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Author Topic: OTD - 26th January (2007) - Coffee Shop Domain registered  (Read 335 times)
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« on: January 25, 2022, 08:57:12 pm »

Nobody's sure what post-Covid patronage will be, but (say) 70% of pre-Covid would put the passenger numbers back to around 2006 (depends on which part of the country you look at). Revenue would be comparable to some years earlier, given an expected loss of business travel.

Some pretty awful things happened around 2006 (like the planning for the new GW (Great Western) franchise, which led to shorter trains...overcrowding...and this forum  Wink . I recall much anger,  but little of the pessimism that exists now.

The above was writte and posted after I prepared this text for "on this day"

Fifteen years ago today, I think I must have been a bit depressed. And what better when depressed than a bit of retail therapy?   Always being a cheapskate, and enjoying a project, I was looking around at domain names which were available for less than ten quid each, and allowed for great hobby fun putting web pages together. And idly trying out names, I typed in "firstgreatwestern" who were somewhat in my mind (and perhaps the partial cause of my depression) and learned that was available.

Now ... registering "firstgreatwestern.[], even had they been available, would have been very naughty indeed. But a ".info" domain was, I felt, a different matter.  Its very name is information about and it does not claim within the name to be the company or the organisation in that name. Still a probabliy that I would be less than popular, but a chat with Lisa to do a sanity check and we concluded our ground was strong.  I expected it to be a short(ish) piece of publicity to back up and add a little weight from me to having the company hear its customers. Remember this was at the time that one of the MPs (Member of Parliament) was saying "The company heard from 9,500 separate correspondents, but one has to question whether it listened to a single one".

So - how to add that little weight?  As members here know, I'm lazy, and I value the strength of wide and informed community voices, and informing the community.  So what better than a forum - to share views and news, help passengers get answers to questions, and be aware what was going on. I had already been a member, and was a moderator (and Lisa a global moderator) at for a while so the sorts of issues that would come up were at least on my radar.

More on early posts and how Lee and I (the two active founders) set things up in a few days when we celebrate our "first post" ... I'll just carry on with domain history.

Yes - we were "strongly challenged" by one of the then-directors of the company, and I can recall meeting her (in a WWRUG» (West Wiltshire Rail Users Group - about) meeting in Bradford-on-Avon) and feeling threatened, but standing my ground.  After all, it's a ".info" domain and information for people about the company they use every day, every page clearly said (and still does, save the company name change) "This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link)".  I remember the lady in question being less that happy with my answer, but an elder statesman of the public transport community pointing out to her that getting heavy would likely be a publicity own goal for FGW (First Great Western) if the press got involved, at a time that FGW was in enough doo-doo in the press.  And really that was the most challenged evening we ever had from our train operator.

Moving - years - forward.  The project I expected to run for no more than a month is still very much live a decade and a half later, and very much recognisable and with the same philosophy. The pendulum has swung very much from us being - as set up - a protest site to a partnership.  With perhaps a few exeptions, everyone wants a working, effective, successful, pleasant public transport network. And within those professioanally involved there is a very great deal of skill and knowdledge to help that along. But it's a complex system with some things that don't seem to make total sense, and the skilled back room boys and girls aren't always on the same page (at least in how they describe things) as the passenger who finds that his train's not turning up, that information isn't available, or that his service is overcrowded, badly timed, withdrawn, uncomfortable, or dirty or doesn't have even a bottle of water available on a journey of several hours.

Will be here in another 15 years?  Goodness only knows, but there very much remains work to be done and a place for the discussions and material we cover. And - back to day 1 - it remains personally an enjoyable project, made the more so by all the friends here. Thank you, everyone.

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2022, 06:50:48 am »

Looking at the forum, if you are lazy heaven help the rest of us!
Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

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