%20Castle%20Cary%20April%20Block%20-%20WEB.ashx (http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/~/media/Taunton%20to%20Castle%20Cary%20April%20Block%20-%20WEB.ashx)

Of the Pullmans in the other direction, the 12:55 from Plymouth calls additionally at Bristol Temple Meads, Bath Spa, Chippenham and Swindon but not Castle Cary or Westbury.  The 12:01 also goes via Box but only calls additionally at Temple Meads.

On the 'Improvements Work: Affecting journeys to the West of England' page of the FGW website (now a dead link) the summary did say that the down Pullmans were at 1630 and 1800. I think that was an error though, as the FGW booking engine also suggests the Pullmans are on the 1800 and 1900.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 16, 2013, 04:09:57 pm
Wasn't aware of that summary, but thinking about it 16:30 would have been a bit problematic for the early Pullman - the crew, who travel on the 10:00 ex-Penzance, would have less than 45 minutes at Paddington to take a break and get prepared.

Incidentally the new timetables from May 2013 are on the FGW website and, as predicted, don't show the new breakfast or lunchtime pullmans.  It might have been too late for the printed copies but it shouldn't be that hard to change the PDFs.  :(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 16, 2013, 04:51:27 pm
The "pullman dining" of the FGW site definatly shows the times that I posted, but as posted above this information may not be correct.

I have edited my earlier post to reflect this.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 16, 2013, 04:54:20 pm
It does indeed...

I think the phrase we are looking for is ..."Paging Ollie...."   ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 16, 2013, 05:07:51 pm
I have telephoned customer services in the last few minutes and they state that the information I qouted a few posts back is correct and that the Pullmans ARE on the 16-30 and the 18-00.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 16, 2013, 05:16:45 pm
I have telephoned customer services in the last few minutes and they state that the information I qouted a few posts back is correct and that the Pullmans ARE on the 16-30 and the 18-00.

Which is what Ollie has just told me. Although it's 1633 not 1630.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 16, 2013, 11:17:30 pm
Which is what Ollie has just told me.

Thanks, yet again, for your help, Ollie!  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 18, 2013, 07:46:51 am
After speaking to members of the catering crew on board the service I caught yesterday it seems that from next week the evening meal service will indeed be on the 18:00 and 19:00 departures from Paddington.  The original plan using the 16:33 and 18:00 was based on crews' lengths of duty which, following discussions, have been revised and thus the new times from next week.  Perhaps not surprisingly I gather the numbers taking a meal on the 16:33 has not been high.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 18, 2013, 10:49:38 am
I joined bobm on the 1255 up Pullman (again!) yesterday. As it was diverted via Bristol and calling Swindon it made for a cheaper combination of tickets.

The usual high standard of service was very much in evidence. And I'm sure that wasn't just because there were members of management on board. Oh, and chef Mitch Tonks was also dining.

Unfortunately, while the standard of service was excellent, I had cause to complain about the food for the first time ever. I had ordered the fillet steak medium rare but was served a steak that was blue and not very warm in the centre. After eating bits around the end of the steak plus all my veggies I was rather put off by the rest of the severely under done steak. The crew were excellent in dealing with my complaint and the chef himself came out to apologise, seemingly mortified that he had got the 'done-ness' so wrong. I was asked whether I'd like another steak, but I declined. So I was then asked what I would like to be done. I said I'd be happy if the cost of my dessert was removed from the bill but the chief steward instead said he would remove the cost of the main course. Oh, and I was given another pot of the excellent English mustard to take home with me!

So, whilst on this occasion I wasn't happy with one part of my meal, I was very impressed with how my complaint was handled. It hasn't put me off using the Pullman again in future. The only complaints against doing that come from my wallet and waistline!

We chatted briefly with Mitch Tonks before alighting at Swindon. He seemed to give the impression that there may be more Pullmans in the near future beyond the two additional ones already being introduced from May 20th. Telling us that he was actually in conversation with FGW that day about just such future plans. I asked about South Wales services and he appeared positive. Nothing official of course so I can only say it is rumour at present, but watch this space...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on April 18, 2013, 11:17:31 am
Thanks for this Trip Advisor report BNM, much appreciated.  In fact I did write to TA, suggesting they included more on rail and they mentioned a somewhat obscure sub-site.  I think this sort of thing does keep those who wish to be kept on their toes, on their toes. 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 18, 2013, 11:38:22 am
Sorry to hear of our esteemed members disapointment re the steak, fortunatly this seems to be a very rare event.
I am most interested to hear that more reinstatment of Pullmans is being considered, beyond the two recently announced.

Back in the good old days there were 7 return Pullmans a day between London and the West, and a couple to/from Wales.
There should be slight economies of scale in running more pullmans, sourcing the food and other supplies should not take up much more time for 8 services a day rather than 4, likewise recruiting and training staff does not take up much more time and trouble for 10 staff instead of 5.

I wonder which services are being considered ?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 18, 2013, 11:51:12 am
Sorry to hear of our esteemed members disapointment re the steak, fortunatly this seems to be a very rare event.

It was very rare.  (Sorry couldn't resist that one)  ;D



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on April 18, 2013, 11:58:03 am
I wonder if this is franchise renewal based? :-)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: swrural on April 18, 2013, 12:21:46 pm
Sorry to hear of our esteemed members disapointment re the steak, fortunatly this seems to be a very rare event.

It was very rare.  (Sorry couldn't resist that one)  ;D



I don't blame BNM for having a beef about it.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 18, 2013, 11:52:03 pm
Indeed: on very rare occasions, the chef may make a mistake.  He may keep a notebook of such incidents, but hopefully they won't fill it.  ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 23, 2013, 09:11:52 am
So what is the latest on current Pullman times ?
FGW website still says 16-33 and 18-00.
Reliable sources on this website suggested that it WAS 16-33 and 18-00 briefly, but is now 18-00 and 19-00.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: SandTEngineer on April 24, 2013, 09:40:03 pm
The diversion timetable leaflet clearly shows them as 1201 and 1255 off Plymouth and 1800 and 1900 off Paddington.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 24, 2013, 09:43:43 pm
Guess I am going to have to volunteer to travel on one and find out  ;D

Seriously though I was told by one of the crew after the first week that the plan was to run on the 18:00 and 19:00 rather than the 16:33 and 18:00 from the second week onwards but I don't know if this actually has happened.  As I posted before the idea of the earlier timings was to do with staff hours but steps were taken to resolve it.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 25, 2013, 08:42:48 am
The FGW website still lists both sets of times.
On the Pullman dining page, immediatly under the video link, it is stated that dining is on the 16-33 and the 18-00.
At the bottom of the same page the times are given as 18-00 and 19-00.

It would appear that the second set of times are correct.

I telephoned FGW re this yesterday lunchtime but it has not yet been corrected.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 25, 2013, 11:37:20 pm
Hmm.  Cue Ollie, perhaps?  ::) :o


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 28, 2013, 02:41:27 pm
Correct times now on FGW site.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Southern Stag on May 16, 2013, 07:30:20 pm
The Pullman breakfast menu is now available to view on the FGW website, but still no mention of the additional restaurants on the page yet.

http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Your-journey/On-board/Pullman/Pullman-Breakfast-Menu

The menu appears to be very similar to the Travelling Chef breakfast menu.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on May 16, 2013, 09:59:58 pm
I notice they now have two brands of champagne on the breakfast menu.  There is now a cheaper option at ^43.   ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on May 16, 2013, 10:34:09 pm
Not seen this on Journeycheck for a while.

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/pull1605.png)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on May 17, 2013, 12:53:17 am
The Pullman breakfast menu is now available to view on the FGW website, but still no mention of the additional restaurants on the page yet.

http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Your-journey/On-board/Pullman/Pullman-Breakfast-Menu

The menu appears to be very similar to the Travelling Chef breakfast menu.

Major differences being the addition of the Smoked Kipper and the fact that Standard Class passengers on the 0655 from Plymouth, and stops to Taunton inclusive, can break their fast in the comfortable surroundings of a First Class coach. Subject to space.  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on May 17, 2013, 06:27:29 am
As a Veggie, I'd be rather disappointed to pay ^18.00 for Eggs on Toast and potentially some cereal

Why can't they offer the Vegetarian Breakfast similar to the ^7.00 Option from Travelling Chef?

Oh... And the cost of Eggs on Toast in Travelling Chef is ^4.50

That's bad... Just a marginal 300% Markup there! :-\ :-X ::) :o


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 17, 2013, 08:58:59 am
Looks good, I doubt that I will patronise it because I very seldom use the train question.
Hopefully others will enjoy the breakfast.

IMHO, ^18 is not bad for a full breakfast of several courses served at the table, I would certainly use it IF traveling at that time of day which is unlikely.

I remain very impressed with the evening restaurant service, each of the 3 menus contains fillet steak which is my favourite.

Does anyone know if the present menu is to stay more or less indefinatly ? or will it change with the seasons ? as previously.
I would be happy with it all year round, though something different or special for the Christmas season would be nice.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Southern Stag on May 17, 2013, 03:16:49 pm
The details of the new restaurants are confirmed in the new compete FGW timetable book, but still not mentioned in the online timetables.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 17, 2013, 04:20:56 pm
The details of the new restaurants are confirmed in the new compete FGW timetable book, but still not mentioned in the online timetables.

The Pullman section of the website gives the breakfast menu, but not details of on which train this is served.
No mention either of the re-instated Pullman on the 12-06 from Paddington.

edit to add, this was true when posted, but the FGW website DOES now list all 6 services




Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on May 17, 2013, 05:41:46 pm
Changes are afoot to the EXpress Cafe offerings too....from a staff brief supplied to the Customer Panel

Quote
EXPRESS CAF^ NEW RANGE
A new range of products will be arriving in your Express Caf^ very shortly. Most of the new items will be
available from Wednesday 29th May while a few more will filter through to you over the following week or
so.
The overall objective of the new range is to strengthen our links to the parts of the country we travel
through by using suppliers and ingredients from around our routes, to give our customers a reason for
buying their drinks and food on board by differentiating our products from what is available at or near the
station, and to make sure that what we do offer is appealing and of high quality. We have also
exchanged some products for alternatives where we have been able to get better value and thus
increase our margin, and we have made some price increases where our prices have not kept pace with
inflation in the costs of some products to us, thus improving the viability of our catering offer.
We have retained the basic range of Walkers crisps, Coke, Kit Kat, etc , but have made changes and
additions to much of the rest of the range. We have used feedback that has been gathered from you
and your colleagues and a customer host and an on board manager helped us make most of the final
selections. See what you think^.
Fresh food
We have retained the perennially popular bacon baguette. Waste of fresh food represents a huge cost
to us, so in order to try and control this better we have reduced the range of sandwiches and will now
only have two cold choices available. In order to have variety we will, however, have three different
selections which will rotate on a two weekly basis and the specification is very high quality. Each
rotation will have one meat and one non-meat choice, one in farmhouse bread and one in a roll, and only
one with mayonnaise. Many of the ingredients are from within the regions we serve. We are reducing to
one hot sandwich, in addition to the bacon baguette, focusing on the most popular type, which is ham
and cheese, and are introducing a Croque Monsieur toasted sandwich.
We are also providing a bit more interest in the range with a delicious pork pie from a small farm in
Devon, and a tasty hot savoury brioche style bread with a melted cheese and pickle topping, using
cheese from the region.
Not available for the launch on 29th May, but coming in over the next few weeks or so, we will have
Somerset cheese or a jar of p^ from Berkshire presented in a box with crackers and chutney which will
be lovely at any time of day, but particularly nice with a glass of wine.
Following comments from customer hosts, we are offering a fresh apple as a healthy snack, or to
complement our fresh food. We will, however, monitor quality and waste with this product as that has
been a problem in the past.
Baked products
We have improved the quality of the croissant, which now has a higher butter content and is delicious
and crispy when baked in the oven, and will be sold with Bonne Maman preserves. It will also be
available cold, without jam, but it must not be sold at the uncooked price and then put in the oven for the
customer, as VAT is charged on hot food.
Various different muffins were tried, but the ones we have currently still came out as the best, but you
will see them in slightly different packaging to enable them to be displayed more effectively. A blueberry
muffin will replace banoffee. The recipe of the muffin has also been improved.
Several types of flapjack were also tasted, again our existing choice came out best, Handmade cakes is
also a regional supplier, based in Maidenhead. An addition to the range is Tregroes toffee waffles from
Wales which are sumptuous if placed on top of a hot drink, allowing the steam to melt the filling a little.
We have changed the fruit cake to one similar to the first class complimentary cake, which is baked in
Somerset, which has been going down very well with our first class customers. It is the same weight as
the current one, but contains more fruit so may appear smaller, but is more tasty and moist.
Crisps and nuts
You will see Planters nuts replacing Sun Valley. They have a better taste, the packaging is more eyecatching
and we have achieved a better margin.
We retain Walkers salt and vinegar and cheese and onion crisps, and Quavers which are especially
popular with children, but we are also listing Tyrrell^s ridged, salted crisps, a more premium product from
a regional producer.
Popcorn has become very popular as a lower fat, lower salt and fun alternative to crisps so we are trying
a sweet and salty version from Proper Popcorn which is a small company fairly recently created by a
group of young people.
Sweets
Based on feedback from yourselves, we will be carrying smaller bags of sweets, and trying some new
varieties, aimed at families with children who don^t want a large bag.
We also have some very nice mints in some robust, tamper evident packaging, again following a lot of
requests. We have taken Twirl out of the range as sales are not consistently high and we cannot
achieve a good profit margin on this product. If customer feedback tells us that we need a pure
chocolate item, we will source something to meet this demand more competitively.
Soft drinks
We have a new brand of juices, again at an improved margin and with a better taste. The Fruit Shoot is
still in the range, popular with children, but we have de-listed Lucozade as, similar to Twirl, sales are not
great and the margin is poor.
Alcoholic drinks
We have made a lot of changes to our drinks range, mainly improving quality, partly just to give variety,
and also to improve margins. We have individually selected new wines, you will see we no longer just
have the two brands, with some really attractive ones for our customers to enjoy. When we had Absolut
vodka due to a temporary supply problem with Smirnoff, many of you said how that seemed to be more
popular, especially with young people, that will now be a permanent replacement.
Market analysis shows that where two ciders are listed, overall cider sales has grown, so Bulmer^s will
be available alongside Strongbow, as appealing to a slightly different customer base. And although
Arkell^s has its loyal customers, sales of this beer are low and will be replaced by Wadworth^s 6X, also
from Wiltshire, to accompany St Austell^s Tribute.
Our two lagers will be changed for Kronenbourg 1664 and Carling, as our premium and non-premium
choices. Research among lager drinkers shows that these are regarded as comparable to Stella and
Carlsberg, this change gives us variety and a slightly better margin.
Overall, we have tried to select a more interesting and appealing range of products, to offer something a
little different from what is available in the station, and to emphasise our links to our region. Prices have
also been raised, pretty much across the range, reflecting increased costs to ourselves.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 17, 2013, 08:32:45 pm
Thanks for posting that useful briefing, ChrisB.

Quote
And although Arkell^s has its loyal customers, sales of this beer are low and will be replaced by Wadworth^s 6X, also from Wiltshire, to accompany St Austell^s Tribute.

Excellent news!  ;D

Quote
Prices have also been raised, pretty much across the range, reflecting increased costs to ourselves.

Hmm.  Not so excellent.  :(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Southern Stag on May 17, 2013, 11:06:31 pm
No mention either of the re-instated Pullman on the 12-06 from Paddington.
The 1206 does get a mention in the complete timetable. In the changes section at the front of the timetable details of the two new restaurants are given and the restaurant symbol is displayed in the actual timetable.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ellendune on May 19, 2013, 08:31:40 pm
Never come across Bulmers Original?....Far, far nicer

No I must look out for it!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 19, 2013, 10:45:28 pm
... and that is why I prefer to be presented with the much simpler choice: Wadworth's 6X or St Austell's Tribute?  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on May 19, 2013, 10:50:57 pm
... and that is why I prefer to be presented with the much simpler choice: Wadworth's 6X or St Austell's Tribute?  ;) :D ;D

I had the 'privilege' of being at the St Austell brewery last week and tried a new brew of theirs - Royal Albert - named after the bridge. Well worth a try!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 19, 2013, 11:00:26 pm
I had the 'privilege' of being at the St Austell brewery last week and tried a new brew of theirs - Royal Albert - named after the bridge. Well worth a try!

It's all very hard work, being an admin on this forum, isn't it?  ::) :o ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on May 20, 2013, 12:28:13 pm
I had the 'privilege' of being at the St Austell brewery last week and tried a new brew of theirs - Royal Albert - named after the bridge. Well worth a try!

It's all very hard work, being an admin on this forum, isn't it?  ::) :o ;D

Just to complete your impression CfN am now on the inaugural 12:06 Pullman from Paddington.  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 20, 2013, 01:11:27 pm
As this service used to have a Pullman, I would prefer to say "reinstated" rather than inuagural.
Still excellent news though.
Anyone know know more about any other reinstatements ? this was hinted at a while ago.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 21, 2013, 11:37:29 am
Has anyone tried the reintroduced breakfast Pullman ? and if so what did they think of it ?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on May 21, 2013, 11:35:17 pm
Has anyone tried the reintroduced breakfast Pullman ? and if so what did they think of it ?

Not yet, although I plan to find a way, as cheaply as possible ticket wise, to partake of breakfast on the re-introduced up Pullman on the Golden Hind.

In the meantime, two of this forum's mod/admin team partook of lunch on the re-introduced down lunch Pullman, the 1206 Royal Duchy from Paddington, on the first day of operation, 20th May 2013. Some concern, prior to boarding, that we may have been out of luck, as the screens at Paddington were advertising the 1206 as having a 'Buffet and Travelling Chef'. On enquiring at the information desk a call was made and while waiting for a reply I noticed the screens change to 'Pullman Restaurant Service', just as whoever was called phoned back!

(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/100_2202_zps852a0c89.jpg)
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/100_2203_zpsbaac4d50.jpg)

There's currently an offer, on this service only, of a 2 course lunch for ^25 (^30 if having the fillet steak). The new crew, with the odd old hand, did admirably well providing lunch. One minor criticism - things did seem a little rushed. But with good food, good wine and good service, that can be forgiven.

There were 11 dining, which isn't bad for the first day of service following the re-introduction. Speaking to the crew we learnt that they'd fed a similar number of diners on the up Pullman breakfast service.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 22, 2013, 12:02:06 am
Yes, that's an administrator and a moderator on this forum, both hard at work, as ever ...  ::) :o ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on May 22, 2013, 12:07:44 am
It is called researching your subject CfN...   ;D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 22, 2013, 10:00:21 am
I was very pleased to note that the 2 reinstated Pullmans are now shown on the "Pullman dining" section of the FGW website.
Only appeared in the last hour or two, earlier this morning only 4 services were listed, but all 6 are there now.

Oh and BTW should Pullman be spelt with a capital P, or lower case ?
Other catering facilities such as travelling chef or buffet are usually lower case, but it could be argued that Pullman is indirectly named after Mr Pullman of the Pullman car company and should therefore be capitalised.
FGW, and members of this forum seem to use either.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 22, 2013, 06:36:17 pm
Hmm.  Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pullman_train_(UK)) tends to support the capitalization of Pullman.  :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: devon_metro on May 22, 2013, 07:38:49 pm
Hmm.  Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pullman_train_(UK)) tends to support the capitalization of Pullman.  :D

Or 'capitalisation', if one resides in England.  :P


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 22, 2013, 08:06:18 pm
Au contraire, devon_metro: it's capitalization (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_spelling_differences#-ise.2C_-ize_.28-isation.2C_-ization.29) if one resides in England - and most particularly in Oxford!)  ;) :D ;D

Quote
British usage
British English using -ize is known as Oxford spelling and is used in publications of the Oxford University Press, most notably the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Red Squirrel on May 22, 2013, 08:07:42 pm

Or 'capitalisation', if one resides in England.  :P


Funny one, this; -ize is the OED spelling and has been used in Britain (let's not exclude Wales, Scotland and Cornwall) for hundreds of years. However we increasingly prefer -ise in this country, so that The Timezs changed from -ize to -ise  in the 1990's, apparently (I wouldn't know as I try not to avoid any of my hard-earned travelling in the direction of Murdoch). Now even Oxford University prefers -ise in its publicity material, but the grammarians at the OED may take more convincing.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on May 22, 2013, 08:13:03 pm
Apparently it's the older form as even in Latin it was -ize. I think they only used z when they knew it was a Greek import, as in this case. Dictionaries these days claim their vocation is to be descriptive, not prescriptive, so it is rather odd they (not just OED) have resisted this. Unless we are all wrong to think-ise is the commoner in Britain.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on May 24, 2013, 07:27:15 pm
Seems the 12:06 Pullman service from Paddington is proving popular. There have been double figures taking lunch every day this week bar one. Similarly encouraging figures on the breakfast service.

Among those dining today was Heston Blumenthal. He told me he has travelled on the Pullman before "but not recently". He praised the staff for what they produce in the cramped conditions.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 24, 2013, 08:12:37 pm
So Heston is now asking everyone he meets, "Guess who I met on the train today?"  :P ;) ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: devon_metro on May 25, 2013, 12:05:13 pm
Seems the 12:06 Pullman service from Paddington is proving popular. There have been double figures taking lunch every day this week bar one. Similarly encouraging figures on the breakfast service.

Among those dining today was Heston Blumenthal. He told me he has travelled on the Pullman before "but not recently". He praised the staff for what they produce in the cramped conditions.

It would be interesting to know how the economics of the Pullman compare to the Travelling Chef, given the fact that this service is not available when the Pullman is operating.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 25, 2013, 05:07:36 pm
I would expect that a reasonably well patronised Pullman is more profitable than a travelling chef.
Not only is the average spend much greater, but an experienced Pullman crew can serve a dozen or more full meals suprisingly quickly, but the travelling chef service seems to serve only one or two at a time.

The travelling chef service is not bad if one was expecting a buffet, but is not to be compared with a proper restaurant.

I last dined on the Golden Hind last Thursday (23/05/2013) and it was of the usual high standard despite the late arrival of the incoming service and a slightly late departure.
Expect to take lunch on my return on Teusday.

Still/again no Plymouth gin though :(

AFAIK, proper miniatures of spirits and mixers have returned to buffets rather than the limited choice of ready mixed drinks that they tried recently.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Southern Stag on May 25, 2013, 05:29:33 pm
Not only is the average spend much greater, but an experienced Pullman crew can serve a dozen or more full meals suprisingly quickly, but the travelling chef service seems to serve only one or two at a time.
The restaurant only does the one sitting per journey though, except perhaps the breakfast which may do two? The travelling chef can have a steady stream of passengers throughout the journey, even if the average spend is lower. The travelling chef is probably within more peoples price range as well. I couldn't justify forking out for the restaurant but on a long journey I'm happy to buy something from the travelling chef.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on May 25, 2013, 06:25:10 pm
Just thought I'd advise anyone who wanted to know regarding catering this Bank Holiday Monday:

Quote
the answer i got is: we're expecting to have travelling chef, but not pullman

Source... A Certain Forum Member & FGW Digital Marketing Executive ;) ;D :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 30, 2013, 01:44:54 pm
Enjoyed lunch recently on the 13-34 from Taunton, was of the usual high standard. I had smoked salmon, fillet steak, and the cheesboard, and a bottle of wine, also a few ports.

Also met a friend who has tried the re-instated lunchtime service from Paddington, they also felt that the service though generly excellent was a bit rushed.
IME, newer Pullman staff tend to rush the service a bit, presumably for fear of running out of time ! Old hands know exactly how much time is needed and are more relaxed.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on May 30, 2013, 01:50:45 pm
Also met a friend who has tried the re-instated lunchtime service from Paddington, they also felt that the service though generly excellent was a bit rushed.
IME, newer Pullman staff tend to rush the service a bit, presumably for fear of running out of time ! Old hands know exactly how much time is needed and are more relaxed.

I'd certainly agree with that - and it is understandable.  From what I can gather the crews working the morning breakfast and lunchtime west bound service are totally separarate from the afternoon crews and are largely new to the job with just one or two old hands from the days of more Pullmans.  I think they may have been caught out slightly by the demand for lunchtime service too.  Reported double figures most days is probably a slightly higher average than the existing east bound services.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 07, 2013, 08:36:31 pm
Changes are afoot to the Express Cafe offerings...

The printed price lists and banners above the fridges have been updated with the new offerings from the Express Cafe. Sadly, as I write, the new offerings are patchy. I guess it's a case of running down the old stock, but I've yet to see a new sandwich, and I await with baited (and salivating) breath for the Croque Monsieur.

The Pork Pie has appeared and it's up there with the best that East Leicestershire can offer. Obviously, being from Devon, it can't be advertised as a Melton Mowbray, but it easily matches pies from that neck of the woods. That said, I'm not sure the price represents good value. It's a good pork pie, one of the best I've tasted, but FGW are charging ^4.00. Too much for a pork pie on it's own. A bit of cheese and a tangy chutney, then maybe four quid would be justified.

The new drinks offerings are in place. Kronenbourg and Carling are good replacements for Stella and Carlsberg. The addition of Bulmers is also welcome for those who like a medium sweet, less harsh cider than Strongbow. Absolut replaces Smirnoff, but there's still no Brandy (which I know will upset broadgage) unless you're dining on the Pullmans.

Today's snack lunch whilst on the Cotswolds Line (S&V Walkers out of shot):
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/100_2334a_zpsa6d82ccb.jpg)

And the blurb from the Pork Pie wrapper:
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/Squealerpie_zpsc2094c5b.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 07, 2013, 09:11:53 pm
By coincidence I had one of the pies and a Bulmers on a train to the West Country today. I'm a bit fussy about my pies and don't like a lot of jelly in them. I wasn't disappointed, it was very tasty. However bignosemac makes a good point about the price and the idea of adding cheese and chutney is a brilliant suggestion.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on June 07, 2013, 11:09:40 pm
However bignosemac makes a good point about the price and the idea of adding cheese and chutney is a brilliant suggestion.

Just what we need - a budding Heston Bloomin'-thing on the forum ...  ::) :o ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on June 08, 2013, 11:47:56 am
I'm guessing they used "premium pie" shops, such as Pieminister, as a guide when setting the price.  I believe they are around ^4.50 for a pie, without any mash or other accompaniments.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on June 08, 2013, 02:18:53 pm
And why I ask is brandy not sold in the buffets ?
It is not bulky so virtualy no pressure on the limited space.
It is not perishable, so no risk of waste or loss due to date expirey.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 10, 2013, 11:52:36 pm
I did some research on the new pork pies and took a look at the suppliers website http://www.takeachunk.com/ (http://www.takeachunk.com/).

I was keen to find out what sort of prices they charge on the High Street.  The first place I went to after referring to the list of stockists no longer sold them and the second appeared to be a private house with a mobile catering van.  ???

After emailing the company I was directed to a third stockist who did indeed have them for sale.

I purchased a pork pie - which was sold loose from under glass rather than in the packaging - but looks (and tastes) the same as the one for sale on board but was priced at ^1.75.  I also bought a chicken and ham pie which was a similar size and cost ^1.95.

We have explored the economics of on board catering here before, but the price mark up does seem rather large if a High Street shop can make a profit selling a pie at such a lower price.  That said they are delicious!

Incidentally neither of the HSTs I travelled on yesterday (Sunday) had any pork pies for sale.  It wasn't clear if they had sold out or never had any in the first place.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 11, 2013, 12:17:23 am
Around ^2 on the High St seems about right for what is a quality pork pie. FGW have to charge VAT for food on trains so that bumps up the price some more. Then they have their buffet operation overheads to factor in. And finally their profit margin.

Without knowing their costs it's difficult to say whether ^4 is excessive. The sandwiches are around the same price and it's nice to have the choice of something a little different, but I agree that the price of the pork pie is at the upper limit of value for money.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: caliwag on June 11, 2013, 02:44:33 pm
GNER, for one year perhaps, did a slice of excellent game pie for about ^4 then but it was well worth it, with a bit of fresh salad if fancied. Mind that was in the days they did bottled regional real ale and regional cheeses. Imaginative and superb.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: LiskeardRich on June 14, 2013, 08:51:56 pm
From http://www.falmouthpacket.co.uk/news/10483627.Return_of_silver_service_on_Penzance___Paddington_service_judged__strictly__perfect/?ref=mr

Quote from: falmouthpacket

Return of silver service on Penzance - Paddington service judged 'strictly' perfect
.
7:00am Friday 14th June 2013 in News .

Strictly Come Dancing Judge Craig Revel Horwood has been among the first to enjoy a silver service breakfast as First Great Western launch its new Pullman breakfast train.

The 05.05 Penzance to London Paddington (departing Plymouth 06.55) breakfast Pullman Dining service launched this morning, accompanying another new dining train, the 12.06 from London Paddington to Penzance.

From smoked salmon cured in Somerset, to a recipe developed by restaurateur and food writer Mitch Tonks, to whole grilled kipper on the bone, or smoked Wiltshire back bacon, all food is cooked on board by chefs.

Mitch said: ^Living in Devon I am surrounded by some of the best ingredients in the world and I am committed to supporting seasonal food in the South West.

^Developing this menu with First Great Western and our West Country suppliers has been great fun and a privilege. We keep on finding more and more top quality producers across Devon, Dorset, Wales and Cornwall ^ and what better way to eat it, than as you travel through the beautiful countryside from which it was produced.^

Andrew George MP for St Ives said: ^Regular passengers will be delighted to see the return of the Pullman breakfast on the Golden Hind.

^Excellent dining facilities are an essential part of the journey experience for long distance passengers, and this is something that First Great Western do very well indeed.^

Chris Pomfret, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, added: ^The new Pullman breakfast and additional lunch service are excellent news for business travellers. The evening Pullman dining cars are a highly sought after service and having such good quality, locally sourced food is important for long distance customers.

^These are the only dedicated restaurant cars in the whole of the UK and it is great to see them being extended and developed for the benefit of Cornish passengers.^

First Great Western Head of Marketing Philip Edgerton said: ^First Great Western is committed to supporting the communities we serve. What better way to do that than by helping local farmers and producers and serve up dishes cooked with their own ingredients; prepared and presented with the skill and delicacy that this top of the range produce deserves.^

The breakfast and additional lunch time Pullman service by First Great Western add to two evening trains from London to the West Country and two lunch time trains from the West Country into London, five days a week.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 12, 2013, 10:03:40 pm
Interesting experience on the 12:55 Pullman from Plymouth today - I was the only one dining.  I was treated like royalty!

However the strange thing was the whole of standard class was packed to the gills.  I suspect people don't ask to upgrade to first class during the week because they know it is going to cost them perhaps as much as ^70 to ^100.  However for around ^45 you can have a three course meal and a drink - or spend a little more and have a bottle of wine and sit in first class comfort.

I felt sorry for the crew having laid up all the tables and having just me for company!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on July 13, 2013, 12:44:27 pm
I wonder why it was so poorly used ?

In the past, I have been the only customer at least once, but not not recently.

Recently loadings seen to have averaged about 10 or 12 customers taking lunch.
I presume that the usuall announcements were made advertising the Pullman ?

Perhaps the unfortunates in steerage felt that the restaurant was too expensive for them ? it probably IS too expensive for MOST of them, but I would expect that on a busy train, that a few would be able/willing to splash out a bit.

For the benifit of those who think the Pullman is hugely expensive, perhaps the announcements should include a few of the prices ? " A choice of main courses from ^XX" Or perhaps "a full 3 course meal cooked to order and silver served at your seat, from ^YY for 3 courses"

I suspect that those who have not tried the Pullman have no idea how good it is, and may think it be a slightly improved hot buffet, or reheated airline type mush, rather than a proper restaurant.

When travelling from Taunton, I consider the restaurant to be effectively free, indeed it almost seems as though I get paid to eat and drink  :)

Walk up steerage single to London=about ^40 (horrid dont do steerage)
Walk up First from Taunton=about ^170  (good, but rather expensive)

Alternatively, steerage ticket at ^40, plus say ^85 in the Pullman on three courses with wine, plus say ^15 tip to restaurant crew, comes to about ^140, so I have saved about ^30 and enjoyed an excellent meal, and also saved the expense and time of a meal in London.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 13, 2013, 05:15:34 pm
Some Pullman menus placed in Standard Class might entice a few people to come the Restaurant car. Advertising not only the excellent food, but also the fact that for the duration of your meal you can travel in 1st class for no additional charge.

^50-70 a head for 3 silver-served courses of freshly prepared food and an upgrade to 1st Class really is good value.

As for loadings on the up Pullmans at the moment, there might be something in the fact that folk aren't really up for a large hot meal in the middle of the day when the weather is so hot.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 13, 2013, 11:23:27 pm
As for loadings on the up Pullmans at the moment, there might be something in the fact that folk aren't really up for a large hot meal in the middle of the day when the weather is so hot.

I think that is very true - I do feel for the chefs cooking in that small kitchen.  Another factor on the day I travelled, I have since discovered, is that the 12:01 Pullman had been delayed in Cornwall with a door fault and ran only 15 minutes in front of the 12:55 as far as Taunton so may well have picked up any casual travellers destined for the later train.

Of course I'm up for a meal in an air conditioned restaurant whatever the weather!   ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 16, 2013, 09:15:17 am
Possible disappointment for anyone hoping to try the Breakfast Pullman this morning.  The up Golden Hind (the 05:05 from Penzance) was cancelled at Plymouth because of a fault on the train.  Passengers were transferred to a later service, but whether the breakfast service was I don't know.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on July 17, 2013, 12:06:38 pm
I believe the breakfast Pullman was provided on 1A77 instead, marketed as "for one day only.."  :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 17, 2013, 05:13:13 pm
Meanwhile today there were problems with the kitchen on the 12:01 from Plymouth, so starters and sweets only - except for those wise ones who jumped off at Totnes and got the following 12:55.....  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: mjray on July 22, 2013, 11:22:52 pm
I wonder why it was so poorly used ?

In the past, I have been the only customer at least once, but not not recently.
It's nice to hear it's coming back. I had an "only diner" experience on NXEA once. It was far below the Pullman (in both price and food quality) but ^15 for a light pasta meal and what was effectively an upgrade to 1st for over two hours was well worth it.  Does a restaurant ever travel the Bristol lines? Travelling Chef is OK, but like someone said earlier, it's basically a hot buffet and often runs out of things.

I think NXEA withdrew even its basic restaurant not long after that, there's no chance of Great Anglia bringing them back during its short-but-extending franchise and travelling via Cambridge to access FirstCC is no help as the Cambridge lines have no restaurants on trains or even at stations.  Oh well, maybe after IEP... guess I should go look at that thread now.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on July 23, 2013, 10:03:58 am
There is no booked restaurant service on trains via Bristol.
IIRC, the odd service with a restaurant has been diverted via Bristol, but no booked services take that route.

FGW run only 6 Pullmans a day, all between Paddington and Plymouth via Taunton and Exeter.

The evening departures from Paddington can be very busy and it is advisable to purchase a first class ticket so as to ensure a dining seat.
The lunchtime up services are usually less busy and a steerage ticket generaly suffices.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on July 31, 2013, 11:44:31 pm
From the First Great Western press release:

Quote
First Great Western Food Week ^ Supporting the very best local produce

In support of food festivals and local producers, First Great Western is holding its first food week this week.

The First Great Western Food Week will highlight the great foodstuffs available across the Great Western train network, offer free tickets to food festivals and give away a chance to sample our very own silver service Pullman Dining services.

The only high speed train operator in the UK offering a silver service dining restaurant, as well as 27 daily travelling chef services, First Great Western (FGW) is committed to supporting local producers and sourcing ingredients from across the Great Western network.

FGW^s Customer Experience Manager Jo Elliott said: ^First Great Western is committed to supporting the communities we serve and working with our West Country suppliers in developing our own menus has been great fun and a privilege. We keep on finding more and more top quality producers across Devon, Dorset, Gloucester, Wales and Cornwall ^ and what better way to eat it than on board as you travel through the beautiful countryside from which it was produced, or by visiting one of the many great food festivals on our patch.^

While our menus boast fillet steak direct from the farms of Somerset to red gurnard harvested from the sea off the Devon coast, we also want to help showcase the tongue^tastic food available in the south west and the Cotswolds.

Tune in to FGWs Twitter (https://twitter.com/FGW) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FirstGreatWestern?fref=ts) accounts to be in with a chance of winning first class tickets to experience the silver service Pullman Dining service; discover the secrets of the south and much more.

FGW dining

First Great Western runs six Pullman Dining services a day including a breakfast dining service, between London Paddington and Penzance, as well as over 25 travelling chef services across our other routes. The Pullman Dining menus were recently revitalised with the help and expertise of restaurateur Mitch Tonks.

Food festivals on the FGW network

The south west is renowned for its food festivals including:
^        Great Dorset Chilli Festival, 3 August
^        The Wilderness Festival, Charlbury, 4/5 August
^        Banbury Food Fair, 18 August
^        The Big Feastival, Kingham, 31/1 September
^        Fishstock Brixham, 7 September
^        Stroud Food Festival, 7 September
^        Weston Super Food Festival, 21 September
^        Forest Showcase Food and Drink Festival, near Gloucester, 6 October
^        Cornwall Food and Drink Festival, 27,28,29 Festival

Getting there: Low cost travel

For the best value tickets and offers buy before you board at www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk (http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/), or telephone 08457 000125.

Low cost Advance Single fares go on sale 12 weeks before the date of travel, or take advantage of our Group Save fares, offering 4 for the price two on off peak fares (terms and conditions apply).


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on August 02, 2013, 12:35:55 pm
Had to dash down to Truro from Exeter yesterday, and caught the down Cornish Riviera. From my view in coach G there were a good number of diners in F.

Forever trying to persuade my sister and partner to come down to Devon by train, instead of driving from Sussex. If I could send Pullman gift vouchers for her birthday/Christmas present I'm sure I could tempt her...

Vouchers would also be useful for businesses, as hospitality for important clients and/or senior management, so how about it, FGW?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on August 02, 2013, 01:16:43 pm
When travelling from Taunton, I consider the restaurant to be effectively free, indeed it almost seems as though I get paid to eat and drink  :)

A few years ago when booking a First Advance from Taunton - Bristol Temple Meads. I was quoted ^3.30 as usual for the fare, however the ticket clerk said there was a Standard Advance available at ^2.00 if I wanted it... I looked at him and said "It would cost more than ^1.30 for a cup of coffee on the train" The clerk couldn't disagree :D :o ;D

Back then a Latte would set you back ^1.85 in the Buffet. If anyone is wondering, that drink now costs ^2.50 :o >:( :-X


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: CLPGMS on August 02, 2013, 10:37:37 pm
The Wilderness Festival at Charlbury is from 8th to 11th August - see http://www.wildernessfestival.com/ , and not 4/5 August as shown in the FGW press release posted by chris from nailsea on 31st July.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on August 15, 2013, 08:01:59 pm
Today's 12:01 Pullman had the full compliment of 17 people taking a meal. First time I have seen that at lunchtime for a while.

On the downside there was no meal service on the 12:55 due to a fault with the kitchen.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on August 16, 2013, 08:20:34 am
That is a bit of a change from from the fairly recent day on which there was only one customer.
Glad to hear that the service is becoming more popular, though I hope that it does not become SO popular that there is no room for me !

I wonder if they will start laying a couple of tables in G as is done on the evening services ?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on August 16, 2013, 08:14:38 pm
I wonder if they will start laying a couple of tables in G as is done on the evening services ?

Presumably you then have to eat your meal in silence?




Edit note: Quote marks amended, for clarity. CfN.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on August 17, 2013, 10:24:05 am
Normal conversation seems to be accepted, but I would not use a mobile phone or other noise maker.
Lest the taking of food orders and serving of same be considered unduly noisy, IMHO the quiet coach should no longer be G but should be the end coach H.
After all, the standard class quite coach is A, the end one and it seems sensible to designate the end coaches thus as they have no through traffic.

I have previously speculated as to why G is the quiet coach, and a respected member said it was because the end coach, H was formerly for smokers. This is no doubt so, but now that smoking has been banned for years it might be time to review this.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on August 17, 2013, 06:54:00 pm
I wonder if they will start laying a couple of tables in G as is done on the evening services ?

The problem is all the food has to be loaded at the Plymouth end and I understand the fridge space is limited. While it is possible for the crew on the 19:03 to get more supplies sent up on the 15:00 if they have a run on something, it might be problematic carring sufficient food to provide more meals in the up direction on a regular basis.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on August 19, 2013, 02:04:34 pm
You mean that if the up restaurants become too busy, that there might be no fillet steak left FOR ME on the corresponding down service !


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on August 20, 2013, 02:47:44 pm
The last couple of trips I have had there has been no gurnard and it has been replaced by a very nice piece of grilled plaice.  I'm a confirmed steak eater, but it tempted me to try it and I was not disappointed.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on August 26, 2013, 12:02:12 pm
I took dinner on the 18-03 last Friday (23/08/2013)
The food was of the usual excellent qaulity, the service was a bit rushed because of a last minute set swap.
The set booked for this service was found to have no water available in the kitchen, and therefore an alternative train was used thereby limiting the time that the Pullman crew had to prepare.

I was however not impressed with the alternative train used. This had at least 2 defective seats in coach F.
2F and 2R both defaulted to the fully reclined position, no matter what adjustment was attempted. OK perhaps for lying back and sleeping, but not suitable for sitting upright.
The restaurant was full, so I could not take an alternative seat, another customer was similarly inconvienienced.

I am almost certain that the same 2 seats were broken on an up service recently.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: sprinterguard on August 26, 2013, 06:24:02 pm
IIRC the seat manufacturer for the 1st class seats went out of business, making procuring spare parts for the seats difficult. Not sure what's happened since with that regard. 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on August 26, 2013, 07:11:44 pm
IMHO the quiet coach should no longer be G but should be the end coach H.
After all, the standard class quite coach is A, the end one and it seems sensible to designate the end coaches thus as they have no through traffic.

I have previously speculated as to why G is the quiet coach, and a respected member said it was because the end coach, H was formerly for smokers. This is no doubt so, but now that smoking has been banned for years it might be time to review this.

Broadgage I agree completely. I've raised this point on the forum before a couple of times. I believe member: super tm said it was because H used to be the smoking carriage.

It would make sense to make H the quiet carriage as you say to prevent through traffic. The toilet on the power car side is no more, so it makes more sense.

No too long ago I was on an HST set where there were no working toilets in First (Well not strictly true but the less said the better on that one ::) ). Leaving the nearest in Coach F (Micro Buffet). A few quiet coach occupants were less than pleased at the folks traipsing through G to get to the Buffet Car and the toilets.

If the quiet coach had been in H then this wouldn't have been an issue as you wouldn't need to walk to the power car end for the bog.

I think laying up a few tables for the Pullman in Coach G is acceptable and the chances are you wouldn't want to take a call mid meal (Sssssh pedants...!) However I think conversation at a normal tone should be allowed.

On weekends especially I've seen numerous passengers get very hostile with passengers walking through. Especially with young children walking up and down and looking for interesting things to do on the 3+ hour journey from London Paddington - Plymouth.

Of course when you have 2 Coach G's in the consist with one labelled up as an H, then things start to get interesting... Unfortunately that does happen ;D :o :P :-X


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on August 26, 2013, 08:14:35 pm
the chances are you wouldn't want to take a call mid meal

Unless you want to be mealy-mouthed about it.  :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on August 27, 2013, 07:04:20 am
As a daily user of coach G I have never had any problem with through traffic from H. It doesn't bother me at all. With the trolley service it's fairly limited anyway.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on August 29, 2013, 09:50:43 am
Took lunch yesterday on the earlier of the 2 up trains, cant fault the restaurant, but again at least 2 broken seats that are stuck in the fully reclined position, or that if placed in the upright position then unexpectedly recline.

Not such a big deal as the restaurant was not full and other seats available.

Also no water for handwashing in the nearest 2 toilets, presumably the tap was defective as water was available to flush the WC.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on August 29, 2013, 11:55:45 am
Took lunch yesterday on the earlier of the 2 up trains, cant fault the restaurant, but again at least 2 broken seats that are stuck in the fully reclined position, or that if placed in the upright position then unexpectedly recline.

Not such a big deal as the restaurant was not full and other seats available.

Also no water for handwashing in the nearest 2 toilets, presumably the tap was defective as water was available to flush the WC.

Please report the faults to the TM where possible, because if we don't put them in the fault book and notify Maintenance of the faults, then they just won't ever get fixed.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on September 04, 2013, 02:23:32 pm
Took lunch yesterday on the earlier of the 2 up trains, cant fault the restaurant, but again at least 2 broken seats that are stuck in the fully reclined position, or that if placed in the upright position then unexpectedly recline.

Not such a big deal as the restaurant was not full and other seats available.

Also no water for handwashing in the nearest 2 toilets, presumably the tap was defective as water was available to flush the WC.

Please report the faults to the TM where possible, because if we don't put them in the fault book and notify Maintenance of the faults, then they just won't ever get fixed.

I do ! but I have my doubts as to what is done.
It often seems that the same seats are still/again broken on subsequent journeys, I cant be certain of course as I dont record which sets are used.
However both 2R and 2F in coach F are either broken on several trains, or are broken on the one that I get.
On the set that is regularly used on the earlier up Pullman, 1F is broken.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 05, 2013, 09:59:38 pm
Competition running until 2359 11th September 2013 to win a 3 course lunch (incl. wine) for two on the FGW Pullman lunch services.

http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/eNewsletter/Competitions/2013/September/win-a-three-course-meal-for-two


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on September 06, 2013, 01:21:43 pm
What is the difference between Traveling Chef and Pullman apart from the menu. Is the Traveling Chef a 'go to the buffet and collect your meal and take it back to your seat in standard' while Pullman is 'sit in the resturant car, even if you only have a standard class ticket, and we'll bring food to you'?

Oh well, maybe after IEP... guess I should go look at that thread now.
The draft IEP seating layouts on the DfT website suggest that cooked meals will be reduced to first class passengers only. The only kitchen/buffet is tucked away in the 1st class driving vehicle, standard class is left with just a parking place for a trolley.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on September 06, 2013, 01:28:03 pm
The travelling chef menu is intended to be served at ones table if seated in first, or taken away to ones seat if in steerage.
The table service in first does not allways appear.

The Pullman menu is proper restaurant meals served at a properly laid table such as one would expect in any good class restaurant.
The travelling chef food and service is much cheaper, but more akin to what one would expect in a pub or cafe rather than a restaurant.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on September 11, 2013, 03:27:32 pm
I took lunch on the earlier of the up trains yesterday and am pleased to report that the Pullman was well patronised with about 14 seats taken.

Cant fault the food or service. It certainly seems that FGW are belatedly taking restaurants seriously.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on September 30, 2013, 03:33:19 pm
I remain impressed with the Pullman, but increasingly disapointed with the seating.
Growing number of first class seats are either stuck in the fully reclined position, or unexpectedly default to the fully reclined position when one sits.

I have complained to FGW about this and recently received what I suspect to be a standard reply.
Does not seem to be getting any better though.

This is a problem throughout First class, but is more important in F, the vehicle used for restaurant services.
Elswhere in First it matters less since many customers prefer to recline, and for those who dont it is usually easy to select an alternative seat.
Hardly anyone wishes to recline whilst eating, and often every seat is taken.




Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on September 30, 2013, 05:46:43 pm
Monday 23rd September myself and ladyfriend were booked on the 10:30 London Paddington - Bath Spa. We booked this train in particular as it has a travelling chef.

Anyhow the set was changed at the last minute and we ended up with a set that had a TSMB. Which meant that the cancellation of the Travelling Chef was the special of the day.

I'll get my coat! >:( :o :-X


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on October 01, 2013, 11:51:06 am
For those who thought ^4 for the new "Squealer" pork pies from the FGW Express Cafes was a bit steep, I fear the latest addition may give you indigestion.

Billed as the FGW Larder it comes with a small jar of chutney, a total six oatcakes of differing flavours, a knife and either a portion of cheese or a jar of pate.    I will confess it is very tasty despite the lack of any butter or spread.  However it is charged at ^5 for the box and ^3 for the cheese or pate!  ^8 would buy you a couple of sandwiches which would satisfy your appetite somewhat better I think!

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/fgwlarder.jpg)
Right hand one shows contents unpacked


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 01, 2013, 04:06:27 pm
More detail on the 'Great Western Larder':

http://en-route.com/uk/news-nibbles/great-western-larder-box/


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on October 01, 2013, 05:04:47 pm
For those who thought ^4 for the new "Squealer" pork pies from the FGW Express Cafes was a bit steep, I fear the latest addition may give you indigestion.

Billed as the FGW Larder it comes with a small jar of chutney, a total six oatcakes of differing flavours, a knife and either a portion of cheese or a jar of pate.    I will confess it is very tasty despite the lack of any butter or spread.  However it is charged at ^5 for the box and ^3 for the cheese or pate!  ^8 would buy you a couple of sandwiches which would satisfy your appetite somewhat better I think!

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/fgwlarder.jpg)
Right hand one shows contents unpacked

I thought the cheese option for ^6.50 and pate ^8 ?  Pate was definitely more...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on October 01, 2013, 06:06:03 pm
Well I was certainly charged ^5 for the box and then ^3 each for the cheese and pate last night. They were itemised separately on the receipt rather than an all in price.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on October 01, 2013, 07:15:58 pm
Never mind. I can't imagine they'll be available on an IEP trolley, so it's only a temporary thing (unless you're travelling to the South West possibly).



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on October 02, 2013, 08:44:02 am

I thought the cheese option for ^6.50 and pate ^8 ?  Pate was definitely more...

Checked on board this morning and you are correct Super Guard. Looks like I was overcharged for the cheese. I'm not sure that ^6.50 isn't still a bit steep but you pays your money and takes your choice. Still prefer the pork pies!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on October 06, 2013, 01:09:16 pm
Interesting article in RAIL* by Barry Doe giving a generaly favourable view of services in Cornwall by FGW.
Through services by HST from relatively small stations are noted as being an advantage of both local and long distance services being in the same hands.

In particular the "excellent full sized buffet" in an 8 car HST is noted, as is the "excellent lunch" recently enjoyed in the re-instated Pullman from Paddington.

As it says in the article "how astounding that other operators do not see the value of proper dining on long distance journeys-something that other modes cant offer and adds huge value to railways"

Cant agree more !

I travel regulary between London and the West on FGW services, partly because of the restaurant on board.
If not for the restaurant I would probably go by road.

*page 46, rail 732


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on October 14, 2013, 11:07:03 am
Does anyone know

Firstly, are any more Pulmans to be re-instated ? rumours continue to circulate, but does anyone know ?

Secondly, is anything special planned in the Pullmans for Christmas ? Turkey ? Christmas pudding ? Beef Wellington*, free port :)

Thirdly, does anyone know how the reductions in First class accomadation will affect the services that have Pullmans ?
At present the sets used on Pullman services usually have 2 and a half first class coaches. Is this to remain as is ? or be reduced to 2 coaches only ? or be reduced to 1 and a half coaches.

On the Golden Hind, the restaurant is often full, with the remainder of First well filled, I doubt that any reduction in First will go down very well on that service.

*Not proper Beef Wellington, but a fillet steak served in a similar way, still very enjoyable though. Dont think that it appeared last year unfortunatly.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on October 14, 2013, 04:35:27 pm
I doubt that any reduction in First will go down very well on that service.
I also doubt that the reduction in First class will go down well on many peak time morning and evening services for those who have paid the full First class fare only to find there are less seats in First class. Unless of course FGW reconfigure the 1.5 First class carriages to provide more seats or jack up the prices which they can easily do as they are not regulated. With many now using laptop's/tablets etc, is there any need to have so many tables with four seats?

Regards the Pullman services. My theory is that there will be a few sets that remain with 2.5 First Class that are diagrammed to operate the Pullman trains. I really cannot see this service being able to be provided with just 1.5 on as you say the well loaded 18.03 Golden Hind.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on October 14, 2013, 10:51:11 pm
I think it may become increasingly common that standard class passengers have to wait to see how many first class passengers wish to dine on the London bound lunchtime services.

On a couple of trips recently the Service Leader has asked standard class passengers to wait until after Exeter before taking a seat.  Today the 12:01 had all 17 seats taken by Newton Abbot.

It is actually in the "terms and conditions" but has never really been necessary on the lunchtime trains before.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on October 16, 2013, 04:52:24 pm
Decided on the 16:23 Westbury - Taunton train today as it has should have a Travelling Chef...

Announcements at WSB were that the train had a Traveling Chef. Got onboard and went to the buffet to place an order after getting board of waiting for the Trolley to come through 1ST. Get told there was no Chef today >:(

This is the second consecutive time I have deliberately chosen a particular train for a TC and it's not been provided. If only FGW took as much interest in TCs as they do their Pullmans.

Incidentally we have just left Castle Cary and still no 1ST Trolley >:(

I'm sat in Coach F and I can here what sounds like personal chit chat from Staff in the Buffet... I may have to interrupt them for a cuppa... ::) :-X >:(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on October 16, 2013, 07:17:59 pm
That is annoying - particularly as by the time the train gets to Westbury there should have been long enough to get a message back via control to have the CIS changed.  I quite often use the 07:30 from Paddington (getting on at Swindon) and on the rare occasion there hasn't been a travelling chef there has been an announcement prior to its arrival.  I think it may well be down to the customer host reporting it and the regular one on the 07:30 is quite switched on.

As for the Pullmans it seems there won't be any widespread menu changes until after Whiteball Tunnel re-opens in February.  There may be some tinkering with one or two items before then, notably the curry, but with disruption during the closure new menus may be used to attract people back.

Plans are still being formulated regarding what service can be provided during the blockade.  It comes down to staff hours mainly.  With both journeys taking an hour longer you can't simply use the crews in the same way.  One possibility is to only run one lunchtime service up to London with the crews and equipment for both evening services being carried on it.  Using the 15:00 from Plymouth isn't an option as it will arrive in London too late.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 01, 2013, 08:34:16 am
I hope to dine on the 18-03 tonight and have booked a seat.
What are the chances of the restaurant appearing ? it has been much better in the last year or two, but of course there is still some weather related disruption.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 01, 2013, 09:18:25 am
This will probably jinx it.. but I have not had a set failure for a while.   The last dodgy one was a few weeks ago when the range took a while to heat up on a trip from Plymouth but once the train picked up some speed after Exeter all was fine.

It is Menu 3 today.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 06, 2013, 08:34:38 am
This will probably jinx it.. but I have not had a set failure for a while.   The last dodgy one was a few weeks ago when the range took a while to heat up on a trip from Plymouth but once the train picked up some speed after Exeter all was fine.

It is Menu 3 today.



Looks as though you jinxed my return journey !
Yesterday I boarded the 13-34 from Taunton, having observed through the windows that a Pullman service was available.

Unfortunatly it was then announced that no more orders could be taken because the oven had broken.
I managed to leave the train before the doors were locked, in order to await the following service, the 14-23 that also has a Pullman, this was delayed, but did have the advertised restaurant service.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on November 06, 2013, 04:06:01 pm
This will probably jinx it..

Looks as though you jinxed my return journey !

Sorry to hear that, broadgage: I understand my colleague bobm offers an equivalent to 'delay / repay' on his predictions, so there should be a Plymouth Gin and tonic waiting for you on your next Pullman experience.  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 06, 2013, 04:43:56 pm
It will come as little comfort that the advertised service was available on today's 13:34 - as bignosemac and I can testify...

As for Plymouth G&T - if only there was...  strictly Gordons now.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on November 09, 2013, 10:50:21 pm
And from that service on the 6th November, two dishes that I'd not tried before:

Devon Scallops - grilled in the shell, with garlic & white wine
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/scallops_zps8d134f3c.jpg)

Squash & Spinach Bastilla - with harissa yogurt sauce
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/Bastilla_zps88a806c8.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on November 10, 2013, 04:21:37 am
Having looked at the menus for the Pullman, I must admit that there is a good vegetarian main course on each menu. I wish I could say the same for the starters however (Please don't fry me for this; no pun intended ;D ) There seems to be a perception from my experience that all vegetarians like Goats Cheese or Smoked Food. This one likes neither! >:( :-[ :-X

I would be put off the Mushroom Wellington I think though considering my Arriva Trains Wales Premier Train experience... Can anyone testify if the Mushroom Wellington has been correctly cooked? :D

Oh and another 2 Travelling Chef no shows in the past couple of weeks. Very disappointing >:(

Also, that Great Western Larder. I tried one of those recently. Won't be having one again! No cutlery to cut/spread the cheese and pickle. The charcoal cracker...?!?! What is that all about?! and for ^6.50 it represented very poor value considering the quality of dare I say it; a Vegetarian Breakfast at ^7.00 or Cheese on Toast at ^4.50 from the Travelling Chef!! >:( :o ::) :-X :-[


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on November 11, 2013, 10:33:28 pm
Nothing fancy today, just a Travelling Chef lunch.

Ham, egg and chips with a dressed side salad and, (out of shot) bread & butter:

(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/TCHEC_zps267e1932.jpg)

Not bad for ^7.50, particularly when one can make an eggy chip butty! Nothing wrong with the eggs, just my camera over exposing.  ;)



I learnt today, in conversation with a couple of the chefs, that the 'Sweet Indulgence' desserts are no longer available on the Travelling Chef menu. This is due to poor sales. Just my luck that today was the day I quite fancied a bit of apple pie and clotted cream.

I do think though, if management are going to make menu changes, they should ensure that all publicly available information reflects the changes when they are made. TC menu cards at the buffet counter and on 1st Class trolleys, the FGW website, and Volo TV screens, all still advertise the 'Sweet Indulgence' desserts.  ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 11, 2013, 10:43:52 pm
Looks very appetising.

Meanwhile congratulations to the chef on today's 12:01 Pullman from Plymouth.  The HST set diagrammed for the train was one of the ones with what the staff call a wendy house kitchen.  Not a micro buffet but not the full size kitchen either.

He wasn't going to let that deter him and produced the usual three course meal, although with a slightly reduced number of menu options.

In the past I have only been able to have starters and desserts in those circumstances.

Oh and the train was running on only one power car too after the rear one decided to sulk while coming through Cornwall which almost led to it being cancelled at Plymouth.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on November 11, 2013, 11:18:04 pm
The catering team knew you were coming bobm.  ;)

Pulled out all the stops just for you and your companions.

If we were still in the steam era I'm sure the chef would've knocked up the scran on the fireman's shovel, rather than see you go without.  :P ;) ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 12, 2013, 09:37:10 am
Looks very appetising.

Meanwhile congratulations to the chef on today's 12:01 Pullman from Plymouth.  The HST set diagrammed for the train was one of the ones with what the staff call a wendy house kitchen.  Not a micro buffet but not the full size kitchen either.

He wasn't going to let that deter him and produced the usual three course meal, although with a slightly reduced number of menu options.

In the past I have only been able to have starters and desserts in those circumstances.

Oh and the train was running on only one power car too after the rear one decided to sulk while coming through Cornwall which almost led to it being cancelled at Plymouth.


The chef and other members of the crew are to be commended for doing what they can under the circumstances. There does seem to be more of a "can do" attititude these days.
A few years ago this would probably have been used as an excuse to cancel the Pullman.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on November 14, 2013, 08:56:46 pm
From the Bristol Post (http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Choice-increased-hungry-rail-passengers/story-20070034-detail/story.html):

Quote
Choice increased for hungry rail passengers

Train operator First Great Western has pledged to banish the image of the old railway sandwich by adding 50 products sourced from within 15 miles of its lines. That's potentially good news for local companies as the firm holds the franchise for the main line from London to Bristol and on to Wales and the South West.

One firm set to benefit is John Sheppard Family Butchers, based on the Ashley Trading Estate in Bristol. Managing director Richard Sheppard said: "The South West has some of the finest produce in the world and Bristol is home to Brunel's great railway line so we are proud to supply today's trains with the finest Wiltshire bacon, Devon chicken and Somerset beef and lamb."

First Great Western's customer experience manager Jo Elliot added: "We are proud to serve travellers heading west and want to show it in the food we serve. And this is not the end of the line for our local sourcing initiative, so I urge local producers to get in touch."


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on November 14, 2013, 09:19:17 pm
Plymouth Gin, anyone?  :P ::) ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 14, 2013, 09:37:45 pm
Plymouth Gin, anyone?  :P ::) ;D

I wish....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on November 14, 2013, 09:56:59 pm
You need to contact First Great Western's customer experience manager Jo Elliot, then: good luck with that.  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 14, 2013, 10:41:02 pm
I'd hesitate to contact anyone with a job title like that!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on November 15, 2013, 10:29:13 am
fyi, I think the quality of the pork pie has dropped quite noticeably since they started selling it - the last one I had did contain rather a lot of gristly meat.....not good for ^4


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 17, 2013, 02:32:29 pm
Christmas is approaching !
Any choice of roast turkey ? or beef Wellington ? or Christmas pudding in the Pullman, IIRC these used to be offered.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 17, 2013, 03:37:05 pm
I have asked but I think the answer is likely to be no.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 17, 2013, 04:05:26 pm
I have asked but I think the answer is likely to be no.

I suppose then that I will have to subsist on smoked salmon and fillet steak.
Both of which are most enjoyable, but a change for Christmas would have been nice.

Presumably the Pullman will be available as normal on Friday December 20 ?
And also on Monday January 6 ?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on November 17, 2013, 08:01:20 pm
I learnt today, in conversation with a couple of the chefs, that the 'Sweet Indulgence' desserts are no longer available on the Travelling Chef menu. This is due to poor sales. Just my luck that today was the day I quite fancied a bit of apple pie and clotted cream.

I do think though, if management are going to make menu changes, they should ensure that all publicly available information reflects the changes when they are made. TC menu cards at the buffet counter and on 1st Class trolleys, the FGW website, and Volo TV screens, all still advertise the 'Sweet Indulgence' desserts.  ::)

After raising this issue with FGW via Facebook today, I have been told that menus will be updated by 2nd December to reflect recent changes to both the Travelling Chef and buffet fare. My disappointment at not being able to order some Apple Pie and Clotted Cream recently has been ameliorated somewhat by the offer of a ^10 Catering Voucher.  ;D

Another forum member hi-jacked ( :P) my FGW Facebook post to enquire about another Travelling Chef item that is no longer available. He also received an explanation and the offer of a voucher.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 17, 2013, 09:35:17 pm
I have asked but I think the answer is likely to be no.

I suppose then that I will have to subsist on smoked salmon and fillet steak.
Both of which are most enjoyable, but a change for Christmas would have been nice.

Presumably the Pullman will be available as normal on Friday December 20 ?
And also on Monday January 6 ?

Based on last year I would say the 20th is probably safe but the 6th less so.

The trains were very heavily loaded this year after New Year and it wouldn't have been practical to try to clear coach F on the 12:01 (10:00 ex Penzance) to lay up.  I will see what I can find out when I travel tomorrow.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on November 17, 2013, 11:16:27 pm
Another forum member hi-jacked ( :P) my FGW Facebook post ...

Whoever would do such a dastardly thing??  :o ::) ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 18, 2013, 09:42:06 pm
I have asked but I think the answer is likely to be no.

I suppose then that I will have to subsist on smoked salmon and fillet steak.
Both of which are most enjoyable, but a change for Christmas would have been nice.

Presumably the Pullman will be available as normal on Friday December 20 ?
And also on Monday January 6 ?

The last Pullmans before Christmas will indeed be on Friday December 20th.   The plan is that they should resume on Monday 6th.  I still remain sceptical based on this year's experience. 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on November 19, 2013, 05:26:20 pm
Another forum member hi-jacked ( :P) my FGW Facebook post ...

Whoever would do such a dastardly thing??  :o ::) ;D

(http://www.boomerangtv.co.uk/sites/www.boomerangtv.co.uk/files/imagecache/character_image/characters/wacky-dastardly-and-muttley.gif)

I couldn't possibly comment.......... ;D :D :P ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on December 02, 2013, 10:40:54 pm
I learnt today, in conversation with a couple of the chefs, that the 'Sweet Indulgence' desserts are no longer available on the Travelling Chef menu. This is due to poor sales. Just my luck that today was the day I quite fancied a bit of apple pie and clotted cream.

I do think though, if management are going to make menu changes, they should ensure that all publicly available information reflects the changes when they are made. TC menu cards at the buffet counter and on 1st Class trolleys, the FGW website, and Volo TV screens, all still advertise the 'Sweet Indulgence' desserts.  ::)

After raising this issue with FGW via Facebook today, I have been told that menus will be updated by 2nd December to reflect recent changes to both the Travelling Chef and buffet fare. My disappointment at not being able to order some Apple Pie and Clotted Cream recently has been ameliorated somewhat by the offer of a ^10 Catering Voucher.  ;D

Another forum member hi-jacked ( :P) my FGW Facebook post to enquire about another Travelling Chef item that is no longer available. He also received an explanation and the offer of a voucher.

Double-quoting myself. Apologies.

I note that the website TC menu hasn't been updated. Can't speak for the on board ones though. If I'm on a TC service later this week, I'll check.

Also, not got my promised catering voucher. The other person who hijacked( :P) my FGW Facebook thread got his within a week.

bignosemac sad.  :'(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: higthomas on December 09, 2013, 03:46:24 pm
I have just noticed on the new timetable, valid from today, that Bristol seems to have lost its travelling chef services from London at 9:30 and 10:30, and one service to south Wales has changed from 8:45 to 9:15. This is not reflected though ton the Travelling chef page of their website and was wondering whether anyone could shed some light on the matter.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on December 09, 2013, 03:48:45 pm
I suspect the TT is correct, and the website needs updating


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on December 09, 2013, 04:49:29 pm
Thanks for posting that interesting point, higthomas - and welcome to the Coffee Shop forum. :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on December 10, 2013, 02:18:41 am
I suspect the TT is correct, and the website needs updating

I pointed out menu changes to FGW, as well as the forthcoming changes to the times of TC services via their (becoming increasingly worse since Serco arrived) Facebook team back in mid-November.

If the TC services to Bristol TM have been withdrawn and the 0845 moved, then someone needs to also inform the team responsible for the 'Mixing Deck' booking engine used by FGW and others. This still shows the 'hot buffet' symbol for the 0930 & 1030 from Paddington. It also shows a 'hot buffet' on the 0815 to Cardiff which isn't on printed timetables. Finally, the departure times for the two TC services from Hereford are now different.

Quite why the changes haven't been communicated to the team responsible for the website, I have no idea. If FGW want folk to use the TC services the least they can do is advertise them correctly, with the correct menu.

FGW. Excellent at cooking up a dog's breakfast, not so good at advertising availability of a Full English one.  :P

The 'Current Timetables' page is still set for May to December 8th 2013 as well  ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on December 10, 2013, 06:17:56 am
The 'Current Timetables' page is still set for May to December 8th 2013 as well  ::)
I had expected this to be removed yesterday now the new timetable is underway. The Planned changes page, which really does look like a dogs breakfast, could do with being made more user friendly as listing every alteration over Christmas makes it very user unfriendly. Why not just one link that links to the informative Christmas and New Year alterations page, which now also has links to pdf of the timetable booklets. Back to the Planned changes page, they could start tidying this page up by removing out of date service changes.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: stebbo on December 10, 2013, 08:24:31 pm
I looked at the FGW website earlier as I have to go to London tomorrow and I was surprised to see the old timetable still there and no large print for the new timetable (not that I personally need the large print).

Mind you I find the FGW website increasingly less helpful. You get a map with routes shown in "red" but no real explanation as to what's happening until you go to a specific train; even that is less helpful than before as it used to show departures and arrivals along the journey. I just find the whole exercise a subtle effort to reduce the flow of information.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: stebbo on December 10, 2013, 08:27:32 pm
I used to quite like the old microwaveable bacon rolls; they tasted OK. I don't want to have to stand at the buffet for 10 or more minutes whilst the Travelling Chef personally prepares my bacon baguette. My last one was a bit fatty (the baguette that is, not me).


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on December 10, 2013, 08:38:31 pm
Personal choice of course, but I thought the new baguettes were a huge improvement.  A crispy baguette or a soggy microwaved roll? No contest.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: stebbo on December 10, 2013, 08:41:17 pm
But my rolls were never soggy and the bacon always seemed better. And on a dark winter's morning, when I've had to get up early to get the train, I need my coffee and bacon fix quick.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: dog box on December 11, 2013, 09:51:55 am
all fgw buffets are equipped with a merrychef convection oven  there is No Microwave


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on December 11, 2013, 10:49:52 am
I see a microwave in the micro-buffets (I think)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on December 15, 2013, 11:51:11 pm
I see a microwave in the micro-buffets (I think)

Nope - same oven as per big buffets.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on December 16, 2013, 05:23:32 am
These Merrychef combination ovens do use microwaves, in addition to convection heat and air impingement.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on December 16, 2013, 07:34:40 am
Travelling Chef last week. Poor photo I'm sorry. But Cheese on Toast with a side order of mushooms ;D

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-BBzQ9_pH47E/UqdEtirGLCI/AAAAAAAABU8/4tgjbqDICJE/w1579-h888-no/20131210_164318.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on December 16, 2013, 11:03:04 am
There was a nice piece on Radio 4 about the Pullman service, last Friday on 'You and Yours' about 20 minutes in. Pete Waterman was one of the guests waxing fulsome about the service and the view from his window at Dawlish...and the food.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01nbyl1


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: higthomas on December 17, 2013, 10:23:41 pm
In reply to my previous question, it is apparently the time table that is wrong, not the internet page
"Hi

 Apologies for delay in getting back to you. I can confirm that the 09:57 and 10:57 (from reading) both have a Travelling Chef service on board.

 Unfortunately there is a mistake in the timetable. Apologies for this.

 -Ollie"
seems like some good news to me or lack of bad news


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on December 29, 2013, 05:05:41 pm
No travelling chefs until January 4th :(

Quote from: Paul @ FGW Facebook Page
There is no travelling chef service until 4 January when it will be back to the usual advertised times. Paul


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on December 29, 2013, 05:34:07 pm
That is as stated in their Christmas leaflet.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 07, 2014, 10:48:54 am
I took lunch yesterday (06/01/2014) on the earlier of the two lunchtime trains and was pleasently suprised that a Pullman service was provided.

Yesterday was the first day that restaurant service was due to be provided after the holidays, and previously provision has been unreliable after holidays.
With the bad weather as well I was not really expecting a Pullman.

The meal was of the usual high standard.

The train was significantly delayed, due I believe to lightning damage to signalling equipment.
Full marks to the catering department.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Southern Stag on January 07, 2014, 03:31:10 pm
The delay was due to a points failure at the entrance to the single line between Liskeard and Bodmin Parkway and tidal flooding causing the track circuits to fail in the Penzance area, both on the journey down to Penzance. I don't think any of the delays were actually due to lightening yesterday.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 07, 2014, 06:22:03 pm
This morning they took the pragmatic decision to terminate the 07:02 from Plymout at Truro so the return journey could start back from there on time, rather than 43 minutes late from Penzance as yesterday.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Southern Stag on January 07, 2014, 10:16:04 pm
That was the plan, but it didn't actually happen in the end due to signalling problems at Truro preventing the service reversing there. I imagine the HST would have to have been shunted and stabled in Truro Yard during the layover, but the Yard may well have been full/blocked with units which were unable to run on the Falmouth branch due to the lightening strike. Today's service therefore also started late, but only 16 minutes late, but was still 39 minutes late by London.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 20, 2014, 09:06:37 am
Does anyone know what the new Pullman menu will consist of ?
Dining services are being limited due to the closure of Whiteball tunnel, and it is said that a new menu will introduced when this work is finished.

Hopefully the excellent fillet steat will be retained ? as this seems to be the most popular main course.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 20, 2014, 12:44:14 pm
No news yet on the new menu.

I believe that Pullman staff will presently be going to Mitch Tonk's restaurant in Dartmouth to sample/select new dishes.

The new menu is due to go live following the completion of the work on Whiteball Tunnel. As soon as I, or more likely, fellow Mod/Admin bobm (who dines more frequently than me!), hears or sees the new menu, we will ensure this topic is updated.  :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on January 20, 2014, 05:18:38 pm
Well I have a timetable book showing the amended trains for the Whiteball Tunnel Closure and I can't work out the travelling chef services from it. Found the Pullmans though without any drama.

However it seems that the timetable hasn't been too well constructed. Nearly all CrossCountry Trains listed are without First Class Accommodation being available. Also some FGW services are shown as having First Class Accomodation, Buffet Service but are not listed as HSTs... :o

I'm going to ask FGW on their facebook about Travelling Chefs as I am more likely to use a Travelling Chef than a Pullman.

As much as I like the idea of the Pullman, the food is perhaps a little bit too "extravagant" [can't think of the right work] for me. As in I know I can eat cheese on toast and what that is. However a Squash and Spinach Bastilla I have no idea what it is, how it's made or if there is anything in it that I'm not going to agree with.

I am a person who likes simple descriptions of food such as "Egg and Chips" and also food that is bland. I eat Stir Fry with no sauces or anything. Just fried in Olive Oil... :o ::) :-X


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 20, 2014, 06:09:50 pm
As much as I like the idea of the Pullman, the food is perhaps a little bit too "extravagant" [can't think of the right work] for me.
  Posh?  ;D ;D

Seriously though I am a bit like that - but for all the fancy descriptions the Pullman fayre is (or can be) basically plain.  As it is all cooked to order if you don't want a sauce you can ask not to.  I, for instance, don't have the salsa verde with the lamb or the chutney with the curry.

No news yet on the new menu.

I believe that Pullman staff will presently be going to Mitch Tonk's restaurant in Dartmouth to sample/select new dishes.

The new menu is due to go live following the completion of the work on Whiteball Tunnel. As soon as I, or more likely, fellow Mod/Admin bobm (who dines more frequently than me!), hears or sees the new menu, we will ensure this topic is updated.  :D

My information at the moment is sketchy but I think the steak is sacrosanct.  The curry is likely to go as it is not perceived to be good value for money and it is a hassle to cook as you need to do the rice as well as the vegetables for the other dishes.  The two new items I have heard mentioned are lobster which I assume would be a main course and mussels, which could be either a starter or a main.  Time will tell...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 20, 2014, 08:03:38 pm
I can see the merit in removing the curry from the menu.
Curry is a dish readily prepared in advance and stored chilled, and reheated as needed. I suspect that a curry NEARLY as good could be served profitably at half the Pullman price, on the travelling chef service.

Better IMO to serve in the Pullman dishes that cant be readily prepared in advance but that absolutely need to be cooked fresh by a chef. Good examples are grilled fish or meat.

I certainly hope that the fillet steak is "sacrosanct" and that they continue to serve it with either Cafe de Paris butter as at present, or some other rich or creamy sauce.
IF lobster is to be offered, then this is often served with hollandaise sauce, which some people like with steak :) Alleged to be fattening though.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 20, 2014, 08:14:40 pm
A classic Lobster Thermidor would get my vote. As would Mussels in a creamy white wine Mariniere style sauce as a starter. Or as a main with frites.

In fact it was Mussels prepared just that way (minus the frites) that I had as a starter for a family gathering meal this past weekend. Although the portion was arguably large enough to be a main. I struggled with my main course!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 21, 2014, 10:23:36 am
I am not keen on lobster for myself, but feel that it would be popular with others and therefore worthwhile.
My Sister very much enjoys lobster and would be more likely to dine with me if this was served.

And a trivial point, but what happened to the "candles" in the Pullman ? hardly essiential but they added a nice touch.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 27, 2014, 06:37:12 pm
Early unofficial heads up on the new menu rotations beginning after the completion of the Whiteball Tunnel works. I must stress that these are not officially confirmed and may be subject to change.

Rotation 1

Starters
  • Pullman Reserve Smoked Salmon
  • Devilled Crab on Sourdough Toast
  • Whipped Beets with Burrata and Walnuts (v)

Mains
  • Westcountry Prime Fillet Steak with Cafe de Paris Butter or Horseradish Butter
  • Fish of the Day (Pollock or Coley) with Creamed Leeks
  • Grilled Dorset Veal Chop with Devon Blue Cheese Butter
  • Baked Aubergine with Laverstoke Farm Mozzarella (v)
Served with Cornish Mids, Courgettes and Cornish Cauliflower Cheese

Desserts
  • Blue Cheese and Fig Tart
  • Chocolate and Salted Caramel Pudding with Rodda's Cream
  • Cheeseboard

Rotation 2

Starters
  • Pullman Reserve Smoked Salmon
  • River Exe Mussels with Dry White Wine, Garlic and Bay Sauce
  • Twice Baked Westcountry Cheese Souffle (v)

Mains
  • Westcountry Prime Fillet Steak with Cafe de Paris Butter or Horseradish Butter
  • Lemon Sole and Brown Shrimps with Mace, Parsley and Lemon Butter
  • Devon Roasted Duck with Orange and Sage
  • Gnocchi with Truffle Oil and either Parmesan or Sheeps Milk Cheese (v)
Served with Potato Gratin, Cornish Leeks and Carrots

Desserts
  • Blue Cheese and Fig Tart
  • Paddington Pudding with Rodda's Cream
  • Cheeseboard

Rotation 3

Starters
  • Pullman Reserve Smoked Salmon
  • West Country Fish Soup
  • Wild Mushrooms on Sourdough Toast (v)

Mains
  • Westcountry Prime Fillet Steak with Cafe de Paris Butter or Horseradish Butter
  • Grey Mullet Fillet with Roasted Garlic, Rosemary and Chilli, en Papiliote
  • Dorset Lamb Shoulder Joint with White Bean Sauce
  • Penne with Slow Cooked Tomatoes and Nordsworthy Cheese or Mushroom and Spinach Bastilla (v)
Served with Saute Sliced Potatoes, Savoy Cabbage and Broccoli

Desserts
  • Blue Cheese and Fig Tart
  • Chocolate Orange Mousse with Rodda's Cream or Espresso Pannecotta with Coffee Caramel
  • Cheeseboard



The make-up of the Cheesboard is TBC, as are the wines.

There's a new Gin in addition to Gordon's - 6 o'Clock Gin (http://www.sixoclockgin.co.uk/balanced.htm), 43%ABV. Tried one today. Very nice indeed.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 28, 2014, 08:12:52 am
Splendid  :) feeling hungry already  :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 28, 2014, 01:32:59 pm
I'm assuming that marmalade will somehow be involved with the Paddington Pudding.  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 28, 2014, 01:39:27 pm
Possibly - http://www.cookitsimply.com/recipe-0010-051r93.html (http://www.cookitsimply.com/recipe-0010-051r93.html)

(not that this is necessarily the receipe to be used on the train)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 28, 2014, 02:09:24 pm
The six o clock gin sounds good, but I fear that it will be hugely expensive.
The retail price is ^28-50 a bottle, or very roughly twice that of Gordons gin.

Dont know how much a miniature will be, but presumably a lot more than Gordons, hope it is worth it.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 28, 2014, 02:24:00 pm
As I said upthread, I tried one of the 6 o'clock Gins on the Pullman the other day. It was ^5.50 (50ml). Add ^1 for Schweppes Indian tonic.

I took a sip of the gin before mixing and I noted a fruitier taste than Gordons. Taste can be subjective though.

The distillers offer a tonic water (http://www.bramleyandgage.co.uk/PBSCProduct.asp?ItmID=11869987) that is designed to complement this gin. No word on whether the Pullmans will carry this in addition to Schweppes.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 28, 2014, 02:36:56 pm
^5-50 is very reasonable for a premium product, remembering that this is for twice the measure normaly served in a pub.
^1 for the tonic is cheaper than most pubs, about ^1-20 to ^1-50 seems typical.

But will the six o clock gin be served BY six o clock on the Golden Hind ? that is 3 minutes before departure, hopefully provided that the incoming train is on time thereby giving the Pullman crew time to prepare.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 28, 2014, 02:41:43 pm
Well it will for the next week and a half as the train leaves at 17:03!  After that there are always the three lunchtime Pullmans.

I also understand that tawny port will also be available from the menu change (with no time restrictions  ;D )


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on January 28, 2014, 07:59:38 pm
As much as I like the idea of the Pullman, the food is perhaps a little bit too "extravagant" [can't think of the right work] for me.

Posh?  ;D ;D

Seriously though I am a bit like that - but for all the fancy descriptions the Pullman fayre is (or can be) basically plain.  As it is all cooked to order if you don't want a sauce you can ask not to.  I, for instance, don't have the salsa verde with the lamb or the chutney with the curry.

This was the very word I was going to use and spent about 10 minutes desperately trying to avoid; Because I really didn't want to. I then considered formal but decided against that too.

I'll bear your additional comments in mind though so thanks. I get seriously put off by "posh" description of foods but this is just my ASD I think. For example, how many ways can you say egg and chips? Well in the high end restaurant business it seems there are endless ways. Where as "Egg and Chips" I know where I stand with that. There are alot of foods I cannot eat without some form of consequential effect. But Travelling Chef Cheese on Toast is perfectly described for me.

At a Christmas Meal recently I asked for a plain pasta with cheese. The chef however decided that there was a mistake with the "order" and created what looked like an amazing piece of food. Sadly as it contained meat I had to send it back, otherwise I would have very likely eaten it. The chef then came down to see what the actual order was and was stunned to find it was exactly as written on the list for the whole booking.

The Christmas meal the year before I ordered a plate of vegetables as there was a severe lack of Vegetarian options (Well non-existent actually) Well the chef there used his initiative and created cauliflower cheese. thetrout hates cauliflower cheese >:(

So when the waitress bought it to the table and said "Plate of vegetables, the chef has done you some cauliflower cheese, is that ok" my response was "Well it's not a plate of vegetables is it?" The waitress apologised and offered to take it back, I refused citing people in the world are starving and that I will eat it but would like to speak to the chef after the meal. Secretly I actually quite liked the cauliflower cheese as it was done with melted cheese and not a sauce so actually rather enjoyed it, as much as I didn't want to admit it. At the end of the meal I explained to the chef that I am Autistic so when I said plate of vegetables, that is what I meant in a very literal sense. I also thanked him for the cauliflower cheese and said it was a dish ordinarily I wouldn't order but was very good all the same. The next time I went there for a meal about 2 months later and ordered a plate of vegetables. It appeared the chef took everything with good grace as I received just that, a plate of roast vegetables ;D



Back to the topic, FGW replied to my Facebook Post regarding Travelling Chefs and initially describing the amendment to the Pullmans. I replied saying that I was not after the info about the Pullman to which I was linked to this page:

http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/contents/taunton-exeter-2014 (http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/contents/taunton-exeter-2014)

which includes the line halfway down the page very cryptically

Quote
Travelling chef services will not be available on services diverted via Honiton.

>:( >:( >:( >:(

Would it have been too much trouble to have said, sorry no, they won't be available. Also I was specific to the time of train I was using (1C86 - 14:06 London Paddington - Penzance - The Cornishman) which AFAIK has NEVER had a Pullman? So on a different issue it seems the Facebook Team don't know that much about the catering either.

If anyone saw the post on Facebook did you think I was clear enough on the request?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 28, 2014, 08:56:49 pm
Can't comment on Facebook as I never use it but taking a couple of your other points.

The 14:06 - way back in the early 1980s there was a Pullman on that service. It was the first one I ever caught. I'm also pleased to say the chief steward that day is still working on the restaurants - although they are called service leaders now.

I can really empathise with your choice of menu items. Just watched tonight's Michael Portillo programme where he tried oysters (again).  I've never had them before so I have no idea what they taste like. There is no reason why I shouldn't like them - just not brave enough to try in case I don't.

So it is the same with the new menu posted earlier.  There are a few things on there I have not had but can I be persuaded to try them or stick with what I know? 

Occasionally I have been brave. I now like goats cheese having first had it on the train. Same with salmon.

I guess I just stay in my comfort zone and make no apologies for that so I know just what you mean.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 28, 2014, 09:19:15 pm
Plenty on that new menu for me to try. Omnivore, me (except for liver and Brussels sprouts!). Rotation 2 catches me eye. Mussels followed by Duck, and Paddington Pudding to finish. Yum.

Just watched tonight's Michael Portillo programme where he tried oysters (again). 

...Where he asked a lady, vox pop, "Are you a chewer or a swallower?" And he did that with a straight face. Consummate professional or deliberate attempt to feature on Radio 1's 'Innuendo Bingo'? You decide. ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 28, 2014, 09:22:19 pm
I can see it now - you are going to be such a nag over my choices when I go with you on the Pullman now.

I get pestered enough about my aversion to vegetables as it is!  Can't even hide behind the curry to avoid them now!!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Cynthia on January 28, 2014, 11:17:32 pm


...Where he asked a lady, vox pop, "Are you a chewer or a swallower?" And he did that with a straight face. Consummate professional or deliberate attempt to feature on Radio 1's 'Innuendo Bingo'? You decide. ;D
[/quote]

I saw the Railway Journeys programme this evening, this comment of Michael Portillo's gave my friend and I a fit of the giggles....! :D 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on January 28, 2014, 11:25:20 pm
The spirit of Humphrey Lyttleton lives on.  :P ::) ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on February 04, 2014, 05:01:16 pm
Well I enquired about the Pullman on the 17:03 in the First Class Lounge this evening. The host checked and it's worse than first expected... Due to the flooding, No Pullmans until further notice... :-X :-[ :o

Incidentally however a couple of staff members on the 17:03 are wearing a Pullman Uniform so I'm not sure whether they are a London crew or not. It would make sense if they were London Crew because the 17:03 turns around at Exeter St Davids and comes back again.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 04, 2014, 05:11:47 pm
Yesterday a Plymouth crew worked up from Exeter and should have returned on the 17:03 had it not been cancelled.  Today it is anyone's guess!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on February 04, 2014, 05:28:16 pm
Yes it is a Plymouth crew. They were Taxi'ed to Exeter St Davids and are returning on the 17:03. The train is running (I'm sat in it!) but the Pullman is not :(

Just goes to show my lucky streaks... The very rare opportunity arises for a Pullman Meal and the Restaurant Cancellation is the special of the day (sorry for the pun!)

The Host in the First Class Lounge told me however that all Pullmans cancelled until further notice (Mentioned nothing about their associated trains though)

The Pullman Host on the train (doing the First Class At Seat Trolley) said the equipment couldn't get up to the train hence why there is no Restaurant Service.

I now have an Egg and Rocket Sandwich for dinner......... :-X :-[ :-\


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on February 04, 2014, 11:52:11 pm
FYI, there are no London based Pullman crews - they are all Plymouth based.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 05, 2014, 09:41:04 am
I can understand that under present circumstances they cant realisticly provide a Pullman service, indeed very few trains are running.

However what is the point of having a "catering updates" section on the FGW website if this does not advise one.

It seems simple to put on the website "no Pullmans at present due to extreme weather"


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on February 05, 2014, 09:40:07 pm
It seems simple to put on the website "no Pullmans at present due to extreme weather"

Cue Ollie?  :P ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 05, 2014, 09:56:52 pm
I like a Pullman lunch as much as the next man (that next man is usually bobm), but I don't think the Pullmans feature very highly in the list of priorities for FGW at the moment.  :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 06, 2014, 08:51:13 am
I like a Pullman lunch as much as the next man (that next man is usually bobm), but I don't think the Pullmans feature very highly in the list of priorities for FGW at the moment.  :)

Agree, regregtfully, but for the benifit of less frequent users it would seem helpful to give accurate information on the website.
With nothing listed under "catering updates" people might assume that normal service was being provided.
A passenger travelling next week on the 1803 from Paddington to Exeter might well be expecting a meal. You and I know that this cant realisticly be provided, apart from anything else the catering supplies etc are the wrong side of Dawlish.

Not everyone however would know this.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on February 06, 2014, 02:35:41 pm
With nothing listed under "catering updates"

I have to agree, FGW always used to provide Catering Updates for Buffet, Trolley Service, Travelling Chef etc but have not done so for a good 12 months probably long I'd say.

A simple "No Pullmans until further notice" would not be an unreasonable ask for information. But then that's coming from the same forum member who found the single line of text "No Travelling chefs on services via Honiton" somewhere cryptic on the Whiteball Tunnel Closure page. Again no reason why this couldn't be put in Catering Updates ::)

Mind you, how long did it take FGW to put a "These machines do not contain cash" on the Ticket Machines at Nailsea & Backwell...?! ::) :o :-\ :-X


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 06, 2014, 02:51:49 pm
Since Pullman service is clearly not going to be resumed in the near future, it seems a fair bet that the old menus will never be served again.
So what is the point in advertising them on the website ?

The "catering updates" section should simply say "no Pullman services until furthur notice. This is due to storm damage at Dawlish that prevents us running through services"
Once the repairs are well under way, this could be altered to say "no Pullman services expected until about  XX"

The Pullman dining section of the website could go into a bit more detail, perhaps giving details of the new menus, prices, wine list, service times, and so on, but with a clear notice "Pullman services are not running at present due to storm damage at Dawlish that prevents us running through trains. We look forward to seeing you again when services resume"

And " We hope that normal service will be resumed from XX-YY but this depends on the progress of the rebuilding works at Dawlish"


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 07, 2014, 03:45:14 pm
Well the good news is the Pullmans will return in a limited fashion on Monday

Had this from FGW with permission to pass it on.

Quote
The Pullman Dining services are currently suspended until Monday 10th February. From Monday 10th we will run a reduced Pullman Dining service. Two services will operate, a lunchtime Exeter to London Paddington service departing Exeter at 13.04 and an evening service from London Paddington to Exeter departing at 17.33

I understand steps are being taken to move the equipment needed to Exeter by road and the necessary food storage equipment is being hired in to run the operation from St Davids until the line is restored to Plymouth.

The old menus will be used with the launch of the new ones postponed.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 07, 2014, 03:52:24 pm
Presuming that this actually happens, then that is very good news indeed.
Hats off to FGW.
2 services is rather limited, but very much better than nothing, which is what I was expecting.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 07, 2014, 07:04:42 pm
Ironically FGW have updated their "Pullman" page

Quote
Pullman Service times
 
The Pullman Dining services are currently suspended until further notice due to the flooding at Storm damage at Dawlish.

However I am assured it has been overtaken by the announcement further up the thread, subject only to no further damage east of Exeter in this weekend's forecast storms.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on February 09, 2014, 02:52:21 pm
Seeing as there are no trains via CRewkerne nor west of Castle Cary, I doubt very much these will run on Monday!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 09, 2014, 03:07:46 pm
Seeing as there are no trains via CRewkerne nor west of Castle Cary, I doubt very much these will run on Monday!

I very much doubt that we will a see a Pullman on Monday due to the ongoing disruption.
Hopefully though we WILL see a limited return of dining once the line re-opens as far as Exeter, but before the work at Dawlish is completed.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 09, 2014, 03:19:12 pm
Yes, I did rather put the mockers on it when I posted above
... subject only to no further damage east of Exeter in this weekend's forecast storms.

I was originally told the announcement wasn't go to be made until Monday because of the threat of bad weather over the weekend, but then the release was brought forward.

Only supposition on my part but if both the lines east of Taunton are still closed on Monday the 13:00 may run via Honiton as it has during the Whiteball closure.  Whether they put a Pullman on it will not be top of the list however.  I am sure FGW will be keen to run some through services to London to take the pressure off the bus replacements.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 09, 2014, 07:59:34 pm
Perhaps not surprisingly, I understand the revised Pullman plan has been suspended for at least a week.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 10, 2014, 11:02:10 am
Perhaps not surprisingly, I understand the revised Pullman plan has been suspended for at least a week.

Entirely understandable under the circumstances.
I do hope however that they pursue the plan to run at least a limited Pullman service on services to/from Exeter as soon as the line is open that far.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on February 10, 2014, 09:36:31 pm
It doesn't help the longer term business case of the Pullman service (which isn't exactly a huge money spinner) if its withdrawn for several weeks, while its dedicated staff are presumably being paid to do very little?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 10, 2014, 10:40:27 pm
The Pullman staff don't exclusively work the restaurant services. They can be found working as 1st Class Hosts or Buffet Customer Hosts. The chefs will sometimes work Travelling Chef services.

At the moment though I suspect there are catering staff across all grades who are either doing very little or are being redeployed elsewhere.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on February 10, 2014, 10:54:33 pm
I know some are assisting on other trains or being sent to local stations to help with customer service and information.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 10, 2014, 11:50:38 pm
I travelled up on the 13:04 from Exeter today - which in normal circumstances would have been the 10:00 from Penzance and normally has a Pullman from Plymouth.

Several of the Pullman crew were staffing the buffet and first class trolley after being sent from Plymouth by road.  Working out of a mini-buffet it was very cosy!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on February 11, 2014, 02:17:10 am
FYI, there are no London based Pullman crews - they are all Plymouth based.

Thanks Super Guard ;) :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on February 11, 2014, 09:50:33 am
Glad to hear they're not just dossing around in messrooms!   ;)  Still not good news for the Pullman though to be suspended for so long.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 16, 2014, 01:18:22 pm
Well the good news is the Pullmans will return in a limited fashion on Monday

Had this from FGW with permission to pass it on.

Quote
The Pullman Dining services are currently suspended until Monday 10th February. From Monday 10th we will run a reduced Pullman Dining service. Two services will operate, a lunchtime Exeter to London Paddington service departing Exeter at 13.04 and an evening service from London Paddington to Exeter departing at 17.33

I understand steps are being taken to move the equipment needed to Exeter by road and the necessary food storage equipment is being hired in to run the operation from St Davids until the line is restored to Plymouth.

The old menus will be used with the launch of the new ones postponed.

As we all know, this did not happen due to the weather related disruption getting worse.

It now appears however that matters are much improved, at least as far as Exeter with a "near normal" service being hoped for tomorrow.
Might we therefore hope to see a return of the Pullman ? If they are going to all that trouble for a single return service a day, then it seems to me that they might as well run two services a day.
2 up services at lunchtime, and 2 down ones early evening.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 20, 2014, 12:18:58 pm
The Pullmans return!

Just had this from FGW

Quote
From Monday 24 February, due to
flooding and storm damage at Dawlish, we are able to operate a limited Pullman Dining service. Two trains a day will run between Exeter St Davids and London Paddington:
^   Departing Exeter at 1304, arriving in London Paddington at 1521
^   Departing London Paddington at 1801, arriving in Exeter at 2013


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 20, 2014, 12:29:29 pm
Oh good  :)

Presuming that this actually happens, then I congratulate FGW for this.

Have postponned a planned trip West for fear that the Whiteball tunnel works would over run.
In fact the works went well, but look what else has happened since  :(



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 20, 2014, 12:43:58 pm
Is there a slight typo there or has the 1803 been retimed to leave 2 minutes earlier?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 20, 2014, 12:48:32 pm
Is there a slight typo there or has the 1803 been retimed to leave 2 minutes earlier?


Well spotted.  I'm not sure - the email I had said 18:01 and it has just been posted on the website as 18:01.  I'll check...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 20, 2014, 01:25:19 pm
Bignosemac wins the "I-Spy" badge - it is indeed 18:03 not 18:01.  Still you might need to get there early to beat the rush of hungry diners!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on February 20, 2014, 01:43:20 pm
Todays 11:06 London Paddington - Exeter St Davids service (The Mayflower) was booked to have a Travelling Chef. First Great Westerns WebTIS said so. As did Real Time Trains: http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/P70306/2014/02/20 (http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/P70306/2014/02/20)

Guess what...? No Travelling Chef...! >:( >:( :Lets hope the same fate does not become the order of the day for the Pullmans next week :-X :-\ ::)

Before anyone jumps on me about the difficult circumstances etc. I do appreciate that and although I'm disappointed, I had some Soup at Pumpkin in Taunton instead :)

However that is yet another none showing Travelling Chef for me...! *sigh*

To make it worse the CIS was showing as the train having a Travelling Chef >:(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on February 20, 2014, 02:48:52 pm
Is there a slight typo there or has the 1803 been retimed to leave 2 minutes earlier?


Time quoted is the real time that passengers need to know  ;D  ;D

Train doors may be shut up to 40 seconds before the departure of the train, and second standard class passengers need to clear the barriers a further 80 seconds earlier in order to walk up the platform to a non-first carriage and squeeze in.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 21, 2014, 11:16:21 am
Is there a slight typo there or has the 1803 been retimed to leave 2 minutes earlier?


Typo AFAIK, since it now says 18-03 on the webite where yesterday it said 18-01.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 21, 2014, 11:19:25 am
It was changed thanks to bignosemac spotting it....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 21, 2014, 12:56:53 pm
Didn't even have me glasses on.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 24, 2014, 07:13:20 am
Could there be another error in the info posted on the 'Pullman Dining' page?

The service departing Exeter St Davids is showing as 1301 in all the online systems I've checked. Not 1304.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on February 24, 2014, 07:21:54 am
The service departing Exeter St Davids is showing as 1301 in all the online systems I've checked. Not 1304.

The downloadable online timetables on the FGW site show the 10:00 from Penzance going forward at 13:04 - that's probably where the time comes from.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 24, 2014, 02:50:00 pm
Does anyone know if the re-instated Pullman appeared today ?
I dont expect to dine until Friday, but if it DID appear today, then that is a good sign for the rest of the week.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 24, 2014, 04:03:10 pm
Well it did, sort of.

We had the crew, we had the food (just) but we had a dodgy oven. So only starters and desserts. Felt really sorry for the crew who were doing their best.

We did have a complimentary glass and a half of champagne though.

No doubt more from bignosemac later as I'm just off to a meeting.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 24, 2014, 04:06:45 pm
So the only problem was mechanical failure, rather than weather related ? Looks good for the rest of the week in that case.

ten out of ten for effort
six out of ten for end result.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 24, 2014, 06:54:09 pm
To add to what bobm has said:

We had the crew, we had the chef, we had the removable kitchen modules, we had the stock. Rail Gourmet at Exeter got the equipment aboard with seconds to spare, and the crew and chef had made it up from Plymouth in time (not without a slight problem - initially only one taxi booked for 6 staff members). All those logistical challenges met...

...only for the main oven in the TRFB to go u/s.

Ameliorated by free Champagne. And not some cheap stuff. The fizz that is on Pullman wine list.

So, just a starter and a dessert today (plus the usual wine, port and brandy!) And for me, a Steak & Stilton pasty once back at Bristol Temple Meads.

Not complaining though. FGW get the brownie points for reinstating the Pullmans. Staff were as jovial and attentive as ever.  Not easy to do so with them starting away from their home base. A faulty oven could just as easily have happened during a normal timetabled run.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 24, 2014, 08:32:29 pm
..and just to add eight taking what food there was on offer.  Anecdotal I know, but hopefully that's a good omen for the future.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 27, 2014, 01:26:56 pm
After the somewhat less than flying start on Monday it seems the revised Pullman service has got underway.

Due to timings the service is to be only main meal and desserts.  It is felt it is too tight to try to include starters as well.  This is particularly the case on the more heavily loaded return trip at 18:03.  All the crockery etc has to be washed and packed away ready for the crew to disembark with it at Exeter and then the staff taxied back to Plymouth.

The food being served is a mixture of the three existing menus.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 27, 2014, 04:28:57 pm
Still glad that they are making the effort. Pity about no starters, but I suppose that I will manage without smoked salmon.
Hope to dine in Friday.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 01, 2014, 09:01:21 pm
I dined on Friday and am pleased to report that the Pullman was available  and well patronised, and that rather to my surprise all 3 courses were served.

The service was a little rushed, but that is unavoidable under present circumstances.
Full marks to FGW for this.

The only improvement that I can suggest under present circumstances is to consider serving the pudding or cheese board on paper plates. Not quite the proper Pullman experience I grant but justified as a short term measure.

The crew have to collect up and wash and pack away all crockery and cutlery before alighting at Exeter, this gives very limited time in which to serve and enjoy the last course.
Use of disposable products for the last course would allow customers to carry on eating until the train pulls into Exeter, rather than having to finish shortly after Taunton as is required to allow time for collecting and washing crockery.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 06, 2014, 08:31:25 am
Took lunch yesterday on the up service from Taunton.
As good as ever, but sadly only time for 2 courses.

I repeat my suggestion that under present conditions, that the last course be served on disposable plates and with plastic cutlery.
After enjoying the main course, there was still time enough to EAT a sweet or cheese selection, but NOT enough time for the crew to clear away and wash up.

Disposable tableware is not a proper part of the Pullman experience, but I for one would prefer cheese on a paper plate to no cheese !


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 06, 2014, 10:08:18 am
Having seen the tenacity with which people hold onto their coffee cups and drinks glasses as far as Ealing Broadway I am not sure disposable plates would work.

You would still need cutlery (you just know cutting cheese with a plastic knife would never work) so it wouldn't save all that much time.  Some like salt and or pepper with their cheese so that cannot be packed away, and then the actual cloth has to be cleared.

I think it is a case of being satisfied with what we have got, especially as it now looks like normal service will be resumed in a month's time.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on March 06, 2014, 11:43:28 am
Took lunch yesterday on the up service from Taunton.
As good as ever, but sadly only time for 2 courses.

I repeat my suggestion that under present conditions, that the last course be served on disposable plates and with plastic cutlery.
After enjoying the main course, there was still time enough to EAT a sweet or cheese selection, but NOT enough time for the crew to clear away and wash up.

Disposable tableware is not a proper part of the Pullman experience, but I for one would prefer cheese on a paper plate to no cheese !

Do you have all your meals on trains?  :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 06, 2014, 12:45:05 pm
No, but I am a fairly frequent customer, usually two return trips/4 meals a month.
More often at present as I postponned planned trips due to the weather related disruption.
Not even a buffet on the bus !


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on March 06, 2014, 04:14:49 pm
No, but I am a fairly frequent customer, usually two return trips/4 meals a month.
More often at present as I postponned planned trips due to the weather related disruption.
Not even a buffet on the bus !

Must admit I have been tempted however it always strikes me as being highway (or railway!) robbery price - wise.......I'd generally go for a meal first before travelling and ensure that enough decent claret was consumed to ensure a peaceful sleep to Plymouth!

............in my (far-off) youth it used to be a Casey Jones burger (remember them?) and then a mad dash to the train..........I know the story was that you'd only contemplate one of those if drunk, and if you enjoyed it you knew you were absolutely hammered!!!  :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 06, 2014, 09:00:22 pm
I have just enjoyed an excellent meal NOT on a train, the food and service however being of a broadly similar standard. The price was broadly similar to that paid on the train.

Garlic fried mushrooms, fillet steak (includes potatoes) 2 vegetables, sticky pudding, bottle of house red wine, several large ports= ^80.

On the train I might take, 2 miniatures of gin with 1 tonic, smoked salmon, bottle of red wine, fillet steak, cheese, and a few ports=^100.

I cant remember the exact price of each item, but the wine on the train is more expensive but better, the steak on the train is cheaper and better, the port on the train is as good but about twice the price I pay in the restaurant in London, Gin on the train is cheaper than in the restaurant, the cheese selection on the train is far better and a bit cheaper.

Without pedantic examination of each item which is not easy on account of varying qaulity and portion sizes, I consider that the prices in the Pullman are similar to those charged elsewhere, for a meal of similar qaulity.

BTW if anyone wants to know to which restaurant I compare the Pullman to, I would be pleased to reply by PM, but do not intend to name the establishment in public. I do not want to be accused of advertising, nor of taking this thread of the topic of FGW catering.






Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on March 07, 2014, 08:47:28 am
I have just enjoyed an excellent meal NOT on a train, the food and service however being of a broadly similar standard. The price was broadly similar to that paid on the train.

Garlic fried mushrooms, fillet steak (includes potatoes) 2 vegetables, sticky pudding, bottle of house red wine, several large ports= ^80.

On the train I might take, 2 miniatures of gin with 1 tonic, smoked salmon, bottle of red wine, fillet steak, cheese, and a few ports=^100.

I cant remember the exact price of each item, but the wine on the train is more expensive but better, the steak on the train is cheaper and better, the port on the train is as good but about twice the price I pay in the restaurant in London, Gin on the train is cheaper than in the restaurant, the cheese selection on the train is far better and a bit cheaper.

Without pedantic examination of each item which is not easy on account of varying qaulity and portion sizes, I consider that the prices in the Pullman are similar to those charged elsewhere, for a meal of similar qaulity.

BTW if anyone wants to know to which restaurant I compare the Pullman to, I would be pleased to reply by PM, but do not intend to name the establishment in public. I do not want to be accused of advertising, nor of taking this thread of the topic of FGW catering.






.......Sounds like an Aberdeen/Angus steak house menu! Is it the one just outside Paddington?  :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 11, 2014, 09:15:35 am
Travelled yesterday and to my surprise the new menu has been launched.

The up trip is still only serving mains and desserts but with longer to prepare for the return working they are trying to do all three courses on the 18:03.

The menu is largely as previewed earlier in the thread although some items have been swapped about from one menu to another.

This week the starters are
Salmon
River Exe Mussels
Wild Mushrooms

Mains
Steak (with the option of a very tasty horseradish sauce)
Fish of the day (it was pollock yesterday)
Veal
Pasta with slow cook tomatoes

Desserts
Devon Blue cheese and fig tart
Espresso Pannacotta
Cheese

I tried the new Ros^ wine which comes in 50cl bottles and the tawny port which is measured out from a large bottle at the table and both were very pleasant.

Another nice touch - depending on your main course you now get steak or fish knives.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 11, 2014, 11:00:36 am
Sounds excellent, looking forward to my next trip which I expect to be in 2 weeks.

Edit to add, I hope that the new menus include Dauphinoise potatoes with the main courses ? definatly one of my favourites  :) and appeared at frequent intervals in the old menus.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 13, 2014, 12:32:36 am
Took lunch along with bobm on the 1301 off Exeter today (12/03/2014).

New menu in full swing. And despite the limited time available to the crew, they managed to get in the full three courses (and bobm and I managed to consume them!). Speedy service, but not rushed. Kudos to team leader Jon, chef Paul, Ian, Karen and the rest of the team. Including the new girl whose name escapes me, but who referred to me as 'Sir' throughout. A few more trips and we'll be on first name terms.

I sampled the new Wild Mushrooms starter, followed by the ever present Filet Steak (which appears to have a new recipe Cafe de Paris butter), and an Espresso Pannacotta to finish. Accompanied by a very nice Garnacha red wine. All top notch as usual, although a word of warning about the Pannacotta. By crikey it's rich and caffeine heavy. Still buzzing as I write this 10 hours later!  ;D

Obeying Doctor's orders, so no other alcohol apart from the two glasses of red wine. I'll have to wait a bit to try the new Tawny Port.

Oh, and note for broadgage. We had Dauphinoise potatoes today.  8)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 13, 2014, 12:50:48 am
Including the new girl whose name escapes me, but who referred to me as 'Sir' throughout. A few more trips and we'll be on first name terms.

In that case you had better learn her name - it is Tina.  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 13, 2014, 12:59:06 am
The good old days? ...

(http://nationalrailwaymuseum.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/british-rail-poster-showing-the-full-range-of-meals-and-snacks-offered-by-travellers-fare-on-inter-city-trains.jpg?w=558)

The tagline, whilst not a question, states, "Look what you gain..."

I'd suggest an ever expanding waist line.  ;D

Image taken from, and credited to, a National Railway Museum blog post:
http://nationalrailwaymuseum.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/how-british-rail-limited-the-butter-on-its-sandwiches-and-other-station-stories/


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Lee on March 13, 2014, 01:07:29 am
Bet the Ryvita was popular...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 13, 2014, 02:06:17 am
I think the poster is from the mid/late 1970s. Ryvita was the height of sophistication back then. I can certainly remember Mumsy eating it, spread with Flora, as part of her 'calorie controlled diet'.

Thinking about it, I'm surprised there's no Prawn Cocktail, Black Forest Gateau or Blue Nun on that advert.  :P ;) ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on March 13, 2014, 02:38:02 am
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLufBXGFNOk


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 13, 2014, 10:20:27 am
One thing I remember about BR catering was that some meals were the same served on the train or at a station, same food, served the same, and IIRC the same price.
The grill meals featured both on trains and at stations.

In general I think that on train catering was better back in the day than now.
The FGW Pulmans are an exception and are excellent, but in general restaurants have been replaced by buffets, and buffets replaced by trollies.

Not that many years ago most long distance routes had full restaurants, now FGW are the only one, and no matter how good they are, 6 restaurants a day for the whole of the UK is a pretty poor show.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 14, 2014, 11:22:30 am
I think the poster is from the mid/late 1970s. Ryvita was the height of sophistication back then. I can certainly remember Mumsy eating it, spread with Flora, as part of her 'calorie controlled diet'.

Thinking about it, I'm surprised there's no Prawn Cocktail, Black Forest Gateau or Blue Nun on that advert.  :P ;) ;D

I think that the poster might be from the early 70s, note that the train illustrated is loco hauled (class 50 ?) and not an HST.
Once HST s were in general use they tended to be featured in preference to older types in adverts etc.


EDITT TO ADD, It was later than I thought, see following posts.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 14, 2014, 11:48:30 am
The caption in the article linked to shows the caption

Quote
BR poster showing the refreshments offered by Travellers fare on Inter-City trains, 1977.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 14, 2014, 12:35:41 pm
The caption in the article linked to shows the caption

Quote
BR poster showing the refreshments offered by Travellers fare on Inter-City trains, 1977.

I stand corrected then.
I wonder why they did not picture a then new HST in the advert ?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 14, 2014, 12:51:54 pm
I think, in the main they are advertising the fare across the entire InterCity network. Very few HSTs would've been in service in 1977 compared to all the loco hauled sets running on the East and West Coasts, the Midland Main, Cross Country and still predominant on the Western.

The most ubiquitous loco in the BR fleet at that time was the Class 47. Which is what is pictured.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 19, 2014, 12:35:02 pm
With the line at Dawlish expected to re open on April 4, or perhaps a few days before, it seems that FGW should update the Pullman dining page of their website from

"only a limited Pullman service" to "normal service is expected to resume from April4"

I appreciate that the re opening is not absolutely certain, but the fact that sleeper bookings are being accepted does suggest a reasonable degree of certainty.

Probably worth advertising the new menu as well, including port :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on March 19, 2014, 12:47:25 pm
May well be March 28 though...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 24, 2014, 10:34:13 am
Pullman dining pages on FGW website not working.
Trying to view the menu results in a "page not found 404 error"
Have emailed them about this.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 04, 2014, 10:07:57 am
Elswhere on these forums it is stated that the line via Dawlish is open and that the full Pullman service is expected to return today.
The FGW website still refers to the limited Pullman service to/from Exeter.

They really ought to update this, I have telephoned them


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 06, 2014, 06:50:44 pm
Pullman dining page STILL showing the limited service only.
The prompt restoration of the full service is to be commended, but why not update the website ?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on April 06, 2014, 08:28:14 pm
I guess it's probably just a comparatively low priority?  I'm sure it'll be updated shortly.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 06, 2014, 08:31:00 pm
I agree with you II.  I suspect it will be updated during the coming week along with the new menus.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 07, 2014, 03:44:17 pm
Now updated, I am pleased to report.
Full service now shown.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 07, 2014, 03:47:26 pm
Not quite. The new menus aren't yet showing. Duck this week.  ;)

I am told this is being worked on though.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on April 07, 2014, 04:20:38 pm
To resurrect a real old chestnut ..shouldn't that be Duck or Grouse ?.....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 07, 2014, 10:24:02 pm
The three new menus are now on the website

http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/~/media/PDF/YourJourney/On%20Board/Pullman_Feb_2014_dinner%20x4%20menus%20287x155.ashx (http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/~/media/PDF/YourJourney/On%20Board/Pullman_Feb_2014_dinner%20x4%20menus%20287x155.ashx)

This week has seen Menu 2 on offer.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 08, 2014, 10:49:55 am
Looks good  :) I note that prices have increased somwhat but consider this to be reasonable at a time of rising costs generaly.
Glad to see that all 3 menus retain my favourites of smoked salmon and the fillet steak.

It certainly seems that dining is being taken seriously these days.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on April 08, 2014, 01:08:44 pm
Looks good  :) I note that prices have increased somwhat but consider this to be reasonable at a time of rising costs generaly.
Glad to see that all 3 menus retain my favourites of smoked salmon and the fillet steak.

It certainly seems that dining is being taken seriously these days.

I'm sorry but IMHO some of those prices are ridiculous and the menus bring a 1970s Angus steakhouse to mind......I've eaten at top class restaurants in London which compare favourably on price............only those who are on expenses, have more money than sense or whose journey is otherwise free thanks to Railway travel privileges would consider them reasonable!  :o


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on April 08, 2014, 01:17:06 pm
Have to agree with Taplow Green's view on prices ...the price of a steak alone is more than my weekly food shop...and that's usually in Waitrose !


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on April 08, 2014, 01:38:21 pm
Have to agree with Taplow Green's view on prices ...the price of a steak alone is more than my weekly food shop...and that's usually in Waitrose !

^25 for a silver mullet fillet with a bit of garnish and a few veg is simply obscene - I could take you to a "proper" fishmonger where the whole (large) fish would cost you ^10 and you'd get 3 decent sized portions from it - AND it would be that fresh it would still be flapping!

I'll leave others to calculate the markup!

I'd expect to pay no more than ^15/^16 for that, in an excellent restaurant.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 08, 2014, 01:55:32 pm
I could buy a fillet steak a lot cheaper in the butchers than in the restaurant, but that is because one is paying for the staff and management time and use of the "premises"



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on April 08, 2014, 02:24:46 pm
... and use of the "premises"

Hmm ... I would argue that "use of premises" is within your ticket price - at least the customer facing end is. Anytime single, Plymouth to Paddington, First Class - ^199.00.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on April 08, 2014, 04:10:11 pm
... and use of the "premises"

Hmm ... I would argue that "use of premises" is within your ticket price - at least the customer facing end is. Anytime single, Plymouth to Paddington, First Class - ^199.00.

.............that's like buying a Big Mac and paying to sit and eat it at Petrus!!!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on April 08, 2014, 07:09:12 pm
I agree with TaplowGreen that the prices are pretty high, and I'd doubt I'd pay that for an steak.  But there is an element of it being a special dining experience and for that you would expect to pay more.  Presumably, if the dining numbers Broadgauge regularly report are as healthy as he says then there are no shortage of people prepared to pay the price.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 08, 2014, 11:41:41 pm
I agree with TaplowGreen that the prices are pretty high, and I'd doubt I'd pay that for an steak.  But there is an element of it being a special dining experience and for that you would expect to pay more.  Presumably, if the dining numbers Broadgauge regularly report are as healthy as he says then there are no shortage of people prepared to pay the price.


The evening services from London are generaly well patronised and often full.
The up services into London tend to be less busy but need to run in order to position the crew and supplies for the down services.
If I was in charge, I would keep the basic menu and pricing structure as at present, but consider some form of discount on the up services. "3 courses for the price of 2" or some other suitable offer.
IME there is no shortage of people willing to pay the price of an excellent evening meal, but there IS  a shortage of people willing to pay as much at lunchtime.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 09, 2014, 08:16:59 am
Taken in isolation the prices may seem high - but consider this.

One of my regular trains is the Monday 12:01 from Plymouth to London Paddington.  This starts back at Penzance at 10:00 and is normally a very busy train at the start of the week.

Taking next Monday as an example there are currently advance fares available at ^53.45 in standard or ^117.95 in first.  The walk up single in standard is actually cheaper at ^52.50 - so using that means I could save over ^65 by buying a standard ticket and sitting in the crush that would allow me.  Or I can sit in the restaurant and use the same ticket while eating a meal using some or all of my savings.  As well as the excellent food and greater comfort it has the added benefit of meaning I am fed and watered when I reach my destination and don't need to spend more time and effort getting a meal later.

Taken in that context the meal is not as expensive as it may seem.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on April 09, 2014, 09:37:16 am
Yes - there are indeed no fewer that 72 single fares listed from Plymouth to London Paddington on brfares, ranging from 15.60 to that 199.00 I quoted.   There's a whole lot more - returns, with travel card, and some business products which I suspect include a meal in the restaurant car.  And of course you can be using ranger or rover tickets or using railcards too - so the amount you pay could be (in effect) yet something else.   Almost too much choice - the only thing missing being the single middle aged person railcard / loyalty card!

Makes "value for money" very hard to evaluate!  :D  ... and I certainly agree with the enjoyable experience / saving of time at journey end mitigators.   Heck - that's often how I justify train / standard class against driving  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: BandHcommuter on April 09, 2014, 10:03:21 am
Or I can sit in the restaurant and use the same ticket while eating a meal using some or all of my savings.  As well as the excellent food and greater comfort it has the added benefit of meaning I am fed and watered when I reach my destination and don't need to spend more time and effort getting a meal later.

On that basis, the restaurant car could be seen as a cheap first class upgrade with a free meal thrown in (especially on a long journey)! Do passengers with first class tickets get priority if the restaurant car is busy? And are standard class ticket holders required to return to standard accommodation once they've finished their meals?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on April 09, 2014, 10:23:00 am
yes; supposed to....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 09, 2014, 10:40:48 am
FGW have made a change to four services concerning the provision of Travelling Chefs.

The service has been removed from
09:15 London Paddington to Cardiff Central
11:55 Cardiff Central to London Paddington

The service has been added to
07:45 London Paddington to Swansea
11:28 Swansea to London Paddington




Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on April 09, 2014, 11:07:24 am
yes; supposed to....

........at those prices I'd expect to be carried back to my seat in a sedan chair accompanied by a string quartet playing relaxing music, then tucked in with a large glass of Louis XIII & a big fat cigar!  :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 09, 2014, 12:14:32 pm
Or I can sit in the restaurant and use the same ticket while eating a meal using some or all of my savings.  As well as the excellent food and greater comfort it has the added benefit of meaning I am fed and watered when I reach my destination and don't need to spend more time and effort getting a meal later.

On that basis, the restaurant car could be seen as a cheap first class upgrade with a free meal thrown in (especially on a long journey)! Do passengers with first class tickets get priority if the restaurant car is busy? And are standard class ticket holders required to return to standard accommodation once they've finished their meals?

Yes first class ticket holders are meant to get priority in use of the Pullman, this is enforced on services from London by allowing first class customers to board first, with steerage then admitted if spaces remain.
This works fairly well, but not perfectly.
The usual procedure at Paddington is for those wishing to dine to queue on the platform whilst the crew prepare. Once all is ready, then first class customers are invited to board, followed by steerage if space remains.
This is typicly some minutes before departure and therefore has the drawback that a first class customer arriving at the last minute probably wont get a seat, unless they have booked.
Likewise a first class customer boarding at Reading is unlikely to get a seat in the restaurant without booking, since all seats are usually filled on leaving London.
Holders of first class tickets may book a seat in the Pullman on the 18-03 or 19-03 by telephoning customer services.

On services into London, priority for first class is not so easlily enforced as passengers board at numerous stations.
Suppose that say 6 seats remain in the Pullman at Totness, the crew would naturaly hope to fill these seats by admiting anyone wishing to dine. But if a first class ticket holder then boards at Taunton they are likely to be disapointed. One could hardly eject someone who has started their meal !

Holders of steerage tickets are meant to leave the Pullman on completing their meal, enforcement is patchy and may depend on the size of the gratuity.

From London I invariably buy a first class ticket and book a dining seat.
Into London I purchase only a steerage ticket and usualy get a meal. If the Pullman is full or fails to appear, then I sometimes wait for the next one, rather than pay over ^100 extra to go first class


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 09, 2014, 04:40:51 pm
The Galloping Gourmets (aka bignosemac and bobm) have been out on the Pullmans this past week since the line through Dawlish reopened. Time to savour the food on the Up lunchtime services now that they are not so rushed, as was the case starting from Exeter. Here are some pictures of new menu items:

These first three are from menu rotation 1:

Wild Mushrooms with white wine on sourdough toast
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/2014-04-04131354_zps1c2c313c.jpg)

River Exe Mussels with wine, bay and chilli
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/2014-04-04131608_zps25ff51a3.jpg)

Grilled Veal Chop from Brookfield Farm with Devon blue cheese butter
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/2014-04-04134155_zpse622302c.jpg)

And these three are from rotation 2:

Twice Baked Quicke^s Mature Cheddar Souffl^ with lightly dressed watercress
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/photo1_zps54f7ed5a.jpg)

Roasted Breast of Devon Duck with orange and sage sauce
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/photo2_zps1ed666b4.jpg)

Devon Blue Cheese and Fig Tart
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/photo3_zps518bff30.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 09, 2014, 04:48:31 pm
The Galloping Gourmets (aka bignosemac and bobm) ...

... or, as they are also known, the Trundling Trenchermen.  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 09, 2014, 05:22:12 pm
... or, as they are also known, the Trundling Trenchermen.  ;) :D ;D

Very good.  ;D ;D ;D

Might get a t-shirt with that on! Or maybe 'Bumbling Bon Viveurs'


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 09, 2014, 06:07:34 pm
There is an opportunity during Bristol's upcoming food festival (http://www.bristolfoodconnections.com/) to try out the Pullman experience whilst stationary.

A pop-up restaurant will be offering dishes from the Pullman menus on the evening of Saturday 10th May. The location is one of the arches (in Hart's Bakery) under the approach road to Bristol Temple Meads station. Creator of the current Pullman menus, chef Mitch Tonks will be hosting, ably assisted, I'm told, by some of the Pullman team from Plymouth.

http://www.bristolfoodconnections.com/whatson/pullman-pop-up-with-mitch-tonks/

Also, during the food festival, First Great Western are sponsoring the Producer's Market on Bristol's Harbourside from 3rd-5th May. FGW source the majority of the food for the Pullmans and Travelling Chef services from suppliers within 15 miles of their network.

http://www.bristolfoodconnections.com/aboard-local-produce/


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on April 09, 2014, 06:50:11 pm
To be fair to FGW a fillet steak with a butter sauce is ^22.50 at Harry's Restaurant in Exeter.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 09, 2014, 08:13:04 pm
To be fair to FGW a fillet steak with a butter sauce is ^22.50 at Harry's Restaurant in Exeter.

And the chef at Harry's doesn't have to cook it in a tiny kitchen barrelling along at upward of 100mph!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on April 13, 2014, 09:34:09 am
To be fair to FGW a fillet steak with a butter sauce is ^22.50 at Harry's Restaurant in Exeter.

And the chef at Harry's doesn't have to cook it in a tiny kitchen barrelling along at upward of 100mph!


....but presumably you don't have to pay up to ^199 for a seat at one of his tables?  :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 13, 2014, 01:24:35 pm
Surely the cost of ones ticket is only relevant if you are travelling solely to have the meal?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: higthomas on April 14, 2014, 03:55:29 pm
FGW have made a change to four services concerning the provision of Travelling Chefs.

The service has been removed from
09:15 London Paddington to Cardiff Central
11:55 Cardiff Central to London Paddington

The service has been added to
07:45 London Paddington to Swansea
11:28 Swansea to London Paddington




I notice that in their summer timetable as currently available, http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/~/media/PDF/TicketsAndTrainTimes/TrainTimes/MAY%202014%20TIMETABLE/STANDARD%20PRINT/C01DL45287600Web.ashx it doesn't have this new information. It also has the supposed return, or not I'm not entirely sure any more of the services to Bristol. I really wish that FGW would get their info right on this topic, as I am an irregular traveler and normally try to time my trains around those with travelling chefs, yet the last time I went that way both my trains had no travelling chef, even though they were listed in the timetable as having it.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 14, 2014, 07:58:53 pm
16 diners on the 1201 from Plymouth today. That's pretty much a full house. Just one spare seat.

Sadly today's lunch wasn't one of the best I've experienced. My dining colleague (you know who he is!) didn't get his starter, it had to be chased up. The duck was a little disappointing - which is a shame as I'd really been looking forward to it. Service was also a little below par. Being super critical I'd say it really does make a difference which Team Leader you get.

On the plus side, the Devilled Brixham Crab starter was delicious, as was the Chocolate & Salted Caramel Pudding.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on April 15, 2014, 10:26:46 am
16 diners on the 1201 from Plymouth today. That's pretty much a full house. Just one spare seat.

Sadly today's lunch wasn't one of the best I've experienced. My dining colleague (you know who he is!) didn't get his starter, it had to be chased up. The duck was a little disappointing - which is a shame as I'd really been looking forward to it. Service was also a little below par. Being super critical I'd say it really does make a difference which Team Leader you get.

On the plus side, the Devilled Brixham Crab starter was delicious, as was the Chocolate & Salted Caramel Pudding.

I sat in the sun, had a large pasty and a pint of Scrumpy - ^6 - proper job! One was delighted!  :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on April 15, 2014, 01:11:15 pm
I sat in the sun, had a large pasty and a pint of Scrumpy - ^6 - proper job! One was delighted!  :)

Ah - the beauty is in variety ...

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/mytea0.jpg)

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/mytea1.jpg)

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/mytea2.jpg)

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/mytea3.jpg)

... and I'll have to try the First Great Western Pullman service at some time that I'm heading non-stop past home!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on April 18, 2014, 06:45:49 pm
Travelling Chef yesterday on The Cornishman. Decided to push the boat out and have something other than my usual Cheese Toastie and Mushrooms.

Poached Egg on Toast with Mushrooms ;D

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-7xAxLCNxzsw/U0_5GW-xaII/AAAAAAAAJk0/EAWDcI74cPo/w983-h553-no/20140417_165330.jpg)

Eggs cooked to perfection, nice and runny.

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-qfla_IynM9c/U1Bo_i9WU-I/AAAAAAAAJoA/A6Ozrd3ycAU/w983-h553-no/20140417_165639.jpg)

Toast was good with butter. Mushrooms also good (Sometimes they can be too salty). ^5.20 (^4.50 for Eggs on Toast and 70p for the Mushrooms Side) All in all I thought for the quality of the food this was excellent value. Most cafes near where I live charge similar prices and actually the quality isn't always as good. And they can make their toasties in a static kitchen and not one bouncing around at 100mph+

The worse thing about the meal was the Coffee - First Class Complimentary and it tasted sodding awful! I think I either got the bit from the bottom of the container, Or far too much coffee beans with not enough milk! Either way it woke me up a bit but was far too strong and as thick as mud almost :-\ :-X :P

Oh and if you have one of those complimentary Easter Cakes... Ask the host for a napkin or 5... If you have (or have had) one, you'll see/know why! ;D :-X :o

On the return journey on 1A37 (21:29 Taunton - London Paddington via Bristol Temple Meads) for the first time I saw a Cheese and Onion Croque so decided to give one a go.

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-0FYieFvxOus/U1BAjQw1VDI/AAAAAAAAJlI/jqqPrIfYNHI/w983-h553-no/20140417_215737.jpg)

Well I was less impressed with this. Don't get my wrong it was nice. But it was 2 pieces of bread with cheese and onion in the middle and further cheese and onion on top. It resembled a Cheese and Onion Toastie gone horribly wrong! Infact it would've been nicer if they just made it as a cheese and onion toastie.

Would I have one again? yes I probably would as it's the only vegetarian hot food onboard FGW's Express Cafe that is not porridge. And there are only so many times you can eat Egg and Rocket or Cheese Plowmans Sandwiches.

But ^4.50 for Microwave Toastie and ^4.50 for Eggs on Toast or Cheese Toastie from the Travelling Chef? Travelling Chef wins every time! ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 18, 2014, 09:56:56 pm
Travelling Chef yesterday on The Cornishman. Decided to push the boat out and have something other than my usual Cheese Toastie and Mushrooms.

Poached Egg on Toast with Mushrooms ;D

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-7xAxLCNxzsw/U0_5GW-xaII/AAAAAAAAJk0/EAWDcI74cPo/w983-h553-no/20140417_165330.jpg)

Eggs cooked to perfection, nice and runny.

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-qfla_IynM9c/U1Bo_i9WU-I/AAAAAAAAJoA/A6Ozrd3ycAU/w983-h553-no/20140417_165639.jpg)

Obviously so good the cutlery was fighting for position - switching from left to right.

Seriously though some of the Travelling Chef fayre is excellent.  Had a very good breakfast platter on the 07:30 Merchant Venturer on Thursday - with the egg solid as a rock, just as I requested.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 18, 2014, 11:54:21 pm
The worse thing about the meal was the Coffee - First Class Complimentary and it tasted sodding awful! I think I either got the bit from the bottom of the container, Or far too much coffee beans with not enough milk! Either way it woke me up a bit but was far too strong and as thick as mud almost :-\ :-X :P

... whereas I, young trout, would have regarded that as my ideal mug of coffee.  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on April 19, 2014, 09:22:46 am
^5.20 for egg & mushrooms on toast and ^4.50 for cheese on toast!

I see two slices of toast are also a bargain at ^2.25, and beans on toast a snip at ^4.50!

 "Most cafes near where I live charge similar prices"..................do you live in Monaco trout?  :D



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 26, 2014, 12:42:13 am
Menu 3 - the last of the new menus has now been unveiled on board.

A couple of items from it.

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/pull2604.jpg)
The fish soup 

Although always reticent about trying new things I am not sure about, I must admit I thorougly enjoyed the starter.  It is a thick soup with plenty of fish pieces in it.

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/pull22604.jpg)
The Lemon Sole with brown shrimps

Again very nice - but if you are not a fan of bones, one to avoid.  Note fish courses are now served with a fish knife.

Menu 3 runs for its second week next week (28th April - 2nd May) and then back to Menu 1.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on April 26, 2014, 08:12:18 am
There's a knack to eating flat fish...once learnt, easy to eat!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 26, 2014, 11:45:36 am
There's a knack to eating flat fish...once learnt, easy to eat!

Indeed. Like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-EzTBHI3g8


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on May 08, 2014, 12:12:25 pm
Probably posted in error - but a rare catering update on JourneyCheck

Quote
15:06 London Paddington to Penzance due 20:42

Catering is reduced throughout No Travelling Chef service available. .


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on May 09, 2014, 08:31:44 pm
There's a knack to eating flat fish...once learnt, easy to eat!

I am not for eats... :( :P ;D

(https://fbcdn-dragon-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/t39.1997-6/p128x128/851557_641023289246616_2071860656_n.png)

Probably posted in error - but a rare catering update on JourneyCheck

Quote
15:06 London Paddington to Penzance due 20:42

Catering is reduced throughout No Travelling Chef service available. .

Ah that's 1C86 isn't it? The Cornishman? In which case it would be helpful if FGW would provide this intel more often... ::) The amount of times I specifically select this train for a TC only to be disappointed is highly frustrating!

Of course one would like not to see this message to be certain of a Cheese Toastie with Mushroom ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on May 11, 2014, 04:12:31 pm
Yesterday evening bobm and I, along with our partners, dined in the FGW Pop-up Pullman in Hart's Bakery under the approach road to Temple Meads. The evening was organised by First Great Western and restaurateur and Pullman menu creator Mitch Tonks as part of the Bristol Food Connections festival.

And what a great evening it was. A novel experience to dine from the Pullman menu at the dizzying speed of 0mph.  ;D

The service was a lot more relaxed and leisurely, but the team, as ever, were on top form. They still produced and served quality food despite the change of surroundings. I think it fair to say there were one or two very minor issues, but that was only to be expected from the team being in an unfamiliar kitchen. Perhaps not having the kitchen moving about actually made things a little more challenging!

As well as letter of praise winging its way to FGW Towers, I'd like to thank the Pullman team here also. I won't name them, but should they read this I'd just like to say, "Well done all. We had a fantastic evening. The Pullman staff are a credit to First Great Western."


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on May 11, 2014, 06:37:04 pm
Can only really echo what bignosemac has said.

It was nice to have the chance to talk to Mitch Tonks and meet some of the Pullman staff in a less formal atmosphere.

I did feel for the chefs - they had a bigger kitchen than they are used to - but it was then filled up with organisers and various other people.

Wasn't really a night for pictures* - but I did snap this one of the cheeseboard.  Slight departure from the usual presentation and included some very tasty unpasturised Cheddar.

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/pullchee.jpg)

The tealight features on the evening Pullman services (and is battery operated - clearly a naked flame on a 125mph train would not be a wise idea!)

The bread rolls were also provided from the range produced at the venue.

* There were plenty of professional photographers there and I suspect their efforts will appear in the public domain before long.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 11, 2014, 07:17:12 pm
Re the cheeseboard pictured above, it was served as illustrated in the very early days of the new Pullman menu, but they soon reverted to plates.
And yes the battery tea lights are a nice touch and much more realistic than most fake candles, the first time that I saw one it fooled me !


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Network SouthEast on May 11, 2014, 07:50:17 pm
Whilst I am sure what I am about to write has nothing to do with on-board Pullman service, I was intrigued to learn of research that there is a link between your perception of a serving and what it is served on.

In short, probably much to the disgust of fancy restaurants, there is much to be said about positive psychology behind serving food on simple white round plates. (See here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/0/24902469) and here (http://www.flavourjournal.com/content/2/1/27).)

But did that have anything to do with cheeses being served on plates on Pullman trains? I doubt it.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on May 13, 2014, 11:28:41 am
Whilst I am sure what I am about to write has nothing to do with on-board Pullman service, I was intrigued to learn of research that there is a link between your perception of a serving and what it is served on.

In short, probably much to the disgust of fancy restaurants, there is much to be said about positive psychology behind serving food on simple white round plates. (See here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/0/24902469) and here (http://www.flavourjournal.com/content/2/1/27).)

But did that have anything to do with cheeses being served on plates on Pullman trains? I doubt it.

Simple white plates? At the prices FGW charge for these meals I would expect them to be served by supermodels on complimentary jewel encrusted gold salvers!!!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on May 19, 2014, 09:52:08 pm
Possibly a foretaste of things to come..

On both Friday and today I understand the 10:00 from Penzance (the 12:01 from Plymouth) has run with no coach H and an extra standard class coach.

On Friday only 11 places could be laid up as the whole of coach G (as it was then) was full as were six seats in F.  No Standard class passengers could be accomodated for lunch.

I am not sure of the numbers today, but I am aware of one person who could not get a seat in the restaurant on the 12:01 and got off at Newton Abbot to get the later one.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on May 20, 2014, 07:02:47 pm
On both Friday and today I understand the 10:00 from Penzance (the 12:01 from Plymouth) has run with no coach H and an extra standard class coach.

Coach M ;)

And I could've predicted this also. I dread to see what the Cornishman looks like with just 1.5 First Class Carriages.

Apologies to anyone in advance who needs to move a laptop or paperwork to accommodate my Cheese on Toast with Mushrooms in Coach F Coach L at Westbury :-X

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-oMM2371dPcg/U3TfLsFeANI/AAAAAAAAKR8/JASDrP9K2xc/w983-h553-no/20140515_163658.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on May 21, 2014, 09:03:45 am
Hmm - wait for IEP 1st class - 2 x 1 seating from what I can ascertain, and the table isn't full length across the two seats....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on May 21, 2014, 07:25:47 pm
Possibly a foretaste of things to come..

On both Friday and today I understand the 10:00 from Penzance (the 12:01 from Plymouth) has run with no coach H and an extra standard class coach.

On Friday only 11 places could be laid up as the whole of coach G (as it was then) was full as were six seats in F.  No Standard class passengers could be accomodated for lunch.

I am not sure of the numbers today, but I am aware of one person who could not get a seat in the restaurant on the 12:01 and got off at Newton Abbot to get the later one.

To be honest, none of us needed a crystal ball to see this happening.

What next, restricted spaces lead to withdrawal of 'loss-making' Pullman..?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 24, 2014, 11:59:28 am
Whilst FGW do seem to be belatedly taking catering seriously, I fear for the long term future of the Pullman service.
As reported above, as first class provision is downgraded on existing HSTs, Pullman provision is becoming problematic. The reduced number of meals that can be served on the downgraded trains may well make the service uneconomic.

And of course on the new trains, NO catering beyond a trolley is to be provided for steerage. The kitchen is at the first class end thereby restricting any meal provision to first class.
First class space on the new trains is very limited, as a percentage of the total.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on May 27, 2014, 09:25:06 pm
The reduced number of meals that can be served on the downgraded trains may well make the service uneconomic.

Either that and they drop the Pullman (which I hope they don't) and do what all the other major Long Distance TOCs seem to be doing. Offering a free 2 or 3 course meal to First Class Passengers.



Another Travelling Chef for me today on the 11:45 London Paddington - Swansea Train. I pushed the boat right out and went for Cheese and Beans on Toast, Mushrooms and Chips.

Food was delivered quickly and trolley refreshment service in First Class was frequent, kept well fed and watered.

The food:

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-W6PLD9WVWPA/U4R008pmhlI/AAAAAAAAK4c/_Mzm3EaErVg/w907-h510-no/20140527_121755.jpg)

Just incase you're wondering. There was a white coffee in that cup which I had already nearly finished drinking before the food was brought to me :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on May 27, 2014, 09:34:53 pm
Looking at that excellent grub you must have had a Swansea crew!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on May 27, 2014, 09:40:28 pm
The food:
A friend of mine (someone who hates trains) just spotted this photo as I was looking down my Facebook news feed.  Her comment of "I'd happily ride around on trains all day to eat that" made me happy.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on June 01, 2014, 09:29:00 am
The food:
A friend of mine (someone who hates trains) just spotted this photo as I was looking down my Facebook news feed.  Her comment of "I'd happily ride around on trains all day to eat that" made me happy.

.....I hope your friend has deep pockets in that case!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 01, 2014, 09:59:52 am
A freshly prepared hot meal, cooked by a proper chef, served at seat, for around ^9. On a train. I don't think one needs deep pockets for that.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on June 01, 2014, 10:04:26 am
The food:
A friend of mine (someone who hates trains) just spotted this photo as I was looking down my Facebook news feed.  Her comment of "I'd happily ride around on trains all day to eat that" made me happy.

.....I hope your friend has deep pockets in that case!  ;D
The food in thethout's photograph would cost around ^8.50.  Possibly ^3 or ^4 more than eating the same thing in a "greasy spoon", which seems reasonable considering it is served on a train.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Southern Stag on June 01, 2014, 01:33:50 pm
The quality of the food from the Travelling Chef is far better than anything I've had from a greasy spoon too. It's not your typical cheap and cheerful ingredients.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on June 02, 2014, 12:17:23 pm
The quality of the food from the Travelling Chef is far better than anything I've had from a greasy spoon too. It's not your typical cheap and cheerful ingredients.

......at ^2.25 for two slices of toast, or ^4.50 for cheese or beans on toast, I'd expect the standard to be Michelin starred - be honest, that's Highway (railway?) robbery?

The profit margin on each loaf of bread must be incredible!

(......and yes, I know I don't have to pay for it if I don't want to, but these prices are astronomical)

As for the "greasy spoon" comment, for the sake of my cholestorol I try to avoid them, however as someone who regularly uses mid range hotels, an "all in" breakfast where you can help yourself to as much as you like (English and/or Continental) is generally a tenner or so.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on June 02, 2014, 12:40:10 pm
Exactly.

FGW are staffing it (and professional chefs don't come cheap either), rather than it being help-yourself-buffet. Just as well, as thieving gannets would pile it high....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on June 02, 2014, 08:43:24 pm
I used to think that on-train catering was on the pricey side.  However after living in London, nothing surprises me when it comes to food and drink any more.  Once you've paid ^6.00 for a pint of Foster's in a Central London pub (and never been back to said pub again), ^2.95 for a can of Carling seems like pocket money.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on June 03, 2014, 05:48:56 am
I used to think that on-train catering was on the pricey side.  However after living in London, nothing surprises me when it comes to food and drink any more.  Once you've paid ^6.00 for a pint of Foster's in a Central London pub (and never been back to said pub again), ^2.95 for a can of Carling seems like pocket money.

I feel your pain....as a Bitter drinker I vividly recall almost choking on my ale after my first ^5 pint however that was trumped recently when staying in a smart West End hotel (thankfully someone else was paying), nipped down to the bar for a livener, realised pretty quickly there was no chance of a decent beer, all they had on offer was small bottles of Peroni............at ^8.75 a pop!  >:(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on June 06, 2014, 04:51:10 pm
Was told it was ^2.95 for a bottle of water in my local ODEON Cinema last week! :o That made me...[insert derogatory phrase here]...ask for some tap water.

I think the food on the travelling chef for an "on train" price is entirely reasonable. It must cost FGW a fair chunk to provide and I am a big fan of "Use it or lost it!" so if I can get a TC Service then generally I will :)

Ok another Travelling Chef yesterday! This is by far the best Cheese and Mushrooms on toast I have ever had from the Travelling Chef!

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-dh6pY-kvKbQ/U5CP6El1CII/AAAAAAAAMwc/RlhEVQjPQnQ/w983-h553-no/20140605_164156.jpg)

Never had it served with a salad before and the cheese melted into the mushrooms was fantastic! ;D

No coffee was served sadly. The trolley was down in Coach M and it stayed there for the duration of my journey. In the end feeling slightly parched I went to the Buffet to get one myself ::)

Just as well, as thieving gannets would pile it high....

Oh I don't know... Sometimes when I'm in First Class on very quiet services (i.e. The only passenger in First) I'm told to help myself from the boxes on the luggage rack. I guess you could say though, that I don't take the p1ss with it and only take what I'm going to eat. Usually a single packet of Pretzels and Shortbread. Maybe the fruit or croissants instead if they're the last ones as they'll likely be thrown away anyway ::) :( :-X

Usually it's the same hosts that great me into First with "Oh god not you again!" Not sure whether this is a compliment or I travel too much :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 06, 2014, 04:56:21 pm
I was invited to help myself to the port at the end of a Pullman meal recently.  I poured out what I thought equated to the usual measure from the bottle only for the staff to come back and top the glass up telling me to "do it properly"!



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on June 06, 2014, 05:49:06 pm
I was invited to help myself to the port at the end of a Pullman meal recently.  I poured out what I thought equated to the usual measure from the bottle only for the staff to come back and top the glass up telling me to "do it properly"!



You are most honoured sir, I have never been told to help myself to the port, though I have been given a little beyond the proper measure.
The port served from a full bottle is IMHO superior to that in miniature bottles, and is also cheaper.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on June 22, 2014, 10:50:38 am
A potentially silly question... How does one go about working out which menu is running on the Pullman for any given week?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 22, 2014, 01:04:37 pm
Tomorrow is the second week of menu 1 if that helps. Changes fortnightly.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on June 22, 2014, 03:41:02 pm
..............you want food? Right now be happy if you can find a train that's running!!!  :o


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 22, 2014, 05:22:21 pm
I have noticed that the buffets have now started selling Doombar and Proper Job beers in glass bottles. I'm not sure of the wisdom of this on some of the Friday/Saturday late night trains I have been on.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Richard Fairhurst on June 22, 2014, 07:24:03 pm
As cider is the "wine of the West", it'd be lovely if FGW served some proper cider rather than just (blech) Wrongbow...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on June 22, 2014, 09:41:51 pm
 ...and the equally average Bulmers Original.

Replace one of the canned ciders with something like Thatcher's Katy or Sheppy's Dabinett.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on June 29, 2014, 11:33:55 am
I took a meal last Thursday on the 18-03 from Paddington, and whilst the Pullman was of the usual high standard, there was considerable dissatisfaction about the much reduced first class accommodation on the train.
With only one and a bit first class coaches available, the Pullman crew could not lay up 29 spaces as was the intention, but only 17 spaces in coach F.
Many who wished to dine were turned away, and there was an argument over whom preceded whom in the queue.

On board announcements stated that this was due to a "missing first class coach" which implies to me some form of breakdown, error, or omission. In fact of course the downgraded first class is the new policy. Almost every seat in the one full first class coach was reserved, leaving very little room for anyone who had not booked.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on June 29, 2014, 12:27:17 pm
I took a meal last Thursday on the 18-03 from Paddington, and whilst the Pullman was of the usual high standard, there was considerable dissatisfaction about the much reduced first class accommodation on the train.
With only one and a bit first class coaches available, the Pullman crew could not lay up 29 spaces as was the intention, but only 17 spaces in coach F.
Many who wished to dine were turned away, and there was an argument over whom preceded whom in the queue.

On board announcements stated that this was due to a "missing first class coach" which implies to me some form of breakdown, error, or omission. In fact of course the downgraded first class is the new policy. Almost every seat in the one full first class coach was reserved, leaving very little room for anyone who had not booked.

Sorry to hear of your experience, but we all - well most of us - saw this coming. Sadly the Pullman could very quickly become a casualty of this misguided policy, as that represents significant lost revenue. Also, customer confidence in the Pullman will rapidly evaporate if this farce continues.

The railway runs beyond Westbury for a reason, and facilities for long distance passengers should not be compromised to appease London commuters.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on June 29, 2014, 12:46:28 pm
It's crazy that West of England and South Wales HSTs are loosing a First class coach. These services were not running round with loads of empty First class seats. Even with restrictions of the sale of First Advance tickets the one and a half coaches won't be enough on many services and that is a fact...well it will be until those paying full fare First class tickets can't get a seat and seek an alternative to travelling by train.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on June 29, 2014, 12:51:32 pm
Not a fact at all.....have you seen the pax counts? If they kill 1st class from Reading, there will be enough seating....it'll just be one seat each, not two


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on June 29, 2014, 12:56:54 pm
Not a fact at all.....have you seen the pax counts? If they kill 1st class from Reading, there will be enough seating....it'll just be one seat each, not two

Indeed, it appears no-one was standing (on this occasion). But the issue here is that the Pullman restaurant lost 12 paying customers and if this carries on it will eventually lead to its demise. The irony is, of course, that FGW on the one hand have aggressively marketed the Pullman and then on the other hand ensured that non-dining customers will be sat in coach F (as was).


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on June 29, 2014, 01:15:39 pm
With only one and a bit first class coaches available, the Pullman crew could not lay up 29 spaces as was the intention, but only 17 spaces in coach F. Many who wished to dine were turned away, and there was an argument over whom preceded whom in the queue.
Would those 29 seats have been across two carriages, or does the buffet/kitchen car in some sets seat 29? If they can serve food to adjacent coaches, then couldn't the tables in the nearest standard class coach be reserved for overflow dining on the Pullman if insufficent first class seating is available? Not ideal I know, but surely better than turning away hungry passengers.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on June 29, 2014, 01:25:24 pm
Tables for your food?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on June 29, 2014, 02:11:43 pm
Not a fact at all.....have you seen the pax counts?
Nope, I can only say what I see and what I experience.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on June 29, 2014, 02:23:59 pm
With only one and a bit first class coaches available, the Pullman crew could not lay up 29 spaces as was the intention, but only 17 spaces in coach F. Many who wished to dine were turned away, and there was an argument over whom preceded whom in the queue.
Would those 29 seats have been across two carriages, or does the buffet/kitchen car in some sets seat 29? If they can serve food to adjacent coaches, then couldn't the tables in the nearest standard class coach be reserved for overflow dining on the Pullman if insufficent first class seating is available? Not ideal I know, but surely better than turning away hungry passengers.

If coach F* has the full size kitchen then it also contains 17 seats. On less busy Pullman services these 17 seats are the only ones laid up for meal service.
On a busy Pullman service it is usual to also lay up the first 2 bays of seats in coach G* these 12 seats give a total dining capacity of 29.
Due to the recent downgrade of first class, it is often only viable to lay up in coach F* as otherwise insufficient space remains for first class non dining customers.

It would not be viable to provide dining in the adjacent steerage class coach because most seats are bus style without tables, and the handful of table seats are liable to be jealously guarded by those lucky enough to obtain one. Also this coach tends to contain many Reading commuters.

When the downgrading of first class started, it was suggested that a few sets would retain proper first class for use on Pullman services. This has clearly not been the case.
A cynic like me would suspect that these changes are to prepare us for the new trains as these have a very small percentage of First class, and for steerage no catering except a trolley


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on June 29, 2014, 02:56:52 pm
When the downgrading of first class started, it was suggested that a few sets would retain proper first class for use on Pullman services. This has clearly not been the case

Not sure where you dreamt that up from - certainly no one at FGW would have suggested this.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on June 29, 2014, 03:54:21 pm
When the downgrading of first class started, it was suggested that a few sets would retain proper first class for use on Pullman services. This has clearly not been the case

Not sure where you dreamt that up from - certainly no one at FGW would have suggested this.

It was suggested in an "off the record" conversation with a member of FGW management whom I met at a social event.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 29, 2014, 03:57:28 pm
It was told to me too at a different social event.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on June 29, 2014, 04:20:04 pm
I don't see how they could easily schedule those HSTs on particular services *every* day....possibly a wish, rather than a policy?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on June 29, 2014, 05:15:11 pm
A solution would be two bays of FC seats in the standard coach immediately adjacent to the buffet/restaurant car. That way you get lots of extra standard seats, but retain sufficient FC capacity to cater for diners.

Obviously a hand operated sliding door would be required, preferably with tinted glass so that the MPs and civil servants in standard won't moan about FC passengers dining in style...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on June 29, 2014, 05:23:38 pm
for an extra 8 diners?.....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on June 29, 2014, 08:36:45 pm
for an extra 8 diners?.....

... On each side = 16 seats ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: a-driver on June 29, 2014, 09:01:39 pm
I would guess if the Pullman crews thought that the service was underthreat in any shape or form they would have sent feedback to the highest level possible because at the end if the day, worst case scenario, it's their jobs at stake.

Me, I would have just reversed the formation of the train.  With FC positioned country end the majority of London commuters wouldn't walk past FC and thus probably wouldn't realise how many carriages of FC there were and complain!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on June 30, 2014, 08:51:23 am
for an extra 8 diners?.....

... On each side = 16 seats ;)

First class seating is 2+1, therefore 2 bays of seating would be 12 seats. That would be worth having but I believe that the idea is a non starter for other reasons.
Firstly keeping steerage customers out of first class is already a struggle, if they had to pass through this area to access the buffet, it would in effect become the new standing area for the Reading commuters.
I doubt that meal service would be safe if the staff had to carry everything past the buffet queue, including those pretending to queue but actualy intending to be first out at Reading.
The expense and disruption of making the change seems a bit pointless as it would produce a somewhat similar result to simply keeping 2 coaches of first class.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on June 30, 2014, 09:42:09 am
I don't see how they could easily schedule those HSTs on particular services *every* day....possibly a wish, rather than a policy?

I think the idea was based on the fact you need to ensure the right kitchen is diagrammed for the six services so at the same time you ensure the coaches are correct.  How far up the managerial chain the idea has got I don't know. 

It would also offer some flexibility on trains where it is known there will be a high proportion of first class customers.  I was on the 15:50 from Penzance yesterday and it had two first class coaches.  The majority of first class seats were reserved and I counted only four empty seats - and that was before the first of the Glastonbury homegoers got on at Westbury.....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on June 30, 2014, 11:59:50 am
Perhaps the root cause of this debate is the fact that standing is allowed on trains, the only form of long distance travel to allow so.

Eliminate overcapacity and give everyone a seat reservation. Simple, safe and would allow the train company to upgrade standard class passengers to fill FC spare capacity when available.

Nobody enjoys standing, and just because it's how things have always been done is no reason to continue doing so.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: chrisr_75 on June 30, 2014, 05:01:51 pm
Perhaps the root cause of this debate is the fact that standing is allowed on trains, the only form of long distance travel to allow so.

Eliminate overcapacity and give everyone a seat reservation. Simple, safe and would allow the train company to upgrade standard class passengers to fill FC spare capacity when available.

Nobody enjoys standing, and just because it's how things have always been done is no reason to continue doing so.

I seem to recall Virgin proposed reservation only trains some time ago only to be met with outcry...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: RichardB on June 30, 2014, 05:28:41 pm
No-one is going to abolish the walk-up railway, even if it means standing on long distance trains.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: SDS on June 30, 2014, 05:41:14 pm
Don't long distance trains in Europe make it compulsory to have seat reservations? I'm thinking ICE or was that because I was on FIP Coupons?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on June 30, 2014, 06:04:05 pm
Don't long distance trains in Europe make it compulsory to have seat reservations? I'm thinking ICE or was that because I was on FIP Coupons?

Whenever I travelled in Spain on long distance Alvia or Altaris services. Reservations were compulsory. Once the train was full. No more bookings were taken.

So buying a ticket on the day although can be cheaper results in the risk of not being able to board the train you want or any train that day infact ::)

I paid 50Euros for a Preferente Single from Madrid - Murcia. I was VERY lucky because nearly all First Class seats where taken before leaving Madrid Charmartin and when called at Atocha there were 2 seats left that became occupied at Almanza from memory.

But remember that our fellow EU members have a completely different lifestyle. Long distance travel daily isn't something I think happens from my very casual observations.

But to answer you question. InterCity travel in Spain requires compulsory reservations and you MUST sit in the seat issued. (I got booked a Window seat once. I sat in the Cafeteria (free for all seating) for most of the journey instead because sitting in the Aisle seat was not allowed :( ).

However the local trains such as Alicante - Murcia - Lorca or Madrid Local Services don't require seat reservations. Allow 'standing' travel and do not feature First Class Seating. You do get a toilet but that is pretty much the only 'comfort'.

Just to complicate things, bear in mind that the Alicante - Lorca route does have trains which are InterCity services. Require compulsory reservations. Have a Buffet Car/Cafeteria and First Class seating. Only 3 a day from memory but those three trains have a different ticket system and require a reservation even if going just to the next stop. Which may be 3 minutes or 3 hours up the line!!

Oh and your local trains ticket isn't valid... You require a booked in advance or bought before travel ticket ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on June 30, 2014, 06:11:39 pm
No-one is going to abolish the walk-up railway, even if it means standing on long distance trains.

The furthest I can recall them going along this road rail in the past was expresses out of King's Cross which were in some cases all seats reservable / passengers carried limited to capacity of trains. Take a look at note C.

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/er1971.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: devon_metro on June 30, 2014, 09:12:41 pm
Don't long distance trains in Europe make it compulsory to have seat reservations? I'm thinking ICE or was that because I was on FIP Coupons?

Whenever I travelled in Spain on long distance Alvia or Altaris services. Reservations were compulsory. Once the train was full. No more bookings were taken.

So buying a ticket on the day although can be cheaper results in the risk of not being able to board the train you want or any train that day infact ::)

I paid 50Euros for a Preferente Single from Madrid - Murcia. I was VERY lucky because nearly all First Class seats where taken before leaving Madrid Charmartin and when called at Atocha there were 2 seats left that became occupied at Almanza from memory.

But remember that our fellow EU members have a completely different lifestyle. Long distance travel daily isn't something I think happens from my very casual observations.

But to answer you question. InterCity travel in Spain requires compulsory reservations and you MUST sit in the seat issued. (I got booked a Window seat once. I sat in the Cafeteria (free for all seating) for most of the journey instead because sitting in the Aisle seat was not allowed :( ).

However the local trains such as Alicante - Murcia - Lorca or Madrid Local Services don't require seat reservations. Allow 'standing' travel and do not feature First Class Seating. You do get a toilet but that is pretty much the only 'comfort'.

Just to complicate things, bear in mind that the Alicante - Lorca route does have trains which are InterCity services. Require compulsory reservations. Have a Buffet Car/Cafeteria and First Class seating. Only 3 a day from memory but those three trains have a different ticket system and require a reservation even if going just to the next stop. Which may be 3 minutes or 3 hours up the line!!

Oh and your local trains ticket isn't valid... You require a booked in advance or bought before travel ticket ::)

The AVE network has airport style security checks too. Plus you wait for your platform in the waiting area before passing the 'gate' where your pre-booked ticket is scanned. I don't know how strict the seat reservations are as they didn't seem to do ticket checks on board when I travelled Atocha - Valencia.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on June 30, 2014, 11:06:34 pm
Don't long distance trains in Europe make it compulsory to have seat reservations? I'm thinking ICE or was that because I was on FIP Coupons?

I have, sadly, been on German ICE trains (with a reservation) packed to the gunnels (or at least the train equivalent) with students going home for the weekend with their baggage.  No access to the buffet or toilet was practical for much of the journey.  The TGV/Thalys services mostly seem to have compulsory reservation and although they have quite insufficient baggage storage at least it's not people lying in the aisles and vestibules preventing the compartment doors closing and preventing the aircon working efficiently.  As has been noted before: railway paradise does not starts at Calais.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 01, 2014, 12:21:23 am
The furthest I can recall them going along this road rail in the past was expresses out of King's Cross which were in some cases all seats reservable / passengers carried limited to capacity of trains.

Were the Blue Pullmans that ran on the London Midland and Western Regions in the 1960s/early 1970s also all seats reservable and limited to seating capacity?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: BBM on July 01, 2014, 09:44:46 am
The furthest I can recall them going along this road rail in the past was expresses out of King's Cross which were in some cases all seats reservable / passengers carried limited to capacity of trains.

Were the Blue Pullmans that ran on the London Midland and Western Regions in the 1960s/early 1970s also all seats reservable and limited to seating capacity?

I travelled on the South Wales Pullman from Swansea to Paddington (including a non-stop run through Reading although I recall it was checked by signals) with my parents in 1973 shortly before the Blue Pullmans were withdrawn from service. My Dad bought supplement tickets from the booking office in Swansea just before we travelled. Seat reservations were included but I believe it was possible to simply board the train, find an empty seat and pay the supplement to the conductor.

Bringing this post closer to the thread's topic of catering, I recall having a very delicious meal of steak and chips with a catering staff member frequently roaming up and down with a a bowl of fresh chips. Yum!  :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on July 01, 2014, 10:07:41 am
The furthest I can recall them going along this road rail in the past was expresses out of King's Cross which were in some cases all seats reservable / passengers carried limited to capacity of trains.

Were the Blue Pullmans that ran on the London Midland and Western Regions in the 1960s/early 1970s also all seats reservable and limited to seating capacity?

I travelled on the South Wales Pullman from Swansea to Paddington (including a non-stop run through Reading although I recall it was checked by signals) with my parents in 1973 shortly before the Blue Pullmans were withdrawn from service. My Dad bought supplement tickets from the booking office in Swansea just before we travelled. Seat reservations were included but I believe it was possible to simply board the train, find an empty seat and pay the supplement to the conductor.

Bringing this post closer to the thread's topic of catering, I recall having a very delicious meal of steak and chips with a catering staff member frequently roaming up and down with a a bowl of fresh chips. Yum!  :)

Sounds like the passage of time has not affected the menu - still steak and chips! (but I bet you wouldn't get extra chips these days witout shelling out another fiver at least!!!  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 01, 2014, 10:09:41 am
Chips haven't featured on the Pullman Menu for a long while.  However you do frequently get offered a second serving of the remaining vegetables once everyone has had a first serving.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Richard Fairhurst on July 01, 2014, 10:16:27 am
Don't long distance trains in Europe make it compulsory to have seat reservations? I'm thinking ICE or was that because I was on FIP Coupons?
ICE doesn't require compulsory reservation. However, when I travelled on it a couple of weeks ago, 80%-90% of the seats were either reserved or marked as "ggf freigeben", which means "may be reserved at late notice, so sit here at your peril".


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on July 01, 2014, 02:42:42 pm
Chips haven't featured on the Pullman Menu for a long while.  However you do frequently get offered a second serving of the remaining vegetables once everyone has had a first serving.

Indeed, the preparing of deep fried foods on a moving train is potentially dangerous and may be banned, or if not actually prohibited is avoided.

IIRC, many years ago a serious fire occurred in a BR restaurant car caused by misuse of a vegetable boiler to fry chips. The appliance consisted of a fixed container set into the worktop and heated by gas. It was intended to be filled with water and vegetables boiled by lighting the gas. This arrangement being safer than a saucepan that could be upset and spill boiling water.
Unfortunately someone filled the vegetable boiler with cooking oil instead of water and thereby cooked chips. Being intended to hold water and not oil, no thermostatic control was fitted and the oil was overheated and ignited.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on July 01, 2014, 05:02:33 pm
Chips not a problem on South African railways or crossing the Rockies:

http://www.railway-technology.com/features/feature88897/

Interesting article in its own right, worth a read


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on July 01, 2014, 05:28:17 pm
Chips haven't featured on the Pullman Menu for a long while.

As per my earlier photograph. Travelling Chef do serve chips. It's a smallish portion at ^3.00 but very well cooked IMHO.

I think they were either shallow-fried or oven/grill cooked.

I managed to convince a chef recently to do me a "Chip Buttie" ... (No photo sadly) Not something I will repeat anytime soon, because it was incredibly tasty and too much chips = bad apparently :(

^ Click that for the picture


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on July 01, 2014, 05:46:49 pm
Another Cornishman Travelling Chef recently ;D

The Chef clocked me sat in Coach K and I can only gather from receiving an order of Cheese on Toast with Mushrooms; assumed which passenger whom was responsible... ;D

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-tDk5s2xnXbM/U6g8Kzpzl4I/AAAAAAAANQk/JKzzv8MCfxY/w983-h553-no/20140623_153906.jpg)

I managed also to invade the First Class Lounge at London Paddington the same day and was delighted to see this:

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-bzcOhBLcz-A/U6gwHuWEBpI/AAAAAAAANQI/9g2umRoqZRc/w983-h553-no/20140623_144739.jpg)

I remember there being a Gentleman who had also clocked the Cake, there were 2 pieces remaining. I managed to get one onto the plate but then had a major hand/eye/though process coordination fail when trying to put the cake server and the lid down... I think he thought I was going to take 2 pieces for which there would have undoubtedly been a stand-off... I managed to work it out in the end and all was well ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 01, 2014, 07:45:01 pm
I travelled on the South Wales Pullman from Swansea to Paddington (including a non-stop run through Reading although I recall it was checked by signals) with my parents in 1973 shortly before the Blue Pullmans were withdrawn from service. My Dad bought supplement tickets from the booking office in Swansea just before we travelled. Seat reservations were included but I believe it was possible to simply board the train, find an empty seat and pay the supplement to the conductor.

Posted before on the forum (probably in this thread!) is a copy of the 1960 Blue Pullman promotional leaflet and menu. Apt that it is linked to again. Some very interesting menu items:

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/documents/BRWR_Pullman1960.pdf

Also, for those that have not seen it before, here's a link to the British Transport Films' Blue Pullman feature:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paF321PTFwk


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on July 01, 2014, 08:37:22 pm
and I can remember the Birmingham Pullmans going through Greenford ... about the last proper trains that did that, I think.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on July 01, 2014, 08:51:57 pm
Chips haven't featured on the Pullman Menu for a long while.

As per my earlier photograph. Travelling Chef do serve chips. It's a smallish portion at ^3.00 but very well cooked IMHO.

I think they were either shallow-fried or oven/grill cooked.

I managed to convince a chef recently to do me a "Chip Buttie" ... (No photo sadly) Not something I will repeat anytime soon, because it was incredibly tasty and too much chips = bad apparently :(

^ Click that for the picture
Eating out is bad for me then. I'm a VERY fussy eater and pretty much everything I will eat out involves chips (normally with either battered white fish or scampi). At home I have less-fatty (and therefore presumably much healther) pasta most of the time.

As Fish 'n' Chips is one of the meals I do eat, this Rail UK post (http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=49126) about eating on the WAG Express was quite memorable. Unfortunately I haven't yet managed to travel on a train serving a hot evening meal that I will eat, although I did have a cooked breakfast on the WAG Express once.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on July 01, 2014, 08:53:46 pm
Posted before on the forum (probably in this thread!) is a copy of the 1960 Blue Pullman promotional leaflet and menu.

An interesting comparison. The London to Bristol journey time in 1960 was 110 minutes, and the first class price was 3.70 + 0.50 each way Pullman supplement, so taking inflation into account that would be 4.70 * 236.2 / 12.6 = 88.10 today (see http://swanlowpark.co.uk/rpiannual.jsp for inflation rates).   These days, some journeys can be completd in just under 100 minutes, there is no supplement for special trains, and the first class return fare is 193.00 off peak or 317.00 anytime.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: RichardB on July 01, 2014, 09:12:37 pm
Sadly the Blue Pullmans were one of the biggest mistakes of the Modernisation Plan.  You can see where the BTC were coming from - TEEs appeared to be very successful in Europe and survived well into the 1980s.

Nevertheless, part of the Beeching philosophy was to move away from flagship trains (with the rest being nowhere near as good) to regular interval services of a similar standard. 

That is largely the railway we have today though you can argue that the Paddington - far South West service is perhaps the last Inter City route to rely on flagship trains with an otherwise fairly "hot and cold" service.  Hopefully that will change when HSTs are released from the Bristol and Cardiff services.

As for Blue Pullmans, I was just too young and it's really sad nothing of them was saved.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 01, 2014, 09:59:06 pm
As for Blue Pullmans, I was just too young and it's really sad nothing of them was saved.

Hear, hear. I too am sad that a set wasn't preserved. Also too young to have seen or travelled on them.

As Fish 'n' Chips is one of the meals I do eat,

Permit me a small topic diversion... I was at a wedding this past Saturday, and fish 'n' chips was served for the wedding breakfast at the reception. A most unusual, but universally enjoyed, choice on the part of the bride (my sister) and groom. As is my way with catered meals I of course took a picture before tucking in:

(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/fnc_zps7c9bf511.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on July 01, 2014, 10:02:59 pm
Even a personalised label for your cutlery's sleeping bag!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 04, 2014, 04:02:50 pm
Enjoy the Travelling Chef while you can.  I have been told today by a very reliable source that they are to be phased out.  No definite date yet, but probably by Christmas.

Pullman Restaurants however will remain.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 04, 2014, 04:57:39 pm
I do hope this very reliable source is wrong. Knowing your contacts though bobm I am fearful...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Ollie on July 04, 2014, 05:54:15 pm
Following on from the post Justin made on Facebook, I do have an official response, just need to clarify a few points with the manager in question before I follow up on Facebook and here.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on July 04, 2014, 06:13:25 pm
Thanks, as ever, Ollie.  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Ollie on July 04, 2014, 06:28:00 pm
Hi again,

This is the response I've given on Facebook:

Hi Justin,

I've now been given the following response:

"We are talking to colleagues and crew about ways we would like to improve food and drink provision for both Standard and First Class customers on our long distance trains.

This follows the successful re-launch of our Pullman services last year.

The proposals include four additional Pullman services, with the return of a Pullman to our South Wales services. If agreed, the changes would also mean an updated buffet car menu and a change from Travelling Chef services to a service more suited to the choices being made by our customers."

So as it stands, it is just proposals and needs to go via consultation until any proposal is put in place.

-Ollie


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on July 04, 2014, 08:01:57 pm
and a change from Travelling Chef services to a service more suited to the choices being made by our customers."



I'll take from that the rumours are correct.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on July 04, 2014, 08:10:13 pm
Hmm ...  Who's going to break the news to member broadgage?  :P ::) :o


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TRAINMAN57 on July 04, 2014, 08:25:43 pm
Hi all, this is my first post on your forum.
     Have just recieved information that the travelling chef service is to be scrapped, not sure on the details but have this info on good authority. :'( :'(  not sure if this needs its own heading, but will leave it too admin.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on July 04, 2014, 08:40:27 pm
Thanks for posting, TRAINMAN57, and welcome to the Coffee Shop forum!  :)

Your news item is very topical - so much so, in fact, that I've just been dealing with a similar discussion on one of our 'established members only' boards, where it was initially discussed as being 'only a rumour' there.

However, as we've now had confirmation that it is in fact a consultation on such proposals, I'm going to move and merge those other posts here - "in the interests of continuity, completeness and ease of future reference", as I always say in such cases.  ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TRAINMAN57 on July 04, 2014, 08:52:36 pm
Hi all,have heard this could take place as early as november.As an aside training for a standard class trolley started today, it will move through standard tues to thurs and a static trolley mon and fri. My opinion would be to have lost the pullmans, as with the loss of a first class coach t/c would be more viable.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on July 04, 2014, 09:14:21 pm
Wow, that is a shock.

Even if Pullmans are introduced to South Wales, surely they will be removed when electrification is complete?

Does the Standard trolley mean the buffets are being withdrawn on all but Pullman services?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TRAINMAN57 on July 04, 2014, 09:51:57 pm
No withdrawal of buffet, at least not at present. :-\


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on July 04, 2014, 10:13:24 pm
Now that the cheaper advance FC fares are history, surely it's time that FGW provided FC. Passengers with at-seat complimentary meals? This would at least compensate for the loss of the TC.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on July 04, 2014, 10:33:24 pm
Enjoy the Travelling Chef while you can.  I have been told today by a very reliable source that they are to be phased out.  No definite date yet, but probably by Christmas.

Pullman Restaurants however will remain.

Predictable unfortunately. Many services that at present have a travelling chef are fairly soon due to be downgraded to the new shorter IEP trains. Since these have no catering for steerage, a travelling chef service cant be provided.

From the railways point of view, it is therefore desirable to cease travelling chef services in plenty of time. They don't want people saying "we had a travelling chef on the old trains but lost this after the downgrade"
Much better by far to be able to say "the new trains have a similar catering offer to that previously offered"


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: SDS on July 05, 2014, 01:07:49 am
Rumours going around the internal forums are that the Travelling Chefs will be regraded to Customer Hosts regardless of any 'consultation'.

05.53 PLY-PAD is being made a Pullman as of September.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 05, 2014, 06:15:48 am
In that the crews usually, and not unnaturally, run a meal service in both directions I wonder what the team on a 05:53 Plymouth to Paddington would do on a return journey.

Leaving London just after 10 or 11am seems a bit early for a lunch sitting.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on July 05, 2014, 09:12:42 am
Rumours going around the internal forums are that the Travelling Chefs will be regraded to Customer Hosts regardless of any 'consultation'.
If that is a change of job description, the service might not necessarily change that much. I seem to remember someone posting on RailUK that Wrexham & Shropshire (WSMR) did not have a chef and yet offered hot meals. Never used the service myself, but if I remember correctly WSMR was highly regarded for its catering.

Losing the chefs on FirstGW might not therefore be the disaster we fear, if a similar level of catering is provided by other, non-chef, staff. I don't hold out much hope though, sadly.

In that the crews usually, and not unnaturally, run a meal service in both directions I wonder what the team on a 05:53 Plymouth to Paddington would do on a return journey.

Leaving London just after 10 or 11am seems a bit early for a lunch sitting.
Since 05:53 is quite early in the morning, perhaps the staff have a break at London and return a little later. I'm not sure what staff hours regulations are, but could that be an issue?

Enjoy the Travelling Chef while you can.  I have been told today by a very reliable source that they are to be phased out.  No definite date yet, but probably by Christmas.

Pullman Restaurants however will remain.
Predictable unfortunately. Many services that at present have a travelling chef are fairly soon due to be downgraded to the new shorter IEP trains. Since these have no catering for steerage, a travelling chef service cant be provided.
I must point out that not all the IEP trains will be shorter (although a lot of them will be) and that both the longer IEPs and the shorter ones provide a trolley (and only a trolley) for standard class.

My question on the proposed new FirstGW catering offer on the IC125s is what is the point of the static trolley Mondays and Fridays? If the trolley isn't moving, surely you might as well go to the buffet for a wider range of items?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on July 05, 2014, 11:04:28 am
Enjoy the Travelling Chef while you can.  I have been told today by a very reliable source that they are to be phased out.  No definite date yet, but probably by Christmas.

Pullman Restaurants however will remain.

Predictable unfortunately. Many services that at present have a travelling chef are fairly soon due to be downgraded to the new shorter IEP trains. Since these have no catering for steerage, a travelling chef service cant be provided.

From the railways point of view, it is therefore desirable to cease travelling chef services in plenty of time. They don't want people saying "we had a travelling chef on the old trains but lost this after the downgrade"
Much better by far to be able to say "the new trains have a similar catering offer to that previously offered"

Surely there is an argument to keep the TC on services to Penzance, with a journey time almost twice that of London to Swansea?

I'm guessing the trolley is maybe due to coaches at the country end now being a coach further away from the buffet, it's already quite a trek


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on July 05, 2014, 08:55:51 pm
Enjoy the Travelling Chef while you can.  I have been told today by a very reliable source that they are to be phased out.  No definite date yet, but probably by Christmas.

>:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on July 05, 2014, 09:53:20 pm
That is a very unhappy trout.  :o


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on July 06, 2014, 06:27:52 am
Trout Pout to end all Trout Pouts !


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 06, 2014, 08:55:47 am
I have been a semi-regular user of the Travelling Chef.  When it has been available it has been generally very good - in particular the full breakfast - but all too often it has been unavailable due to crew or set probems.  Perhaps by concentrating resources on a total of eight Pullman services they can improve the reliability and provide the advertised service.

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/tc.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on July 06, 2014, 09:24:46 am
I suspect it's also a commercial decision, would be interesting to know if the Travelling Chef was profitable? 

There can only be a certain number of people prepared to pay ^4.50 for beans on toast, or ^2.25 for two slices of toast......


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on July 06, 2014, 09:33:00 am
I suspect it's also a commercial decision, would be interesting to know if the Travelling Chef was profitable? 

There can only be a certain number of people prepared to pay ^4.50 for beans on toast, or ^2.25 for two slices of toast......

IMHO, these prices are reasonable if it is served on a plate at ones first class seat, arguably a bit steep though for queuing up for a cardboard box


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on July 06, 2014, 04:25:24 pm
Hmm ...  Who's going to break the news to member broadgage?  :P ::) :o

Broadgage was already aware, but did not like to comment until this was confirmed publicly.
Although I seldom used the travelling chef service, preferring the Pullman, the withdrawal of the travelling chef is still most regrettable, unless it is replaced by something better, which seems unlikely.

A cynic like me would suspect that this to prepare us for the inevitable catering downgrade that the new trains will bring.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on July 06, 2014, 04:52:07 pm
It would be a shame to see the end of the Travelling Chef as it's a little different to anything else on offer from the other long distance operators.  It would be interesting to see what kind of profit/loss it made.  I enjoyed what I had on the odd occasion I used it, though the cost was high and it would not have been something I would want to rely on for a meal given the number of times the advertised service wasn't actually provided. 

Good to hear that the Pullman service will hopefully be expanded to include a South Wales service as I was hoping for in a post a few weeks back - nobody else seems to have commented on that though, which surprises me a little.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on July 06, 2014, 05:18:02 pm
Re South Wales Pullman, when are the HSTs being withdrawn on this route?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on July 06, 2014, 05:33:18 pm
Cardiff is due to be wired by 2017, so I guess they will start to be phased out then, though I suspect it will be quite a slow phasing out with plenty of HSTs still covering diagrams until Swansea has been completed.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on July 07, 2014, 05:58:06 am
It would be a shame to see the end of the Travelling Chef as it's a little different to anything else on offer from the other long distance operators.  It would be interesting to see what kind of profit/loss it made.  I enjoyed what I had on the odd occasion I used it, though the cost was high and it would not have been something I would want to rely on for a meal given the number of times the advertised service wasn't actually provided. 

Good to hear that the Pullman service will hopefully be expanded to include a South Wales service as I was hoping for in a post a few weeks back - nobody else seems to have commented on that though, which surprises me a little.

If they weren't making a profit at those very high prices the costs of running the service must have been huge and/or maintaining the service was outweighing the commercial benefits to FGW, evidenced by the unreliability/erratic nature of its provision as alluded to above.......no business is going to stop doing something that makes a healthy profit without a very good reason- I suspect demand for the service had dropped off and with it income, despite the best efforts of those devotees in this chatroom!  :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on July 07, 2014, 09:54:09 am
The irregular provision was indeed probably its downfall, you only have to be disappointed once or twice to lose faith and stock up on food at the many outlets on the station before you board. Paddington to Plymouth and beyond is a long way on an empty stomach, and filling up on snacks from the buffet is an expensive game


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: higthomas on July 11, 2014, 04:26:26 pm
Very sad news with regards to the Travelling Chefs. Anyone know whether the standard buffet selection may be improved to make up for the lost service. Also any ideas as to which services might get Pullmans, and also what they intend to do with regards to the decreased seating capacity.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: stebbo on July 15, 2014, 04:59:41 pm
Speaking purely personally, I find the Travelling Chef somewhat inconvenient at times. If I board an early morning Paddington bound train at Kingham (and some years previously at Evesham), I used to be able to "bag" a seat, go the buffet and return with coffee and bacon roll before arrival at the next station. Recently it's been touch and go if I get back to my seat before the bun fight (excuse the pun) starts at Charlbury as the preparation of the bacon baguette seems to take longer irrespective of the demand placed on the chef.

Of course, in the olden days from Evesham there wasn't a stop at Honeybourne........... And going further back visits to the buffet on departure from Hereford were bliss.

Don't get me wrong the bacon baguettes are good but not sooooo much better than the old microwaved bacon roll.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 29, 2014, 11:16:16 am
Last week, from the Western Mail (http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/fine-dining-railways-could-making-7454925):

Quote
Fine Dining on the railways could be making a comeback in Wales

Talks are underway to bring a Pullman Dining service to First Great Western services in South Wales

Clint Eastwood, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor all enjoyed fine dining on trains into Cardiff and now it looks like the days of good food on the go could be making a comeback.

Train operator First Great Western currently runs a fine dining service on its trains from London to Plymouth.

It had formerly done so on rail connections between the English capital city and Cardiff and the firm is now considering reinstating this service.

A spokesman for First Great Western said: ^We are talking to colleagues and crew about ways we would like to improve food and drink provision for both Standard and First Class customers on our long distance trains.

^This follows the successful re-launch of our Pullman services last year.

^The proposals include four additional Pullman services, with the return of a Pullman to our South Wales services.

^If agreed, the changes would also mean an updated buffet car menu and a change from Travelling Chef services to a service more suited to the choices being made by our customers.

^Longer term, we are also considering the re-introduction of a retail trolley in Standard class coaches, and an-seat service at weekends in First Class.

^Our commitment to supporting local suppliers, and to offering a good choice of quality food and drink on board, remains firm and while no decisions have been taken during discussion of the proposals with our people, we very much hope that we can quickly make the changes which will mean an improved journey experience for our customers.^

The Pullman dining service is currently available to anyone who requests it, whether in first or standard class, on selected services to the South West of England.

The menu has been created by award-winning chef and restaurateur Mitch Tonks.

He said: ^The menu is made up of dishes that I would like to eat on a journey, simple and full of pleasure and prepared and served by the great team on the Pullman services, it^s a unique and quality dining experience.^



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 29, 2014, 11:19:36 am
From the Morning Star (http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-b062-First-Great-Western-cooks-up-catering-spin?#.U9duWPldU8c):

Quote
First Great Western Cooks Up Catering Spin

TWO-FACED rail bosses hailed a new golden age of railway ^fine dining^ yesterday ^ while preparing to chop up catering services.

A puff piece in the Western Mail announced that First Great Western would expand its catering services across trains in Wales and south-west England.

But rail workers^ union RMT demanded the privateer stop the spin on its decision to axe the popular Travelling Chef meals service from scores of intercity services.

It follows the start of an RMT campaign to save the travelling chefs, which First says it may replace with a ^a ^service more suited to the choices being made by our customers.^

Part of that is the ^reintroduction of a retail trolley in standard-class coaches, and an at-seat service at weekends in first class.^

And from 2017 the privateer^s fleet will replaced by new trains which cram in more seats at the expense of buffet cars.

RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said: ^For First Great Western to try and spin the axing of the Travelling Chef service, and the replacement of the buffet cars with trolleys on the vast majority of their services, as some kind of return to the golden age of rail is an extraordinary act of misrepresentation of the facts.^

A spokesman for First Great Western said: ^No decisions have been taken during discussion of the proposals with our teams and there will be no compulsory job losses as a result of any move.^


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: SDS on July 29, 2014, 02:24:06 pm
And in the interests of fair reporting the internal response from FGW

Quote
Fastline: Travelling Chef Services

You may be aware we have made proposals to withdraw the Travelling Chef service from FGW services. While we have already communicated to all colleagues who might be affected, we are aware that the RMT has written to wider groups of colleagues about the issues involved following consultation meetings that have taken place over the last couple of weeks.

We know many of you will have some questions about the proposals, which we have tried to answer below.

What exactly is happening?
We have put together a proposal to change the way we offer food and drink to customers where we currently provide a Travelling Chef service. During a typical week on those services, just over seven customers per train choose to buy food that is not available on a standard Express Cafe menu - despite the quality of food our teams produce, it is clear that we need to offer a product that appeals to more of our customers.

We are proposing to remove the Travelling Chef, and replace it with a different, expanded offering, add more Pullman services, and extend the hours of our First Class complementary offer to weekends and later in the evenings.

Our proposals, which would come into effect from November will involve no compulsory redundancies ^ quite the opposite in fact as we continue to increase the number of on board staff in the business.

How many people do you expect to be affected?
Travelling Chefs and some Service Leaders will be affected by the changes.. There will be no compulsory redundancies. The proposals are that colleagues will be redeployed into Customer Host positions, with their terms and conditions protected.   In addition there will be a number of Chef vacancies available from the introduction of additional Pullman services which will be closed listed to affected colleagues.

What have we been doing wrong?
Nothing. We know the effort the Travelling Chef teams go to to serve fantastic food  on these services - the quality of the food served can never be in doubt. Unfortunately, looking at what our customers are buying, it's just not what enough of our customers want to eat while they travel with us. No amount of skill or hard work from our teams can change that.

This is a really important service for customers. Why can't you just run it at a loss?
Granted, there are some things we do as a business that add value for customers, which might not contribute to the bottom line directly. But these need to add real tangible value for customers. With less than 10 customers per train buying something from the Travelling Chef during a typical week, we need to rethink the product we are offering customers. Much of what customers do buy can ^ and is -  being offered by an Express Caf^.

Come on, we sell loads of breakfasts. Could we not just keep early morning services?
Actually, we don't.  Around 350 in a typical four week period. Sausage and Bacon sandwiches/baguettes do much better, but they can be offered on non-Travelling Chef services. 

I work on the Travelling Chef services and think am affected. Why has no one bothered to talk to me directly about any of this? Surely that's the least I deserve.
Absolutely. Your line manager should have already spoken to you directly if you might be affected by the proposed changes. Our collective bargaining agreements mean that your RMT reps act as your representatives in formal meetings with us, and we have to complete this collective consultation process on the proposals before we can start  any individual meetings with colleagues. If you don't think you have all the information you need, just ask your line manager

Why haven't you asked customers what they think of these proposed changes?
Two really simple reasons - firstly, we believe we should be speaking to colleagues who may be affected by the proposals  before we speak to anyone else. Colleagues should not have to learn about potential changes through the media. Secondly, we already know what customers think about what we currently offer, because they tell us every day through what they buy and through the comprehensive research we do with them.

The RMT has said removing catering services would be a breach of FGW's franchise promises. Is it?
The RMT has chosen its words very carefully. No one is proposing to remove the ability to buy food and drink on any of our trains. Quite the opposite. These proposals only affect Travelling Chef services, which would be replaced with a different on-board food offer that better meets the needs of our customers.

While there are no franchise commitments around providing catering on our services, these proposals are actually a significant investment in what we offer our customers while they are travelling with us.

FGW is very serious about on board service and aims to provide the best levels of service in the industry both now and going forward. This requires us to invest heavily in the people, products and facilities that go into making up such service offer.
This suggestion unfortunately drives uncertainty where there is none. There are enough people genuinely concerned about how these proposals might affect them as it is without worrying many more unnecessarily.

Those assurances are all very well, but this is just the start of a strategy to save money by taking out all catering by stealth, isn't it?
It's the exact opposite. This is about making sure we serve our customers the things they want on our trains and investing strongly in that offer. We already have a strong track record in investing in our catering offer ^ over the past year alone we have increased the number of customer hosts by 10% - and we want to do more to ensure our customers catering requirements are met.
These proposals add more Pullman services, extend the hours of our First Class complementary offer to weekends and later in the evenings.

You've said there will be no compulsory redundancies. There won't be any more Chef roles available, so what if there isn't another job for me to go to?
The additional Pullman services will mean we would have to recruit more chefs to those services, but the number is less than the overall number of Travelling Chefs. However under the proposals we have committed to keep colleagues within the Catering grade by redeploying to Customer Host roles. We will of course talk to every one of those people about their wishes as some may be wanting to pursue something else.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on July 29, 2014, 03:53:55 pm
From the Morning Star (http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-b062-First-Great-Western-cooks-up-catering-spin?#.U9duWPldU8c):

Quote
First Great Western Cooks Up Catering Spin

TWO-FACED rail bosses hailed a new golden age of railway ^fine dining^ yesterday ^ while preparing to chop up catering services.

A puff piece in the Western Mail announced that First Great Western would expand its catering services across trains in Wales and south-west England.

But rail workers^ union RMT demanded the privateer stop the spin on its decision to axe the popular Travelling Chef meals service from scores of intercity services.

It follows the start of an RMT campaign to save the travelling chefs, which First says it may replace with a ^a ^service more suited to the choices being made by our customers.^

Part of that is the ^reintroduction of a retail trolley in standard-class coaches, and an at-seat service at weekends in first class.^

And from 2017 the privateer^s fleet will replaced by new trains which cram in more seats at the expense of buffet cars.

RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said: ^For First Great Western to try and spin the axing of the Travelling Chef service, and the replacement of the buffet cars with trolleys on the vast majority of their services, as some kind of return to the golden age of rail is an extraordinary act of misrepresentation of the facts.^

A spokesman for First Great Western said: ^No decisions have been taken during discussion of the proposals with our teams and there will be no compulsory job losses as a result of any move.^
It might help their case if they were actually truthful. The statement that "fleet will replaced by new trains which cram in more seats at the expense of buffet cars." is untrue. There is a buffet car on the plans for the IEP, just standard class passengers do not have access to it, this needs to change in my opinion. Even more worrying though is the reduction in train length planned on some GW services, particularly the south Wales route and others which will see IEP but no frequency improvement, and the media/RMT sadly don't seem to have noticed (or don't care).


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on July 29, 2014, 04:26:57 pm
From the Morning Star (http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-b062-First-Great-Western-cooks-up-catering-spin?#.U9duWPldU8c):

Quote
First Great Western Cooks Up Catering Spin

TWO-FACED rail bosses hailed a new golden age of railway ^fine dining^ yesterday ^ while preparing to chop up catering services.

A puff piece in the Western Mail announced that First Great Western would expand its catering services across trains in Wales and south-west England.

But rail workers^ union RMT demanded the privateer stop the spin on its decision to axe the popular Travelling Chef meals service from scores of intercity services.

It follows the start of an RMT campaign to save the travelling chefs, which First says it may replace with a ^a ^service more suited to the choices being made by our customers.^

Part of that is the ^reintroduction of a retail trolley in standard-class coaches, and an at-seat service at weekends in first class.^

And from 2017 the privateer^s fleet will replaced by new trains which cram in more seats at the expense of buffet cars.

RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said: ^For First Great Western to try and spin the axing of the Travelling Chef service, and the replacement of the buffet cars with trolleys on the vast majority of their services, as some kind of return to the golden age of rail is an extraordinary act of misrepresentation of the facts.^

A spokesman for First Great Western said: ^No decisions have been taken during discussion of the proposals with our teams and there will be no compulsory job losses as a result of any move.^
It might help their case if they were actually truthful. The statement that "fleet will replaced by new trains which cram in more seats at the expense of buffet cars." is untrue. There is a buffet car on the plans for the IEP, just standard class passengers do not have access to it, this needs to change in my opinion. Even more worrying though is the reduction in train length planned on some GW services, particularly the south Wales route and others which will see IEP but no frequency improvement, and the media/RMT sadly don't seem to have noticed (or don't care).

Worth bearing in mind that The Morning Star is not reknowned for its objectivity.......basically  however the message from this and the FGW articel is.....TC isn't making any money, so we're getting rid of it....if it was a cash cow, they would be moving heaven and earth to retain it..........sadly that's how business works folks.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on July 29, 2014, 04:33:10 pm
It might help their case if they were actually truthful. The statement that "fleet will replaced by new trains which cram in more seats at the expense of buffet cars." is untrue. There is a buffet car on the plans for the IEP, just standard class passengers do not have access to it, this needs to change in my opinion. Even more worrying though is the reduction in train length planned on some GW services, particularly the south Wales route and others which will see IEP but no frequency improvement, and the media/RMT sadly don't seem to have noticed (or don't care).

IMHO it is reasonable to state that the new trains do not have buffet cars, if this facility is not available to the great majority of passengers.
If the average passenger boards one of these new trains and enquires as to the location of the buffet, can staff direct them to it ? No of course they can not ! therefore for all practical purposes the new trains "don't have buffets"

To be pedantically accurate, one should state that the new trains "have no buffet for standard class, but might have it for first class only (who don't really need a buffet anyway as hopefully table service will be provided in first)"


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on July 29, 2014, 04:53:07 pm
To be pedantically accurate, one should state that the new trains "have no buffet for standard class, but might have it for first class only (who don't really need a buffet anyway as hopefully table service will be provided in first)"

Or even more accurate we should state that we don't have any new trains yet.  All we have is draft layout proposals which I've told you before that FGW were not necessarily happy with and could specify a change, and a train specification which quite clearly leaves the option of having a Standard Class accessible buffet as an option:

"Level 2 - Servery that provides hot and cold snacks and drinks which may be delivered by either of the following methods:

1) An at seat first class service together with the replenishment of trolleys for standard class service without the provision of a Caf^-Bar counter service; or

2) The replenishment of trolleys and the provision of a Caf^-Bar counter service combined together"


I personally will be very disappointed if option 2 isn't chosen for the FGW layout, but will wait until I see the final layouts before I presume anything.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on July 30, 2014, 10:16:27 am
I can't honerstly see two catering staff in IEP Standard - one on each of the trolley & Caf^-bar.

I'm expecting a kitchen(ette)/buffet in 1st & probably a trolley in Standard. I hope I'm wrong though...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: mjones on July 30, 2014, 11:32:08 am
I'm not sure I quite understand that. If there is a buffet of any kind then it needs to be staffed, so surely they'd want to maximise the number of potential users to justify its costs?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on July 30, 2014, 12:05:16 pm
Agreed, so either a trolley *or* a caf^-bar, but not both. Hence knocking out option 2. And rather points to 1


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: readytostart on July 30, 2014, 01:10:23 pm
It all seems to going down the XC line of thinking in my opinion. The problem with providing a buffet but not a standard trolley is those passengers who are unable to make it to the buffet are not being provided with the same level of service as those who can. This could possibly lead to claims under the DDA. By providing everyone in the same travel class the same level of service (whether viewed as inferior to the current arrangement or not) they are complying.
I suppose it all comes down to how much they want to spend on staff.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on July 30, 2014, 01:45:05 pm
Another point suggesting trolley & no buffet....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on July 30, 2014, 02:23:40 pm
Agreed, so either a trolley *or* a caf^-bar, but not both. Hence knocking out option 2. And rather points to 1

If there was a trolley service only, and I am in agreement with you that it would be a great shame if there was, then at least having the 'servery' rather than a cafe-bar would mean that provisions available from the trolley could be of a wider range and higher quality than many current trolley services which rely on replenishment at stations en-route.  A trolley service is most desirable for some passengers - those with mobility issues of various sorts and those that don't want to leave their seat (which is a higher number than some would have you believe), but I really hope the cafe-bar is included as the specification allows.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on July 30, 2014, 03:30:31 pm
I'm not sure I quite understand that. If there is a buffet of any kind then it needs to be staffed, so surely they'd want to maximise the number of potential users to justify its costs?

I do not believe that the intention is to provide a buffet in the accepted sense of the word, i.e. a counter at which food and drinks are served direct to the customer.

I believe that the intention is to provide a kitchen for meal service to first class only, and presumably to serve light snacks and drinks at the table in first class, the staff fetching these items from the kitchen.
I doubt that the intention is to provide customer facing buffet counter staff, what would be the point ? whom would they serve if first get table service and therefore don't need counter service.

Trolley service only in steerage class, and probably a static trolley at that since I doubt that a trolley could pass through the crowds of standees and their luggage on the new shorter trains.




Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on July 30, 2014, 03:54:19 pm
There is talk of hot (microwaveable) food like bacon & sausage rolls in the Travelling Chef consultation going on now - looks like this is in preparation for dropping even these as trolleys can't supply....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 30, 2014, 05:05:49 pm
CrossCountry manage to supply hot items 'from' their trolleys.

I say 'from'. Ordered at seat as the trolley passes through and the host (or the grandly titled Retail Services Manager as XC call them) returns to the front/rear of the Voyager and prepares them in the kitchen area, then delivers to your seat. Bacon rolls in the morning. Burgers, panino and microwave meals throughout the day.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on July 30, 2014, 05:09:39 pm
And make little attempt at actually selling them. In my experience, *never* heard mention of them by the trolley seller. Ever.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: readytostart on July 30, 2014, 05:18:23 pm
There have been competitions and incentives to try and get hot food sales up on XC, though in reality they're only going to be heavily pushed when the train is double staffed with a first class host, that way they can call through to get them cooked (they're delivered to the first class end during the week) rather than having to abandon the trolley and all it's stock to go cook the food and bring it back. Some of the stewards will do a 'for the next fifteen minutes' announcement at the start of the day whilst they're setting up the trolley for anyone wanting hot food to come and collect it so many will sell all the hot items and then concentrate on selling what's left. Another way they do it is to sell the item and send the customer down to first class with the receipt for the first class host to cook it. Depends on the individual crews and the stopping patterns on the route too.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on July 30, 2014, 06:09:26 pm
CrossCountry manage to supply hot items 'from' their trolleys.

I say 'from'. Ordered at seat as the trolley passes through and the host (or the grandly titled Retail Services Manager as XC call them) returns to the front/rear of the Voyager and prepares them in the kitchen area, then delivers to your seat. Bacon rolls in the morning. Burgers, panino and microwave meals throughout the day.
Now, if you could order a full cooked meal (beans on toast at a minimum) from the trolley host who would call through to the kitchen in 1st class to get it cooked and delivered to your seat, that might actually be better than the buffet (although quite a long treck for the staff member bringing the food).

To be pedantically accurate, one should state that the new trains "have no buffet for standard class, but might have it for first class only (who don't really need a buffet anyway as hopefully table service will be provided in first)"

Or even more accurate we should state that we don't have any new trains yet.  All we have is draft layout proposals which I've told you before that FGW were not necessarily happy with and could specify a change, and a train specification which quite clearly leaves the option of having a Standard Class accessible buffet as an option:

"Level 2 - Servery that provides hot and cold snacks and drinks which may be delivered by either of the following methods:

1) An at seat first class service together with the replenishment of trolleys for standard class service without the provision of a Caf^-Bar counter service; or

2) The replenishment of trolleys and the provision of a Caf^-Bar counter service combined together"


I personally will be very disappointed if option 2 isn't chosen for the FGW layout, but will wait until I see the final layouts before I presume anything.
The first trains are already under construction. The two critial issues I have with IEP (driving vehicle : intermediate vehicle ratio and lack of intermediate buffet vehicles) will be extremely hard to resolve once series production starts. I appreciate that the TOCs are supposed to have a say on the issue and have tried contacting FirstGW to try and encourage them to get the plans changed from the current drafts, so far I haven't got a reassuring response.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on July 30, 2014, 07:05:24 pm
The first trains are already under construction.

Pre-production test trains are under construction.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on July 31, 2014, 09:43:21 am
The first trains are already under construction.

Pre-production test trains are under construction.

And where are the kitchens located within these test trains?
Presumably in the first class driving vehicles as was implied in the original drawings.
And does anyone really believe that this will be altered in some or all of the production trains ?

I can hear the weasel words already

"too late, regretfully to alter this now proven design"
"would add costs to a project on which value for money is vital"
"would cause delays and we are keen to get the new trains into service as quickly as possible"


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on July 31, 2014, 10:17:28 am
Probably true though


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on July 31, 2014, 01:02:37 pm
I should imagine the first train will be little more than a shell inside initially - you don't want unnecessary furnishings getting in the way of access to the more important train systems during the test phase.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 31, 2014, 09:28:00 pm
And make little attempt at actually selling them. In my experience, *never* heard mention of them by the trolley seller. Ever.

Two CrossCountry Voyager trips last week. The 0800 Bristol to Birmingham on Wednesday with the Retail Service Manager pushing the bacon rolls with announcements on departure from Bristol Parkway and Cheltenham Spa. Then on Thursday I caught the 1127 from Manchester to Reading. Again the Retail Service Manager regularly announced the hot food items. 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on July 31, 2014, 10:09:15 pm
My last experience of XC 'catering' in steerage, was on trip to B'ham from Temple Meads where we were informed on leaving Bristol that there were only a few bacon delicacies left and if we wanted one we should go to 1st Class to collect them.  Somewhere nearer Bromsgrove than Ashchurch and therefore not long before scheduled arrival at my destination the trolley appeared. It was sensible by then to await arrival at Birmingham and use my Bite card at one of the myriad outlets offering coffee.  I fear I wasn't the only one to forego the offering. 

Trollies, it seems, make more money than buffets.  I have yet to be convinced they offer the traveller the consistent service they promise and I share the concerns about the next step down in quality in inter-city services serving the FGW area.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 04, 2014, 09:48:33 pm
From The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/restaurateur-mitch-tonks-has-given-the-great-western-pullman-dining-car-a-makeover-9641279.html):

Quote
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

Clare Hargreaves jumped aboard the 12:06 from Paddington to Penzance for a sit-down lunch of local ingredients

We've barely creaked out of Paddington before a leather-bound menu is thrust into my hands, and Royal Oak, the stop a few minutes on, sees the delivery of fresh bread rolls and a pat of farmhouse butter as the seats around me fill in response to a Tannoy announcement. By Reading, I'm in full lunch flow, devouring a plateful of salmon artfully cured by Somerset's Brown and Forrest smokery ^ and wondering if I'm dreaming.

I'm not ^ I'm in the Great Western Pullman dining car on the 12:06 from Paddington to Penzance. (The name Pullman refers to George Pullman, who introduced lavish dining cars to US trains in 1868.) As I nibble my salmon starter (^10), I reflect that there can be few more civilised pleasures known to mobile man than enjoying good, freshly cooked food against a backdrop of ever-changing scenery. It certainly helps pass a journey in a way that a novel or newspaper can't ^ and every human needs to eat, so trains have a captive audience.

It seems extraordinary that while everywhere else, from the high street to airlines and airports, is upping their food game, the only alternative to the trolley or overcrowded buffet car on trains ^ with the exception of certain First Great Western (FGW) ones ^ is the at-your-seat airline-style plastic tray (and that's a "privilege" reserved for first class only). Surely you take the train precisely because you can walk around rather than having to be imprisoned in your seat. And what could be nicer than "going out" ^ or at least "along" ^ to lunch?

Ever since East Coast trains called last orders on its restaurant cars in 2011 after its predecessor, National Express, made massive losses, rail companies here and across Europe have argued that Pullman dining cars don't pay and that customers don't want them. Even French railways have scrapped them except on certain international services. Bravely ^ some would say foolhardily ^ First Great Western kept its Pullman going and has now given it a makeover by employing Devon-based restaurateur Mitch Tonks to develop menus using quality ingredients from within 15 miles of the line. "It started after Phil Edgerton, our head of marketing, ate at Mitch's Dartmouth restaurant and sampled some fresh prawns that Mitch's daughter had just caught," Jo Elliott, FGW spokesman, says. "Phil said: 'Why can't we do this on the train?'"

It might not be quite the Paris-Istanbul Orient Express, whose inaugural 1883 restaurant coach, panelled in mahogany and teak, ushered in the golden era of railway dining in Europe. (The first British train to host a dining car was the Great Northern Railway, which started serving hot meals, cooked over an open fire, in 1879). Our glasses are from ordinary glass, not Baccarat crystal, and tablecloths are paper instead of starched damask linen. But our white china plates with their pukka red Pullman logos, the soothing clinking of glasses and the chatty service all create a pleasing feeling of lunchtime ritual. Plus ^ and this is a big plus ^ our sit-down lunch is an excuse for us second-class mortals to enjoy the spacious, leathery comforts of first class.

Clare, our smartly uniformed "service leader" ^ trainspeak for front of house ^ has just braved a particularly jolty stretch of line to bring my main. "You get used to the movement," she says, watching the glasses on my table slide gently. I faced a tough choice between South-west coast-landed lemon sole with brown shrimps (^25) or Somerset-reared fillet steak with Caf^ de Paris butter (^28) but the steak has won, if only to give me an excuse to enjoy a miniature pot of Tracklements mustard (made due north of where we now are) and a 500ml bottle of Ramon Bilbao Rioja (^20), which is going down nicely.

As we whizz past a white horse etched on the chalky Wiltshire Downs, I notice an interesting sound above the thundering of the engine and the clinking of glasses: the happy hum of human chat. Having been seated at tables of two or four, my fellow lunchers have struck up conversations, some so animated you'd think that those involved had known each other for years. Next to us a man on his way to his daughter's graduation in Exeter is chatting with a retired gentleman from Rock. Behind, a group of four have stumbled across the Pullman lunch as a delicious way of entertaining granny on the five-and-a-half-hour journey to Penzance. It feels more like a supper club than a British train carriage. And not a laptop in sight.

The mechanics of producing our three-course lunches from the tiniest kitchen imaginable, with just minutes to prepare, are a logistical marvel. Cooking in constant motion is not for everyone, but chef Pete Downham used to work in the merchant navy so is unfazed. Today there's a hiccup ^ the oven isn't working ^ so Pete is masterfully making do with a grill. Some of the dining-car food is pre-prepared, of course, but to the company's great credit, fish, steak and vegetables are all loaded in Plymouth and cooked from fresh.

The train has reached the lush pastures of Somerset, so Clare takes our dessert orders. There's no time to waste, as many passengers will be getting out at Exeter and all traces of lunch need to be cleared by Plymouth. I plump for the chocolate-orange mousse, with candied orange peel, at ^9. Again, it's a difficult choice, as the artisan British cheese selection looks tempting, too. It's followed by tea (disappointingly, Lipton, but at least it's with real milk) and mints, which I spin out as long as possible as we imbibe the most spectacular views of the journey: Dawlish Warren with its sand dunes, bobbing boats and glistening seas. Our train hovers so close to the water it's hard to believe we're not actually in it.

It's time to settle up. My three courses come to ^47. I shared my wine with my companion, so my drink costs an extra ^10, making a total of ^57. Not cheap, but judging from the feedback on TripAdvisor and my fellow lunchers, not outrageous if you take into account the top-class local ingredients plus the convenience, the entertainment and the chance to travel first class for a couple of hours. Many passengers tell me that they never knew about the dining car but have been pleasantly surprised and will now book trains that have them ^ only three each way daily on the Paddington-Penzance at present, although there are plans to introduce them on the Paddington-Swansea line next month, too. Others say they're already in the know and pick their trains accordingly. "It's a well-kept foodies' secret," one passenger, visiting family in Newton Abbot, tells me. "It's tempting not to tell anyone in case we can't get in. But I really hope it flourishes."

So, can the Pullman pay its way? FGW's Elliott admits that staffing costs make this difficult. "We have to take a holistic view. We believe the dining car adds to customer perception. We hope it'll become a point of difference, a reason to take the train." From what I've seen today, it might well.

The seagulls herald our arrival at Plymouth, my destination. For once I'm wishing my journey hadn't flashed by so quickly, so I could have a few more hours to savour the Pullman's food and company. Perhaps First Great Western could ask their drivers to drive a little more slowly next time.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on August 04, 2014, 10:25:22 pm
The Smokery mentioned in the above article is just round the corner from my present location. I'm at Mumsy's in Curry Rivel and if the weather is set fair tomorrow I may well take a walk down the lanes to Hambridge and get me some smoked goodies. Particularly tempted by the smoked garlic they're advertising on their website.

http://www.smokedeel.co.uk/acatalog/About_the_Smokery.html

I have no connection with this business. Except eating their produce on the FGW Pullman of course!

And i totally agree with Clare. I'll tell anyone who will listen that there is no better way to experience fine dining than with an ever-changing scenery.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on August 05, 2014, 03:01:27 pm
15:06 London Paddington - Penzance is another No Show for the Travelling Chef. We have a Microbuffet :(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: BBM on August 10, 2014, 12:04:34 pm
Tom Parker-Bowles has written a generally favourable article on FGW Pullman Dining for a certain tabloid:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/event/article-2718967/Tom-Parker-Bowles-reviews-Pullman-Fine-Dining-The-lunch-arriving.html (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/event/article-2718967/Tom-Parker-Bowles-reviews-Pullman-Fine-Dining-The-lunch-arriving.html)

But the choice of picture captioned "The Pullman dining car on the 12.06 First Great Western from London Paddington to Plymouth is the only one left in the country" is totally bizarre! In case it gets replaced (hopefully it will!) I'll insert it below:

(http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/08/07/article-2718967-20575D8200000578-759_468x286.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on August 10, 2014, 02:48:17 pm
Rather splendid though is it not  :)
And of course a WHOLE coach for dining  :)



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on August 22, 2014, 09:51:11 pm
The RMT's take on the impending withdrawal of the Travelling Chefs:

Quote
For some considerable time your Senior Union Representatives have been in negotiations with First Great Western management with regards to the implementation of the Intercity Express Programme and I can now advise you that I have received the company^s proposals to withdraw the Travelling Chef service by November 2014.

The RMT believes this is an exceptional service which has been enjoyed by members of the travelling public for many years. The RMT believes this will have a massive effect on our member^s payment of wages and terms and conditions. Therefore, I have raised my grave concerns with the company and I have informed First Great Western that if this imbalance is not addressed immediately a potential dispute situation may exist between our two organisations.

Further, your union^s Executive Committee has recently considered the matter and I have been instructed to prepare an industrial action ballot matrix of all our First Great Western On-board members. In this regard, I would be most grateful if you could contact the RMT Helpline on 0800 376 3706 to ensure your membership records are up-to-date.

Additionally, I am making the necessary arrangements to convene an urgent meeting with our RMT Welsh Parliamentary Group to seek their support in our campaign to ^Save the Travelling Chef^. Furthermore, the RMT will be organising a day of action with our FGW On-board Divisional Council Representatives at locations across the franchise to ensure maximum participation and effectiveness. Also, suitable propaganda will be produced and distributed to raise public awareness in support of our campaign to fight the company^s proposals.

The RMT remains resolute in its determination to take all necessary measures to protect the interests of both our members and the travelling public in the face of the unnecessary and profit driven decision on the part of the company. We will continue to use every means possible, both politically and industrially, in our campaign to stop First Great Westerns proposals to remove the Travelling Chef services.

Best wishes.
 
Mick Cash
Acting General Secretary
http://www.rmt.org.uk/news/inter-city-express-programme-iep220814/


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on August 22, 2014, 10:28:34 pm
The RMT's take on the impending withdrawal of the Travelling Chefs:

This may well be the RMT's take on the Travelling Chef issue, but it seems pretty much the same as its initial response to most changes.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on August 23, 2014, 01:43:40 pm
The RMT's take on the impending withdrawal of the Travelling Chefs:

This may well be the RMT's take on the Travelling Chef issue, but it seems pretty much the same as its initial response to most changes.

Exactly - the Business makes a sound commercial decision to withdraw a lossmaking service for which there is clearly little demand and so naturally the Union threatens strike action - real world???


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on August 23, 2014, 06:31:51 pm
Most recent Travelling Chef meal :)

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-56SaYZSKQs0/U_MzNw7G09I/AAAAAAAAhQI/meriAjW78RU/w1026-h577-no/20140819_122111.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 23, 2014, 08:15:38 pm
The salad looks fresh and crisp - but you should have a pint of St Austell Tribute with that meal, not a plastic cupful of wishy-washy flavoured hot water!  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on August 23, 2014, 08:38:48 pm
The salad looks fresh and crisp - but you should have a pint of St Austell Tribute with that meal, not a plastic cupful of wishy-washy flavoured hot water!  ;) :D ;D

I'm Tea-Total remember ;) ;D :-X



Incidentally I have just stumbled across an "awkward staff member" who refused the issue of a Coffee against a First Class ticket because my ticket was not valid on the train I was travelling on...

Forgive me for speaking out of line, but surely they should be just checking the class and date of the ticket? In this case the destination of the ticket is the same location the train terminates. So common sense [ ::) ] would suggest it probably is valid. So to be told otherwise kinda irritated me. The train manager also stamped the ticket and was obviously happy with the route as nothing was said which indicated otherwise. The ticket had also be stamped on the 2 previous trains I had used.

Whilst some may say that checking the from and to stations are important. I'm not sure that staff would know all the stations in the country and where they are. I suspect I would have received the same "argument" using a Taunton - Chalkwell FSR... :-\ :-X >:(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 23, 2014, 10:05:40 pm
I'm Tea-Total remember ;) ;D :-X

I did - hence I was only 'Teasing'.  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on August 23, 2014, 10:22:43 pm
I'm Tea-Total remember ;) ;D :-X

Looks like coffee to me!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 23, 2014, 10:28:10 pm
Erm ... thetrout does not like coffee!  :o


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on August 23, 2014, 10:31:49 pm
Erm ... thetrout does not like coffee!  :o

Really? Post #758 suggests otherwise.  :P


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 23, 2014, 10:38:59 pm
You're quite right - I can't think where I got the impression that trout don't like coffee.  :P ::) :o


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on August 29, 2014, 07:55:03 pm
You're quite right - I can't think where I got the impression that trout don't like coffee.  :P ::) :o

:o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o

This trout lives on coffee as an essential fuel ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 03, 2014, 08:54:14 pm
All but confirmed there will be an additional four Pullman services starting in the not too distant future.

Barry Doe, writing in this fortnight's RAIL Magazine (756) gives flesh to the bones of the rumours.
 
South Wales gets a reintroduction of an 'up' Breakfast Pullman, departing Swansea at 0559 with a return 'brunch' service leaving Paddington at 0945.

From Plymouth there is an additional 'up' Breakfast Pullman at 0553 with, again, a return 'brunch' Pullman at 1006.

No word yet as to which stations service will be available from. On the up Pullman Breakfast from Swansea I expect the last sitting will be for those boarding at Bristol Parkway. I hope so. It'll give me a chance to try it out. The additional up from Plymouth will likely have service to passengers boarding Plymouth-Taunton incl. I expect the 'down' brunch services will be available from Paddington and Reading, although I suppose it may be possible to serve someone boarding from Swindon heading to Swansea (I can think of one other person who may dine if that's possible...)

These are in addition to the six existing services:

0505 Penzance - Paddington (breakfast available after Plymouth at 0655 and all stations to Taunton incl.)
1000 Penzance - Paddington (three course lunch available after Plymouth at 1201 and all stations to Taunton incl.)
1206 Paddington - Penzance (lunch available from Paddington and Reading)
1256 Plymouth - Paddington (lunch available from Plymouth - Castle Cary incl.)
1803 Paddington - Penzance (three course evening meal available from Paddington and Reading)
1903 Paddington - Plymouth (evening meal from Paddington and Reading)

Good to see these additional services, but it's somewhat of a shame that they come at the expense of the Travelling Chef.

Just waiting now for a confirmed start date from FGW...



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on September 04, 2014, 06:40:58 am
1C86 on 03/09/2014 (15:06 London Paddington - Penzance) had no travelling chef again... >:( >:( >:( >:(

From speaking with onboard staff, FGW are losing ^1,000,000 a year on the travelling chef service alone and by November they will be completely withdrawn. All rather depressing.

There was also suggestions from staff of withdrawing Weekend First or increasing the price, Withdrawing First Class Advance Fares and also withdrawing First Class Off Peak Fares...

For the life of me I cannot see the Off Peak Fares being withdrawn which made me wonder how much was speculation and messroom rumours. The staff members in question however have been working with FGW for longer than I can remember so I am slightly more concerned that I perhaps should be...

I must stress that although the above did come from an FGW Member of Staff... I have no further evidence to prove or disprove these comments and they should be treated as such :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on September 04, 2014, 09:37:23 am
For the life of me I cannot see the Off Peak Fares being withdrawn which made me wonder how much was speculation and messroom rumours.

Messroom rumour I would imagine.  Negativity is always rife in the messrooms!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on September 04, 2014, 10:09:11 am
I can definitely see Weekend First either being withdrawn or increased in price with a hook line that with WF you will get enhanced on board service with customer hosts at weekends and access to the First class lounge at PAD.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on September 04, 2014, 10:14:36 am
1C86 on 03/09/2014 (15:06 London Paddington - Penzance) had no travelling chef again... >:( >:( >:( >:(

From speaking with onboard staff, FGW are losing ^1,000,000 a year on the travelling chef service alone and by November they will be completely withdrawn. All rather depressing.

There was also suggestions from staff of withdrawing Weekend First or increasing the price, Withdrawing First Class Advance Fares and also withdrawing First Class Off Peak Fares...

I must stress that although the above did come from an FGW Member of Staff... I have no further evidence to prove or disprove these comments and they should be treated as such :)


Sounds like a sound commercial decision on that basis, no sensible business would continue to soak up that sort of loss......fully agree with withdrawing Weekend First as First class capacity has been slashed otherewise people with full fare tickets are going to miss out on a seat when someone nips in with a ^20 supplement.....weekend first was designed to use up accomodation in times of low demand, these times are now disappearing......less relaxed about First Advance being withdrawn (notwithstanding that these are rumours albeit from well informed people).........think all this demonstrates how cutting 1st class was hasty,poorly thought through and the implications not considered...the premium service is getting less so day by day it seems!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: SDS on September 04, 2014, 10:20:45 am
I have also heard said rumours of a "rethink about WF". I dunno if WF is an ATOC requirement as it seems all the IC operators have it EC/GW/WC/.

Also think a supplement should be introduced to advance holders, EC do it for their KGX lounge. Virgin restrict the use of the lounge time time wise.

How is it fair that someone on a say ^20 advance should get more benefits then someone on a FOR?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: didcotdean on September 04, 2014, 11:27:06 am
Well last year ATOC put out press release about the increased use of First Class (http://www.atoc.org/media-centre/previous-press-releases/2013/03/04/demand-for-first-class-rail-travel-hits-10-year-high-100807/), highlighting the uses of advances, weekend first and Railcards, and it being driven also through enhanced lounges and catering.

However, that was last year's spin; this year's appears to be different.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on September 04, 2014, 04:25:21 pm
I have also heard said rumours of a "rethink about WF". I dunno if WF is an ATOC requirement as it seems all the IC operators have it EC/GW/WC/.

Also think a supplement should be introduced to advance holders, EC do it for their KGX lounge. Virgin restrict the use of the lounge time time wise.

How is it fair that someone on a say ^20 advance should get more benefits then someone on a FOR?


Probably tricky unless it's renamed the "First Class open return lounge"?  I guess in this context a 1st class ticket is a 1st class ticket? Not sure how much "fairness" comes into it but I guess that could work both ways..........unless you make it a "Business" type lounge on the basis that most people with FOR will be travelling on expenses/Business? ......that said , I'm not aware of any restrictions of this type in airport lounges.....Business class is Business class regardless for that purpose.




Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on September 04, 2014, 04:45:23 pm
Pity about the travelling chef, but the extra Pullmans are good news to me at least.
We are nearly back to the good old days when seven services from London to the west had restaurants, with a similar number eastbound.
Unfortunately I have now moved to the West country and wont be enjoying the Pullman as often as in the past.

As regards the various forms of discounted first class travel, I doubt that these will vanish, but I would expect shallower discounts for advance purchases, smaller numbers of discounted tickets, and a greater supplement for weekend first.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on September 04, 2014, 05:39:07 pm
I agree with broadgage and would expect the number of cheap advance first class fares to reduce, but still expect them to be available in a reasonable number on many off-peak services that would otherwise have loads of empty first class seats if the only tickets available were FOS or FOR.  In the case of the mini-buffet sets there will be (as I understand it) around 72 first class seats instead of 95 so it really isn't that dramatic a drop on many of the trains anyway. 

Standard class seating on those trains rises from 474 to 513, only 13 short of the 9-Car IEP proposed layouts - I wonder if we may see them eventually built with less first class seating than the 101 seats that featured in those proposed layouts?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 04, 2014, 06:19:10 pm
How is it fair that someone on a say ^20 advance should get more benefits then someone on a FOR?

Life isn't fair. There are many examples where two people pay different prices for the same product. Or where you pay the same price for nominally the same product but get different service.

Someone with a railcard reduced First Class ticket gets the same benefits as those without. They've paid less, should they get a reduced service? Where do you draw the line. One tea for the 1st AP below ^40, tea and biscuits for the 1st AP above ^40. Tea, biscuits and lounge access for the 1st Off Peak holder. All of the above only for those on 1st Anytime tickets?

If you have a 1st Class ticket, you should get the 1st Class service. On the train at least.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on September 05, 2014, 08:38:04 am
How is it fair that someone on a say ^20 advance should get more benefits then someone on a FOR?

Life isn't fair. There are many examples where two people pay different prices for the same product. Or where you pay the same price for nominally the same product but get different service.

Someone with a railcard reduced First Class ticket gets the same benefits as those without. They've paid less, should they get a reduced service? Where do you draw the line. One tea for the 1st AP below ^40, tea and biscuits for the 1st AP above ^40. Tea, biscuits and lounge access for the 1st Off Peak holder. All of the above only for those on 1st Anytime tickets?

If you have a 1st Class ticket, you should get the 1st Class service. On the train at least.



I agree, but would draw the line at Weekend First.....let's say for example I've got a First class open return which I've bought as I need maximum flexibility and have decided to travel from Plymouth to Paddington on a Sunday afternoon........train starts at Penzance and by the time it's gets to Plym the one and a little bit carriage of 1st class is full of people who have paid a (relatively) small supplement to upgrade their Standard class tickets......would the TM turf one of them out? No chance..... Clearly this is an anomaly - so in essence if you've bought a 1st class ticket at any price, you should get the service, but you shouldn't be able to "upgrade" a standard class ticket and enjoy the enhanced facilities at the expense of someone who has a "pukka" 1st class ticket.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on September 05, 2014, 09:47:13 am
Those with an open return will soon learn to reserve a seat....

(I know, they shouldn't strictly have to)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on September 05, 2014, 10:59:59 am
Those with an open return will soon learn to reserve a seat....

(I know, they shouldn't strictly have to)

............if the total flexibility with which this ticket is sold at an enormous price is going to be reduced, then so must be the cost - you can't have it both ways.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on September 05, 2014, 11:00:27 am
Those with an open return will soon learn to reserve a seat....

(I know, they shouldn't strictly have to)

IME the main reason for purchasing an open return is uncertainty as to the time at which one will return. If the time of return is known, then in most cases one might as well book a discounted ticket, which unlike a full price one guarantees a seat.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on September 05, 2014, 11:16:50 pm
IME the main reason for purchasing an open return is uncertainty as to the time at which one will return. If the time of
return is known, then in most cases one might as well book a discounted ticket
, which unlike a full price one guarantees a seat.

My Emphasis in Bold. This is very true. It also helps to have a discounted ticket with mandatory reservation in the case of significant delays as you can more or less prove the train you were on or should have been on. With a flexible ticket you can be told by SOME staff members that you have only encountered a 30 minute delay because your previous train was cancelled and the subsequent train only 30 minutes late. However they seem to do a good job of dismissing the idea that there is nearly 90 minutes between the 2 trains so I'm actually 2 hours late.

It's very easy to understand how some passengers get so tetchy when they're told they aren't entitled to replacement transport when Advance Ticket Holders on the same trains are given taxis left right and centre. In such cases a passenger should not have to prove what train they should have used via a GPS Location History device when they have purchased a flexible ticket in First or Standard Class.

The line "I understand your frustration" is very close to the border of pure bull**** because if you understood the frustration then you'd do something about it. You should not fob the customer off and tell them they are just 30 minutes late, it's just tough and it's not my problem.

Disclaimer: I am only describing a very small minority of staff here. We all know alot of staff do their best for passengers customers. The small minority described however can leave very sour tastes behind and give the positively focused staff a bad name/reputation.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 05, 2014, 11:41:50 pm
If the outward journey is Off Peak and the time of the return journey is unknown I will always buy the Off Peak ticket. Should the return need to be made at a Peak time then I can excess my ticket. If not then I haven't wasted money on an unnecessary ticket.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 23, 2014, 08:18:51 pm
Not yet officially confirmed by FGW, but the additional Pullman services are now showing on RealTime Trains as from Monday 29th September 2014.

The services are:

0553 Plymouth to London Paddington http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/C40091/2014/09/29/advanced
0558 Swansea to London Paddington http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/C40591/2014/09/29/advanced
0945 London Paddington to Swansea http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/C40149/2014/09/29/advanced
1006 London Paddington to Penzance http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/C40302/2014/09/29/advanced


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on September 23, 2014, 08:47:06 pm
They'll sell a few fryups on that early train from Plymouth!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on September 24, 2014, 06:46:59 am
A shame it's not an evening Swansea service that gets a Pullman, but it's nice to get something back for South Wales as the Pullman service slowly gets expanded again.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on September 24, 2014, 08:02:08 am
I am told the two new Up services will serve a similar menu to the current (06:55 ex Plymouth service) although the Great Westerner Breakfast on the Swansea service will be a Welsh Great Westerner - no details of how it will vary.

Both services going back will serve a brunch type menu with the breakfast items still available but, maintaining the fish theme, Omelette Arnold Bennett and Kedgeree in addition.

No details yet on between which stations the meals will be served on the Welsh services.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on September 24, 2014, 10:01:26 am
Now officially confirmed by FGW - will start next Monday 29th.  No doubt details will appear on their website by then.  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on September 24, 2014, 10:19:15 am
Sorry to be the cynic, but won't it be the case that Once South Wales regulars have got accustomed to their Welsh Pullman breakfast, it will be withdrawn in favour of a microwaved breakfast roll on the new IEP?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 24, 2014, 11:08:16 am
Or perhaps a complimentary 1st Class offering from the IEP kitchens in a similar vein to that provided on the east and west coast intercity services.

We've no idea yet how the kitchens will be equipped and utilised, so it's a bit early to say that something 'will be the case'.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: paul7755 on September 24, 2014, 01:02:03 pm
Does this imply simultaneous withdrawal of the Travelling Chef services then?

Paul


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on September 24, 2014, 07:31:28 pm
Does this imply simultaneous withdrawal of the Travelling Chef services then?

Paul

It certainly implies the end of the travelling chefs on those services regaining a Pullman since it is not possible to provide both on the same train.
As to the other chefs, I don't know.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 25, 2014, 09:21:26 am
I've had this reply on FGW Facebook to queries about the new Pullman services:

Quote
The times and locations you have are correct other than the 0945 service will now be the 1045 to Swansea. Menus will be put on to the website in the coming week or so and a full press release will be issued around the same time with further details.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on September 25, 2014, 10:08:17 am
Just goes to show you can't rely on RealTime Trains all the time....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 25, 2014, 10:26:56 am
...or National Rail Enquiries, or FGW's booking engine, or other booking engines...

All of whom take the information from ATOC's Rail Industry data. Data provided to ATOC by... (drum roll please)...

First Great Western.  :D

I rather think it's a case of FGW making late changes, with the weekly data feed not yet updated, rather than RealTime Trains being deliberately wrong. Back as far as the Barry Doe article in RAIL magazine, FGW were saying that the return Pullman working to Wales would be the 0945 to Swansea.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on September 25, 2014, 10:35:04 am
No, I wasn't saying it was 'deliberatly' wrong - just that we seem too eager for instant info....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: paul7755 on September 25, 2014, 12:44:11 pm
Does this imply simultaneous withdrawal of the Travelling Chef services then?

Paul

It certainly implies the end of the travelling chefs on those services regaining a Pullman since it is not possible to provide both on the same train.
As to the other chefs, I don't know.

I was thinking back to earlier suggestions that the 'travelling chefs' were to be withdrawn generally, before introducing further Pullman services.  Does a Pullman service have more than one chef, i.e. do they need to withdraw a larger number of travelling chef trains than one for each new Pullman?

Paul


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 25, 2014, 02:22:10 pm
Pullmans have one Chef, a Service Leader (effectively a Ma^tre d'), and a varying number of waiting staff, whose official titles escapes me. Paging bobm!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on September 25, 2014, 02:27:32 pm
I think they are called Customer Hosts - simply because they also do the trolley or the buffet on occasions.

The chefs, indeed most of the staff, on the Pullmans work longer shifts than most other catering staff in that they usually have more time in Paddington after working up from Plymouth.  It is a bit of an insurance policy to ensure they are in place for the busier evening return service in the case of delays.  The net effect is they work fewer days a week so you need more of them to cover the shifts.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on September 25, 2014, 06:35:16 pm
Just to add - even allowing for extra chefs to work the new Pullman services there will still be travelling chefs who will be displaced.  I understand they will have the option to become Customer Hosts on their current terms and conditions.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 29, 2014, 12:12:31 pm
Menus for the new services are now listed on the FGW website.

The 0553 Plymouth to Paddington Wiltshire Breakfast Menu (https://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/-/media/PDF/YourJourney/On%20Board/pullmans%20new%20september%20menu%202014/GW140901_Pullman_WofE_Breakfast%20V3.pdf?la=en) (available to Taunton)

The 0558 Swansea to Paddington Welsh Breakfast Menu (https://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/-/media/PDF/YourJourney/On%20Board/pullmans%20new%20september%20menu%202014/GW140901_Pullman_Welsh_Breakfast%20V3.pdf?la=en)

The 1006 Paddington to Plymouth Wiltshire Brunch Menu (https://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/-/media/PDF/YourJourney/On%20Board/pullmans%20new%20september%20menu%202014/GW140901_Pullman_WofE_Brunch%20V3.pdf?la=en) (available from Paddington and Reading)

The 1045 Paddington to Swansea Welsh Brunch Menu (https://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/-/media/PDF/YourJourney/On%20Board/pullmans%20new%20september%20menu%202014/GW140901_Pullman_Welsh_Brunch%20V4.pdf?la=en)

Note. Embedded links will download .pdf files. Can also be downloaded via: https://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Your-journey/On-board/Pullman

Essentially the same menus on each run with certain items from either Wales or England.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on September 29, 2014, 12:40:24 pm
Sounds good, unfortunately I have now moved to Somerset rather than regularly travelling between London and Somerset, and therefore seldom use the Pullman service.
Not like the good old days when I was a fairly frequent customer.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 29, 2014, 12:56:57 pm
I think I may well pop up to London on Wednesday just to try the brunch on the 1045 back west. Got me some RTVs that are burning a hole in my pocket.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TeaStew on September 29, 2014, 02:32:05 pm
Interesting that both "Wiltshire" and "Welsh" Brunches have Welsh bacon in the Eggs Benedict.

(Probably my own definition of interesting...)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on September 29, 2014, 04:04:41 pm
Interesting that both "Wiltshire" and "Welsh" Brunches have Welsh bacon in the Eggs Benedict.

(Probably my own definition of interesting...)

Wiltshire pigs have been RMT members for years, they are exempt from being eaten on FGW services following negotiations.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 01, 2014, 09:41:19 pm
The forum's Galloping Gourmets/Epicurean Adventurers/Glorious Gluttons (call us what you will...) were out earlier today sampling the new (or rather, re-introduced) Pullman dining offering on First Great Western's 1045 ex Paddington service to South Wales.

I made my way to Paddington early doors in time to return west on the 1045 to Swansea. Plans were hatched with fellow forum staffer bobm for he to join me at Swindon from where we could enjoy Brunch together, speeding through the Severn Tunnel and on into a different country. We weren't sure that service would be available from Swindon, but that fear was quickly dispelled after I inveigled myself with the Pullman service team prior to boarding at Paddington. My chattiness and promise of a decent food bill got me bumped up to 1st Class through to Swindon where bobm joined me.

The staff were made up of Travelling Chefs and Customer Hosts, but nearly all of them had previously worked FGW South Wales Pullmans up until 2009. A couple of faces were definitely familiar to me, from the recesses of my memory, taking breakfast on a couple of occasions on the 0801 from Bristol Parkway more than half a decade ago.

The menus have already been posted earlier in the thread so there's no need to go into too much detail, save to say that, for ^18, you certainly get your money's worth. Even if you think the food might be a tad expensive (remember, it's Silver Service, from a pokey kitchen, and cooked/served at up to 125mph), the personal service from the staff, who, without fail, care deeply about what they are offering, make the experience very good value. More coffee? No problem. Some more toast? Certainly, sir.

Some pictures from bignosemac's and bobm's brunch:

Marmalade, Jam (strawberry, blackcurrant), Honey. Even Marmite (not pictured) available for your toast. Toast that can be brown, white, fruit loaf or Welsh Cake
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/DSCN4192_zpsa3376b4c.jpg)

Natural Yoghurt with Granola and Honey
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/DSCN4195_zpsf69c7169.jpg)

Full Welsh Breakfast: Bacon, sausage, Welsh black pudding, Glamorgan 'sausage', fried egg on fried bread, mushrooms, beans. I forewent the grilled tomato. Me not like
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/DSCN4198_zps4a942108.jpg)

Kedgeree with Smoked Haddock and Poached Egg
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/DSCN4199_zps52f96504.jpg)

The 'works' was bignosemac's order and the Kedgeree was bobm's.

Oh, and I had Bloody Mary to accompany my brunch. Cheers!
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/DSCN4200_zpse769c0c0.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on October 01, 2014, 09:59:39 pm
Just to add - for this week only there is a ^5 discount on the South Wales brunch, taking the cost down to ^13.  I am not sure if it applies to the West of England service on the 10:06 to Penzance.

I had been looking forward to the kedgeree ever since I discovered it was going to be on the menu, and I wasn't disappointed.  It was polished off in double quick time.

You could tell many of the crew were former Pullman staff - they are quickly back into the swing of it.  Even placing the hot plate on the table gripped between a spoon and fork so as not to touch it - not seen that for many a long year.

Also good to see some good loadings.  There were six of us today - not bad for a service which only started on Monday and hasn't really been promoted yet.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on October 01, 2014, 10:09:52 pm
It's very tempting just for the hell of it to board it at Swindon one day and head into South Wales just to try it out.  It's around 10 years since I did lunch on the up SW Pullman and very good that was. 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on October 01, 2014, 10:13:12 pm
The forum's Galloping Gourmets/Epicurean Adventurers/Glorious Gluttons (call us what you will...)

I still prefer their sobriquet, the Trundling Trenchermen ...  ;) :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on October 01, 2014, 10:17:22 pm
It's very tempting just for the hell of it to board it at Swindon one day and head into South Wales just to try it out.  It's around 10 years since I did lunch on the up SW Pullman and very good that was. 

We were discussing how far into Wales you'd need to go.  I reckon you could just about fit in the meal before Cardiff from Swindon, but carrying onto Bridgend is probably better for the digestion.

I still prefer their sobriquet, the Trundling Trenchermen ...  ;) :D

...oh and we were just about to invite you next time we go....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on October 01, 2014, 10:41:37 pm
I would have some reservation over travelling with so much facial hair evident at the breakfast table ...

(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/100_1439.jpg)

 ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 01, 2014, 11:41:47 pm
I still prefer their sobriquet, the Trundling Trenchermen ...  ;) :D

And looking back through this thread to when you first used that sobriquet, I quite like my response: 'bumbling bon viveurs'.   ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 01, 2014, 11:45:13 pm
It's very tempting just for the hell of it to board it at Swindon one day and head into South Wales just to try it out.  It's around 10 years since I did lunch on the up SW Pullman and very good that was. 

I can think of no better reason than "for the hell of it."

Go for it. You won't be disappointed.  :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on October 01, 2014, 11:49:32 pm
I now declare 'sobriquet' to be my word for the day on this forum.  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on October 02, 2014, 05:01:32 am
In a vague attempt to get back on topic, I declare my word of the day to be kedgeree!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: LiskeardRich on October 02, 2014, 09:32:36 pm


Full Welsh Breakfast: Bacon, sausage, Welsh black pudding, Glamorgan 'sausage', fried egg on fried bread, mushrooms, beans. I forewent the grilled tomato. Me not like
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/DSCN4198_zps4a942108.jpg)


I recognise this as being the only positive item posted to the FGW facebook wall!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on October 05, 2014, 12:21:00 pm
Following a word from bignosemac the FGW website has been updated to show the Welsh breakfast is officially available for customers joining up to and including Swindon, while on the return trip the brunch is available to Cardiff Central.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on October 05, 2014, 02:49:56 pm
Travelling Chef told me yesterday (why was there ine on the 1524 ex-Taunton yesterday? Seems very late to eat & indeed, did very little business) that the last day is November 11....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 05, 2014, 03:14:07 pm
Opportunity for a late lunch from 1400 ex Plymouth, and likely a return working for London based TC.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on October 05, 2014, 03:23:35 pm
Who alighted at Reading....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 05, 2014, 03:28:32 pm
Interesting. No catering mess room or FGW Rail Gourmet facilities at Reading as far as I'm aware. Were the kitchen modules also unloaded at Reading?

Perhaps the chef lives in the Reading area and is permitted to start and/or finish his/her shift there.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on October 05, 2014, 04:50:59 pm
All the catering staff alighted - without modules.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on October 07, 2014, 10:00:04 pm
Another item from the brunch menu - Eggs Benedict..

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/eggsben.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 07, 2014, 10:01:27 pm
I'm salivating at the though of that Hollandaise...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on October 07, 2014, 10:25:27 pm
Just be careful not to spill it down your top..... ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on October 11, 2014, 09:08:06 am
2 Pullmans in the past few days.

The 06:55 Plymouth - London Paddington Working

Start with Coffee and Orange Juice (with bits in >:( )

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-nHwbQ70928k/VDONrhg6UEI/AAAAAAAAjhs/0oUQALrRBb4/w1504-h846-no/20141007_075200.jpg)

The Menu:

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-gXhF6JPrajM/VDON75wnioI/AAAAAAAAjh4/KdMXo39quJE/w476-h846-no/20141007_075214.jpg)

Starter Course - Natural Yogurt with Dorset Cereals and Honey:

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-0ou59eHteNo/VDOOrn3Z_jI/AAAAAAAAjiQ/P5OgyIpS8Lw/w1504-h846-no/20141007_075413.jpg)

Main: Spinach on Fried Bread, Potato filled spicy thing in Breadcrumbs, Egg, Mushrooms & Tomato (Declined the tomato as I am partly allergic)

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-pWK-h4ygFB8/VDORY3uFuoI/AAAAAAAAjjE/_17Uf48OKE8/w1504-h846-no/20141007_080814.jpg)

And finally... What a way to start the day:

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-dDfKGbOrrfo/VDOPOlqVFPI/AAAAAAAAji0/qr71uinrAsw/w1504-h846-no/20141007_075844.jpg)

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-X3pp4qehvwY/VDOOyGLL2oI/AAAAAAAAjio/RvxuZvw22EI/w1504-h846-no/20141007_075426.jpg)

The service was fantastic and the food delicious. The Chef I believe was Plymouth Based ex Traveling Chef guy who has served me much food over time. Sadly due to a very high state of Anxiety I was unable to finish the main breakfast course. The crew were quite concerned that I hadn't finished but i assured them nothing was wrong with the food.

Will post Return working on 19:00 over the course of the day.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on October 12, 2014, 10:40:30 pm
Start with Coffee and Orange Juice (with bits in >:( )

Fair comment: one does not expect to find bits in one's coffee.  :o


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on October 12, 2014, 10:58:48 pm
"We are talking to colleagues and crew about ways we would like to improve food and drink provision for both Standard and First Class customers on our long distance trains.

This follows the successful re-launch of our Pullman services last year.

The proposals include four additional Pullman services, with the return of a Pullman to our South Wales services. If agreed, the changes would also mean an updated buffet car menu and a change from Travelling Chef services to a service more suited to the choices being made by our customers."

So as it stands, it is just proposals and needs to go via consultation until any proposal is put in place.

-Ollie
Added some bold there to highlight a question. Have any details of what will constitute the 'improved food and drink provision more suited to the customer's choices' to replace travelling chef, other than the additional Pullmans, surfaced yet?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on October 14, 2014, 12:06:44 am
Aimed for a another Pullman Brunch today. Sadly not to be due to set swaps leaving the 1045 PAD-SWA without full kitchen facilities. The set had what some staff call a 'Wendy House' kitchen. Just a Merrychef oven and a grill. You can't fry, poach or scramble eggs with those. Merrychef ovens are great bits of kit, but utterly useless for preparing Eggs Benedict or an Omelette Arnold Bennett.

So instead of my anticipated Eggs Benedict, it was a bacon butty. Still freshly prepared by chef though. Oh, and a complimentary coffee by way of apology from the Pullman team.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on November 02, 2014, 10:47:46 pm
From Western Morning News (http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/FGW-extend-fine-dining-menu/story-23890525-detail/story.html):

Quote
FGW extend fine dining menu

(http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/images/localworld/ugc-images/276272/Article/images/23890525/7626050-large.jpg)
FGW supplier Tim Towill, of Brown and Forest smokery, on the Somerset Levels

British Rail was once routinely derided for the standard of its onboard food with the ^curled up sandwich^ becoming synonymous with poor service.

But First Great Western is now turning that image on its head making a new culinary commitment to diners, increasing the number of its Pullman dining trains and adding more local food to its menus.

From this month, the Pullman fine dining menu will run on 10 trains daily, up from four, with 32 new locally-sourced products on-board.

Travelling between Penzance, Plymouth and London, diners can now enjoy tea grown in Cornwall and an omelette Arnold Bennett made with Somerset smoked haddock and eggs.

First Great Western^s Jo Elliott said: ^First Great Western is committed to supporting the communities we serve. What better way to do that than by helping local farmers and producers and serve up dishes cooked with their own ingredients, prepared and presented with the skill and delicacy that this top of the range produce deserves.^

Locally-made products on its Express Cafe range ^ found on board every high speed train ^ include Devon marmalade, Cornish shortbread as well as award-wining Somerset pies and Brixham crab.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on November 03, 2014, 06:00:19 am
Looks great, but in view of the current generally appalling level of rail service from FGW (ongoing yet again this morning) it may be regarded as an attempt to polish a turd?  :(



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on November 03, 2014, 06:41:50 am
That's a finest smoked turd from Somerset, I'll have you know!  :P ;) ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: NickB on November 03, 2014, 08:25:38 am
Looks great, but in view of the current generally appalling level of rail service from FGW (ongoing yet again this morning) it may be regarded as an attempt to polish a turd?  :(



Hilarious!  And quite right too.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on November 03, 2014, 08:53:08 am
Looks great, but in view of the current generally appalling level of rail service from FGW (ongoing yet again this morning) it may be regarded as an attempt to polish a turd?  :(



The reliability of FGW services is indeed poor and seems to be getting worse, this is however largely the fault of network rail. In some cases I feel that FGW could respond a bit better to the weekly disruption but they certainly are not to blame for the disruption itself.

I for one greatly enjoy the Pullman services and feel that FGW are to be commended for providing this.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on November 03, 2014, 12:11:32 pm
Looks great, but in view of the current generally appalling level of rail service from FGW (ongoing yet again this morning) it may be regarded as an attempt to polish a turd?  :(



The reliability of FGW services is indeed poor and seems to be getting worse, this is however largely the fault of network rail. In some cases I feel that FGW could respond a bit better to the weekly disruption but they certainly are not to blame for the disruption itself.

I for one greatly enjoy the Pullman services and feel that FGW are to be commended for providing this.

I'll be the first to commend FGW when they start providing a service worthy of commendation........with or without smoked haddock.......


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 23, 2014, 10:46:23 am
The new timetables from 14th December are on the FGW website.

Interesting note on the 13:03 M-F Paddington to Plymouth service to the effect that a Pullman service is expected to be introduced during the currency of the timetable on that train.

However perhaps of more interest is that a similar note is on the 15:59 Penzance to Paddington (18:03 off Plymouth).  I assume this is the return working for the crew of the 13:03.

That presumably means a London crew will be operating a Pullman for the first time in a few years.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on November 23, 2014, 01:01:58 pm
Having spoken with Plymouth based Pullman crew in the past week, I've been told that a couple of London based (soon to be former) Travelling Chefs are being trained up for Pullman duties on the 1303 from Paddington and a return working at 1803 from Plymouth (on the 1559 ex Penzance). They, and some Customer Hosts, have been to Plymouth for menu training and will be shadowing existing crews in the coming weeks.

I expect there may well be a quiet introduction around the time of timetable change, with a more formal advertisement of this further addition to the Pullman services in the new year.

Nice to see a further expansion of the Pullman. This will be a total of 12 full service restaurants on FGW. Good news.

Also heard, but only rumour (although from someone who I've no reason to disbelieve), that there may well be a surcharge for Standard Class ticket holders to use the Pullmans. Not so good news.

 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on November 24, 2014, 03:11:03 pm
As it's two dishes I'd not tried before, they had the obligatory photos. From my Pullman lunch last Thursday:

Fish Soup with tomato and fennel
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/DSCF2093_zps535da8c8.jpg)

Gnocchi with truffle sauce and Parmesan cheese
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/DSCF2095_zps20bbc912.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 24, 2014, 03:14:32 pm
I must admit I am a big fan of that fish soup.  Very tasty.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on November 24, 2014, 05:07:36 pm
Why is there an obsession with chucking fennel into so many dishes at restaurants these days?  I can't think of a single dish it improves on and quite often overpowers and ruins it in my opinion!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on November 24, 2014, 05:27:15 pm
I guess it boils down to the amount used and individual taste. I like robust flavours so not an issue for me. In fact my soup came with the addition of a dollop of spiced creme-fraiche. Very nice!

Talking of robust flavours. The Gnocchi fits that description as well. Truffle oil, lots of garlic and parmesan. Delicious. And filling. I shouldn't have bothered with the side of potatoes as well. 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on November 24, 2014, 06:36:28 pm
That dollop of spiced creme-fraiche is standard issue with the soup.  I will confess there was more fennel in that photo than I have seen in the past when I have sampled it.  (I won't post a comparison picture - we don't all want to analyse soup all evening do we?)



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on November 24, 2014, 06:46:06 pm
I do feel that the Pullman menu is somewhat overpriced however those two dishes do look extremely good!  :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on December 08, 2014, 04:22:24 pm
From First Great Western (https://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/About-Us/Media-Centre/2014/December/lights-camera-burrata):

Quote
Lights, Camera, Burrata

First Great Western celebrates success of its campaign to serve locally-made food by commissioning three films starring its food producers

(https://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/-/media/Images/AboutUs/MediaCentre/2014/December/LIGHTS%20CAMERA%20BURRATA%20614x422.JPG?h=422&w=614&la=en)
L to R Stock Manager, David Sellar of Bowldon Farm and Pullman Chef Paul Tregilis

When you next board a train you may not expect to dine on Somerset smoked haddock; burrata mozzarella cheese made from Hampshire buffaloes; or prime beef fillet from Glastonbury - but you can. And all three are now front and centre in films that celebrate the renaissance in train dining that has been pioneered by First Great Western.

See the Pullman Dining Farm to Fork videos:

Burrata (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giw5A-KWCxQ&)
Salmon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdImLN7o0Ig&feature=youtu.be)
Steak (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QP06e0HM9l8&feature=youtu.be)

The films feature Laverstoke Park Farm^s Hampshire buffalo; Brown & Forest^s Somerset smokehouse and John Sheppard Family butchers. They follow First Great Western chef Paul Tregilis on a journey from farm to fork as he learns the backstory of the food he now serves on board. And there is growing evidence that the policy is boosting West Country artisanal food businesses: English tea grown at Tregothnan in Cornwall has just been added to the menu - prompting the grower to plant additional acreage to keep pace with demand and recruit six new employees.

What the suppliers say

Tregothnan Tea^s Jonathan Jones:

^This contract is great news and gave us confidence to hire new employees for the next level of our growth.^

Smoked salmon suppliers Brown & Forrest^s Tim Towill:

^First Great Western^s policy gives people the chance to try our smoked fish as they travel past. We are a small business - so this matters a lot.^

Cuckoo Food^s Lucy Wright:
^Anna Mackenzie and I met at school aged 13 and now we run Cuckoo Foods. It^s a family-run business. Recently Anna's sister Alexa helped us out part-time after we won the First Great Western account.^

Butcher Richard Sheppard:

^We are at the heart of the First Great Western rail network and the farming community around Bristol. We are proud to bring the two together.^

Restaurateur and Chef Mitch Tonks, who advises First Great Western and appears in the three films:

^The West Country is full of the finest ingredients you'll find anywhere, and these films showcase the producers being championed by First Great Western, I think you'll see why we love what they produce so much!^

Those video links again:

Burrata: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giw5A-KWCxQ&
Salmon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdImLN7o0Ig&feature=youtu.be
Steak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QP06e0HM9l8&feature=youtu.be


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: higthomas on December 08, 2014, 06:06:59 pm
I see that Travelling Chef has disappeared from their Website.
Anyone know if what they said about an improved Express Cafe offering had any truth in it or not?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on December 08, 2014, 06:24:23 pm
I see that Travelling Chef has disappeared from their Website.
Anyone know if what they said about an improved Express Cafe offering had any truth in it or not?

Travelling Chef disappeared as hardly anyone used it, not sure about improved Cafe but I think there are more Pullmans


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on December 12, 2014, 10:50:01 pm
Cheese and Onion Pasties are in the Express Cafe now ;D

^4.50 so slightly steep. But never the less a very good pasty all the same! (^3.50 on last trains of the day)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jhOWfoE1NTk/VH4_l-KT5VI/AAAAAAAAnHo/vx2ZhOw6W3U/w983-h553-no/20141202_223915.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on December 13, 2014, 09:27:29 am
......pasty = pastry,beef, swede, potato, onion, salt, pepper.

.......but what you had does look like a nice, if overpriced savoury pie thing!

(sorry but I am from the Taliban school of pasty fundamentalism!!!)  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on December 13, 2014, 12:42:46 pm
I happen to be a vegetarian...

(https://fbcdn-dragon-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/t39.1997-6/p128x128/851557_641023289246616_2071860656_n.png)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Western Pathfinder on December 13, 2014, 03:22:05 pm
I happen to be a vegetarian...

(https://fbcdn-dragon-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/t39.1997-6/p128x128/851557_641023289246616_2071860656_n.png)


So am I   But only betwine meals.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on December 13, 2014, 03:59:58 pm
I thonk the point being made is what ifficially can go in something called a pasty....not whether you are vegetarian


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on December 13, 2014, 04:09:38 pm
Anything can go into a pasty. thetrout's evening comestible is perfectly allowed to have the name Cheese & Onion Pasty.

It is only the 'Cornish Pasty' that has a PGI designation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geographical_indications_and_traditional_specialities_in_the_European_Union#Protected_geographical_indication_.28PGI.29) meaning it has to contain specific ingredients and be prepared (although not necessarily baked) in Cornwall.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on December 13, 2014, 04:20:10 pm
Anything can go into a pasty. thetrout's evening comestible is perfectly allowed to have the name Cheese & Onion Pasty.

It is only the 'Cornish Pasty' that has a PGI designation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geographical_indications_and_traditional_specialities_in_the_European_Union#Protected_geographical_indication_.28PGI.29) meaning it has to contain specific ingredients and be prepared (although not necessarily baked) in Cornwall.

Exactly - it's a "cheese and onion pasty", as opposed to a pasty!

Bit like "chocolate flavoured" as opposed to chocolate!  :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on December 13, 2014, 04:41:37 pm
Exactly - it's a "cheese and onion pasty", as opposed to a pasty!

Bit like "chocolate flavoured" as opposed to chocolate!  :)

Really don't understand the point you are making. Any filled pastry, baked without a dish, with a top or side crimp, and containing any ingredients, can be called a pasty. The dish had origins in France and medieval England, most often containing venison, long before it became a staple in Cornwall in the 17th and 18th centuries.

For Cornwall, the pasty appears to be an adopted dish, not one that originated there.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on December 13, 2014, 04:50:27 pm
Exactly - it's a "cheese and onion pasty", as opposed to a pasty!

Bit like "chocolate flavoured" as opposed to chocolate!  :)

Really don't understand the point you are making. Any filled pastry, baked without a dish, with a top or side crimp, and containing any ingredients, can be called a pasty. The dish had origins in France and medieval England, most often containing venison, long before it became a staple in Cornwall in the 17th and 18th centuries.

For Cornwall, the pasty appears to be an adopted dish, not one that originated there.

Don't take it too seriously BNM, it's only a bit of fun......and you are starting to sound like an article in Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge!  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Phil on December 13, 2014, 07:35:32 pm
I thonk the point being made is what ifficially can go in something called a pasty....not whether you are vegetarian

I used to love the policeman in Allo Allo.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on December 13, 2014, 09:03:00 pm
All this has made me want to try one - sadly the buffet on this train has run out of them. Only got slimline tonic too - and that's far too late to be any good for me!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on December 24, 2014, 10:03:35 pm
From the Bath Chronicle (http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/Rail-Union-RMT-planning-new-year-protests-train/story-25760494-detail/story.html):

Quote
Rail Union RMT planning new year protests against train service changes

Rail Union RMT plans to step up a campaign against changes on First Great Western services in January.

New intercity fleet trains commissioned by the government are due to come into service on the Great Western Main Line from December 2017.

The union claims there are proposals for the axing of buffet cars, on-board staff and maintenance workers.

Protest events will take place at several stations in England and Wales on January 5 from 7am to 9am.

Stations include Bath Spa, Bristol Temple Meads, Exeter, London Paddington, Plymouth and Swansea railway stations.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash the axing of buffet cars would lead to an ^upstairs-downstairs^ service on trains. He said: ^This government of the rich, for the rich and by the rich, now intend to introduce an upstairs-downstairs service on Britain^s long haul rail services which would condemn the vast majority to pay through the nose to travel in rammed-out carriages where the catering trolley is jammed at one end while the elite glide through the country like extras from Downton Abbey.^

First Great Western has said RMT is ^merely confused about a minor change to the way executive dining in first class is being delivered.^


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on December 24, 2014, 11:03:31 pm
I had heard that East Coast IEP's will now have buffets installed, but i've not actually read it anywhere officially.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on December 25, 2014, 01:13:50 pm
I had heard that East Coast IEP's will now have buffets installed, but i've not actually read it anywhere officially.

That's an interesting development!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on December 26, 2014, 11:18:06 am
I had heard that East Coast IEP's will now have buffets installed, but i've not actually read it anywhere officially.
The Jan 2014 Modern Railways says that the new TOC intends to provide an at seat meal service for all passengers on IEP trains, but doesn't say whether there would be a buffet counter. The photos of the first prototype suggest the kitchen is already fitted out, so providing a buffet would waste space unless you can move the already-fitted kitchen.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: paul7755 on December 26, 2014, 02:03:12 pm
I had heard that East Coast IEP's will now have buffets installed, but i've not actually read it anywhere officially.
The Jan 2014 Modern Railways says that the new TOC intends to provide an at seat meal service for all passengers on IEP trains, but doesn't say whether there would be a buffet counter. The photos of the first prototype suggest the kitchen is already fitted out, so providing a buffet would waste space unless you can move the already-fitted kitchen.

Inter City Railways have told northern media that there will definitely be buffets in their IEPs, and that the RMT are arguing about something that definitely isn't happening...
Quote
But the firms who will take over the running of the East Coast rail franchise when it is privatised in March, Stagecoach and Virgin, say the protest is ^bizarre^ as they have pledged to have a buffet car on new trains that will start service in 2018.

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/general-news/rail-firms-reject-bizarre-buffet-car-axe-protests-1-7004232

Paul


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on December 27, 2014, 02:47:38 pm
I had heard that East Coast IEP's will now have buffets installed, but i've not actually read it anywhere officially.
The Jan 2014 Modern Railways says that the new TOC intends to provide an at seat meal service for all passengers on IEP trains, but doesn't say whether there would be a buffet counter. The photos of the first prototype suggest the kitchen is already fitted out, so providing a buffet would waste space unless you can move the already-fitted kitchen.

Inter City Railways have told northern media that there will definitely be buffets in their IEPs, and that the RMT are arguing about something that definitely isn't happening...
Quote
But the firms who will take over the running of the East Coast rail franchise when it is privatised in March, Stagecoach and Virgin, say the protest is ^bizarre^ as they have pledged to have a buffet car on new trains that will start service in 2018.

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/general-news/rail-firms-reject-bizarre-buffet-car-axe-protests-1-7004232

Paul

Thanks, I heard it from a reliable source, but nice to see it in writing.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on December 27, 2014, 03:14:16 pm
Will FGW follow suit?  That's the big question!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on December 27, 2014, 07:17:28 pm
Depends what the Government require in their new franchise....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on December 27, 2014, 09:39:28 pm
Catering specifications have nearly always been absent from franchise agreements. As has been so with the East Coast franchise won by Stagecoach /Virgin. It is they who will have approached Hitachi and ask for a buffet module to be included in the East Coast trains.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on December 27, 2014, 09:47:56 pm
Sen those documents? Care to share the link?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on December 27, 2014, 10:12:02 pm
Yes. And No.

Existing franchise agreements don't prescribe the level of catering. At most they'll reference that existing equipment is to be maintained and periodically replaced when life expired.

What is actually provided to customers, be it trolley, buffet, hot food, restaurant is up to the franchisee.

In the case of the East Coast franchise awarded to Inter City Railways, it is they who have categorically said the Class 800s in their fleet will have buffets. No mention that they were required in the Invitation to Tender. All the ITT mentioned was that bidders should provide 'appropriate on-board catering' and that bidders proposals for catering will be assessed and scored along with all other proposals in addition to the basic train service provision.

I think it highly unlikely that DfT will tell FGW what to provide by way of catering on their Class 800/801s. I also think it unlikely that DfT will prescribe catering provision in the next Greater Western ITT. They didn't in the last (cancelled) one.

As for links to past franchise agreements and ITTs, no can do at the moment as I'm on my phone. Try Google.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on December 28, 2014, 05:02:45 pm
In the case of the East Coast franchise awarded to Inter City Railways, it is they who have categorically said the Class 800s in their fleet will have buffets.

Really? Where?
It was reported up thread that there was a *rumour*....strange how this becomes a "categorically said"


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on December 28, 2014, 05:05:37 pm
In the case of the East Coast franchise awarded to Inter City Railways, it is they who have categorically said the Class 800s in their fleet will have buffets.

Really? Where?
It was reported up thread that there was a *rumour*....strange how this becomes a "categorically said"

See this post by paul7755....
I had heard that East Coast IEP's will now have buffets installed, but i've not actually read it anywhere officially.
The Jan 2014 Modern Railways says that the new TOC intends to provide an at seat meal service for all passengers on IEP trains, but doesn't say whether there would be a buffet counter. The photos of the first prototype suggest the kitchen is already fitted out, so providing a buffet would waste space unless you can move the already-fitted kitchen.

Inter City Railways have told northern media that there will definitely be buffets in their IEPs, and that the RMT are arguing about something that definitely isn't happening...
Quote
But the firms who will take over the running of the East Coast rail franchise when it is privatised in March, Stagecoach and Virgin, say the protest is ^bizarre^ as they have pledged to have a buffet car on new trains that will start service in 2018.

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/general-news/rail-firms-reject-bizarre-buffet-car-axe-protests-1-7004232

Paul


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on December 28, 2014, 05:09:03 pm
oh ok, apologies.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 10, 2015, 12:23:15 pm
Rather too long to quote in full - but interesting article on the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30207795) about on board dining

Quote
Britain's traditional railway restaurant car is threatening to make a surprising comeback, writes Adrian Quine.

The years after privatisation were not kind to the UK's restaurant cars. A 150-year tradition of fine dining on the move appeared to be about to be confined to the history books.

But now the romance of dining on freshly cooked cordon bleu cuisine and fine wine while travelling at 125mph appears to be creeping back.

Train operator First Great Western is the only company in the UK to offer traditional dining cars on regular services. When the railways were privatised in 1995 there were nearly 250 trains a day across the UK offering everything from artichoke and parsley soup to fillet steak, accompanied by on-board cellars stocking fine wines.

By 2012 that figure had shrunk to just four trains a day as rail companies chased profits and reduced costs. The large dining tables were scrapped in favour of tightly packed airline-style seating. A trolley selling sandwiches stood where once the onboard chef in pristine whites could be found creating mouth-watering dishes like flamb^ed Bourbon shrimp or zesty brochette of Dijon lamb.

(snip - more in link above)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 10, 2015, 01:17:12 pm
Yes a most interesting article and well worth reading in full on the BBC website.
I was thinking about posting a link but was beaten to it.

Also one of the few reports that accurately states that the FGW restaurants are open to both classes, but that first class may book, with standard being able to dine if space permits.
I like the "on board cellar" ! presumably it is situated under the kitchen floor ?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 10, 2015, 03:57:13 pm
I see the article is illustrated with a still from Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest, featuring Bristol's very own Archibald Leach.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on January 10, 2015, 07:42:13 pm
Rather too long to quote in full - but interesting article on the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30207795) about on board dining
Another extract from the same article:
Quote
Russell Hollowood, curator at the National Railway Museum, believes that social attitudes have changed dramatically and that the restaurant car is a bastion of social divide and elitism that belongs firmly in the 1920s
I'm not against the Pullmans, but I do feel it is a shame that the railway offers little or nothing in between that and a sandwich trolley. As the BBC article also states, the Pullman meal is pricey.

My southbound 'WAG Express' trip with a cooked breakfast was great, that sort of thing makes early starts for long rail journeys alot easier, but I'm an insanely fussy eater and the fancy offerings on the Pullmans and the evening 'Gerald' are generally not to my taste.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 10, 2015, 07:46:15 pm
My southbound 'WAG Express' trip with a cooked breakfast was great, that sort of thing makes early starts for long rail journeys alot easier, but I'm an insanely fussy eater and the fancy offerings on the Pullmans and the evening 'Gerald' are generally not to my taste.

I have only tried the northbound WAG express and I was disappointed, mainly because it came ready plated and you had to eat, or pick off, what you didn't like.  I too am a fussy eater - don't like garlic, tomatoes, pasta, courgettes etc etc but the beauty of the Pullmans is it is all freshly cooked - so if you don't like something they can, within reason, leave it out for you.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on January 11, 2015, 10:20:28 pm
... they should leave the ginger ale out of the single malt, then ... mutter, mutter  :P


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 11, 2015, 10:25:56 pm
Ok. Ok.  Next time I go on the sleeper it will be a neat single malt just so
I can rejoin your social circle.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 11, 2015, 10:54:58 pm
Don't succumb to such social mores bobm. You drink it how you want. I might just do the same and be a supposed palastine as well.  :P ;) ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on January 11, 2015, 11:00:54 pm
I rather think you meant philistine.  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 13, 2015, 08:50:39 am
I understand new menus will be introduced on the FGW Pullmans from the end of this month.  No details yet of what the changes will be.

However for the next fortnight there will be a mixture of items from the existing three menus as stocks are used up.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 22, 2015, 05:10:21 pm
From today's Hansard (http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/hansard/commons/todays-commons-debates/read/unknown/92/)

Quote

Stephen Doughty: (Cardiff & Penarth (Lab/Co-op))
Is the Minister aware of the concerns expressed by the RMT, TSSA and other organisations and passenger groups about the future provision of buffet cars and guards on First Great Western services? Was she aware of those concerns before the Department awarded a direct award franchise to an extension to the First Great Western franchise?
 
Claire Perry: (Under Secretary of State for Transport)
I am sure the hon. Gentleman, like me, is delighted that this line is receiving so much investment, in the form of billions of pounds for electrification and the new intercity express programme rolling stock to which he alludes, which will transform the passenger experience. I gently encourage him not to read the scaremongering press releases put out by the RMT. I have visited the IEP mock-ups. I have discussed in great detail what the franchising and catering capabilities will be. It is up to the operators to specify, and I am sure he will have seen the East Coast statements that it intends to offer an enhanced catering service on those trains when they are running. I am happy to discuss this further with the hon. Gentleman, but I suggest he looks at the facts, not the scaremongering.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on January 22, 2015, 06:01:00 pm
Is Doughty sponsored by the unions, per chance?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: sprinterguard on January 23, 2015, 12:13:19 am
She's done an excellent job of skirting around answering that question.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: a-driver on January 23, 2015, 07:52:20 am
I can't understand why the DfT would seek the operator to specify when, in the case of Great Western, First may not even hold the franchise when they enter service!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on January 23, 2015, 10:00:00 am
She's done an excellent job of skirting around answering that question.

I think in terms of catering (particularly Travelling Chef) the honest answer would be - "there is very little demand from customers for the service, it is losing money, and therefore FGW are cutting back/removing it".....it's a simple commercial decision.....unfortunately that has implications for the staff concerned but that I am afraid, is life..........I have yet to hear howls of outrage from customers who are being deprived of the facility to spend large amounts of money on pretty ordinary food.

It's obviously incumbent on any Trade Union to represent its members interest but there needs to be a dose of reality before rattling the sabres too loudly.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on January 23, 2015, 11:22:43 am
She's done an excellent job of skirting around answering that question.
In part, the answer is all in this bit:
Quote
  It is up to the operators to specify...
... though that makes the preceding sentence a bit odd:
Quote
I have discussed in great detail what the franchising and catering capabilities will be.
- why did she spend so much time over something that her department leaves to the operator?

If you go and look at the ECML tender requirements, "passenger experience" is to be addressed in "delivery plan 5.1" for which it says:
Quote
5.7.1.3 The Department requires a Franchise Operator who will deliver a high standard
of customer services, including by:
  • Meeting the NRPS benchmarks in the Franchise Agreement;
  • Maintaining a high standard of cleanliness, presentation and quality of
    facilities and services, including in Challenging Circumstances;
  • Training staff to deliver high standards of customer service;
  • Providing appropriate and timely information to all customers before and
    during their journeys, including at times of disruption;
  • Participating in cross-industry initiatives to enable customers to make
    informed travel choices at times of disruption or when special events cause
    unusually high demand;
  • Providing appropriate on-board catering services, which meet the needs of
    passengers; and
    Working with Network Rail, the rail industry and/or telecoms service
    providers, to improve mobile communication services (data and voice) for
    passengers (including without limitation by taking advantage of
    improvements by third parties of mobile coverage on the rail infrastructure)
(I've left the other, non-catering, items in too as they may be of interest as well just now.)

The NRPS benchmark for customer service rises from 76.5% to 82% over the next ten years. I imagine that means something to those concerned, though I have no idea what. DP5.1 has a 12.5% overall weighting in the scoring of the beauty contest.

The Prospectus, which was produced for potential bidders before the PQQ process, describes the existing service offered, where it includes this:
Quote
4.6.1 The customer offering
ECML^s customer proposition has been developed consistently since 2010,
delivering improvements in the following areas:

On-board catering
When customers travel First Class with ECML, they now enjoy
an at-seat complimentary food and drink service which was
introduced in 2011. This offering includes a full meal service on
longer journeys, with drinks and snacks on journeys of less than
70 minutes.

A range of hot and cold food, drinks, snacks, confectionary,
alcoholic drinks and magazines are available to Standard
Class customers from the Caf^Bar and a trolley service
is also provided on each service through the Standard
accommodation.

Both First and Standard menus are regularly changed and
feature locally sourced produce from along the route, such as
bacon and sausages from an award-winning Yorkshire butcher.
Popular beverage brands such as Yorkshire Tea and Starbucks
Coffee have also been introduced.
(This is from the partial version published on line by DfT.)

It does not give any hints on whether this is good, bad, essential, or nice to have. This document is more specific about the IEP agreements that a franchisee has to sign, and where they may be varied:
Quote
Following selection at PQQ stage, bidders will be invited to discuss their ideas for
variations to the train design with Agility. We anticipate that shortlisted bidders will
be able to visit the design mock-up and meet with representatives of Hitachi.

While the Department is willing to consider a range of variations, the changes that
we would accept will be limited. We would be open to variations in the ratio of first
to standard class accommodation and to changes in kitchen layout for example.
We would be unlikely to consider any variation which delivers a worsening of
passenger experience such as a reduction in passenger or luggage space or a
reduction in train capacity

That wording seems a bit odd, given that the IEP specification included four catering layouts and demanded that they can be changed for a new franchise, and seating has to be even more easily changeable.

There may be something that says whether, to what extent, and how an operator can prevented from dropping something they promised and were scored on in the beauty contest - but I have not come across it.

Of course none of the above applies to FGW, as they have not been through this franchise process. And the minister didn't say what modified rules apply to their gap-filler contract.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on January 23, 2015, 11:45:51 am
Quote
^Providing appropriate on-board catering services, which meet the needs of
passengers

(my emphasis)

This is the key; I very much suspect that low sales means what is offered is not meeting the needs of passengers, whereas decent sales probably is.
I suspect the Travelling Chef sales figures are extremely low, for example.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on January 23, 2015, 12:26:31 pm
I very much suspect that low sales means what is offered is not meeting the needs of passengers, whereas decent sales probably is. I suspect the Travelling Chef sales figures are extremely low, for example.

It would be very difficult to argue for the same level and type of catering on all the various different journey lengths from London ...
120 miles to Bristol
195 miles to Leeds
216 miles to Plymouth
282 miles to Newcastle
413 miles to Edinburgh
545 miles to Aberdeen
... and there is - has been raised elsewhere - a balance between various best uses of space - catering, more seats, more cycles.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 23, 2015, 01:16:38 pm
I suspect the Travelling Chef sales figures are extremely low, for example.

They are nil - Travelling Chefs were withdrawn last November.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on January 23, 2015, 01:33:41 pm
of course! before they were withdrawn....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: didcotdean on January 23, 2015, 03:18:33 pm
Is Doughty sponsored by the unions, per chance?
His website says: "He is a trade union member, and a proud member of the Cooperative Party."

The Co-op Party wants "railways run as a partnership between passengers and staff.".


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on January 23, 2015, 03:55:50 pm
She's done an excellent job of skirting around answering that question.

I think in terms of catering (particularly Travelling Chef) the honest answer would be - "there is very little demand from customers for the service, it is losing money, and therefore FGW are cutting back/removing it".....it's a simple commercial decision.....unfortunately that has implications for the staff concerned but that I am afraid, is life..........I have yet to hear howls of outrage from customers who are being deprived of the facility to spend large amounts of money on pretty ordinary food.

It's obviously incumbent on any Trade Union to represent its members interest but there needs to be a dose of reality before rattling the sabres too loudly.

Putting aside your antipathy towards unions, rail staff and criticism about FGW's catering offerings and pricing, catering makes a loss whether it's a trolley or a buffet.  Many routes operated potentially make a loss.  TOCs are running a public service.  Sometimes they have to provide a service and money has nothing to do with it, because it's in the public interest.

Is offering catering in the public interest?  Of course.  So offer the best possible service to the customers - it doesn't need to be a race to the bottom.  The union arguments are about providing a better service, not about protecting staff jobs -- there are currently 2 catering staff on a HST (1 at weekends), and this is not (as far as I know) going to change while offering a 1st class trolley and a standard class trolley.  It amuses me that I read positive comments (elsewhere) when airlines offer a bar service, giving people the opportunity to escape their seats and have a change of scene, rather than being forced to stay at their seats and have a trolley walk by.  I've travelled through France on the TGV and while the views were delightful from my seat, the fact I could sit in the buffet area and watch the world go by, and chat to other passengers only enhanced the experience.

Even the RMT has moved on from Travelling Chef.  Yes of course they were going to make a bit of noise about Travelling Chef's, as you say they'd be letting members down, but ask anyone on the inside, and while disappointing, I don't think there was much shock between staff, especially with the increased Pullman services and protection offered regarding pay and conditions.

On a side point, I see the rail minister chose to ignore discussing the DOO and safety argument, which ultimately is far more important to everyone.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on January 23, 2015, 04:03:28 pm
While running a service is definitely in the public interest, catering is far less so these days, with shops on pretty much every station those trains with catering would call at. So by supplying outlets at these stations IMHO, covers any public need. Also, these shops tend to hold a better choice of items that trolleys or buffets.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Network SouthEast on January 23, 2015, 04:20:15 pm
While running a service is definitely in the public interest, catering is far less so these days, with shops on pretty much every station those trains with catering would call at. So by supplying outlets at these stations IMHO, covers any public need. Also, these shops tend to hold a better choice of items that trolleys or buffets.
That only really works if you start your journey at such a station. If you started from a smaller station such as Taplow, on to a connection at Reading with 10 minutes allowance, you might not have time to do so. Even then, big stations like Bristol have woeful retail provision in the evenings.

Even those boarding at Paddington might have come straight from a taxi, tube or bus and have limited time to do much more than board their train!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on January 23, 2015, 04:27:09 pm
well, make some time then....why should the tax payer pick up the cost of your inability to plan your day?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 23, 2015, 04:35:28 pm
That's a little harsh.  What if your starting service only runs hourly or even two hourly and gives you that 10 minute connection,  Are you going to leave an extra hour or two earlier so you have 70 or 130 minutes to buy some food?  Yes you can take homemade sandwiches but I for one don't want to get into carrying flasks of hot drinks.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on January 23, 2015, 04:50:35 pm
buy before you get on the first train? I do that regularly


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 23, 2015, 05:09:55 pm
Agreed, as I said for cold food, but what if you are changing onto a train for a three hour plus journey? Hot drink or hot food becomes more of a need.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on January 23, 2015, 05:16:26 pm
Then allow enough changing time (anywhere you change will have an outlet)

It really isn't for the taxpayer to ultimately provide for your drink/eats is it? Fine if it's commercially viable to provide it (and the Pulmans wouldn't continue with much of a loss, and I don't think they'd launch additional ones if there wasn't at least a chance of breaking even at least), but not to ask the taxpayer - I'd rather the money went into the (bottomless, but that's another discussion) NHS


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on January 23, 2015, 06:20:36 pm
Then allow enough changing time (anywhere you change will have an outlet)

It really isn't for the taxpayer to ultimately provide for your drink/eats is it? Fine if it's commercially viable to provide it (and the Pulmans wouldn't continue with much of a loss, and I don't think they'd launch additional ones if there wasn't at least a chance of breaking even at least), but not to ask the taxpayer - I'd rather the money went into the (bottomless, but that's another discussion) NHS

...........and that's precisely the point, it isn't commercially viable, there isn't sufficient demand, it can only exist with a subsidy which inevitably results in higher costs/fares for the vast majority of customers......unprofitable routes can be cross subsidised by those which are extremely profitable as well as being justified by the public interest argument, which does not exist for ^6 cheeseburgers.......it's got nothing to do with perceived antipathy towards staff or unions, its just basic economics...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on January 23, 2015, 06:50:10 pm
Some, including the unions, are arguing for catering to be included in the public interest, that's what I'm debating.

No requirement to provide except on the longest journeys to Cornwall where some might need to eat twice if going the whole distance is all that is needed. Put that in an ITT and you might well get higher bids thus less cost on the taxpayer


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 03, 2015, 07:19:46 pm
New menus were introduced on the lunchtime/evening Pullman services from 26th January.

Details here https://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/-/media/PDF/YourJourney/On%20Board/Pullman_Jan_2015_x4%20menus%20287x155%20(1).pdf?la=en (https://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/-/media/PDF/YourJourney/On%20Board/Pullman_Jan_2015_x4%20menus%20287x155%20(1).pdf?la=en)

Meanwhile in the latest RAIL magazine Barry Doe suggests the two new Pullman services (13:03 from London Paddington and 18:03 from Plymouth) will start on 2nd March.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on February 03, 2015, 07:31:52 pm
I'm all for the Pullman 'experience' but ^10 for a starter is very expensive!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 03, 2015, 08:41:42 pm
We're talking mid to high end quality and service here. I'd liken it to dining in at least a 4* hotel. Prices compare favourably with that level.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on February 03, 2015, 09:05:27 pm
New menus were introduced on the lunchtime/evening Pullman services from 26th January.

Oooh!! Scallops for me, the belly pork (as a change from my normal preference of fillet steak - I mean, times are hard, aren't they?)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on February 03, 2015, 09:57:20 pm
I'm all for the Pullman 'experience' but ^10 for a starter is very expensive!
I would compare the menu, presentation and service to somewhere like this restaurant (http://www.cambscuisine.com/menus/main-menu-main-menu-1417103665.pdf).  Add on a few pounds for the service being on-board a train and the prices are probably about right.

The aforementioned restaurant is somewhere I visited for a work meeting and very much enjoyed the food.  Doesn't mean that I'd ever pay that much myself, but it shows the Pullman prices are "about right".


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 03, 2015, 10:52:57 pm
Agree, for the quality of the food and service, the prices compare favourably with other restaurants.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on February 03, 2015, 10:56:42 pm
Add on the complimentary first class seats while dining for those that make their way from standard...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 03, 2015, 11:09:32 pm
Oooh!! Scallops for me, the belly pork (as a change from my normal preference of fillet steak - I mean, times are hard, aren't they?)

Exactly what I plan to have tomorrow! Followed by the Apple Crumble with the Cider Brandy infused Rodda's Custard (which is made with Cornish clotted cream and real vanilla).  ;D

I'm salivating already.  :P ;) ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on February 03, 2015, 11:15:38 pm
Spoken as a true Trundling Trencherman.  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 03, 2015, 11:21:54 pm
Perambulating Pantophagist?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on February 03, 2015, 11:23:46 pm
Easy for you to say.  ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 05, 2015, 07:32:22 pm
The new 13:03 from London and 18:03 from Plymouth seem confirmed from March 2nd.  London crews, including former Travelling Chefs, have been training/shadowing the West Country crews in preparation.

Meanwhile I learned today that it is hoped to introduce a lunch service from Swansea to London and a return dinner service later in the year.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on February 05, 2015, 08:07:45 pm
Meanwhile I learned today that it is hoped to introduce a lunch service from Swansea to London and a return dinner service later in the year.

Good to hear that the Pullman is proving successful enough for the quite rapid expansion that is taking place.  Bodes well for making good use of the kitchen facilities on the IEP's.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 06, 2015, 05:54:38 pm
As planned, I dined on the Pullman on Wednesday 4th February, taking the opportunity to sample items from the new menu.

As always the service and quality were top notch. Excellently prepared fare with faultless service. Following my recent poor experience at the hands of FGW staff at Paddington the balance has been redressed a little by the Pullman team. They are a credit to FGW.

As I always do with new menu items or ones I'm trying for the first time there has to be the obligatory pictures! If just one of my reports or pictures tempts someone to try the Pullman service for the first time then I've done my job.  :)

Starter. Devon Scallops, grilled in the half shell, with fennel and lemon butter.
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/WP_20150204_13_39_58_Pro_zpsnm3g3mli.jpg)

Main Course. Slow Braised Somerset Pork Belly with white cabbage and wholegrain mustard.
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/WP_20150204_14_03_11_Pro_zps5lquven5.jpg)

Dessert. Spiced Apple Crumble with warm Rodda^s vanilla custard and Shipwreck cider brandy.
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/WP_20150204_14_35_29_Pro_zpsnlgb1y9h.jpg)

As I said, all excellent. But the belly pork in particular stood out. Absolutely divine, with fat that melted in the mouth.

All washed done with an agreeable white wine from Cornwall, Knightor Trevannion (http://www.knightor.com/wines.php).


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on February 12, 2015, 08:57:08 pm
From Swindon Advertiser (http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/11786989.Rail_workers_plan_protest/):

Quote
Rail workers plan protest

Rail union the RMT is planning a day of action on Saturday over fears that catering cars will be removed from trains and jobs put at risk.

The union believes new Intercity Express trains being introduced by First Great Western (FGW) will not have catering cars.

The demonstration, starting at 9.30am at Bath Spa, Reading and Paddington stations, aims to gain assurance on a list of points ^ including that buffet cars will be kept, there will be no job losses or demotions and that on-board cleaning will be brought in-house.

FGW denies any plans to remove catering services and says any new agreement over trains has yet to be reached.

But RMT general secretary Mick Cash warned industrial action could follow the protest, potentially disrupting services across the South West. ^RMT is far from happy with the vague statements coming out from First Group (the parent company of FGW) over the future of catering services, train crew and engineering jobs as a result of their being gifted a whole fleet of new Intercity trains, courtesy of the taxpayer and the fare-paying public,^ he said.

Graham Ellis, of TransWilts Community Rail Partnership, said FGW was doing more to help standard-class passengers, including shrinking first-class capability from 2.5 to 1.5 carriages on the Chippenham-London Paddington route. He said: ^First Great Western is one of only two companies at the moment that have buffet cars, but they are disappearing from other trains in favour of trolley service. There is a huge amount of uncertainty around the future of rail travel. The rail companies don^t have a great deal of independence; it is like them being given the Titanic and only being able to rearrange the deckchairs.^

A FGW spokesman denied planning to remove catering services and said the new Inter-city trains were yet to be agreed. ^We have no plans to remove buffet services from our existing fleet of high-speed trains; in fact we are working to improve on and extend the range of catering offered,^ he said. ^For example we have recently increased the number of Pullman fine dining services and reintroduced Pullman Dining to South Wales. While we continue talks with the Department for Transport about a five-year direct award franchise, which will see the introduction of a new state of the art Intercity Express fleet from summer of 2017, details have yet to be agreed.^


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on February 12, 2015, 09:06:53 pm
"Yet to be agreed" = "we haven't signed off on this in the Direct Award that we soon to sign with the DfT"


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on February 13, 2015, 05:56:12 am
......nice to see that there are still a few dinosaurs walking the Earth!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on February 13, 2015, 05:58:48 am
"Yet to be agreed" = "we haven't signed off on this in the Direct Award that we soon to sign with the DfT"
Exactly. How can FGW make announcements about what catering provision will be provided aboard IEP when the contract to run the GW lines for the next five years hasn't even been signed yet.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: a-driver on February 13, 2015, 06:54:47 am
Rumour has it that the DfT has already decided the layout of the IEP and FGW are far from happy with it which is why talks about an extension are still ongoing. Some are suggesting this is why FGW introduced the Pullman service to South Wales, to strengthen their case and position.  All just rumours and gossip mind!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: trainer on February 13, 2015, 09:34:16 am
Sadly this sort of proposed industrial action seems designed to intimidate and bully even before proper thought has been given to a subject. Negotiating with a fist to the opponent's face has always been the mark of a frightened person. Job losses are to be taken seriously by unions (I always belonged to one when I was working), but this isn't even a 'knee-jerk reaction'.  It's kicking the furniture around before the other side has walked into the room to make a lot of noise.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TeaStew on February 13, 2015, 09:46:42 am
I appreciate the Titanic metaphor. Although hopefully it doesn't follow to conclusion.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on February 13, 2015, 10:09:50 am
Sadly this sort of proposed industrial action seems designed to intimidate and bully even before proper thought has been given to a subject. Negotiating with a fist to the opponent's face has always been the mark of a frightened person. Job losses are to be taken seriously by unions (I always belonged to one when I was working), but this isn't even a 'knee-jerk reaction'.  It's kicking the furniture around before the other side has walked into the room to make a lot of noise.

They do like to rattle the sabres don't they? Couldn't agree more that job losses are to be taken seriously, but equally demanding that there will be no job losses or demotions in a scenario which hasn't even been determined yet is ridiculous.......no-one in any industry can expect those sorts of guarantees.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on February 13, 2015, 10:54:28 am
While they are at their campaign to keep buffets for standard class passengers, would the RMT please also stick up for the passengers on Paddington to south Wales services and most GW lines which will see IEP but not electrification (particularly the Cotswolds line from London through Oxford to Worcester/Hereford). The DfT think those routes can make do with shorter trains and fewer seats than now (see this topic (http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=14894.0)). My view is that the DfT have got it very wrong and these routes need longer IEPs (9-car) like Bristol will get, or alternative longer rolling stock (retained IC125s or any IC225s that the new East Coast franchise does not retain).


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 13, 2015, 12:42:29 pm
I think that we can be reasonably certain that the new trains wont have buffets.
The RMT and others have asked the question, and received wonderfully evasive answers that do not actually answer the question.
If the new trains ARE to have buffets, surely they would simply so ? rather than talking about generalities.

I appreciate that a kitchen is to be installed, hopefully for Pullman meal service in First only, but that is not a buffet.

I appreciate that the interior layout is intended to be flexible and that a buffet could in theory be added later.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on February 13, 2015, 01:56:54 pm
This begs the question of the following:

Why would FGW go to the trouble of marketing an extremely well used Pullman Service to the point of extending it to other services across the network - only to shelve it the moment the IEP appears?

Unless FGW plan to use the HSTs for Pullmans and run Diesel under wires to Swansea / Newbury (for Plymouth / Penzance) which is ludicrous in it's own right.

Not to mention an appalling waste of unnecessary fossil fuel. (Appreciate this happens already on many routes - but mainly for the last mile where electric locomotives cannot be used due to Technical Reasons or Lack of Knitting)

Someone, somewhere, isn't telling us the whole story. Unless the ultimately depressing fact is that the plan is to migrate the Pullmans into a complimentary First Class service as per the likes of ICEC / ICWC...

FGW of late in their Express Cafe's have seriously up'd their game. Pasties are provided in proper cardboard boxes as opposed to White Paper Bags. Many complimentary hot drinks in First Class are served with Fresh Milk ::) and a generally good selection is available from the First Class trolley.

My only gripe is that all vegetarian hot food options have cheese and/or tomato. For someone with IBD that at times is considerably less than ideal. But I appreciate I cannot have my cake and eat it. Hence why I do not pass complaint. As a regular Cheese and Mushrooms on Toast Travelling Chef customer... It would be weird to start complaining right now about it!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 13, 2015, 03:00:21 pm
The new trains are expected to have a kitchen so the Pullman service might continue, though I have my doubts about the future viability of Pullmans if they are first class only, rather than priority for first, with steerage admitted if space permits as at present.

The problem appears to be not first class meal provision, but that catering for steerage is being downgraded to a trolley. I seldom agree with the RMT dinosaurs, but over this particular issue I do agree with them.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 13, 2015, 03:04:32 pm
A recent addition to the Express Cafe menu is a Steak and Ale pie made in Devon with Otter Head Ale from the Otter Brewery. Currently on a HST and was very tempted to try one with a bottle of Proper Job Cornish Ale. But I've not long had lunch so just the drink this time.  ;D

When I do try one of the pies I will of course report back!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on February 13, 2015, 03:08:08 pm
Unless FGW plan to use the HSTs for Pullmans and run Diesel under wires to Swansea / Newbury (for Plymouth / Penzance) which is ludicrous in it's own right.

They'll run HSTs to Cornwall under wires, yes. Pax won't expect to change trains, and there currently aren't enough bi-modes to go that route, so they'll be HSTs for the foreseeable future. And Pullmans will therefore continue on HSTs

FGW can say nowt until the Direct Award is a) agreed, and b) signed.

This can't happen until the notice in the European Journal expires a year afte publication - that is somewhere close to 16 March. Because of the election, the DA has to be signed before Purdah (30 March) or else not until after the new Government starts business again (likely to be June, which is a tad tight when its due to commence in September.

So somewhere in those two weeks, IMHO

A recent addition to the Express Cafe menu is a Steak and Ale pie made in Devon with Otter Head Ale from the Otter Brewery.

Glad they've ditched those squealer pork pies then - great when first introduced, the meat quality took a big dive in more recent months - I giot one that mainly gristle not that long ago & refuse to buy again


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on February 13, 2015, 03:11:58 pm
FGW of late in their Express Cafe's have seriously up'd their game. Pasties are provided in proper cardboard boxes as opposed to White Paper Bags.

..........there is nothing wrong with serving a pasty in a white paper bag, it's what God intended white paper bags were used for!  :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on February 13, 2015, 03:12:14 pm
The problem appears to be not first class meal provision, but that catering for steerage is being downgraded to a trolley. I seldom agree with the RMT dinosaurs, but over this particular issue I do agree with them.

Its stupid to pick a fight with FGW as stated above - they need to lobby the DfT who will specify the layout that they'll be paying for & That FGW will receive delivery. I guess that FGW could then pay to put them in before delivery? But they need to know what they're getting first, and negotiations are quite possibly ongoing as I type


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 13, 2015, 03:27:44 pm
Do we know for certain that FirstGroup have any say in the internal layout of the Class 800/801s?

It seems a little perverse if they do. They could end up not operating them. Or only operating them for a relatively short period. At the moment all we know is FirstGroup are at the helm on the Greater Western franchise until September 2015.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Network SouthEast on February 13, 2015, 03:39:11 pm
Do we know for certain that FirstGroup have any say in the internal layout of the Class 700/701s?

It seems a little perverse if they do. They could end up not operating them. Or only operating them for a relatively short period. At the moment all we know is FirstGroup are at the helm on the Greater Western franchise until September 2015.
I suppose having the final say is perhaps not the same as having an input.

First Great Western has had input in to the IEP design to some extent. There have certainly been workshops with drivers involving Hitachi to help refine the cab layout. I suspect other departments (such as engineering for example) have made inputs about the parts of the trains that are relevant to them.

However, East Coast has also had the same chance to make inputs. So the final product may not quite be how FGW want it.

There is a precedent for TOCs specifying trains they might never operate. Southern procured the class 387s for the TSGN franchise (which at the time hadn't been awarded to GoVia). First Capital Connect, had also been involved in the specification of the class 800/801 Thameslink trains for the TSGN franchise (which at the time hadn't been awarded).

In the case of the IEP and Thameslink fleets, both are being ordered by the DfT, so this may have some bearing of the decisions being made before they are delivered.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on February 13, 2015, 03:45:50 pm
The DfT will specify what they're willing to guarantee the debt for - any improvement/amends to that spec that the operator wants will need to be paid for by them.

Currently -

a) The DfT is negotiating with FGW for a Direct Award to start in September
b) Until the operator has this contracted, it can't sign for any improvements

I suspect other departments (such as engineering for example) have made inputs about the parts of the trains that are relevant to them.

Hmm, ....Hitachi are maintaining these trains, not FGW engineers. Yes, some may TUPE over I guess?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on February 13, 2015, 06:19:05 pm
I'm wondering whether this is one of those issues (perhaps like the Night Riviera?) that means a great deal to rail staff/enthusiasts however isn't really a concern for the vast majority of the travelling public?

I didn't hear too much wailing and gnashing of teeth when Travelling Chef was scrapped, and only a tiny minority of passengers use the Pullman - most stations of any size have catering outlets now which sort of undermines on train catering as a necessity, and if it was profitable for the railways they would be going out of their way to ensure there was provision on new trains.

The general rule with these things is if you don't use it, you lose it.

Maybe a sandwich/tea trolley is all that is really needed/wanted?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Super Guard on February 13, 2015, 08:47:45 pm
I'm wondering whether this is one of those issues (perhaps like the Night Riviera?) that means a great deal to rail staff/enthusiasts however isn't really a concern for the vast majority of the travelling public?

As per my previous post when you made the same ridiculous statement about the Night Riviera which you chose to ignore - tosh.  Having checked tickets on many Pullman services out of London in the evening, many many business and leisure people travelling long distance use the Pullman service.  They are clearly not enthusiasts.  They are people who see the value of the service.  I am sure some see it as a cheap first class upgrade, whereas others want the experience of fine dining at 100mph+.  Again, just because you don't think the cost is worth paying, does not mean others think the same.  Certainly on Thursday/Friday nights, passengers are turned away from the 1803/1903 sittings.  With the reduction in first class capacity where the Pullman would normally spill into the old coach G, I believe a full sitting is achieved on other nights too.

Quote
I didn't hear too much wailing and gnashing of teeth when Travelling Chef was scrapped, and only a tiny minority of passengers use the Pullman - most stations of any size have catering outlets now which sort of undermines on train catering as a necessity, and if it was profitable for the railways they would be going out of their way to ensure there was provision on new trains.

Not much wailing and gnashing as the TC service was underused, hence why even the RMT accepted the inevitable fate (of course a bit of protesting aside).

Quote
The general rule with these things is if you don't use it, you lose it.

A statement I do agree with.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 13, 2015, 09:33:13 pm
I think many on this thread did their bit to promote the Travelling Chef service. I was certainly one of those who regularly extolled the virtues of having a chef freshly prepare hot food, either plated in 1st Class or take away in Standard. I was also firmly in the use it or lose it camp. Sadly, my using it wasn't enough. Too many people didn't bother and FGW never really promoted the Travelling Chef services.

That's where we have a difference with the Pullmans. Since FGW linked up with award winning chef and restaurateur Mitch Tonks the Pulllmans have gone from strength to strength. Four Pullmans a day in 2012, but now ten. Shortly to be twelve, with strong rumours of another two later this year for a total of fourteen. There has been consistent and ongoing promotion from FGW with station posters, social media pieces, high quality YouTube infomercials and regular articles in the print media, including articles by restaurant critics and articles in railway magazines.

There has been a new menu introduced in the past couple of weeks, and accompanying that is another YouTube video from FGW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fP9GIGmeY7Q

I like to think I (and others) have done our bit here as well. We aren't paid by FGW to sing the praises of the Pullmans, but we do so because it is damn good food prepared and served by damn good FGW staff.

So, USE IT OR LOSE IT.  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 13, 2015, 11:20:03 pm
FGW of late in their Express Cafe's have seriously up'd their game. Pasties are provided in proper cardboard boxes as opposed to White Paper Bags.

..........there is nothing wrong with serving a pasty in a white paper bag, it's what God intended white paper bags were used for!  :D

So, is God a Cornishman?  :P ;) ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 13, 2015, 11:40:58 pm
I seldom used the travelling chef service, much preferring the Pullman.
As noted above, the Pullman was often well patronised with many business and leisure customers paying a first class fare so as to be (reasonably) certain of a seat in the restaurant.
Some certainly looked on the restaurant as being a cheap upgrade to first class, and became most aggrieved when the Pullman was full of first class customers.
Until recently, I used the "Golden Hind" fairly regularly and invariably purchased a full first class open ticket in order to enjoy the Pullman.
For my return trips into London I usually purchased only a steerage ticket and hoped for the best ! if no restaurant was available on the earlier train, I preferred to wait for the later one.

The provision of a full service "fine dining" restaurant certainly influenced my choice of travel mode. As a result , I regularly spent ^175 on the ticket, ^100 in the restaurant, and perhaps another ^80 on taxi transfers.
A decent car and driver would not have cost much more, and without the on train restaurant might have been my preferred choice.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on February 14, 2015, 08:58:28 am
I'm wondering whether this is one of those issues (perhaps like the Night Riviera?) that means a great deal to rail staff/enthusiasts however isn't really a concern for the vast majority of the travelling public?

As per my previous post when you made the same ridiculous statement about the Night Riviera which you chose to ignore - tosh.  Having checked tickets on many Pullman services out of London in the evening, many many business and leisure people travelling long distance use the Pullman service.  They are clearly not enthusiasts.  They are people who see the value of the service.  I am sure some see it as a cheap first class upgrade, whereas others want the experience of fine dining at 100mph+.  Again, just because you don't think the cost is worth paying, does not mean others think the same.  Certainly on Thursday/Friday nights, passengers are turned away from the 1803/1903 sittings.  With the reduction in first class capacity where the Pullman would normally spill into the old coach G, I believe a full sitting is achieved on other nights too.

Quote
I didn't hear too much wailing and gnashing of teeth when Travelling Chef was scrapped, and only a tiny minority of passengers use the Pullman - most stations of any size have catering outlets now which sort of undermines on train catering as a necessity, and if it was profitable for the railways they would be going out of their way to ensure there was provision on new trains.

Not much wailing and gnashing as the TC service was underused, hence why even the RMT accepted the inevitable fate (of course a bit of protesting aside).

Quote
The general rule with these things is if you don't use it, you lose it.

A statement I do agree with.


When you've settled down and wiped the froth from your mouth you may care to read what I actually wrote in the first para, which was a question, not a statement. I don't doubt that the Pullman is popular, I didn't suggest that it wasn't, what I said was that only a tiny minority of customers use it - which is irrefutably true!

It is a niche, high end, high price service on a few trains targeted at a particular market segment (in the same way as fine dining restaurants) - it's not "catering provision" in the way that a buffet car or even Travelling Chef was.

Broadgage's later post illustrates it perfectly............but just for fun let's say I fancy taking Mrs TPG on the Pullman (so to speak) for dinner and a trip to Plymouth in a couple of weeks to see TPGs senior.....I'll look at the prices on one of the services you reference, the 1803 - 2 x First Advance singles @ ^119.50 each (to ensure we get a table), + 2 x 3 course dinners and a bottle of wine on board......approx ^130........so that's roughly ^370, and we've still got to get home at some stage!

And yes I'm sure there are ways of doing it slightly cheaper but I'm sticking to your example. How many people do you honestly think can take that as an option?

Travelling Chef was more aimed at the masses but it was too expensive and not what people wanted so it failed and was withdrawn with barely a whisper. Businesses will only supply something if there is demand for it - there is clearly demand for the "niche" Pullman offering and so it is being extended, but will only ever remain an option for a very small number of customers - good luck to them, I hope they enjoy it.

I, along with most mortals, will opt for my own provision, maybe a pasty in a white paper bag............and for the benefit of BNM - God was not a Cornishman, he was actually from Plymouth, but occasionally strolled over to the Western bank of the Tamar when he felt like slumming it!  ;D

Have a good weekend all!



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on February 14, 2015, 09:18:14 am
Why would FGW go to the trouble of marketing an extremely well used Pullman Service to the point of extending it to other services across the network - only to shelve it the moment the IEP appears?

Unless FGW plan to use the HSTs for Pullmans and run Diesel under wires to Swansea / Newbury (for Plymouth / Penzance) which is ludicrous in it's own right.

Not to mention an appalling waste of unnecessary fossil fuel. (Appreciate this happens already on many routes - but mainly for the last mile where electric locomotives cannot be used due to Technical Reasons or Lack of Knitting)

Someone, somewhere, isn't telling us the whole story. Unless the ultimately depressing fact is that the plan is to migrate the Pullmans into a complimentary First Class service as per the likes of ICEC / ICWC...
The plan at the moment I think is to run IC125s under the wires to Newbury on all the Plymouth/Penzance runs. I personally think that is a good idea considering Newbury to Penzance is a heck of a long way and it would be underfloor diesel engines if IEP was used (and class 222s have apparently been rejected by stakeholders due to cramped interiors and underfloor diesel engines), and you can't exactly axe through trains to Devon and Cornwall. Also, IEP was claimed to be able to do Cardiff-Swansea in the same amount of time whether the route was electrified or not, which suggests that IEP on diesel has been designed to accelerate like an EMU. And we know what happens if you try and do that: fuel consumption gets massive. I would therefore be supprised if an IC125 uses more diesel from PAD to Penzance than an IEP 9-car bi-mode from Newbury to Penzance.

As for the Pullmans, the reply I've had from FirstGW claims IEP extends the catering offer, by having a kitchen in every set rather than some IC125s having "standalone buffets" but not a kicthen. They said "no firm decision has yet been made" but reading between the lines it sounded like making Pullman dining a FirstClass-only product in future was one of the options they are looking at. Not sure if I'm allowed to quote the full text of their e-mail.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on February 18, 2015, 10:37:54 am

So, is God a Cornishman?  :P ;) ;D

"Our Father, which art in Helston...

... and lead us not into Tintagel..."

More dreckly.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 18, 2015, 08:14:22 pm
In full:

Our father, who art in Helston
Helford be thy name
Thy Kenwyn come
Thy will be Ruan
St Erth but not in Devon
Give us this day our Cornish Pasty
And forgive us our Tresparrett
As we forgive those who Trevarth against us
And lead us not not into Tintagel
For thine is the Kingsand
The Padstow and the Fowey
For East Looe and Eggbeare

Bodmin


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on February 19, 2015, 06:36:58 pm
I guess I should clarify my points in my previous post - as I can't even understand what I was explaining... ::) ::)

I was more getting at using IC125's for a journey that is under wires for 100% of the booked journey. Just seems a bit farcical to use a 40 year old train on a newly electrified railway just for a Pullman Service... That being said I would almost certainly prefer HST to IEP. But HSTs cannot last for ever :(

I quite agree - using Bi-mode or IC125 for Plymouth/Penzance - London Paddington is feasible. I wasn't for a moment suggesting that Passengers for such journeys should have to change.

My comments on using Diesel under wires where East Coast and Virgin West Coast use Diesel trains to complete the "last mile" of the journey where Electric Trains cannot be used due to Technical Reasons (such as Class 323 and Class 91s near Lincoln IIRC?) or lack of knitting (Anything beyond Crewe for Chester/Wrexham/Holyhead)



As for the Travelling Chef - I am bitterly disappointed that FGW withdrew this. But in honesty it was destined to fail. It was frequently unavailable, poorly advertised and just seemed a little unloved. For me the Pullmans are a great thing. But the food is too formal for my liking. However on the few occasions I have used the pullman, the service has been faultless.

Sadly the Pullman has only 1 Vegetarian course of dishes. Quite often containing Goats Cheese or high tomato content. I also don't get what it is with Restaurants obsessing that all Vegetarians like Goats Cheese and Nut Roasts - Both revolting >:(

With the TC I felt that there were more vegetarian options and the food was less fancy. I've said this time and time again:
1) If I ask for a plate of vegetables. I don't want cauliflower cheese.
2) If I ask for Egg and Chips. I don't want eggs laden with spinach and tomato dressing.

At least with the TC if I asked for Cheese and Mushrooms on Toast. I got cheese and mushrooms on toast ;D



Now the paper bag dispute. Ok it doesn't apply to pasties so much I accept. But this however is extremely irritating:

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-QfsV2Skk56w/VE6d5X-EkEI/AAAAAAAAl0U/ZFUPEJqM6Ug/w958-h539-no/20141027_193252.jpg)



Now for a short Pullman Lunch. Taunton - Westbury on Monday. 14:24

3 Diners already mid meal. Myself and 1 other joined at Taunton. As I got the menus mixed up. I had just the Red Pepper and Cornish Yarg Tart as a Main Course with a small amount of vegetables. However the Waitress just charged me the starter price. I would have willingly paid the main course price however.

The Tart was very good. Albeit served at luke warm temperature. I was intending to have a 2 course meal and double back at Reading using the Newbury Easement. But as the main course contained my arch nemesis of ingredients. I had the starter and jumped off at Westbury to connect for the 15:38 Weymouth train.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-HdjH1SOlits/VOID20Qj7FI/AAAAAAAApCE/0yiLa5ikmu4/w958-h539-no/20150216_145042.jpg)

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-hKSuRTC55rs/VOIA9kU7grI/AAAAAAAApB0/CTSCGLGfD18/w958-h539-no/20150216_143507.jpg)

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/--GpBywAI7IQ/VOH-l35nDnI/AAAAAAAApAo/A4dfbv3hbSU/w958-h539-no/20150216_142600.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 22, 2015, 07:04:42 pm
There has been a subtle change to the crab starter on menu two.  Previously it was served in a small dish with a tasty spicy sauce.

It is now served in the shell with mayonnaise - still very tasty.

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/crab1.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 22, 2015, 07:08:33 pm
Don't often get the chance to try the Pullman breakfast but two early meetings in London gave me the opportunity and initially I wasn't disappointed.

After fruit juice and yoghurt the main course arrived

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/breakfast1.jpg)

I could also have had black pudding, beans and tomato - but not to my taste.

With plenty of toast and coffee it was excellent value at ^18.

I say initially I wasn't disappointed - the reason?  The following morning because of set problems at Swansea the meal service was cancelled!

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/nopull.jpg)

 >:(



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on February 22, 2015, 07:32:15 pm

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/crab1.jpg)


Gin, with a tonic water mixer? I'll allow that.  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 22, 2015, 07:42:09 pm
Gin, with a tonic water mixer? I'll allow that.  ;) :D ;D

Not telling you about my two Caledonian sleeper trips last week then..... ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on February 22, 2015, 07:44:33 pm
The Pullman photographs here have pretty much tempted me to try out the brunch service.  Just need to find a suitable weekday to take off work.

I'm seeing plenty of Cambridge - Cardiff Central fares (for the 10:45 from Paddington) for ^14.95 in standard (or ^15.85 through to Swansea).  What are the chances of getting a seat in the restaurant on this service on a weekday?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 22, 2015, 07:46:25 pm
I think you'll be okay Brucey. Let's us know the date you plan if you're going alone. May well find you've got one or two dining companions...  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on February 22, 2015, 07:48:08 pm
If you are joining at London Paddington I'd say you'd be fine.

I have joined that train at Swindon half a dozen times and usually had a table of two to myself.

They do two sittings if need be - which means in the unlikely event you don't get a seat first time you will later - also means you might be asked to move back to standard once you have finished.

Brunch is ^18 too same as the breakfast on the up.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on February 22, 2015, 07:53:48 pm
Will do bignosemac, probably won't be until April or May though.

^33.85 (^15.85 + ^18.00) for a 4.5 hour journey plus tube transfer and breakfast seems to be rather good value.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on February 22, 2015, 07:59:05 pm
Not forgetting the posh seats for a large part of the journey.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on February 24, 2015, 02:09:52 pm
But no grog??? Not even a gin and tonic-ette???

I shall open a separate thread about this if no-one else has. For now, the Bristol Post (http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Drinking-trains-banned-new-proposal-rail-safety/story-26075213-detail/story.html) reports the story doing the rounds yesterday:

Quote
Drinking on trains could be banned under new proposal from rail safety watchdog

By The Bristol Post  |  Posted: February 24, 2015
 
DRINKING on trains could be banned in a bid to prevent the number of passengers dying from drunkenly falling onto the lines.

Enjoying an alcoholic drink of long distance and inner-city trains could become a thing of the past if measures proposed by a rail safety watchdog after 18 people were killed and almost 250 seriously injured after falling onto the tracks over the past five years. The majority of these were intoxicated.

The proposal was one of a number of ideas put forward by the Rail Safety Standards Board, but opponents say it would be unfair to the thousands of people who drink in moderation while travelling.

The report also reveals that 48 per cent of the fatality risk on the trains occurs during boarding and alighting and that drunkenness was named as a factor in 21 of the 32 deaths in the past ten years.

It also reveals that passengers being distracted by mobile phones and tablets had caused accidents.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on February 24, 2015, 02:14:48 pm
Better if intoxicated pax were refused travel?......

Nanny State again. How many of those pax were already intoxicated *before* they boarded the train & how many sober & got sufficiently intoxicated while on the train? My bet all of them were the former & this would have little or no benefit.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: chrisr_75 on February 24, 2015, 02:56:41 pm
Better if intoxicated pax were refused travel?......

Nanny State again. How many of those pax were already intoxicated *before* they boarded the train & how many sober & got sufficiently intoxicated while on the train? My bet all of them were the former & this would have little or no benefit.

I've seen both. Part of the reason why I traded my long distance train commute for the car was I was getting fed up with having my peace and quiet disturbed by idiots (mainly in First class, I would add) not being able to drink to moderation and/or maintain a decent level of behaviour when intoxicated. By not serving alcohol on (certain) trains or allowing intoxicated people to travel, the environment would be a whole lot better for everyone else, but quite how you would police that, I do not know! I think it's a pretty sad place to be if you can't manage a couple of hours on a train without getting hammered and being obnoxious!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on February 24, 2015, 03:25:02 pm
Being to able to enjoy a drink before or during a rail journey is to me one of the advantages of train versus road.
I can see the merits of refusing boarding to those who are SERIOUSLY intoxicated, or of refusing to serve more drink on board to those who have already had too much.
I would hope that this is not overdone however, I would be most displeased if refused admission to a train when unfit to drive, but IMO fit to use public transport.

I fear that drinking is becoming "the new smoking" with large numbers of jobsworths looking for new ways to persecute drinkers.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on February 24, 2015, 03:33:48 pm
Don't agree - the are a large minority on trains I encounter who could not care one jot about other passengers & get loud & lary....why the bl**dy hell should they?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: chrisr_75 on February 24, 2015, 04:42:48 pm
Being to able to enjoy a drink before or during a rail journey is to me one of the advantages of train versus road.
I can see the merits of refusing boarding to those who are SERIOUSLY intoxicated, or of refusing to serve more drink on board to those who have already had too much.
I would hope that this is not overdone however, I would be most displeased if refused admission to a train when unfit to drive, but IMO fit to use public transport.

I fear that drinking is becoming "the new smoking" with large numbers of jobsworths looking for new ways to persecute drinkers.

I think what will become the "new smoking" will be those who drink to major excess regularly - they are the ones overwhelming the police, NHS, ambulance services each and every weekend of the year and that type of behaviour places a major burden on those public services. Hopefully, if something is done to discourage the "binge drinkers", it will not be a catch all approach that needlessly punishes those who can enjoy a few tipples in a responsible manner!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on February 26, 2015, 10:52:25 am
Alcohol is my field of research at the moment with Plymouth University. All the academic research points towards the wealthy, professional classes as drinking the most. However, those of lower socioeconomic status are more likely to become a nuisance, commit misdemeanours and/or become violent when intoxicated. Thus public health is targeting the less well-off with punitive price measures whilst the better off continue to indulge in Pinot Grigio and G&Ts. But then that's their adult choice, and the vast majority are hard-working tax payers with otherwise healthy lifestyles

There is also a huge disparity between the amount of alcohol sold in this country and the amount we admit to consuming, with 40% of sales unaccounted for. Researchers have found that working class males and professional women are the groups most likely to under-report their drinking, and this is an area of concern, but banning things is never the answer.

I agree that alcohol is progressively becoming the new tobacco, with talk of 'passive drinking' and the definition of binge drinking being reduced downwards over time. There is also a lot of scaremongering by alcohol control bodies, for example by equating moderate drinking with liver damage, whereas the reality is that only 10% of heavy drinking alcoholics develop cirrhosis of the liver.

I'm not saying that alcohol doesn't cause social problems, but punishing the great majority for the actions of the few is always wrong in my book. Sooner or later, responsible drinkers will need to take a stand, because these Puritans have perfected the art of drip-drip campaigning, edging forwards just a little at a time, but with an ultimate goal of virtual prohibition.

Banning drinking on trains because about 20 people out if over 1 billion have an accident is patently unfair, and would have devastating consequences for station concessions and, I imagine, on-board buffets and the Pullman. But don't think it's just going to go away, this is the second time this has been proposed in just two or three years.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on February 26, 2015, 11:04:23 pm
There is also a huge disparity between the amount of alcohol sold in this country and the amount we admit to consuming, with 40% of sales unaccounted for.

It's a fair cop...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 19, 2015, 03:44:37 pm
On the 1107 from Par to Taunton today. Not time enough to dine in the restaurant so had to make do with buffet fare for lunch. I went for the Steak and Ale Pie (image attached). Very nice. Arrived at my sister's in Taunton and discovered we're having pie and mash for dinner this evening. The pie filling? Steak and Ale!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 19, 2015, 05:11:59 pm
It is impossible to have too much steak and ale pie - one of my favourites!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on March 19, 2015, 06:45:35 pm
I wonder what attracted BNM more ...the steak or the ale ?? ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 19, 2015, 08:13:42 pm
I'd rather have had some fillet steak and a nice red in the restaurant. Maybe tomorrow...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on March 19, 2015, 09:31:33 pm
It is impossible to have too much steak and ale pie - one of my favourites!

A sentiment worthy of member 'broadgage' himself, I think.  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on March 23, 2015, 07:30:36 pm
This is what DfT says about the new mini-franchise in their consultation response:
Quote
Food & drink: FGW^s research demonstrates research that there is a very strong preference amongst customers for an at-seat trolley service in standard class, rather than a standalone buffet bar. This is because they find it both more convenient, and it removes concerns about the security of luggage or personal items.

Unlike the current fleet, there will be a kitchen on every IEP train, which could provide hot and cold food to both first class and standard class customers on all our trains.

During in-service trials last year, FGW reports that 9 out of ten customers believed the trolley improved their journey experience and wanted to see it on more routes. In the same trial more than half of those who bought from the trolley wouldn^t have left their seat to buy something from a buffet car.

This is good for customers, and would also have a positive impact on the viability of the food and drink offer, which would give greater security for staff. In this light it would be difficult for us to implement any other solution.

It is anticipated that more, rather than fewer, staff would be needed to operate a trolley service, particularly on a 10 car (2 x 5 cars) formation IEP. For this solution to work effectively FGW would need to recruit additional on-board staff and indeed we currently expect an increase in on board FTE of approximately 100 over the Direct Award period.

Why does that say "it would be difficult for us to implement any other solution"? Who "us"? DfT don't implement - maybe they lifted a bit of an FGW report and didn't adapt it.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on March 23, 2015, 08:01:58 pm
Completely the opposite to what Virgin East Coast are saying with a commitment to maintain a buffet counter service on their IEPs


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 23, 2015, 08:07:05 pm
So, was it difficult for VTEC to 'implement any other solution'?

Smoke and mirrors with FGW and the DfT manipulating things to suit a decision already made I suspect.

Can we see the survey results? Find out which services were surveyed, what the questions/options were, what the sample size was...

I doubt FGW will publish them.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on March 23, 2015, 08:23:25 pm
A survey can show almost whatever result is desired.

To justify the absence of buffets on new trains ask the following question of trolley customers "would you rather be served at your seat, or would you prefer to walk along the train and queue ?"

To justify the provision of buffets, ask the following question of buffet customers "would you prefer to make your selection at a well stocked counter where the range includes snacks heated to order. Or would you prefer waiting for a trolley to come past with a much more limited selection"

I can guess which question was asked in order to justify new "purpose designed inter city trains" without a buffet.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 24, 2015, 04:15:40 pm
I can guess which question was asked in order to justify new "purpose designed inter city trains" without a buffet.

Er... Have you stopped beating your wife yet?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on March 24, 2015, 04:19:55 pm
I'd like to see a survey of those on the trains over the next month - Offered a trolley at seat service or a buffet that pax would have to get up to, most will say I don't care by a big margin.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 27, 2015, 10:30:42 pm
Just a note for anyone intending to use the Pullmans after Easter - they are suspended from the 7th to 10th April inclusive.  Haven't seen it publicised anywhere but I am told the staff have been deployed to other duties that week.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on March 30, 2015, 02:19:53 pm
From my roving reporter colleague bobm comes a picture of one of the main courses from the current Pullman menu 2:

(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/mms_20150330_141428_zpsfov6dxgb.jpg)
Ox Cheek Braised in Sharpham Wine with Somerset quince


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on March 30, 2015, 09:02:29 pm
(It would have been bad manners to post while I was eating)

I must admit the ox cheek was delicious.  I have not had it before and for the benefit of those who also haven't tasted it before, it is a fairly rich meat which flakes away under the knife and almost melts in the mouth.

I should also point out it comes with courgettes and cauliflower cheese - although I skipped them such is my legendary aversion to vegetables!

However all this fine dining lark was wasted on someone who sent me a text asking what I had for lunch.  When I replied ox cheek I got the reply "Is that cow's bottom"!!!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on March 30, 2015, 09:25:02 pm
Growing up in Lancashire, I had more than my fair share of "Steak and cow heel pie" - wholesome, but not gourmand in comparison to ox cheek. The tastiest bits of an animal tend to be those that work hardest, cooked slowly. Never mind legs and shoulders - did you ever see an ox that wasn't chewing?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 07, 2015, 01:42:35 pm
Just a note for anyone intending to use the Pullmans after Easter - they are suspended from the 7th to 10th April inclusive.  Haven't seen it publicised anywhere but I am told the staff have been deployed to other duties that week.

Just to update this - seems there has been a change of plan and the Pullmans are running for the remainder of this week.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 07, 2015, 02:02:32 pm
Are you on one currently perchance, bobm?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 07, 2015, 02:12:21 pm
No. But I will be this time tomorrow!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 14, 2015, 02:16:53 am
The strolling syberites (I'm running out of descriptives, CfN!), that's myself and bobm, dined last evening (13/04/2015) on the 1803 Pullman service from Plymouth to Paddington.

This is one of the recently re-introduced Pullman services, crewed by newly trained London based staff. They work a down lunchtime service at 1303 from Paddington to Plymouth, with the return dinner service on the 1803.

Healthily loaded with 14 diners.

Top notch food as always, and the service was almost as good as that from the far more experienced Plymouth crews. This crew were certainly efficient in laying up. They had the restaurant ready for diners before Ivybridge! One or two minor niggles, but that can be overlooked due to inexperience.

Just one new dish tried today, both bobm and I went for the...

Cured Mount^s Bay Sardines with grapes, tarragon and West Country cider vinegar
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/Sdines_Pullman_zpsoksah7sj.jpg)

...followed by the fillet steak for main course. Dessert for me was the Chocolate Nemisis. bobm, being a creature of habit had the cheese and biscuits.

As always, I post here to champion First Great Western's Pullman services. The last remaining full service restaurants, available to all (space permitting for Std Class ticket holders), on the UK rail network. Do try one if you get the chance.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 14, 2015, 11:21:37 am
Agree, it is a most impressive service.
I used to patronise the Pullman regularly when travelling between London and the West, but I have now moved to the West country and therefore have only infrequent excuse to dine on a train.

Far from cheap, but IMHO worth it for the quality.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on April 14, 2015, 11:56:02 am
Fillet steak and chocolate? The Pullman may be have been healthily loaded but the diners weren't!  ;D

(......and I hope that Rioja was being allowed to breathe in expectation of being consumed with said steak? Can't see it going to well with an oily fish like sardines.............do they serve a Pinot Grigio or Muscadet? That would be perfect!)  :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 14, 2015, 01:27:28 pm
Fillet steak and chocolate? The Pullman may be have been healthily loaded but the diners weren't!  ;D

That is why I am such a well rounded fellow.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 14, 2015, 10:34:54 pm
The strolling syberites (I'm running out of descriptives, CfN!), that's myself and bobm ...

... I am such a well rounded fellow.

Knowing both colleagues quite well, I shall continue to refer to them collectively as the trundling trenchermen ...  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 14, 2015, 10:36:13 pm
Stop sitting on the fence and join us!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 14, 2015, 10:59:52 pm
I'd be absolutely delighted to do so - if either of you could please let me know in advance what you are planning (simply so I can see whether I can fit it in with my shift pattern) ... ::) :o ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 14, 2015, 11:05:27 pm
... and, ideally, we could arrange a suitable date to include broadgage, and take over a table for four for the entire journey.  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on April 15, 2015, 11:07:40 am
... and, ideally, we could arrange a suitable date to include broadgage, and take over a table for four for the entire journey.  ;) :D ;D

I fear that this may prove problematic to arrange in view of my much reduced use of the trains now that I live in the West. Thanks for the suggestion though.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on April 27, 2015, 12:21:38 am
A couple of videos from FGW highlighting the local suppliers used for products sold on their trains.

Tregothnan Tea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQ2c7s16aJ8
Brixham Seafish Company: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhgMxxxZ44M


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on May 05, 2015, 09:50:53 am
I have it on good authority that provision of Pullman dining services has been written into the franchise agreement starting September 2015. If so I think that's a first for catering provision to be explicitly specified.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on May 05, 2015, 09:57:57 am
I have it on good authority that provision of Pullman dining services has been written into the franchise agreement starting September 2015. If so I think that's a first for catering provision to be explicitly specified.

How about catering provision for the masses rather than just the very small % who can afford the Pullman? Is that written in? Any idea what is to be provided as a minimum?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on May 05, 2015, 09:58:46 am
Hopefully, that includes the recently introduced services too


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on May 05, 2015, 10:33:55 am
I should think it does as the info I heard today came from a crew member. They were told that jobs were safe as FGW, in agreement with the DfT, had the Pullman restaurant services as of 2015 written into the franchise.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on May 05, 2015, 10:46:15 am
How about catering provision for the masses rather than just the very small % who can afford the Pullman? Is that written in? Any idea what is to be provided as a minimum?

Sorry, couldn't tell you. I was only chatting about Pullmans. We'll just have to wait until the DfT get round to publishing (or responding to FOI requests for) the recently signed franchise agreement.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 05, 2015, 11:05:14 am
I have it on good authority that provision of Pullman dining services has been written into the franchise agreement starting September 2015. If so I think that's a first for catering provision to be explicitly specified.

How about catering provision for the masses rather than just the very small % who can afford the Pullman? Is that written in? Any idea what is to be provided as a minimum?

A trolley only on IEPs, surveys show that this what customers want !


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 05, 2015, 11:07:55 am
I have it on good authority that provision of Pullman dining services has been written into the franchise agreement starting September 2015. If so I think that's a first for catering provision to be explicitly specified.

Splendid news


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on May 05, 2015, 11:50:43 am
I have it on good authority that provision of Pullman dining services has been written into the franchise agreement starting September 2015. If so I think that's a first for catering provision to be explicitly specified.

How about catering provision for the masses rather than just the very small % who can afford the Pullman? Is that written in? Any idea what is to be provided as a minimum?

A trolley only on IEPs, surveys show that this what customers want !


Ah well..........at least my longer distance trips start from Reading or Paddington where I can get a decent pasty or something from M & S! 

One of these days I am determined to try the Pullman however, perhaps after I win the lottery!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on May 05, 2015, 12:05:48 pm
Ah well..........at least my longer distance trips start from Reading or Paddington where I can get a decent pasty or something from M & S!

And there is the reason that on board catering is a declining facility these days.  All the large stations, and the majority of smaller ones, that the long distance trains call at now have vastly superior catering options at the station than they used to up until the end of the last century.  That, and the fact that the old 'three square meals a day' at set times is also largely a thing of the past in modern society.

It's a pity, but it's an undeniable reality.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on May 05, 2015, 12:08:19 pm
And why NR are pulling back their large stations under their control - to retain the vastly increasing leases being paid by these outlets.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on May 05, 2015, 12:23:20 pm
And there is the reason that on board catering is a declining facility these days.  All the large stations, and the majority of smaller ones, that the long distance trains call at now have vastly superior catering options at the station than they used to up until the end of the last century.  That, and the fact that the old 'three square meals a day' at set times is also largely a thing of the past in modern society.

It's a pity, but it's an undeniable reality.

London Midland pulled the Trolley Services from their trains for this very reason. They even said themselves that "Many of our trains stop for extended time periods where catering facilities are widely available"

But I think pulling Buffet Services from Long Distance InterCity services would be a very very bad idea...!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on May 05, 2015, 02:15:56 pm
Ah well..........at least my longer distance trips start from Reading or Paddington where I can get a decent pasty or something from M & S!

And there is the reason that on board catering is a declining facility these days.  All the large stations, and the majority of smaller ones, that the long distance trains call at now have vastly superior catering options at the station than they used to up until the end of the last century.  That, and the fact that the old 'three square meals a day' at set times is also largely a thing of the past in modern society.

It's a pity, but it's an undeniable reality.


Thats a very good point......if you take into account the longest trip on FGW (PAD-PNZ, correct me if I'm wrong?), unless you get on at one of the real one horse stations you would almost certainly be able to obtain cheaper and wider ranging food than you would find on offer on a train buffet before you board, either at the station or nearby.......I guess this helps to make the argument for a trolley rather than a full buffet, and the lack of demand for/demise of Travelling Chef is further evidence of this...........although the Pullman is popular within its niche market and seems to be thriving.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 05, 2015, 10:13:24 pm
... unless you get on at one of the real one horse stations ...

Ahem!  Are you even possibly suggesting that Nailsea & Backwell is one of those?  :o ::) ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on May 06, 2015, 07:01:24 pm
... unless you get on at one of the real one horse stations ...

Ahem!  Are you even possibly suggesting that Nailsea & Backwell is one of those?  :o ::) ;D
....

...as my local station is Taplow I would be on dodgy ground if I did! (......but I have often wondered why there was a horse trough outside Nailsea and Backwell and the station staff do look a bit odd in those ten gallon hats!)  :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: chuffed on May 06, 2015, 07:23:20 pm
Not to mention the green stripy aprons worn by employees of a upmarket refreshment room in Nailsea from where provisions may be obtained and delivered to your ranch for a small fee. One such employee has been known to park his steed while making deliveries,and has been heard to say Wait, Rose !


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on May 09, 2015, 09:25:51 am
Read a report earlier that the food for the evening PAD - PNZ Pullman last night was loaded but the buffet was not..........I wonder whether a few scraps were thrown through from the privileged few for the starving masses to fight over?  :-[


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on May 09, 2015, 01:36:12 pm
If it was the latter of the two evening services to Penzance it could well have been due to a very short turn around because of a late incoming service.

The 1903 service to Penzance was formed of the 1830 arrival from Swansea. That didn't pull into Paddington until 1852.

The earlier Penzance service at 1803 also had a tight turn round with its incoming service from Swansea, due in at 1730, pulling in at 1745.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: jdw.wor on May 09, 2015, 03:23:41 pm
Presuming the food and drink is waiting for the train arrival, how long does it take to load?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 09, 2015, 04:06:48 pm
Presuming the food and drink is waiting for the train arrival, how long does it take to load?

Only a few minutes, less than is required for filling toilet tanks, removing litter, and applying reservation slips.
Had the supplies been waiting on the platform I feel that they would have been loaded.

The absence of buffet supplies on the train suggests that they were NOT on the platform ready for loading.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on May 09, 2015, 05:06:02 pm
If it was the latter of the two evening services to Penzance it could well have been due to a very short turn around because of a late incoming service.

The 1903 service to Penzance was formed of the 1830 arrival from Swansea. That didn't pull into Paddington until 1852.

The earlier Penzance service at 1803 also had a tight turn round with its incoming service from Swansea, due in at 1730, pulling in at 1745.

I believe it was the 1903.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on May 10, 2015, 10:44:18 pm


Only a few minutes, less than is required for filling toilet tanks

Or emptying them.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 10, 2015, 10:48:58 pm
I think he means the filling of the 'fresh' water to be used for flushing them: the effluent tends to be dumped (if you'll pardon the expression) on the tracks.  ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 11, 2015, 10:01:41 am
Indeed, I was referring to the filling of the toilet flushing tanks, that also supply the water for handwashing in the toilets.
There are no effluent tanks to be emptied on HSTs.

The filling of these tanks takes only a few minutes and may be observed at Paddington. Most of the platform edge is solid stone or concrete, but short sections are of hinged steel and may be lifted up to reveal the water supply and attached hose for tank filling.
This is one reason why trains should not be boarded until advertised lest passengers trip over the raised cover or hose, or slip on any spilled water.
People like me who board before the train be advertised on the departure board do so at their own risk and should also take extra care.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on May 15, 2015, 05:55:37 pm
How about catering provision for the masses rather than just the very small % who can afford the Pullman? Is that written in? Any idea what is to be provided as a minimum?

Sorry, couldn't tell you. I was only chatting about Pullmans. We'll just have to wait until the DfT get round to publishing (or responding to FOI requests for) the recently signed franchise agreement.
They replied to my FOI request and initially rejected it on the grounds that it was planned for future publication and FirstGroup hadn't finished redacting the commercially sensitive parts yet. They have now released the franchise agreement (FA) (available here (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/first-great-western)) but I also asked for the Service Level Commitment (SLC) which doesn't appear to be available yet.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on May 15, 2015, 06:05:43 pm
We need to reference this file in a Franchise thread too, I think


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on May 15, 2015, 06:51:13 pm
How about catering provision for the masses rather than just the very small % who can afford the Pullman? Is that written in? Any idea what is to be provided as a minimum?

Sorry, couldn't tell you. I was only chatting about Pullmans. We'll just have to wait until the DfT get round to publishing (or responding to FOI requests for) the recently signed franchise agreement.
They replied to my FOI request and initially rejected it on the grounds that it was planned for future publication and FirstGroup hadn't finished redacting the commercially sensitive parts yet. They have now released the franchise agreement (FA) (available here (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/first-great-western)) but I also asked for the Service Level Commitment (SLC) which doesn't appear to be available yet.

Funnily enough, just checked my inbox and there was an email from the DfT saying much the same. I'd FOI'd them a while back too.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on May 15, 2015, 06:55:25 pm
Pullman specification is for just a minimum four services per weekday across the entire network.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on May 15, 2015, 08:40:20 pm
So that'd be 2 up & 2 back?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on May 15, 2015, 09:03:11 pm
Wording is

Quote
an at seat first class "Pullman" dining service to be provided on at least two Passenger Services in each direction each Weekday on either or both of the routes between London Paddington and Plymouth and between London Paddington and Cardiff;


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 16, 2015, 01:04:04 pm
Pullman specification is for just a minimum four services per weekday across the entire network.

I would have preferred to see more than just 4 services a day protected under the franchise agreement, but 4 is a lot better than none and hopefully they will do more than the minimum requirement.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on May 16, 2015, 08:42:28 pm
Wording is

Quote
an at seat first class "Pullman" dining service to be provided on at least two Passenger Services in each direction each Weekday on either or both of the routes between London Paddington and Plymouth and between London Paddington and Cardiff;

That doesn't define if it will be for First Class ticket holders only, First Class will be complimentary and open to paying Standard Class passengers or everyone pays?

So I wonder what context the wording first class "Pullman" actually applies to...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on May 16, 2015, 08:52:24 pm
This is the relevant section of the agreement:

Quote
Customer Services and Stakeholder

24. On Board Food and Drink

24.1 Consistent with the Franchisee's proposal dated October 2014 (as amended) the Franchisee shall throughout the Franchise Term diagram and use all reasonable endeavours to provide an on train food and drink service in accordance with the following specification:
 (a) a food and drink service:
 (i) on all Passenger Services departing Cardiff, Exeter or Bristol for a timetabled arrival at London Paddington in the Morning Peak; and
 (ii) all Passenger Services departing London Paddington in the Evening Peak and timetabled to call at Cardiff, Exeter or Bristol, in each case in respect of that portion of their journey between London Paddington and Cardiff, Exeter and Bristol (as the case may be);
 (b) an at seat first class "Pullman" dining service to be provided on at least two Passenger Services in each direction each Weekday on either or both of the routes between London Paddington and Plymouth and between London Paddington and Cardiff;
 (c) a trolley-based food and drink service for standard class passengers on at least twenty Passenger Services selected by the Franchisee on each Weekday, with such service to be in place on such number of Passenger Services within three months of the Start Date and end when the last of the Sets (as defined in Schedule 6.3) are accepted into revenue earning service. This shall not require trolley services to be provided throughout the duration of each service;
 (d) a trolley-based catering service for standard and first class passengers on each Passenger Service operated by the Sets (as defined in Schedule 6.3) on the services referenced A1 to A4 (Inter City Great Western Main Line) and B (Inter City West of England). This shall not require trolley services to be provided throughout the duration of each service; and
 (e) on board food and drink facilities on all sleeper services.

For the avoidance of doubt, all catering trolleys and crockery acquired by the Franchisee for the purpose of the delivery of its obligations in this paragraph 24 (or other food and drink services) during the Franchise Term which are transferred to a Successor Operator at the end of the Franchise Period are subject to the nil value transfer provisions of paragraph 11 of Part 2 of Schedule 6.1.

Pricing is dealt with elsewhere, but I suspect at that level not regulated.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on May 16, 2015, 09:01:46 pm
Buffets inly open in the peaks with trolleys at other times/weekends then


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on May 16, 2015, 11:05:37 pm
.....good news for Burger King/M & S/Starbucks/Upper Crust etc!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on May 17, 2015, 08:20:11 pm
I saw, this past Friday, one of the new EPOS terminals installed at a HST buffet counter. Not yet up and running. Looks like it has a 6"x4" touchscreen, and I guess there will be a separate 'Chip & Pin' terminal.

Made by a company called TouchStar.

Extract from a TouchStar company statement (http://www.touchstar.co.uk/news/2015/Reportaccounts2014) at the end of 2014:

Quote
OPERATIONS

Good progress has been made in the mobile retail market. As well as new product developments, we have secured a number of notable contracts, including First Great Western and Leo Express (Czech Republic). These two, are particularly significant contracts as they use our mobile EPOS solution in retail sales onboard trains, where traditionally we have been dominant in the airline industry. These rail contracts, along with new airline orders secured in 2014, clearly demonstrate how our restructured ^mobile retail^ sales team can employ skills and products tried and tested in the airline market for use in the rail arena.

Looks like the second hand job lot British Airways EPOS terminals that Great Western Trains bought back in the late 1990s are finally to be binned.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on May 17, 2015, 09:00:33 pm
Apparently, the new EPOS terminals will greatly improve getting the right number (and right type) of stock items delivered to the train based on current and past sales, if you believe the blurb!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on May 17, 2015, 09:21:45 pm
Will make all the difference between having two or three sandwiches on the IEP trolleys then...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on May 18, 2015, 05:56:51 pm
The most I ever enjoyed on-board service of food was around 1978, heading back to Blackpool from Temple Meads. I forget the specifics, but it was something loco-hauled to Preston that had come from further South West. It was heaving. It had no buffet, but had a guards / luggage carriage, which I got into because the train had just started moving off as I arrived - you wouldn't try this on a HST - and the sliding doors were still open. It was not even at walking pace, and the door was closed before we got to the end of the platform.

The train managers, as we would now call them, had several shrink-wrap packs of beer and lager, and someone's wife had been busy making most acceptable sandwiches. Prices were very reasonable. Trade, drummed up by passing on the news during an unusually enthusiastic ticket inspection, was brisk. I was allowed to remain there, sitting on my rucksack and sleeping bag, witnessing the prototype of privatisation. I don't know what sanction would have been brought to bear had the powers that be found out, but these chaps didn't seem at all bothered by the possibility, and there were no complaints from the passengers.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 17, 2015, 03:49:10 pm
Currently aboard the 1256 from Plymouth. I was looking forward to either belly pork or lobster. What have I actually eaten? A chicken salad sub roll, crisps and nuts.

1256 turned out with a 409xx catering vehicle. That means one pokey grill, a Merrychef oven and zero prep space. Useless for Pullman service so I was out of luck.

The crew however couldn't have been more apologetic. I was able to have some nice Chablis with my buffet fare. Slightly incongruous sitting in the cheap seats drinking an expensive wine from a plastic glass, but I'm making the best of a bad lot.

Oh, and we're running on one power car also. 25 late at the mo passing Hungryford (sic).


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on July 17, 2015, 05:54:00 pm
Currently aboard the 1256 from Plymouth. I was looking forward to either belly pork or lobster. What have I actually eaten? A chicken salad sub roll, crisps and nuts.

1256 turned out with a 409xx catering vehicle. That means one pokey grill, a Merrychef oven and zero prep space. Useless for Pullman service so I was out of luck.

The crew however couldn't have been more apologetic. I was able to have some nice Chablis with my buffet fare. Slightly incongruous sitting in the cheap seats drinking an expensive wine from a plastic glass, but I'm making the best of a bad lot.

Oh, and we're running on one power car also. 25 late at the mo passing Hungryford (sic).

I feel for you in your agony...........the ability to cope with such terrible human tragedy and yet still retain a sense of perspective is truly admirable........


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on July 17, 2015, 08:02:50 pm
The ordinary members of these forums have no idea of the hardships suffered, and sacrifices made by the moderation team, in the interests of keeping the members informed.
Not only do the team valiantly eat Pullman meals, PURELY in the interests of reviewing and sometimes photographing  them for our interest, but even worse they sometimes FAIL TO OBTAIN the promised meal, yet still carry on with the now wretched journey in order to report upon the sad circumstances.

(BTW, I have eaten and reported upon a number of Pullman meals, but they never made me a moderator)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on July 17, 2015, 08:47:56 pm
(BTW, I have eaten and reported upon a number of Pullman meals, but they never made me a moderator)

Hmmm ... I've never been a moderator here either (admin from day 1), but I now from doing the job on another forum that it can be a pretty thankless task. So I say a big thank you to our current moderator team - and also to Chris and Bob who have admin responsibilities.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 22, 2015, 03:53:15 pm
Currently aboard the 1256 from Plymouth. I was looking forward to either belly pork or lobster. What have I actually eaten? A chicken salad sub roll, crisps and nuts.

1256 turned out with a 409xx catering vehicle. That means one pokey grill, a Merrychef oven and zero prep space. Useless for Pullman service so I was out of luck.

Just arrived in London Paddington on the 10:00 ex-Penzance. They are still taking about you and apologising to you bignosemac.

I did have a lovely meal though!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 22, 2015, 05:57:59 pm
Yeah, rub it in why don't you!  :P


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Oxman on July 24, 2015, 12:19:37 pm
Story from the Beeb today:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-33650226

"A campaign has been set up to save buffet cars on First Great Western (FGW) trains as dispute talks over the introduction of new trains continue."

All those in favour of buffets can now register on a Facebook group!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on July 24, 2015, 05:50:03 pm
Story from the Beeb today:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-33650226

"A campaign has been set up to save buffet cars on First Great Western (FGW) trains as dispute talks over the introduction of new trains continue."

All those in favour of buffets can now register on a Facebook group!

The FGW Spokesman says that buffets take up the space of 50 seats, which I don't dispute. However, surely will the number of seats gained be substantially lower once you account for the new kitchens?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 24, 2015, 09:34:58 pm
One week after my failed attempt at a Friday Pullman lunch I thought I'd try again.

Checked all the sources I could, mostly through my forum colleague bobm, but also FGW's social media team, to see that the catering vehicle on today's 1256 from Plymouth was suitable for providing a full Pullman Dining service. Sources were all in the affirmative so it looked good for a slap up lunch.

Saw the crew before boarding and had a quick chat with the chef. Same one as last Friday. He told me that the oven wasn't working on the train! You can imagine how downhearted I was to hear that. Plus, while this vehicle (40205) had an (OOU) oven, it was still not a full size kitchen. Starters and desserts only.

But then, praise be, the chef tells me he's got some lobsters today. Pre-cooked to be served cold with salad. Joy of joy, I'm getting three courses with the chance to sample a main course I've not had before.

So, Smoked Salmon, followed by the Lobster, with Spiced Apple Crumble and Custard to finish. All washed down with my favourite choice from the wine menu, the Chablis.

Five other diners also had the Hobson's choice main course.

Lobster, simply steamed with dressed salad leaves and mayonnaise:
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/DSC_0200_zpsbahoibmg.jpg)
 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 24, 2015, 09:40:15 pm
You can imagine how downhearted I was to hear that.

I know how downhearted he was - I got the text!

I've never had lobster - but I am really tempted to try it now.

Glad you had better luck than last week.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 24, 2015, 09:45:12 pm
I know how downhearted he was - I got the text!

Something along the lines of, "**** my life" I believe it was.  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 24, 2015, 09:46:21 pm
Not an expression I've heard before to be honest!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on July 24, 2015, 10:01:34 pm

The FGW Spokesman says that buffets take up the space of 50 seats, which I don't dispute. However, surely will the number of seats gained be substantially lower once you account for the new kitchens?

I dispute the 50 seats. Yes the original mk3 buffet, half first class half counter, would equate to 32 seats as originally designed so could possibly stretch to 50 with current high density (though I think a full std coach seat nos go up to 84 not 100, so 42 is more accurate) but the refurbished micro buffet counters can only take up about 20 seats and I'm sure the kitchen would be a similar size to this.

Alan


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on July 29, 2015, 10:56:47 pm
Boarded the Golden Hind this evening at Reading (1803 ex PAD) for a bit of scran.

Bleddy 40205 catering vehicle again.  >:( :o ::) The aforementioned one with the faulty oven and pokey prep area. Lobster, starters and desserts only was all that was on offer. I'm jinxed. That's now three attempts at getting the full Pullman experience in the past fortnight, only to be let down by FGW's inability to either diagram a decent sized kitchen or fix the oven on 40205.

Poor show FGW.

Not the Pullman staff though. They continue to do a sterling job in the face of adversity. I made do this evening with a couple of starters (Dressed Crab and Smoked Salmon) and some wine.

Oh, and just to rub it in, the chap sat opposite me got the last half bottle of Chablis so I had to make do with the Sancerre.  ::)

There is a fillet steak with my name on it. God knows when the two of us will meat though.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on July 30, 2015, 08:30:04 am
......on the upside though BNM all this seafood/Omega 3 will be doing wonders for your cholestorol level after all those fillet steaks!

Maybe you could combine it with jogging from one end of the train to the other between courses..........could become "The Pullman Diet"!!!   :D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on July 30, 2015, 09:54:44 am
Boarded the Golden Hind this evening at Reading (1803 ex PAD) for a bit of scran.

Bleddy 40205 catering vehicle again.  >:( :o ::) The aforementioned one with the faulty oven and pokey prep area. Lobster, starters and desserts only was all that was on offer. I'm jinxed. That's now three attempts at getting the full Pullman experience in the past fortnight, only to be let down by FGW's inability to either diagram a decent sized kitchen or fix the oven on 40205.

Poor show FGW.

Not the Pullman staff though. They continue to do a sterling job in the face of adversity. I made do this evening with a couple of starters (Dressed Crab and Smoked Salmon) and some wine.

Oh, and just to rub it in, the chap sat opposite me got the last half bottle of Chablis so I had to make do with the Sancerre.  ::)

There is a fillet steak with my name on it. God knows when the two of us will meat though.

"Dear sir
   I was very sorry to hear of your recent disappointment with our on board catering offer. Unfortunately only a minority of our present trains are equipped with full kitchens, and this does sometimes limit what we can offer.
I am however pleased to advise that our new Super Express Trains will soon be entering service. Following stakeholder discussions and passengers surveys, these new state of the art trains will offer a greatly improved passenger experience including an at seat service of food and drink throughout the train, on selected services.
Meanwhile we will continue to offer the best possible service, within the constraints of a train fleet now about 40 years old."


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 30, 2015, 09:57:25 am
......on the upside though BNM all this seafood/Omega 3 will be doing wonders for your cholestorol level after all those fillet steaks!

Maybe you could combine it with jogging from one end of the train to the other between courses..........could become "The Pullman Diet"!!!   :D

Take it from me, bignosemac is as likely to take up jogging as I am to fit through the eye of a needle.   ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on July 30, 2015, 05:13:53 pm
The Cheese and Onion Pasties have made a sudden disappearance :(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on July 30, 2015, 05:25:14 pm
The Cheese and Onion Pasties have made a sudden disappearance :(

You probably ate 'em all. Or.  They keep telling people there's no demand.

Reminds me of a certain organisation that withdrew a bus service because it was carrying fresh air around - but told us they weren't going to arrange a demand responsive taxi as they didn't think it would be able to cope with all the people who wanted to use it.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on July 31, 2015, 09:05:32 am
The Cheese and Onion Pasties have made a sudden disappearance :(

...........do you mean the Cheese and Onion savoury pastry based snack? (Pedant alert!)  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on July 31, 2015, 09:11:11 am
Janners forever!  ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on August 14, 2015, 06:36:07 pm
The Cheese and Onion Pasties have made a sudden disappearance :(
You probably ate 'em all. Or.  They keep telling people there's no demand.

Now I've eaten all the Cheese and Onion or Cheese and Tomato Toasties >:(

Infact the last 6 HST Journeys I've made there has been no vegetarian hot food... No shortage of Egg and Cress Sandwiches however... If they make a sudden disappearance I'm not sorry :P ;D :-X


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on August 15, 2015, 08:32:17 pm
......on the upside though BNM all this seafood/Omega 3 will be doing wonders for your cholestorol level after all those fillet steaks!


It's what they put in oysters that floats my boat, so to speak. I recommend them to the house, but warn the missus first...


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Oxonhutch on August 16, 2015, 05:01:40 pm
However, I had a dozen the other evening and only eight worked !  ;D :o


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: wabbit on August 17, 2015, 08:58:20 am
The campaign to #savethebuffet needs your help! 

Various links here to help you find what you might need:

https://twitter.com/hashtag/savethebuffet?src=hash (https://twitter.com/hashtag/savethebuffet?src=hash)

The online petition is here:

https://www.change.org/p/first-great-western-save-the-buffet-cars?recruiter=351002432 (https://www.change.org/p/first-great-western-save-the-buffet-cars?recruiter=351002432)

And a Facebook site too:

https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/savethebuffet (https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/savethebuffet)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on August 17, 2015, 09:16:06 am
761 signees says it all really


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on August 17, 2015, 10:40:25 am
761 signees says it all really

And how many have signed the "abolish the buffet" petition ?

I suspect most ordinary passengers don't even know that the new shorter trains don't have buffets.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on August 17, 2015, 10:56:43 am
Or care.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on August 17, 2015, 11:05:09 am
I suspect most ordinary passengers don't even know that the new shorter trains don't have buffets.
I wonder how many 'ordinary passengers' know that most of the Great Western's new 'Intercity' stock will be shorter trains? If pepole knew about that, and there was a petition, and pepole knew about the petition, I reckon that would certainly attract lots signitures. The issue is the same with buffets though, the general public needs to know about both the threat and the petition, and it isn't easy to make everyone aware. If it were easy, I'd have started an online petition against the short trains some time ago. I've no idea how to make enough pepole aware of the petition to make it effective though, so I didn't start one.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on August 17, 2015, 11:18:20 am
I wonder how many 'ordinary passengers' know that most of the Great Western's new 'Intercity' stock will be shorter trains?

People would not give two hoots if they can get a seat.  If the shorter trains are used on the many services a day when they would be quite sufficient, and the longer sets and doubled up sets provide quite a few more seats than the existing trains on the busier services, then that will be fine as far as the average passenger is concerned.  I do have concerns about certain routes at certain times of the day, but will wait to see how the trains are allocated to the various diagrams (and allow for a short amount of time to adjust them as that is always needed with a complete timetable recast and new trains) before I assume the worst.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on August 17, 2015, 11:27:43 am
I wonder how many 'ordinary passengers' know that most of the Great Western's new 'Intercity' stock will be shorter trains?
People would not give two hoots if they can get a seat. 

I am reminded of the huge increase in passenger numbers when the Portsmouth to South Wales services were slashed from 6 carriages hauled by a class 33 diesel to 2 carriage units (class 158).

The fact that trains became more frequent and almost clock face did help.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on August 17, 2015, 02:24:52 pm
I wonder how many 'ordinary passengers' know that most of the Great Western's new 'Intercity' stock will be shorter trains?
People would not give two hoots if they can get a seat.
I am reminded of the huge increase in passenger numbers when the Portsmouth to South Wales services were slashed from 6 carriages hauled by a class 33 diesel to 2 carriage units (class 158).

The fact that trains became more frequent and almost clock face did help.
I wonder how the 'sparks effect' compares to a frequency enhancement in terms of increased patronage...

Also, compare to East Coast:
ICEC - Current fleet 44x 9 coach trains
ICGW - Current fleet 54x 8 coach trains, 5x 5 coach trains

ICEC - Planned fleet:
  • 43x 9-car
  • 22x 5-car

So, all but one of the full-length EC trains is to be replaced by a full-length class 800/801, with 5-car units for extra services. On that basis I would expect to see something like 54x 9-car plus 5x 5-car as a direct replacement for the current GW fleet, with say 15-20 5-car units for extra services; a total of 54x 9-car and perhaps 25x 5-car. Instead the GW fleet will apparently only have 28 full-length trains, barely half as many as the current fleet. You can say what you like about coupling the 5-car units together, but such a 10-car formation is inferior in almost all respects to a single 9-car unit.

In any case, to match the current 54x IC125s would require 26x 10-car formations along with the 28x 9-car units. That would use 52x of the planned 58x 5-car units. That would leave just 6x 5-car units running singly, just enough to replace the class 180s and leaving no units for the planned increased Bristol and Cheltenham service frequencies. There is, quite plainly, going to have to be a number of services run with shorter trains, and thus a lower chance of getting a seat on those services.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on August 17, 2015, 02:42:54 pm
But *all* current off-peak services (where there is no event to encourage extra pax) have seats available currently....

Frankly, I'll be surprised if services generally still don't have seats available & you're being very pessimistic


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: didcotdean on August 17, 2015, 02:54:18 pm
There was a 12% increase or thereabouts within a year when the 165/166s replaced the various heritage DMUs in the Thames Valley.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on August 17, 2015, 03:01:01 pm
And you think the 365s/387s will be seen in the same light of an improvement?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on August 17, 2015, 03:40:51 pm
761 signees says it all really

And how many have signed the "abolish the buffet" petition ?

I suspect most ordinary passengers don't even know that the new shorter trains don't have buffets.

Hardly anyone cares enough to use it, it's overpriced, it doesn't make money, that's why the buffet will soon be history.....this is not some controversial move about which people are up in arms (......well apart from a few I guess!!!)  ;)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: didcotdean on August 17, 2015, 05:00:08 pm
And you think the 365s/387s will be seen in the same light of an improvement?

Well there ought to be slightly more room. The 387 even has an armrest between the seats  ;D

The 365 though are of the same vintage really as the existing trains so apart from the lack of 3+2 seating might not look much of an upgrade.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Adelante_CCT on August 17, 2015, 06:18:13 pm
Quote
In any case, to match the current 54x IC125s would require 26x 10-car formations along with the 28x 9-car units. That would use 52x of the planned 58x 5-car units. That would leave just 6x 5-car units running singly, just enough to replace the class 180s and leaving no units for the planned increased Bristol and Cheltenham service frequencies. There is, quite plainly, going to have to be a number of services run with shorter trains, and thus a lower chance of getting a seat on those services.

I can see what you are saying and an immediate look at those figures would suggest that there could be a lack of seats, however I am of the opinion that we should at least wait and see.
There will be no need to double up as many 5 cars as possible bearing in mind that there are many empty seats on HSTs throughout the day:
Cheltenham services,
HSTs to Oxford/Cotswolds
Those running south of Exeter/Plymouth
Those south of Bristol TM that head to Weston/Taunton
Probably a majority of services west of Cardiff.

All these sections COULD probably run as 5 cars for 99% of the time.
Also I could be wrong but I expect the 1/2 hourly PAD-BPW-BRI could be 5 cars as there will be no Reading/Swindon/Other intermediate traffic on these services.

I agree they should have stricter rules on pick up only at Reading (evening) and encourage as many as possible to use the 8/12 car 387s.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 16, 2015, 01:46:13 pm
Worried about downgraded catering on the Class 800s and 801s? Just look at what CrossCountry are now offering without full kitchens or buffets:

http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/media/278100/cateringmenu.pdf

Available to pre-order when you've booked your travel online.

http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/catering

If the logistics are robust, this looks like an excellent offering. For the benefit of this forum I may well try this service out in the near future.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on September 16, 2015, 02:08:16 pm
For the benefit of this forum I may well try this service out in the near future.

Please do let us know your findings, as it's an interesting offering.  I do hope that the order is delivered often enough and that a ropey old sandwich isn't offered as a substitute with apologies! 

Presumably these are cooked at one of the several service centres en-route, delivered to the train at the most convenient one, then prepared for service in the galley on the train before being served at-seat?

My personal experience of XC as a whole hasn't changed much over the years in that they are a 'just do enough' franchise rather than a 'going that bit further' franchise as they claim, though that may change with special offers like this one.  The only part of the franchise which consistently impresses me is the on-board staff who are the best of all the TOCs in my opinion - which is saying a lot given the grief they must get from overcrowding and delays.  I travelled on three XC trains yesterday and there were standing passengers on all three.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on September 16, 2015, 04:02:51 pm
For the benefit of this forum I may well try this service out in the near future.

There's really no need for you to put yourself out - not even on our behalf.  ;) :D ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on September 16, 2015, 04:13:44 pm
I find it odd that they only offer wine in full (75 cl) bottles. True, they are cheaper than a restaurant would charge, so maybe we should see it as "order a half bottle and get a whole one for no extra charge". I'm not sure if that would count as "going that bit further", or even as socially responsible.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Timmer on September 16, 2015, 05:10:58 pm
My personal experience of XC as a whole hasn't changed much over the years in that they are a 'just do enough' franchise rather than a 'going that bit further' franchise as they claim, though that may change with special offers like this one.  The only part of the franchise which consistently impresses me is the on-board staff who are the best of all the TOCs in my opinion - which is saying a lot given the grief they must get from overcrowding and delays.  I travelled on three XC trains yesterday and there were standing passengers on all three.
I do every thing I can to avoid travelling XC if the journey is longer than 1 hour. I don't blame Arriva, it was the decisions made by the then SRA that thought 4/5 car Voyagers would be suitable on a long distance operation.

I think we all know what will happen in a few years time, the remaining FGW HSTs will end up back with XC with the TOC/Dft heralding the arrival of 'proper' trains more suited to a long distance network. I might start using them again if that happens.

XC has always been a Cinderella network and when they did spend some money on new trains, the carriage certainly quickly turned into a pumpkin!

Still, credit to Arriva for coming up with a new initiative to improve their catering offering on the long distance services.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on September 16, 2015, 05:32:49 pm
Is it April already?  I know you will say I am being negative but I really can't see it working.  XC have enough trouble providing a seat.  So I book a meal, get on the train, find it's only a 4 car voyager and the reservation system is down; pax standing everywhere - would the catering manager kick someone off a table for me?  Or let me sit in first ?  I doubt it!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on September 16, 2015, 06:01:43 pm
Check the T&Cs but I reckon you'd simply get a refund on monies paid (well in advance, no interest sorry), probably after you having to apply for it rather than automatically, and possibly many weeks later

I share your thoughts


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: stuving on September 16, 2015, 06:06:53 pm
They are not asking for pre-payment, which looks like a risk from their viewpoint.

Not also that the menus are headed "Breakfast" and "Afternoon and evening", without times, while the service hours are 06:00-18:00. How is that 18:00 cut-off defined? That could be important for a lot of people if the service is to be any use.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on September 16, 2015, 06:15:20 pm
Strewth, I should say so.

"Oh sorry, I don't feel like eating x & y today" will be a regular (very) occurance


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on September 16, 2015, 06:23:48 pm
I notice this is only available on the Edinburgh to Plymouth service and Manchester to Bournemouth. So basically Cross Country are looking to provide hot meals for long distance passengers who are much more likely to splash out I guess.

I'm impressed with the menu and prices, it's a huge leap forward and I would be pleased to see a similar offering on selected FGW services. However I agree with those who doubt the ability of Cross Country to offer a consistent service, but I wish them well


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Umberleigh on September 16, 2015, 07:02:38 pm
On reflection, are the two routes offering this menu operated by HSTs?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on September 16, 2015, 07:17:06 pm
If the logistics are robust, this looks like an excellent offering. For the benefit of this forum I may well try this service out in the near future.
If the meals are served as well as they are in the pictures and are a reasonably sized portion, I would say they appear to be very good value for money, especially given the good selection of meal types.  If, however, they are just microwave meals in a plastic dish, then I would be slightly disappointed.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on September 16, 2015, 07:29:01 pm
Diverting the conversation slightly, I noticed on my recent business trip to Greece that prices of food and drink in "captive" environments (e.g. on trains, at airports, at train stations, in museums, on ferries, etc) is regulated.

If drinks are served, the following must be offered for sale:
Water 500ml bottle ^0.35
Greek coffee ^1.20
Instant coffee ^1.20
Tea ^1.20

If food is served, the following must be offered:
Cheese sandwich or toast ^1.25
Ham and cheese sandwich or toast ^1.45

I thought this was an excellent idea, especially considering some European airports (e.g. Nice) charge as much as ^2.20 for a 500ml bottle of water.  That being said, some shops (even onboard a ferry) hide the regulated price list away and keep the 500ml bottles of water out of sight.  Nevertheless, they are available on demand.

I wonder whether a similar regulation in the UK would:
a) do something to help the public perception of profiteering in certain captive retail environments
b) make buffet cars or trolleys more popular, e.g. people buying an additional overpriced item whilst buying their regulated water?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: alan_s on September 16, 2015, 07:29:54 pm
On reflection, are the two routes offering this menu operated by HSTs?
Nope, the MAN-BMH are purely voyagers.  The few HSTs are all on the routes to/from PLY, and go south in the morning and north in the evening.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 16, 2015, 07:55:57 pm
For the benefit of this forum I may well try this service out in the near future.

There's really no need for you to put yourself out - not even on our behalf.  ;) :D ;D

I have to continue to live up to my Trundling Trencherman epithet. :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on September 16, 2015, 08:11:54 pm
Maybe of interest is that EMT have today been awarded a franchise extension that would appear to herald the return of the buffet car (as opposed to a trolley parked up in that area, which has I understand been the case for the last couple of years).



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on September 16, 2015, 08:19:29 pm
I wonder whether a similar regulation in the UK would:
a) do something to help the public perception of profiteering in certain captive retail environments
b) make buffet cars or trolleys more popular, e.g. people buying an additional overpriced item whilst buying their regulated water?

The only thing in the UK that comes close to what you are talking about Brucey is the legal requirement for UK licensed premises (except Northern Ireland) to provide free drinking water on request.

UK trains (buffets, shops, trolleys) though are not licensed premises.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on September 16, 2015, 08:26:19 pm
They'd stop selling them....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Brucey on September 16, 2015, 08:45:55 pm
They'd stop selling them....
The Greek law requires certain prescribed products to be sold, if they already serve food and/or drink.  So even if a cheese sandwich is not normally on the menu, it must be available to purchase if they serve any other type of food.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: readytostart on September 20, 2015, 02:56:58 am
Going back to the XC hot food, certain trains are pre-loaded with a smaller range of meals (meat/veggie breakfast, salmon, chicken, aubergine), saving the need to pre-order as long as stock is still available. They are in essence a microwaved pre-prepared meal of a decent quality served in a plastic tray for standard and on a plastic plate for first. Better than a microwaved burger or panini? Definitely. Better than freshly prepared food from a kitchen served on proper tableware with proper knives and forks? Absolutely not.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: IndustryInsider on October 04, 2015, 12:29:55 pm
News from the RMT after a meeting with the DfT regarding buffets:

http://www.rmt.org.uk/news/intercity-express-programme-iep280915/ (http://www.rmt.org.uk/news/intercity-express-programme-iep280915/)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on October 04, 2015, 04:18:51 pm
News from the RMT after a meeting with the DfT regarding buffets:

http://www.rmt.org.uk/news/intercity-express-programme-iep280915/ (http://www.rmt.org.uk/news/intercity-express-programme-iep280915/)

......but why would GWR want to add a loss making facility like a buffet car? It was a commercial decision to get rid of it in the first place, if it was making money, you can be sure it would have been retained!!!  ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on October 04, 2015, 05:10:57 pm
and this para.....

Quote
The DfT further claim that if GWR want to add a buffet car facility they would have to apply to the DfT via a business proposal which would have to be evaluated to ensure it is feasible against current plans and contract provisions. This would involve an analysis of the loss of 16 seats in a SET to accommodate the buffet. This contradicts GWRs position who claims that the decision is solely down to the DfT.

That says that any proposal requires analysis and agreement from the DfT.....so GWR's stated position is correct - the final decision would be solely the DfTs.....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: thetrout on October 22, 2015, 07:10:19 pm
This mornings 05:53 Plymouth - London Paddington had a 409 Buffet Car so didn't have a full kitchen meaning no Pullman Breakfast Service...

That had to the day I decided to go all the way down to Plymouth on 1C32 and 1C99 Overnight to catch said Pullman Train for a slap up breakfast... GWR have yet to excuse themselves >:(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on October 22, 2015, 08:01:55 pm
I feel your pain.  I know of one crew who travelled up to London and back with a 409xx both times recently.

Not best pleased at travelling 400 miles and not a bread roll heated in anger.

For those not in the know - the ideal kitchen car for a Pullman is a (working) 407xx.  That has the full range of facilities and is what should appear.  402xx and 408xx are variants on that with fewer hobs or ovens which, depending on the chef means you will get a meal but it might be slimmed down - ie remove one of the main courses or only starters and desserts.  Often at Paddington sets are swapped to ensure an appropriate kitchen is provided on Pullman services but it is harder at Plymouth and Swansea if there is a late failure.

Anything else and you're stuffed (but your stomach won't be).

On and thetrout, I had a very nice breakfast on the 05:53 on Tuesday morning.   ;D ;D  (You could have waited an hour for the 05:05 from Penzance to come up and fingers crossed that had a proper kitchen)



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on October 23, 2015, 07:21:21 am
This mornings 05:53 Plymouth - London Paddington had a 409 Buffet Car so didn't have a full kitchen meaning no Pullman Breakfast Service...

That had to the day I decided to go all the way down to Plymouth on 1C32 and 1C99 Overnight to catch said Pullman Train for a slap up breakfast... GWR have yet to excuse themselves >:(
Blimey that's an awful lot of effort & expense for an (ultimately non existent) fry up! Hope your rumbling stomach didn't cause complaints in the quiet carriage!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on October 23, 2015, 09:37:31 am
You'll be pleased to hear then that the kitchen in the 800s, 801s & AT300s will all have an identical spec, so assuming everything works, Pullman's will always have the right kit.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on October 23, 2015, 11:57:11 am
But with the downgrade to only 36 first class seats on the new trains, where are dining customers to sit ?

On HSTs it was common practice to lay about 29 seats for dining on busy services, if this is to continue on the new trains, that only leaves a handful of seats for non dining first class.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on October 23, 2015, 01:09:42 pm
Or 72 on 2x5car bi-modes, and the same on the 9car 801s. (two sections I believe) - so they'll lay up one section & leave the other.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Tim on October 23, 2015, 01:42:14 pm
News from the RMT after a meeting with the DfT regarding buffets:

http://www.rmt.org.uk/news/intercity-express-programme-iep280915/ (http://www.rmt.org.uk/news/intercity-express-programme-iep280915/)

......but why would GWR want to add a loss making facility like a buffet car? It was a commercial decision to get rid of it in the first place, if it was making money, you can be sure it would have been retained!!!  ::)

I am not sure.  I suspect that the economics is marginal with no great loss or great profit either way.  And to calculate is almost impossible and will depend on which service is running because the lost 16 seats will only have an impact if there are no spare seats available elsewhere which will be the case on some services and not others. 


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on October 23, 2015, 01:49:22 pm
They were losing money, I'm sure.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on October 23, 2015, 04:05:19 pm
Or 72 on 2x5car bi-modes, and the same on the 9car 801s. (two sections I believe) - so they'll lay up one section & leave the other.

On a double 5 car unit, then yes in theory most of the first class in one unit could be laid for dining, and none in the other unit.
I suspect that that this wont work very well in practice. Customers in the non dining end wont be able to walk through and partake of a meal since no gangways between units are provided.
Non dining first class may be aggrieved that they cant walk through to the non dining end.
One would presume that the Pullman will be in the unit to be detached at Plymouth, so longer distance passengers who wish to dine will have to board the Plymouth terminating unit, and then at some intermediate stop will have to alight and walk along the platform to the through portion, hoping that they get one of the 36 seats.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on October 23, 2015, 04:11:22 pm
There is always CIS / announcements / staff on platform to advise of the catering whereabouts - and for exactly the reason you give, I'm pretty sure you're wrong & the kitchen in use will be in the stock going all the way to the destination.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on December 03, 2015, 06:34:47 pm
Been told new Pullman Menus will be launched on the 18th January.

Don't have too many details.

What I do know....

Salmon starter and steak main course remain (no surprise)

Scallop starter gets a makeover and will be prepared with a spicy sauce.

A lamb dish and one with duck will be added.  Both have featured before but I suspect these will be differently prepared.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on December 04, 2015, 08:11:28 pm
Tasty! I'm very partial to scallops.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on December 04, 2015, 08:25:11 pm
Already being updated/amended. Steward this morning said priblems arose during a test day recently, but didn't say what they were


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 07, 2016, 09:08:48 pm
Been told new Pullman Menus will be launched on the 18th January.

Don't have too many details.

What I do know....

Salmon starter and steak main course remain (no surprise)

Scallop starter gets a makeover and will be prepared with a spicy sauce.

A lamb dish and one with duck will be added.  Both have featured before but I suspect these will be differently prepared.

I received copies of the new menus this evening. Evolution not revolution is probably the best way to describe them.

As they aren't in the public domain yet I've been asked not to share them. However, bobm's details about some of the new dishes are pretty accurate.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 15, 2016, 08:30:00 am
An excellent, as always, breakfast on the Up South Wales Pullman from Bristol Parkway this morning. No news yet on South Wales seeing a return of an up lunch and down dinnner. The staff remain hopeful. 

Been a while since I've posted a meal picture. Nothing new, just the ever excellent Great Westerner breakfast:

(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/Mobile%20Uploads/rps20160115_080900_zps90gnhcuv.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: rogerpatenall on January 15, 2016, 09:46:57 am
Cranberry Juice - or a nice breakfast wine? . . .


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 15, 2016, 10:09:32 am
Cranberry. Red wine is no for me at 8am.

I did consider a Bloody Mary though.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 15, 2016, 10:24:33 am
Never before noon! Although it's quarter past 6 in Kuala Lumpur.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 20, 2016, 07:08:44 pm
My complimentary meal today on the 1201 Plymouth-London Paddington. Dining courtesy of GWR following an unsavoury incident during my last Pullman meal. The incident discussed in Frequent Posters where my night ended with a friendly chat with BTP.

Dined with fellow forum member bobm and he was no doubt delighted to learn that my comp was +1. Including alcohol. He celebrated this revelation with a full bottle of Prosecco.

(No. That's a lie. He ordered the fizz before learning he was 'comp' too.)

Excellent food and service as always. My trials and tribulations with GWR are well documented on this forum. However, the Pullman teams remain an excellent advertisement for GWR. Thanks today to Service Leader Steve, Chef Simon, and hosts Victoria and Helen.

Pictures and new Menu 1 review will follow in the next day or two.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 20, 2016, 07:30:07 pm
Excellent, glad to hear that you enjoyed it.
As you, and others, have pointed out elsewhere on these forums, there is a lot that FGW and more recently GWR could do better, and at least a few things that they get blatantly wrong.

Pullman dining is arguably one of the best things about GWR so let us give praise where it is due. AFAIK, GWR are now the only TOC to offer a proper freshly cooked meal, silver served onto proper crockery and with a decent choice of wine and other drink.

Now that I have moved to the West I seldom have any excuse to dine on the train and I rather miss it.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 20, 2016, 08:47:57 pm
Not available on the Severn Beach Line, sadly.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rhydgaled on January 24, 2016, 10:44:07 am
AFAIK, GWR are now the only TOC to offer a proper freshly cooked meal, silver served onto proper crockery and with a decent choice of wine and other drink.
I had a nice cooked breakfast on ATW's Y Gerallt Gymro once, served on proper crockery. That should be still going, I don't know if they serve alcohol though since I don't drink the stuff.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 24, 2016, 05:58:14 pm
As I said a couple of posts back bobm and I dined on the Pullman last Wednesday to sample the new menu one which began on 18th January 2016. On this first menu of the three in rotation (see attached) there were a couple of new dishes, with the ever present standards of Salmon starter and Steak main. And the fish dish and alternative meat main see changes in their preparation/sauce rather than being totally new compared to what went before.

For starter I ordered one of the completely new dishes - Broad Bean and Pea Samosa with Spiced Aubergine
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/IMG_20160120_132729aaa_zps9px2balb.jpg)

I'm not a huge fan of either broad beans or aubergine, but this was an interesting looking addition to the menu so I thought I'd give it a go. The samosas were delicately spiced and very tasty. The aubergine accompaniment was similar to a houmous. Again, very nice. I suspect the aubergine is either North African or Middle East inspired.

My main course was an evolution of a previous menu dish - Slow Braised Somerset Pork Belly with Fennel and Quince
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/IMG_20160120_135114aaa_zpsah6czrzm.jpg)

I really love the slow braised pork. The flesh is so tender and the fat just melts in the mouth. This dish was probably my favourite from the previous menus. Now prepared with a fennel and quince sauce which is, to my mind, an improvement on the cabbage and wholegrain mustard sauce it previously came with. My favourite dish is now even better!

For dessert. A simple dish - Butterscotch Pudding with Somerset Brandy Sauce
(http://i598.photobucket.com/albums/tt68/bignosemac/IMG_20160120_143329_zpscozyuwcb.jpg)

As puddings go it was okay, just nothing special. I would have liked to have had some clotted cream to go with it just to cut through the richness of both the pudding and sauce. Only minor criticisms though - I still polished it off!

There are some new additions to the wine menu but I stuck with my favourite - the Clotilde Davenne Chablis. Also on the drinks menu is a new spirit - Shipwreck Somerset Cider Brandy (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/7106971.stm) (BBC News item about the cider brandy and the barrels used to mature it). Both bobm and I wanted to try one of these as a postprandial snifter but unfortunately, while the bottle was aboard, it hadn't been added to the EPOS, so couldn't be sold. Another time...



Overall, a very enjoyable meal. The service remains excellent, with staff who are dedicated to the job they do. I've said it countless times, they are a credit to GWR. It's just a shame that the reason for dining last week was because of an experience at the hands of another GWR employee who was anything but a credit to the company.

My thanks to my dining companion bobm for coming along. Although, to be fair, he doesn't need much encouragement to partake of a Pullman meal! My thanks also to Jason Ness, Jo Elliot and Matthew Galton at GWR who arranged and signed off on the complimentary meal and drinks. In fact, double thanks to them - I was only expecting my meal to be covered but they added a '+1' to the booking.

Finally, another thing I always say when reviewing the Pullman services. Get out there and try it. There really is nothing that compares to fine dining at over 100mph. If you've never done it then put it on your bucket list. The nature of rail services in the UK mean nothing is ever certain forever, and we don't know what the future holds for Pullman dining on the Greater Western franchise, so better to try the experience sooner rather than later.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 25, 2016, 08:24:39 pm
The new menu sounds impressive, I would probably go for the long established smoked salmon starter and fillet steak main course, but might of course be tempted by the newer choices.

I am particularly pleased to see English white wine, English sparkling wine, and of course the Somerset cider brandy on the wine list.

A neighbour would like to know "can non dining passengers buy wine from the Pullman wine list" They appreciate that the Pullman wines would not be part of the normal buffet stock carried on most services, but wondered if non dining customers can buy them if on a service that DOES have a Pullman.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Oxonhutch on January 25, 2016, 08:59:32 pm
How does the seating for two work on the Pullman?  Is it still a pair of seats facing each other over a single table, or must couples sit at a table for four like they would in the new layout of First Class with the single seat airline style arrangement?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on January 25, 2016, 09:27:57 pm
They're on a table for 4, either opposite or side-by-side....


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 26, 2016, 06:57:21 am
They're on a table for 4, either opposite or side-by-side....

Nope.

Coach K (when it's not a Standard Class micro buffet!)  has three bays of 4, two bays of 2 and a single seat. A couple could therefore sit at a bay of 2.

That's the usually layout in a 407** Trailer Restaurant First Buffet. There are some minor variations in other TRFBs but always at least two bays of 2.

Usual allocation to Pullman services is a set with a 407** catering vehicle. These have the full size kitchen.

408** vehicles are ones that have seen their kitchens extended, noticeable by a blanked out full size window on the kitchen side of the vehicle. These can also be used by the Pullman crews but are less favoured as there are fewer appliances. They'd not normally be diagrammed for a Pullman service.

402** and 409** TRFBs vehicles are useless for Pullman service. Noticeable by having 4 large windows and additional seating bays. These have tiny kitchen areas with insufficient appliances to produce a full Pullman service. They shouldn't be diagrammed for Pullman services.



Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on January 26, 2016, 07:16:07 am
Having a silly thought. Do sets with 407xx vehicles have short or long swing links?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on January 26, 2016, 08:27:32 am
Dining on the Weymouth Wizard maybe?  At a guess, as the SSL sets were originally built for the Cross Country services they would be unlikely to have a restaurant kitchen.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on January 26, 2016, 08:43:54 am
Coach K (when it's not a Standard Class micro buffet!)  has three bays of 4, two bays of 2 and a single seat. A couple could therefore sit at a bay of 2.

Thanks for that clarification.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on January 26, 2016, 04:24:02 pm
Just as a postscript to bignosemac's guide to catering vehicles - if a 402xx turns up you should still get a meal depending on the chef.   Some will do only starters and desserts, others will cut down the number of main dishes on offer due to the lack of facilities in the kitchen.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: grahame on January 26, 2016, 06:37:30 pm
Dining on the Weymouth Wizard maybe?  At a guess, as the SSL sets were originally built for the Cross Country services they would be unlikely to have a restaurant kitchen.

 :'(


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 26, 2016, 06:55:39 pm
The vast majority of GWR's fleet is SSL. I'd be very surprised if the majority of the TRFBs aren't SSL.

On my diverted trip to Waterloo at Easter 2015 we were on a set that had one LSL carriage in the set. That wasn't the TRFB I was sat in.

So, I think the idea of special service to Weymouth with at seat food service could be a good promotional venture.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on January 26, 2016, 07:10:31 pm
I did find this elsewhere on the net, so maybe all is indeed not lost.

4) Practically all (if not all of) the fGW HST sets have been fitted with the Short Swing Link modification in case diversions into third rail territory is required. The two types can be identified by the letters LSL or SSL painted on the coach ends.




Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rob on the hill on January 27, 2016, 12:17:12 am
I would be very grateful if it could be explained what LSL or SSL means in relation to eating a meal on a train! Thanks.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on January 27, 2016, 12:26:20 am
I would be very grateful if it could be explained what LSL or SSL means in relation to eating a meal on a train! Thanks.

Something to do with swinging. I'm not sure I want to know the full truth.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on January 27, 2016, 05:17:04 am
I would be very grateful if it could be explained what LSL or SSL means in relation to eating a meal on a train! Thanks.
Fair question. Short Swing Link bogied sets are not able to run on lines where third rail is present, so can't run to Weymouth. Hence, if one wanted to have a restaurant service on the Weymouth Wizard, it would only be viable if at least one restaurant car is fitted with the Long Swing Link variety. Which, after some thought, I concluded was the idea behind Grahame's question a few posts back.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Rob on the hill on January 27, 2016, 12:38:31 pm
Makes sense - thanks John R!  :)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 27, 2016, 04:05:19 pm
I would be very grateful if it could be explained what LSL or SSL means in relation to eating a meal on a train! Thanks.
Fair question. Short Swing Link bogied sets are not able to run on lines where third rail is present, so can't run to Weymouth. Hence, if one wanted to have a restaurant service on the Weymouth Wizard, it would only be viable if at least one restaurant car is fitted with the Long Swing Link variety. Which, after some thought, I concluded was the idea behind Grahame's question a few posts back.

Except that this is totally the wrong way round.

It is the few LSL bogied carriages in the GWR fleet that are banned from third rail land. GWR wouldn't and shouldn't have to ensure at least one restaurant car is fitted with the Long Swing Link variety. If they did, a potential service to Weymouth would have to stop at Dorchester West.

Your own quote earlier stated that the vast majority of GWR's fleet was SSL.

There are plenty of TRFBs with SSL bogies in the sets allocated to Laira Depot. There must be as it was services to and from the west that were diverted into and out of Waterloo numerous times in recent years.

To re-state it once again. It is Long Swing Link bogies that cannot run over third rail. Of which GWR only have a few carriages fitted.

Here's detail of what happens when the train operator gets it wrong, and explanation with pictures of the physical differences between the bogie types.:

http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=15602.0

Perhaps continued discussion on SSL and LSL bogies should carry on over there.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: John R on January 27, 2016, 06:21:19 pm
Apologies for the confusion and contradiction with my earlier post. That's what happens when you post at 5am with an addled brain. Thanks for the correction BNM.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bignosemac on January 30, 2016, 05:13:34 pm
An article singing the praises of the GWR Pullman's from The Independent:

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/uk/englands-last-dining-car-great-western-railway-s-pullman-offers-escapism-and-luxury-a6840901.html


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: ChrisB on January 30, 2016, 06:32:53 pm
"Only open to First Class ticket holders?"......hmmm


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on January 30, 2016, 07:36:16 pm
"Only open to First Class ticket holders?"......hmmm

Indeed, in an otherwise accurate report, why cant they state that the Pullman is "open to all passengers, though on busy services priority is given to first class ticket holders" No detailed research is needed, simply a quote from the GWR website !
Still glad to see favourable publicity for the service though.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TaplowGreen on January 30, 2016, 08:24:07 pm
just looked at the menu.....one of these days, when I've paid the mortgage off and won the lottery, I am definitely going to give the Pullman a go!


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 27, 2016, 12:59:29 am
From the Great Western Railway press release:

Quote
New GWR Pullman Listing For Cornish Winery

Train travellers on the Great Western Railway Pullman dining car can now toast their journey in true regional style, raising a glass of Knightor Brut Classic Cuvee as they enjoy the picturesque scenery of the South West.

Knightor, an award-winning winery near St Austell in South Cornwall, was selected to provide the sparkling wine by GWR food ambassador and Devon restauranteur Mitch Tonks and his wine merchant Sommelier^s Choice; Trevannion ^ a still wine from Knightor ^ was listed on the Pullman last year.

Adrian Derx, Owner of Knightor Winery, was thrilled to learn that Knightor Brut had been chosen for the prestigious spot, saying: ^It^s a real honour for us to represent the West Country in this way. There are so many excellent wines being made in the region now, and local bubbles are a great match for the delicious food served on-board the Pullman.^

GWR Pullman dining, a luxury on-board restaurant, gives travellers an opportunity to sample the finest Westcountry produce in a menu designed by Tonks ^ one of the region^s food heroes.

Featuring ingredients such as Somerset pork belly and fillet steak, Cornish seafood, and a variety of Westcountry cheeses, it^s the perfect introduction to a region which is justifiably proud of its food culture.

Jo Elliott, Head of Customer Engagement at GWR, said: ^We were absolutely delighted to list the lovely Trevannion last year, and even more excited to add the Knightor Brut in time for spring 2016. What better way to celebrate the fantastic food of the South West, while watching the region's beautiful countryside speed by, than by opening a bottle of this delicious bubbly on one of our trains!^

She added: ^Adrian puts real passion into making his wines and I am very pleased to able to showcase these two in this way.^

Knightor Winery owns vineyards at Seaton in South East Cornwall and Portscatho on the Roseland Peninsular, and also sources fruit from other local growers.

The Knightor Brut Classic Cuvee is described as: ^Delicate, with a slightly floral nose competing with citrus and apple notes, as well as a hint of freshly baked bread. The palate is very well balanced, with vibrant, fine bubbles. Restrained fruit flavours and a lovely crisp acidity give way to a clean, refreshing finish.^

Having sampled the wines on their journey, visitors to Cornwall may also be interested in paying the winery a visit for a tour and tasting; for information on travel and opening hours visit http://www.knightor.com/activities-tours.html.

For more information please contact Lucy Studley - mail@cornwallcontent.com


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 27, 2016, 05:51:10 am
Slightly old news, as the article hints (Spring 2016) - it has been on there since January since when I have had two or three bottles - not at the same time you understand!   ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on April 27, 2016, 05:55:30 pm
Hmm.  ::)

To be fair, it is perhaps rather flat news - but that particular e-mail press release was sent to me by Great Western Railway at 12:10 on 22 April 2016.  :o


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: TonyK on April 27, 2016, 06:43:38 pm
- not at the same time you understand!   ;D

I space mine over a couple of hours.


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on April 30, 2016, 07:14:37 am
Bottle number four, or was it five.... ;D

(http://www.mbob.co.uk/rforum/tor.jpg)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 09, 2016, 07:55:15 pm
... and, ideally, we could arrange a suitable date to include broadgage, and take over a table for four for the entire journey.  ;) :D ;D

I fear that this may prove problematic to arrange in view of my much reduced use of the trains now that I live in the West. Thanks for the suggestion though.

I expect to make one of my now infrequent trips to London next week.
From Taunton on the 13-34, the earlier of the two lunchtime Pullmans.
Returning from London on the 19-03.

Probably Monday OR Tuesday, I am flexible as to which day. Will I have the honour of meeting any regulars in the Pullman ?


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: bobm on May 09, 2016, 08:02:04 pm
Not sure what I'm doing next week. Too many external factors at the moment.

Are you dining both ways on the same day or is that up on Monday and back on Tuesday?   ;D


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on May 09, 2016, 08:03:23 pm
Cue 'the Trundling Trenchermen' ?  ;) :D ;D

Sadly, I will not be able to join you: I'm working.  ::)


Title: Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion
Post by: broadgage on May 09, 2016, 08:13:13 pm