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1801  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: No Standard Class standees in First Class vestibules. on: March 28, 2010, 11:03:18 am
I hope that this rule will be enforced, apart from the issues already raised, standing in the vestibules of F + G impedes the work of the restaurant staff on the 18-03 which I use regularly.

I believe that first class should be at the country end as was suggested, in order to reduce the endless parade of rucksacks and baby carriages through first class.
1802  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: 2010 - Celebrating 175 Years of the GWR. on: March 08, 2010, 09:27:58 am
According to a report in a railway magazine, water troughs are to be-instated for this event in order that steam locomotives can pick up water without stopping as used to be done.

Does anyone know if this is true, or is it an April fool? Though the story sounds plausible, it IS in the the April issue, and testing is to take place in "early  April" which makes me a little doubtful.
1803  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Bias article against First on: January 28, 2010, 03:57:48 pm
Although FGW services are not that bad, I would certainly consider FCC to be the worst in the country.
They have not run a full service for months, and apparently can do this without penalty since these are not "cancellations" but an "emergency timetable"

In recent weeks, many rush hour trains on the Thameslink route have been half length, I wonder why ? other than management incompetance.
At a time when a large percentage of services are withdrawn due to shortage of drivers, they can hardly claim lack of rolling stock.

The overcrowding on some trains is so bad that passengers are routinely unable to board trains.
I would certainly support the campaign to strip First Group of the Thameslink/FCC franchise, since they have demonstrated that over an extended period they can not run it properly.

1804  Journey by Journey / London to the West / Re: Cable Theft Bridgwater (19 December 2009) on: January 11, 2010, 01:11:02 pm
Does anyone know how this ever increasing crime can be stopped?

Use wireless technology and in-cab signalling?  The only wires left being the 33Kv ones ...

That would help to an extent since there would no/far fewer signaling cables to steal.
The use of fibre optic data cables also helps to an extent since these have no scrap value.

The main problem though is the theft of power cables, these contain a lot of metal and are valuable to thieves.
Thieves can and do steal cables carrying lethal voltages, and as pointed out above,  the theft of substation earthing conductors is a growing problem.
1805  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion 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.
1806  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion 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.

1807  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Food free carriage as well as quiet carriage? Thoughts? on: November 09, 2009, 08:04:34 pm
In the good old days, trains had a "restaurant car" in which food was served, which many enjoyed.
Those who did not wish to dine and who disliked the smell of food, simply had to avoid the restaurant, and possibly the adjacent coaches as well, into which cooking/food smells might permeate.
Most trains now have no proper meals, but instead some have toasted sandwiches in each coach, Its called progres !
1808  Journey by Journey / London to the West / Re: Junction for the West Somerset Railway on: November 05, 2009, 10:46:30 am
I believe that the loco hauled stock to be stabled on the West Somerset Railway at Bishops Lydeard will be serviced by the WSR under contract to First Group.

Details herehttp://www.wsr.org.uk/news.htm
1809  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion 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.
1810  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion 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.
1811  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion 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.
1812  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion 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.
1813  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion 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 !
1814  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: December 2009 Timetable on: October 01, 2009, 04:56:52 pm
A telephone call to FGW customer services suggests that the new timetable wont be on the website until about a week before it starts.
Can this be correct ? does give much notice of any major changes.
1815  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Remove First Class? on: September 29, 2009, 08:22:36 pm
A class 67 + 12 carriages would not stand a chance of getting to 125mph. It would struggle to get to 110mph and that would be with very poor acceleration.

why not put a 67 at each end?

That is what I was presuming, for a trial one could have a driver in each locomotive, though for regular use of course through control would be required.
Since my first post on this subject however, others have cast doubts as to the suitability of 67s for 125 MPH operation, though that is what they were designed for.
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