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Author Topic: Get your voice heard in Parliament: debate on GWR performance  (Read 3304 times)
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« on: February 01, 2019, 04:36:11 pm »

Hello Great Western Passengers' Forum community! This is the Digital Engagement Team at the House of Commons. We work to engage online audiences with the work happening in the House of Commons, and wanted to give you the chance to feed into an upcoming debate:

On Tuesday 5 February, Stephen Doughty MP will be leading a debate in Westminster Hall on the performance of the Great Western Railway network. We are gathering the views and experiences of the public which we'll pass onto Stephen to help him inform his speech and remarks.

Specifically, we'd like to know:

  • How would you rate your experience of using GWR?
  • Have you experienced delays or other performance issues on GWR trains? How have these affected you?

Tell us your thoughts and experiences on this thread by midday on Monday 4 February for your chance to feed into the debate.

We are also running the thread on Facebook if you’d prefer to submit your comments here:

Feel free to share the link on your social media channels so that those who aren't part of this forum can still participate.

- - - - - - - - - - -
Your username, and any information or opinions you provide, may be shared with Stephen Doughty MP and used in a parliamentary debate which will be on the record and available on Parliament TV and Hansard. Please ensure that you are happy with your comment before sharing.
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2019, 05:23:35 pm »

My experience of GWR has become more negative in the last couple of years.

The new Inter-city Express Trains are now in general use and despite the considerable money spent on these new trains, they appear to be a significant downgrade in several respects.
1) for a variety of reasons they are often half length, resulting in severe overcrowding.
2) They have no buffet, a facility that many expect on a long distance service. A trolley with limited stocks of a restricted range of goods is not a proper substitute.
3) The seats are hard and uncomfortable.
4) The reservation system seldom works.
5) The toilets are unreliable, often more than half are out of use.

Ambience and "feel" are very subjective, but the new trains feel like a local or at best a regional service and not like a "proper inter city train"

I would urge that consideration be given to improving these trains and making them into proper inter city trains.
This could be done be making all the 9 car sets into 10 car, and also lengthening a few of the 5 car sets also into 10 car.
The extra vehicle should include a proper full sized hot buffet that can serve hot snacks, real coffee, and chilled drinks.

No infrastructure works would be needed since the new 10 car trains would fit existing routes already approved for a pair of 5 car units.
The buffet car has been much missed, and provision of same would add extra capacity. Adding a new buffet car to a 9 car unit would provide about 40 to 50 more seats and would also provide extra capacity by voluntary standing.
Each customer standing THROUGH CHOICE in the buffet is another seat free for someone else.

Moving on from trains to the infrastructure on which they run, reliability has declined in the last year or two.
Signaling failures seem to have increased.
Resilience in moderately adverse weather seems to be getting worse. Any reasonable customer should expect disruption in truly extreme weather, but we seem to getting a lot of disruption in only moderately poor weather during which roads and airports operate normally.

I am, in general in favour of public transport for environmental reasons and used to recommend it.
It is however hard to recommend GWR services at present. Who wants to pay a very high fare to stand up from London to Bristol, on a half length train ?

A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2019, 06:29:34 pm »

I'd like to comment on the rolling stock (turbos) being introduced on the Cardiff to Portsmouth line.

The only positive to this introduction is that there are now more seats available. However, the passenger environment has been significantly worsened, when compared with the Class 158.  The seats are 5 abreast, there are no tables, the interiors are tatty, and the air conditioning is inferior. This might be acceptable for short hops in the Bristol commuter area (which seems to have been the overriding consideration), but the service links several large cities, for which the new units are woefully inadequate, especially as this is supposed to be an improvement.

The franchise agreement actually committed GWR to consider alternatives and report back (below). This would seem to be an admission by the department that the turbo "solution" was not adequate.  Whatever happened to this review? Four years on, with more trains becoming available, this should be at the top of the pile of any review of the current service offered to customers.

12. Rolling stock project feasibility studies
The Franchisee shall carry out and present to the Secretary of State by 31 December 2015 initial feasibility studies in respect of each of the following potential projects, with any further implementation of the Projects being subject to a Variation:
(d) proposals for an alternative rolling stock solution for services operating between Portsmouth and Cardiff. xii

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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2019, 06:43:06 pm »

I'm a regular commuter in the Thames Valley and I would say that my general experience has been very poor. Frequent signal failures, half length trains, poor punctuality - my morning train is consistently 5-10 mins late except when its half size and i can't board.

While not all of this can be attributed to GWR its their response or lack of response to incidents that frustrates me. The website is frequently inaccurate, rarely updated outside of 'office hours' and generally claims a good service when there very clearly isn't. Today's bad weather saw the website unavailable for a lot of users which often happens when there's poor weather or an incident. Capacity planning for key information resource (and I'm aware of the irony) isn't difficult nowadays. The staff at Paddington appear to have standing instructions to leave the station concourse in the event of an incident. I think most passengers are understanding that things go wrong but its the lack of information or more generally the wrong information that makes it worse.

The local ticket office (Twyford) is rarely open the advertised hours due to 'staff shortages'. This can be challenging when you need to renew a season ticket, replace a faulty one (why are smartcards only just appearing in very limited form?), or claim the void days they don't tell you about. Most of their data seems to exist in folders and bits of paper locally and so far as I can tell don't have an integrated database across the region. There is so much more they could be doing with technology.

Why no delay/repay?

Don't mind the seats on the new trains although I seem to be in a minority. However, I rarely travel on them as due to the cuts to the electrification programme my regular trains are still turbos and look like remaining for some time. Not one we can pin on GWR although their advertising around with the Famous Five and similar seemed very inappropriate when they're failing to run a significant number of trains at weekends.

On the plus I've found their online team much improved recently (I think it came back in house) and generally good at solving my queries.
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2019, 08:28:33 pm »

The new Hitachi trains that GWR use are very quick when working properly. What lets them down is the interiors and the seats. I know GWR had these essentially forced upon them but it puts me off traveling by train. I'm somebody who can afford to pay for 1st Class but I'm less happy to do so on the new trains. It says something when the seats on a Turbo, Ryanair and even the underground are more comfortable. To be clear I don't think it matters whether the trains run on diesel or electricity or a combination of both. I do mind if the new rolling stock (a 5 car IET) on a service is replacing something  longer such as an HST. This is possibly down to teething troubles with the new trains and fewer 9 car trains available. It does however mean that people are crammed into standard and1st with the trains described as "Full and Standing" on the display boards. These shorter services have also a lack of seat reservations which again may be down to 9 cars being unavailable at short notice.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 10:35:04 pm by 1st fan » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2019, 09:03:16 pm »

GWR and Hitachi are working together to overcome the problems - That's the answer that you'll get.   (If DFT to blame you can't say anything against them)
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2019, 10:14:01 pm »

My experience of GWR in its various forms dates from 1974. While retired, I still use its services frequently.

Its best years were as the Intercity Sector of BR when it had focussed, delegated, enabled management using a Total Quality Management approach leading to a virtuous circle of improvement.

Privatisation severed the national link to other similar operations on the ECML and WCML. Thus the wheel had to be re-invented three times and large economies of scale sacrificed.
Privatisation was really a glove puppet operation, with the DfT assuming closer control (via franchise contract) than under state (technical) ownership. Economies were effected such as in sharp turn rounds at Paddington – meaning that seats were not available until less than 5 minutes before departure; late incoming trains meant late departures and uncomfortable scrums as boarding was rushed onto uncleaned trains  – airlines would not have this!

The worst experiences have been since 2010 after Lord Adonis’s announcement of electrification. This was not for one scheme but about six, in an industry that had no corporate memory of the practice for twenty years. Additionally, this was to be done by private contractors, equally in the dark. Electrification is usually done gradually, progressing outwards to cover suburban services first then extending further. The GWR scheme was inverted as the IC trains were ordered from Japan first and of course delivered on time, while the UK contractors were struggling with unknowns, learning the hard way. The suburban lines are still not complete to Oxford (or even Crossrail!) because of the extensive preparatory work needed. The DfT is entirely responsible for the waste and overspending.

Govt direction also included re-allocation of rolling stock to a hypothetical administrative timetable irrespective of actual completion of the total electrification system, rolling stock and staff preparation. This has and continues to cause great inconvenience, producing shorter, slower trains than before on the premium routes. The potential integration of Crossrail with GWR is poor and wasteful (TfL versus DfT) and the continued attrition of infrastructure failures and the high incidence of suicides East of Reading add to the travellers’ burden.

We need a proper railway with a General Manager to whom infrastructure (NR), operations (TOC’s) and Motive Power, Carriage and Wagon (LEASECO’s) are accountable and given direction. That is the reform that is needed – whether our railway is private or state owned.

I would add that the staff have always been generally excellent.

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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2019, 10:52:33 pm »

This could take some time...

I am a regular commuter between Goring and Streatley and Guildford, changing at Reading, the busiest interchange station on the GW system, and have been since 2001. Previously I commuted between Tilehurst and London in the early- and mid- 1980s. I am conscious that many of the problems and shortcomings in the service I get are directly or indirectly the result of matters outside the franchise holder's control, and I assume the debate to which we are being invited to contribute is not simply a bash First Group/GWR exercise. What is disappointing is how the passenger experience has not been transformed for the better  by the considerable investment made in recent years, in rebuilding Reading Station and (partially) electrifying the system.  Just this week there has been a post on this forum drawing to our attention a speech by Andrew Haines (see - which highlights an underlying industry-wide problem  - a failure to consider the interests of the customer /passenger, and bear this in mind when taking many operating and strategic decisions affecting us.

So - what are my gripes?

1 - Top of my list is the absolute appalling decision to cut short electrification and not at least finish the job as far as Oxford and to Bristol Temple Meads. Quite apart from the shear stupidity of stopping a project short of two major destinations on GW's system, it has also had a deleterious effect on our local Reading - Oxford train service. If we want to travel from Goring to Oxford, most journeys now involve a change of train and delay at Didcot as you reach the end of the electric system, and wait for an old diesel to go on to Oxford (hoping it is not cancelled, leading to even longer delay).

I appreciate that there was a considerable overspend on the project, but why cut it short when it is so nearly finished? What's more, there is no sign of any proper inquiry into what went wrong with the project, conducted by experienced civil engineers, so that the mistakes are identified and avoided as far as possible when (hopefully) electrification is rolled out across the rest of the mainline system.

2 - Setting time tables convenient for the passenger. Two elements of this - on the Thames Valley line west of Reading there are irregular gaps between even peak time services - three in one 15 minute period, other gaps of more than half an hour. This compounded by a failure to match up services at Reading to facilitate changing trains. Switching between two busy services (Thames Valley and North Downs lines), it is disappointing that all to often a train arrives at Reading between a minute or so before (with insufficient time to cross the station) and a minute or so after an onward train is due to depart  resulting an unwelcome half hour wait for the next one.

Think of the passenger! Surely it is not too much to ask for clockface timings so everyone knows when trains can be expected at any time of day, and services converging on busy interchange stations staggered so as to facilitate changing between services.

The current timetable (hopefully a stop-gap pending Crossrail running out to Reading) has also added to the time taken on most stopping trains from Cholsey-Tilehurst to Paddington by merging these services with the stopping services serving stations east of Slough to which (apart from Ealing Broadway) very few passengers from our area travel.

3 - There are too many aspects of the new Reading station which are poor from a passengers' point of view-
        - the signage is awful! The fixed signage is badly designed and badly positioned. There is only one good set of electronic signs, installed before the major renewal in Brunel Arcade outside the gate lines. The rest are two small, so the displays only give a few minutes' information, or change on a cycle in an attempt to provide the information in two or three phases of displays, meaning having to wait to see if the information you are seeking may appear - often when you are in a hurry to catch a train or make a connection. The temporary signage GWR provide is also poor. Both GWR and Network Rail have poor graphic design - the former have adopted a spindly typeface that is not very legible at a distance, NR have too small a typeface on a semi-shiny mid- to dark blue background that reflects light. Whatever happened to the excellent clear black on white railway signage of the British Rail era that was regarded as an exemplar of good practice?
        - there is too little sheltered waiting room. It is an open and draughty structure, but many of the platform shelters have tiny capacities - only seven on platform 12B for example, where even well after rush hour there can be 60 or 70 passengers waiting  for a westbound train for stations to Didcot or Oxford.
        - many small operating practices are unsympathetic to passengers. For example today with snow the escalators at the eastern "A" end of the through platforms were closed as snow was blowing in making the over bridge floor slippery at the top. However through trains still stopped at this end, resulting in passengers having to walk back towards the unused west end to get up the western (open) escalators. Why not halt the trains at the end with open working escalators?
         - much of the flooring is a dark grey tiling that becomes very slippery when wet turning the floor of the busy over bridge into a hazardous skating rink. This occurs when moisture or snow blows in through the large apertures at the top of the escalators and staircases from the platform, and in some atmospheric conditions when moisture condenses on the floor.

4 - Information on train running is often poor, misleading or contradictory. The platform indicators often have conflicting information to other station signage and/or the on-line Journey Check system. Conflicting excuses for problems are offered. The system all too often collapses hopelessly when it is most needed, when major problems occur. All to often no information is cascaded to train and station staff who are as much in the dark as we are.  The phone system on the 03457 000125 number is absolutely useless at such times - they might as well run a loop with a message "sorry we cannot tell you what is happening. We are not allowed to speak to Control so have no idea why you are stuck on a train that has been at a standstill for over 20 minutes and Journey Check only shows "Delayed" in red with no further explanation or estimate of when it will start again".

Journey Check is also usually optimistic about predicted arrival times on delayed services. Almost always it predicts that a service will make up lost time, whereas unless there are long dwell times already timetabled for a service where time can be made up, a late running service usually loses more time as it proceeds

5 - The GWR website is poorly designed, and what you need is often difficult to find. To check this out, log in and see how long it takes to find timetables - surely one of the most important items of information that prospective passengers visit the site to try to find?

6 - While the new Electrostar trains now used on the electrified services are (in my opinion) good, the rolling stock for local diesel trains is substandard. These Turbo trains are overdue a major refurbishment, but instead have been subject to what appears to be a haphazard partial refitting - some have air cooling, most (but not all) have power/telecoms point, there has been a confusing and badly publicised switching of first class to standard class accommodation and partially back again, many useful tables have been removed and some had seats substituted by luggage and cycle racks (but not consistently across the fleet - others have none), others have had seats relocated so that passengers have no window view. The standard class seats are not comfortable and are five across - OK when they were used for their original purpose (short distance high capacity suburban services into London and Reading), but not really up to longer services. Many have tatty and grubby interiors, even just after some of the partial refits. They really need comprehensive refurbishment for the services they are now expected to serve. Their deployment also is thoughtless. Originally part of the fleet were designated Turbo Expresses with better seats and more luggage space for longer distance journeys, but these are no longer specifically allocated for such use, so passengers lose out for comfort on such journeys.

7 - Encapsulating many of these irritating shortcomings is the Reading-Gatwick service. In theory it's a great idea. An hourly service from one of the busiest provincial interchange stations to our second busiest airport, and probably it's main holiday getaway one. Leave your car at home, take the train! If you do, you will find that you have to haul your luggage across the enlarged station to the most remote and narrow platform, even though we taxpayers have spent a considerable sum reopening a tunnel that would enable trains to arrive in the main part of the station convenient for arrivals from around the country. You will find yourself using an old scruffy Turbo train, probably one with hardly any luggage storage space. If you travel near peak time this train will be crowded so you will have to sit on cramped seats in discomfort for nearly ninety minutes with others struggling past your luggage. It could be so much better!

And that is the problem. In many ways I appreciate how lucky I am living near such a well served town form a rail service point of view as Reading - not least when I read of the struggles other forum members have in areas of less frequent services, and even in Bristol - a larger city that clearly has a much poorer local rail service. However it could be so much better! It does not surely have to be such a frustrating experience to commute by train - especially in such a potentially well- served area as ours.  


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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2019, 06:23:31 am »

I had to look up the digital enhancement team and Stephen Doughty MP and "Stephen John Doughty MP is a British Labour and Co-operative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Cardiff South and Penarth since 2012"

It is good to look at where we are and how we have got there, and to have an opportunity to feed in via various forums.  However, I look at the narrowness of the questions, and the limited tiee that will be available for the debate, and I wonder where it goes from there (if anywhere).

Specifically, we'd like to know:
How would you rate your experience of using GWR? (1)
Have you experienced delays or other performance issues on GWR trains? How have these affected you? (2)

I am ... concerned ... that this is styled as an opportunity to bash GWR as the public facing element of the passenger transport railway.  But let me answer the questions.

Most of my journeys with GWR run more or less to time. For important appointments I will always travel early as connections fail and trains are cancelled far too often - and it's been far worse than it used to be over the last couple of years. Much of that is to do with the modernisation of the railway 'underneath' the running service and there was bound to be some disruption. The performance has been hindered because GWR's suppliers have le them down - delays to new trains and electrification. In my view, though, GWR at times have provided minimal alternatives being more concerned to be saving themselves the cost of providing alternative services that providing the nearest equivalent practical.  Replacement services during engineering seem to be "on the cheap" ... digital information incorrect at such times ... and at the time that a member of staff on duty could make a real difference there are none available.

Having said that, the majority of the GWR team do the best they can within the powers and parameters they are given. They are constrained within the frachise / direct award parameters, and with delays to new proviion where even the contingency allowiances have been overrun to a great extent the blame must go elsewhere - to the infrastructure provider, and to the politicians who in a long term business have changed over so many times (how many secretaties of state for transport have we had?) and we're being left with a half-electrified railway, with millions spent (and disruption caused) at places like Box tunnel and Bath Spa ... and we're not getting the electrification it was all in aid of.

I am not going to stuff this reply with examples .... but sadly I could do so ... happy to respond further if it helps but, really, above should be enough with many others to inform the debate

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« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2019, 10:48:17 am »

This could take some time...
I wonder whether it would be helpful if responses are a little more concise and cover the main points of issue, as the researchers are going to want to focus on some headline items for the debate and will have limited time following the deadline for submission.

Actually, I think TaplowGreen's post earlier today on another thread repeated below in itself is a helpful example of one of the problems that are a common complaint on the forum. 

Today's IET shortforms (so far) 5 instead of 9 or 10;

05:59 Swansea to London Paddington due 08:59
06:23 Weston-Super-Mare to London Paddington due 08:44
06:29 Swansea to London Paddington due 09:30
06:59 Swansea to London Paddington due 10:01
07:30 London Paddington to Penzance due 13:15
08:03 London Paddington to Exeter St Davids due 10:39
09:22 London Paddington to Worcester Foregate Street due 11:47
09:30 London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads due 11:15
10:00 London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads due 11:39
10:30 London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads due 12:14
12:00 Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington due 13:38
12:01 Exeter St Davids to London Paddington due 14:38
12:30 Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington due 14:14
13:00 Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington due 14:41
14:00 London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads due 15:41
14:00 Penzance to London Paddington due 19:22
14:52 London Paddington to Oxford due 15:50
15:03 London Paddington to Penzance due 20:34
15:30 London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads due 17:15
16:30 Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington due 18:14
17:02 Oxford to London Paddington due 18:00
18:00 Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington due 19:37
18:22 London Paddington to Hereford due 21:35
18:29 Swansea to London Paddington due 21:29
18:45 London Paddington to Swansea due 21:43
20:00 London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads due 21:44
20:03 London Paddington to Plymouth due 23:45
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2019, 09:59:46 am »

As a cyclist who uses GWR trains on a fairly regular basis, my main complaint is inconsistency. Inconsistency in policy towards cyclist, by both government and GWR, general policy is supposed to be to increase active travel including cycling, although you would often doubt this on railways.

The new electric intercity trains have "copied" the poor design facilities of Cross Country Trains. Hanging a bike might be possible if you are fit, but cyclists with disabilities (yes, they exist) often have considerable trouble trying to hang bikes. Is this consistent with the Disability Discrimination Act? The hanging storage also tends to be too narrow for the current style of straight handlebars.The new suburban electric trains have no dedicated cycle facilities. For an example of low tech ways of carrying bikes see SWR, side facing folding seats with a strap and some Velcro.

On the local diesels, both Reading - Gatwick and Reading - Basingstoke, as has been commented above their appears to have been no consistent approach to their "upgrading". A single set train (two or three car) with a third of one car given over to baggage/cycles is very nice for cyclists off-peak but not helpful to anyone at peak times. These conversions with large baggage/cycle space could be useful on the Reading - Gatwick service, but I have personally never had the luck to see one in service on this route. I hope the connection times with aircraft at Gatwick are better than they are for other trains.

Improving the reliability of lifts at Reading station would help. The number of times they are out of service seems to be excessive for a station of its age.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 11:07:26 am by CyclingSid » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2019, 12:11:20 pm »

My personal experience is based on using trains from Didcot most often to Reading, Oxford, Maidenhead and London, but sometimes westwards as far as Cardiff or the Cotswolds, plus Gatwick.

My recent experience I would class overall as good, and much better than it was this time last year where the service was affected daily by the chaotic introduction of the IETs (I believe mainly because the training was concertinaed between later delivery of the IETs yet a fixed schedule to remove the HSTs), although there are still problems that need to be addressed, such as the seat reservation system, and the trains appear not to be cleaned sufficiently. The 387 electric trains operating the local services are so much superior to the old turbos, with it regrettable that these still need to be used to Oxford because of the halt to electrification. The service to Gatwick is an exception, where the capacity and comfort seems to have decreased markedly from what I remember of it 15 years ago, mostly comprising unsuitably short turbos with limited luggage space, and the timekeeping unreliable.

Oddly my recent experiences elsewhere are not of delays but the trains arriving two or three minutes early and having to wait at stopping points. It is unfortunate that there are insufficient timetabling resources to realise the journey time improvements that the new trains could bring.

My concerns for the local service in the future are for the stopping trains possibly being split at Reading with the start of TfL services. I fear insufficient attention being paid to effects on people living beyond Reading.

Outside of the direct operation areas GWR specifically ought to pay attention to are the processing of refunds and compensation claims, both in the time it takes them to do it and the scope. It is ridiculous that the levels of compensation in the current scheme is still tied to which company might have operated an equivalent service 15 years ago.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 12:16:40 pm by didcotdean » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2019, 01:35:29 pm »

My experience of GWR over the last few years using intermediate stations from Didcot to Paddington has been one of a frequently unreliable service. This is particularly challenging off-peak in the evenings where services have been curtailed, modified to skip stops between Reading and Didcot or generally just late.

The lack of Delay Repay means that a journey that should take 45-50 minutes can be 29 minutes late with no recompense. Combined with the poor waiting facilities at Reading (especially in winter) and continued difficulties in getting Passenger Charter delay claims processed, it has meant that I no longer use GWR services as my primary means to commute into London.

I find this particularly disappointing as I have spent my life commuting (from a schoolchild) and was previously employed by British Rail. I would consider myself to be "pro-railway" but can't rely on GWR services.

On the positive side, the 387s are much better than the Turbos they replace but the lack of through services from Oxford causes significant inconvenience. Station staff at the smaller stations are, in my view, excellent (when they are there - typically mornings only) and are a great credit to GWR and the wider railway.
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2019, 05:37:31 pm »

Build a service around the needs of the customer putting him/her first. Consider the impact of every action and decision on the customer first and ensure that this culture permeates throughout the business from top to bottom. Everyone is responsible for customer service.

Anyone unable to sign up to this culture needs to change their mindset or leave.

This is what the best, and most successful businesses in the World have as a starting point and if you use it as a framework you won't go too far wrong.

It will need a massive cultural shift for GWR and the way it currently treats its customers but as others have proved it can be done. Get it right and they will become your advocates, not adversaries.
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« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2019, 06:44:03 pm »

When I was in employment in the 70's as part of my training I had to attend a course entitled 'Putting The Customer First' and in my training it was impressed that a successful IT professional ALWAYS involved the end user of the IT systems being evolved.
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