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Author Topic: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion  (Read 432872 times)
bobm
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« Reply #1440 on: May 19, 2019, 09:44:56 am »

On Friday I travelled on the last HST Pullman from Paddington - the 13:03 to Plymouth.

The restaurant had been fully booked for a few days ahead of the event but some additional places were laid up in the adjoining carriage allowing a total of 23 people to dine.

It has been a while since I posted any pictures of the food - this was the chicken salad starter, although with a few vegetables it could have been a main course!



I had steak for my main course - and I won't bore you with another photo of that.  There is also a very nice baked cod dish on the current menu which I had an on earlier trip.



Many had made a special trip to enjoy the final run.   Even LNER got in on the act as one of their Azuma trains came in on the adjoining platform on a test run.


(Sorry for the slightly wonky angle - it was an opportunist photo taken on my phone)

With 23 to serve the staff were kept on their toes but the meal was comfortably finished by Newton Abbot.  I travelled through to Plymouth and had a chance to talk to the crew as they finished clearing up.  From Monday they will be operating on IETs in both directions (they work back on the 18:03 from Plymouth) which will make it easier as far as the equipment they need to carry.  Although the IETs have more modern (and reliable) kitchens the seating arrangement is not as good when it comes to dining.  As mentioned higher up the thread there are only two pairs of double seats - one is the disabled space and the other has no window.  Other than that it is bays of four and single seats.  There will be the option to lay up part of the next coach if space allows.

A good day out - even better because I was continuing into Cornwall for a meeting (in a brewery)!



Journey's end for the HST Pullman at Plymouth as the train prepares to form the 16:57 back to London.

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mjray
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« Reply #1441 on: May 19, 2019, 07:28:09 pm »

Entirely fair comments GBM.

My "long distance" travel by train tends to be Paddington (or occasionally Reading) - Plymouth......given the variety of food and drink available to take away at/nearby either of those stations, far superior in quality and far better VFM than that available on a train, I simply make sure that I stock up before departure - always carry a bottle of water anyway to guard against being "parched" - looking around the train it's clear that many do the same.
And when your bottle of water is empty, then what? There's nowhere to refill on board during the 4 hour journey from Plymouth to Paddington.

To "stock up before departure" adds to the overall journey time, instead of being done on the move. If I wanted to be faffing around trying to find decent food and drink while stopped, I'd drive a car!

It also adds another vulnerability and inconvenience to train travel: if you allow time for lunch at some interchange but arrive delayed inbound, do you miss your connection or go hungry? That's not going to be a great user experience either way and it's completely unnecessary. All it takes is consistent on-board catering on long-distance trains.

On my last HST trip the buffet was open but doing very little business with a very limited range and it could only take cash because "our card machine isn't working" - sort of sums it up.
Yes and it's that sort of inconsistency which kills the buffets. Many people feel they just can't count on British railway catering. With so many other operators having no catering at all, not even GWR's rather random and patchy service, one could argue that we're now in an even worse situation than the 1980s cling-film sandwiches.

The Pullman seems a premium novelty experience more than a mainstream buffet service. It shouldn't really be part of the same discussion IMO.
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broadgage
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« Reply #1442 on: May 20, 2019, 11:24:21 am »

The Build Your Own Burgers were fantastic too.

As were the breakfast bloomer sandwiches with your choice of fillings.

And the omelettes.

Actually, all the Travelling Chef food I sampled over the years was top notch nosh. I'm struggling to think of a poor bit of scran. Never mediocre in my experience.

I agree, the problem was largely patchy and inconsistent provision and not price or quality.
It seemed to me that the travelling chef was often provided as a downgraded alternative to a Pullman restaurant, rather than being an improvement over a buffet.
Someone expecting a proper restaurant was unlikely to be impressed with a traveling chef.
Someone expecting a buffet might have been impressed with the extra choice and quality of a traveling chef.

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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 is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
broadgage
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« Reply #1443 on: May 20, 2019, 11:38:16 am »

According to the GWR website, first class passengers may obtain complimentary items from the buffet "if we can not serve you at your seat"

https://www.gwr.com/plan-journey/first-class/menu
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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 is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #1444 on: June 12, 2019, 06:07:56 pm »

…………..heaven help GWR if Broadgage is travelling tonight!  Shocked


19:03 London Paddington to Plymouth due 22:22


Facilities on the 19:03 London Paddington to Plymouth due 22:22.
This is due to a problem currently under investigation.
Catering is reduced - There will be no Pullman Dining Service on this train today. .
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #1445 on: June 12, 2019, 11:14:52 pm »

…………..heaven help GWR if Broadgage is travelling tonight!  Shocked


19:03 London Paddington to Plymouth due 22:22


Facilities on the 19:03 London Paddington to Plymouth due 22:22.
This is due to a problem currently under investigation.
Catering is reduced - There will be no Pullman Dining Service on this train today. .

Well, I was on it.  It was announced as no hot food available due to non-delivery.  The trolley also didn't come through FC until after Newbury.......
« Last Edit: June 16, 2019, 09:00:30 am by SandTEngineer » Logged

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« Reply #1446 on: June 13, 2019, 01:03:44 am »

Interesting...the internal system I have access to said there was no chef available.
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #1447 on: June 13, 2019, 10:15:24 am »

Interesting...the internal system I have access to said there was no chef available.

Thanks II.  Perhaps they didn't want to upset those sat in Coach L with glass of wine in hand and ready to eat.... Tongue

Once the trolley did arrive (and I was sat only half way down Coach K), it did manage to come through three or four times before reaching journeys end.  And, at least they were able to 'heat up' a few things in the microwave.
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Out of this nettle, Danger, we pluck this flower, Safety.
[Henry IV, Part 1, Act 2, Scene 3]
chuffed
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« Reply #1448 on: June 13, 2019, 11:46:19 am »

Talking Pictures showed Centenary Express yesterday, showing how 100 years of Travellers fayre was marked in 1979. Green Arrow pulling out of York, with a full sized buffet car and serving the roast beef of old England on platters to seated customers. I could not believe the opulence of the place settings...rivalled a state banquet. On arrival at St Pancras, Sir Peter Parker was seen cutting a enormous 5 tier fruit cake, which unlike the ubiquitous British Rail sandwich served to the plebian class, was not turning up at the edges.
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broadgage
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« Reply #1449 on: June 13, 2019, 04:01:30 pm »

…………..heaven help GWR if Broadgage is travelling tonight!  Shocked


19:03 London Paddington to Plymouth due 22:22


Facilities on the 19:03 London Paddington to Plymouth due 22:22.
This is due to a problem currently under investigation.
Catering is reduced - There will be no Pullman Dining Service on this train today. .

A poor show, but hopefully a "one off" and not part of a trend.
I was not on board, and was indeed partaking of fillet steak elsewhere.

I recall one Pullman meal with "no hot puddings due to lightning strike at Plymouth"
And several services with a restricted menu due to no chef, the restaurant manager cooking a limited choice.
And one train with no proper cutlery on board !
So the odd c0ck up is nothing new, just hope that they are not too frequent.
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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 is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
Celestial
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« Reply #1450 on: June 13, 2019, 05:06:42 pm »

Talking Pictures showed Centenary Express yesterday, showing how 100 years of Travellers fayre was marked in 1979. Green Arrow pulling out of York, with a full sized buffet car and serving the roast beef of old England on platters to seated customers. I could not believe the opulence of the place settings...rivalled a state banquet. On arrival at St Pancras, Sir Peter Parker was seen cutting a enormous 5 tier fruit cake, which unlike the ubiquitous British Rail sandwich served to the plebian class, was not turning up at the edges.
Did you spot broadgage by any chance?
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #1451 on: June 13, 2019, 05:46:56 pm »

Talking Pictures showed Centenary Express yesterday, showing how 100 years of Travellers fayre was marked in 1979. Green Arrow pulling out of York, with a full sized buffet car and serving the roast beef of old England on platters to seated customers. I could not believe the opulence of the place settings...rivalled a state banquet. On arrival at St Pancras, Sir Peter Parker was seen cutting a enormous 5 tier fruit cake, which unlike the ubiquitous British Rail sandwich served to the plebian class, was not turning up at the edges.
Did you spot broadgage by any chance?

He jumped out of the cake when Sir Peter Parker cut it, dressed up as a fillet steak shouting "NO IETs"!  Wink
« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 05:52:18 pm by TaplowGreen » Logged
broadgage
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« Reply #1452 on: June 14, 2019, 12:47:18 am »

It would have to be an exceedingly large cake if BROADgage was to be concealed within.
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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 is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
TonyK
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« Reply #1453 on: June 14, 2019, 03:27:14 pm »

My brother in law is Peter Parker, CBE. I reckon he would have been knighted, but for someone else of the same name.
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Now, please!
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #1454 on: June 15, 2019, 08:37:59 am »

My brother in law is Peter Parker, CBE. I reckon he would have been knighted, but for someone else of the same name.

Did he ever bake an enormous 5 tier fruit cake? That would have been both ironic and an incredible coincidence.
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