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Author Topic: National Rail Awards 2015  (Read 8250 times)
bignosemac
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« on: September 19, 2015, 08:22:12 am »

The list of winners, and those highly commended, can be found here:

http://awards.railbusinessevents.co.uk/the-winners

Not a sausage for FGW. That's telling. My opinion is that FGW lost there way badly over the past couple of years. Too concerned with holding on to the franchise at all costs rather than striving to be a good train operator. That probably explains the rebrand.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2015, 09:27:32 am »

Mot a sausage for most operators...not sure anything can be read into that.

Goid to see Reading Redevelopment run off with the Major Project prize, well deserved
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paul7755
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2015, 12:32:54 pm »

Just wondering like, if Network Rail continue with their plan to take over management of all of the 'major stations', will they get the 'major stations award' every year?

Paul
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Penzance-Paddington
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2015, 07:55:47 pm »

 My opinion is that FGW lost there way badly over the past couple of years. Too concerned with holding on to the franchise at all costs rather than striving to be a good train operator. That probably explains the rebrand.
[/quote]

*A Full refurbishment across the whole fleet
*Re-introducing restaurant services (the only restaurant service on the National Rail network)
*Increased Standard Class seating

I don't see how they've lost their way at all. They've hardly taken their fingers off the pulse.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2015, 09:36:45 pm »

Full refurbishment started earlier than the last couple of years.

Restaurant services never went away to be reintroduced. There has however been an increase in the number of restaurant services.

Standard Class seating has been increased incrementally over the past decade, not just the past couple of years.

They are positives yes, but are not areas of the business where I think FGW lost its way over the past couple of years.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2015, 09:39:29 pm »

Quote
My opinion is that FGW lost there way badly over the past couple of years. Too concerned with holding on to the franchise at all costs rather than striving to be a good train operator. That probably explains the rebrand.

*A Full refurbishment across the whole fleet
*Re-introducing restaurant services (the only restaurant service on the National Rail network)
*Increased Standard Class seating

I don't see how they've lost their way at all. They've hardly taken their fingers off the pulse.

You appear to be trying to quote someone as the basis of your post, Penzance-Paddington: may we have the source for that opinion, please, for clarity?
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
bignosemac
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2015, 09:41:31 pm »

He was quoting me Chris.  Post #1 in this thread. Wink
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2015, 09:43:20 pm »

Ah, thanks for the clarification.  Smiley
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
grahame
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2015, 10:19:44 pm »

They are positives yes, but are not areas of the business where I think FGW lost its way over the past couple of years.

If you have observed a difference, could it be between the way a TOC operates under a 7-to-10 year franchises and - as for the sat couple of years - a contract which was basically a straight line extension.

From where I look and live, I would say that the service provided is much improved on what was available two years ago, and I would commend the TOC (First Great Western / Great Western Railway), local and national government for working for those improvements, and the passenger community for making strong use of those improvements to vindicate their provision.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2015, 10:23:50 pm »

I can't argue with that area specific improvement grahame.
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ellendune
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2015, 11:04:29 pm »

So what is the deterioration in service over the last couple of years?

  • Signalling problems in the Paddington to Slough Area?  - Hardly FGW fault.
  • Flooding in 2014 - Ditto.
  • Overcrowding of trains - Unless you know of some magic source of additional rolling stock then I am not sure FGW could have done anything about that either..
  • Buffet changes - we have seen there is divided opinion over this

So what is it you want FGW to have done? 
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Penzance-Paddington
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« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2015, 11:10:41 pm »

I think Grahame makes some interesting points. I'm glad someone mentioned the floods as I think FGW Coped as well as possible. Also, FGW have recently won a health & safety Silver award, as contained in another thread. FGW have also organised extra projects such as arranging people to perform on-board for festival services and have been working with award-winning chef Mitch Tonks to develop a competitive on-board menu.

Overcrowding is something that FGW are basically unable to control. There is a national rolling stock shortage and FGW have increased seating to aid this. Lateness could be due to a number of reasons i.e. track issues (out of FGW control), disruptive passengers (out of FGW control) and leaf fall (out of FGW control).
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grahame
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« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2015, 11:25:03 pm »

Looking back at the award pictures,   I'm noting that the same two ladies (presumably the comperes / presenters) appear like bookends in all the pictures ... and I'm reminded that these events are very valuable publicity pieces, they're really good for showing appreciation that's often not shown for outstanding achievement and dedication, and the act of submitting the entries in itself calls for an audit / review of the thing being submitted which can be highly advantageous.    But they're several stages of indirection from the passenger / service user for the most part, and we so we should be careful about drawing links between prizes and passenger performance.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2015, 11:55:48 pm »

Some points raised in preceding posts are about circumstances beyond FGWs control. How they responded to disruption is within their control. Platitudes but no real improvement in that area. Other reasons why I think FGW lost their way in the last couple of years:

Needing to hang on to the franchise at all costs, despite walking away from the original extension available to them, after betting the farm on West Coast and having that taken away from them.

Staff morale. A company being run well doesn't experience industrial action.

Playing around with the fares database and basically breaking it for many flows.

Huge price hikes on the Cotswold Line.

Valid tickets being disallowed. I assure you I'm not alone in experiencing that.

Not addressing the reliability issues on the Night Riviera.

Consistently poor scores in national surveys.

Blame shifting. Being echoed on this forum.

Taking credit for capital investment when none of the expenditure comes from First Group.

All the above and more led me to the conclusion that FGWs brand had become tarnished. So time to consign it to history was the thinking I strongly suspect. I don't buy any of the guff and spin from First about their reasons for the rebrand. That's just how they're presenting it in public. If FGW hadn't become so negatively perceived as a brand we would has seen an evolutionary change not a wholesale one with a totally new identity. Successful companies rarely changes names and branding.
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Rhydgaled
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« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2015, 12:21:05 pm »

Staff morale. A company being run well doesn't experience industrial action.
The only industrial action I'm aware of is that regarding IEP. Assuming that is what you are refering to, I can't recall noticing anything in the RMT statements I've seen linked to from here that suggests the company is currently being run poorly. Rather, it appears that FirstGW have made mistakes in their planning for the future (or, I suppose, you could blame DfT for those mistakes but in that case FirstGW have failed to stand up to DfT or haven't noticed DfT's mistakes).
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