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Author Topic: End of on-train catering on SWR?  (Read 1331 times)
grahame
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« on: December 09, 2020, 11:58:58 pm »

From The News, Portsmouth

Quote
Train operator South Western Railway scraps its onboard catering - putting 130 jobs at risk

TRAIN passengers will no longer be able to get refreshments on services in the south as the train operator has cancelled its catering contarct ? putting 130 jobs at risk.

South Western Railway, which operates services to Portsmouth and across the south from London Waterloo, plans to terminate its on-board catering contract with Elior in January, putting more than 130 jobs at risk of redundancy.

It said the decision was made after consultation with passenges and due to falling passenger numbers caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The move has been criticised by rail union RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers), who have called for Department for Transport to intervene and reverse the decision.

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broadgage
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2020, 06:15:49 am »

Well what a surprise ! I seem to recall that my crystal ball forcast this when first group took over.
Nothing like a pandemic or other emergency to make down grades.

I can remember when many longer distance services from Waterloo had proper buffets, downgraded to a trolley service and then furthur downgraded to nothing.

The West of England "main" line. Now a single track branch, worked by DMUs (Diesel Multiple Unit), no catering.

And so called intercity services that connect with cruise liners at Southampton. An ordinary suburban EMU (Electric Multiple Unit), no catering, no accomadation for bulky luggage as is taken on a cruise. Welcome to the UK (United Kingdom) !

There is a general "race to the bottom" on UK railways, though first gruop are particularly good at this. I presume that a survey showed that catering is no longer needed.
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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 (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
Ralph Ayres
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2020, 12:57:48 am »

Not surprising given the lack of enthusiasm of some catering staff. On a couple of trips to Portsmouth pre-pandemic I didn't buy any refreshments at Waterloo to save having to carry them and luggage onto the train. It was an hour into the journey before the trolley operator bothered to move from the end of the train.
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broadgage
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2020, 08:06:29 pm »

I have had similar negative experiences, on trains from Waterloo to Salisbury and beyond.
A particular problem on that route is the use of non gangwayed DMUs (Diesel Multiple Unit), such that even if a trolley is provided it is only available to part of the train, and not exactly enthusiastically provided in even that portion.

I am not convinced that ANY TOC (Train Operating Company) is serious about trolley provision, it seems to be regarded as an intermediate step between a proper buffet and the long term aim of nothing.


 
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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 (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2020, 08:34:50 pm »

A particular problem on that route is the use of non gangwayed DMUs (Diesel Multiple Unit), such that even if a trolley is provided it is only available to part of the train, and not exactly enthusiastically provided in even that portion.

For "is", I suspect you intended to write "was".  The last none-gangwayed stock on SWT (South West Trains) (as it was in those days) were the 170s that headed up north in 2006.  In this context, perhaps we should look for more contemporary experience for the majority of the colouring of our views - trollies have been going through (but perhaps reluctantly for a decade and a half)
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broadgage
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2020, 09:01:01 pm »

I thought that Waterloo to Exeter services were operated by class 159s ? In which the trolley is only available to half of a 6 car train. A bit like IETs (Intercity Express Train), though at least the seats on a 159 are padded.
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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 (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2020, 09:29:08 pm »

I thought that Waterloo to Exeter services were operated by class 159s ? In which the trolley is only available to half of a 6 car train. A bit like IETs (Intercity Express Train), though at least the seats on a 159 are padded.

159s are corridored.  Only the 170s weren't.   Don't think they're shut off.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2020, 09:37:06 pm »

There's been some talk on this forum about the renewed emphasis, post covid, on the notion of the growth of railway journeys as a leisure pursuit in future such as the "Staycation Express" etc.  It might be here where the concept of the traditional buffet may increasingly find a new role, perhaps to the point of a more general revival over time. Preferences change, who knows?
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2020, 09:43:08 pm »

Though i would like to get a trolley though the connection between unit, from memory, its not ver smooth, the port bottle may fall off and smash!
Possibly a union requirment perhaps on elf and safety grounds.
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broadgage
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2020, 09:48:16 pm »

I thought that Waterloo to Exeter services were operated by class 159s ? In which the trolley is only available to half of a 6 car train. A bit like IETs (Intercity Express Train), though at least the seats on a 159 are padded.

159s are corridored.  Only the 170s weren't.   Don't think they're shut off.

Perhaps the inter unit connections are no longer regularly used.
I have been on a 6 car train to Salisbury with the trolley only available in the other unit.
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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 (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
broadgage
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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2020, 03:07:09 am »

There's been some talk on this forum about the renewed emphasis, post covid, on the notion of the growth of railway journeys as a leisure pursuit in future such as the "Staycation Express" etc.  It might be here where the concept of the traditional buffet may increasingly find a new role, perhaps to the point of a more general revival over time. Preferences change, who knows?

If the railway industry are serious about encouraging leisure and holiday travel within the UK (United Kingdom), then that will need proper full sized hot buffets not a microbuffet, or a static trolley. And tables, and seats that align with windows, and space for holiday luggage including cycles and surfboards, perhaps even padded seats.
In short largely a return to the train designs of 50 years ago. Nothing wrong with SOME modern innovations such as power doors, retention toilets, WiFi, and air conditioning, and higher speeds.
But most aspects of train design need to look to the past, rather than the present/recent policies of "what downgrades can we get away with"
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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 (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2020, 08:22:14 am »

There's been some talk on this forum about the renewed emphasis, post covid, on the notion of the growth of railway journeys as a leisure pursuit in future such as the "Staycation Express" etc.  It might be here where the concept of the traditional buffet may increasingly find a new role, perhaps to the point of a more general revival over time. Preferences change, who knows?

If the railway industry are serious about encouraging leisure and holiday travel within the UK (United Kingdom), then that will need proper full sized hot buffets not a microbuffet, or a static trolley. And tables, and seats that align with windows, and space for holiday luggage including cycles and surfboards, perhaps even padded seats.
In short largely a return to the train designs of 50 years ago. Nothing wrong with SOME modern innovations such as power doors, retention toilets, WiFi, and air conditioning, and higher speeds.
But most aspects of train design need to look to the past, rather than the present/recent policies of "what downgrades can we get away with"

I'd be interested in data you have which demonstrates that people cite the availability of a "proper full sized hot buffet" as a determinant in choosing to travel by rail as you so frequently suggest however I suspect that the rhetoric is not borne out by reality.

50 years ago the alternative catering/take away food options did not exist in anything like the number they do now, providing better quality, healthier and more diverse food at far better value for money.
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broadgage
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2020, 09:38:55 am »

It is not just me who considers that long distance trains should have a proper buffet. Quite a few members of these forums support the idea. And looking furthur afield, a common complaint about new trains on trip advisor and similar sites is "and not even a buffet"  or that "the buffet was closed throughout" (from those who presume that there was a buffet but that it was closed)
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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 (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
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« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2020, 10:54:28 am »

At the risk of generalising in the SWR» (South Western Railway - about) board ... what is a "long distance journey" anyway? Accepting that on-train catering is a good idea for a long distance journey, has our definition of a long distance journey changed? Does a decrease in journey time, and an increase in frequency, change the journey characteristic such that what used to be "long distance" emotionally no longer is?

Here are (sorry - GWR (Great Western Railway) example) Paddington to Plymouth timetables from 1902 just before the Castle Cary to Taunton cutoff was opened, in the late 1960s at a low point for rail, and as scheduled from Monday.


Further question - what proportion of people on those trains in 1902 and 1967 were going all the way from London to Plymouth (perhaps beyond) and how does that compare with today? 

I am prepared to sit / work / sleep / relax with minimal refreshments for 3 hours - 2020.  For a 5 hour journey, I might want rather more in terms of refreshments (especially if the 1902 trains didn't even have an Internet connection).
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broadgage
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« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2020, 01:22:25 pm »

In my view, a proper buffet should be considered for journys of over an hour and should be the norm for two hours or more.
It is the time taken and not the distance in miles that is relevant.
I dont think that the frequency of the service is relevant.
Many outer suburban journys used to have buffets, and still should in my view.

For journeys over about 3 hours a restaurant should be considered, on selected journeys.
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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 (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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