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Author Topic: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion  (Read 446930 times)
broadgage
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« Reply #1470 on: July 07, 2019, 06:57:36 pm »

I haven't been able to find out anymore details yet, but as I was waiting on the train alongside, staff were laying up what appeared to be a Saturday Pullman service on the 08:35 London Paddington to Paignton service (although crew shortages meant it was only going as far as Exeter St David's).



A Pullman on a Saturday ! Astonishing if true, and as you say it certainly looks like a Pullman.
Even more astonishing if considering that even weekday trains to Paignton have not had restaurants for years.
Anyone got more detail ?
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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.
alan_s
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« Reply #1471 on: July 08, 2019, 06:30:08 pm »

....
Moving on to trolley services, I have a gut feeling that they may actually do more business than a traditional buffet car. They will possibly engender impulse buying, which may not happen if a passenger has to get out of their seat and wander a few coaches away to the buffet, and I am also sure that there are many passengers who don't like walking around in moving trains - we all know that there is an element pf "sea legs" required, which is a skill that the occasional traveller may not have developed.
....

There is another side of course. I can't be alone in when I decide I want some refreshment, I want it now, not when the trolley finally appears!  I would much rather walk to the buffet and have a full range of hot and cold snacks, freshly brewed coffee etc, rather than a poor choice of crisps and nuts off a trolley with lukewarm coffee from a flask!  I bet they never asked the questions like that in the survey where they got the support for trolleys!
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Rob on the hill
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« Reply #1472 on: July 08, 2019, 06:49:54 pm »

....
Moving on to trolley services, I have a gut feeling that they may actually do more business than a traditional buffet car. They will possibly engender impulse buying, which may not happen if a passenger has to get out of their seat and wander a few coaches away to the buffet, and I am also sure that there are many passengers who don't like walking around in moving trains - we all know that there is an element pf "sea legs" required, which is a skill that the occasional traveller may not have developed.
....

There is another side of course. I can't be alone in when I decide I want some refreshment, I want it now, not when the trolley finally appears!  I would much rather walk to the buffet and have a full range of hot and cold snacks, freshly brewed coffee etc, rather than a poor choice of crisps and nuts off a trolley with lukewarm coffee from a flask!  I bet they never asked the questions like that in the survey where they got the support for trolleys!

The trolley service won't do much business if, as reported, they tend to hide in the first class kitchen, or if they can't get through a rammed 5 vice 10 coach train!
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broadgage
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« Reply #1473 on: July 08, 2019, 07:06:58 pm »

On a recent trip, the trolley was hiding in the first class kitchen but was "unable" to sell me any wine or beer because "the card machine is broken" I offered cash, but that was no good either.

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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.
Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #1474 on: July 08, 2019, 07:27:31 pm »

Quote from: broadgage
On a recent trip, the trolley was hiding in the first class kitchen but was "unable" to sell me any wine or beer because "the card machine is broken" I offered cash, but that was no good either.

Perhaps you were supposed to pay in jam jars...

(Sorry - a line from a comedy record by Sandy Powell from the 1930s - "Sandy the Tram Conductor." After an altercation with a customer who wanted to pay for a penny ticket with four farthings, the next passenger got the line "and how do you want to pay? Jam jars?}
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broadgage
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« Reply #1475 on: July 08, 2019, 09:47:07 pm »

For the benefit of our younger members, a farthing was one quarter of an OLD penny, or a nine hundred and sixtyieth part of a pound.
A small "copper" coin with a picture of a wren on one side.

Prices in shops often ended in "and eleven-three" meaning eleven old pence and three farthings. The shopkeeper hoped that "six shillings and eleven three" would sound a lot less than seven shillings.
These odd prices also allegedly reduced dishonesty among shop staff.

Banks only kept accounts in pounds, shillings and whole pence. So cheques could not include half pennies or farthings.

The purchasing power of a penny today is a lot less than a farthing was worth.
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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 #1476 on: July 09, 2019, 08:23:42 pm »

For the benefit of our younger members, a farthing was one quarter of an OLD penny, or a nine hundred and sixtyieth part of a pound.
A small "copper" coin with a picture of a wren on one side.

I am obliged to you.
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Now, please!
sleepy
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« Reply #1477 on: July 17, 2019, 06:14:40 pm »

I haven't been able to find out anymore details yet, but as I was waiting on the train alongside, staff were laying up what appeared to be a Saturday Pullman service on the 08:35 London Paddington to Paignton service (although crew shortages meant it was only going as far as Exeter St David's).



(Apologies for the poor photo but it was through two sets of coach windows.)
A member of GWR staff told me someone has paid for this service on Saturdays to entertain clients !!  Shocked Shocked
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broadgage
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« Reply #1478 on: July 17, 2019, 08:58:33 pm »

Splendid. I am rather impressed that GWR were able to do this.
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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.
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« Reply #1479 on: July 31, 2019, 11:56:26 am »


As I recall, in days gone by the buffet car was rarely a very well-patronised place. [...anecdotes...]
So one has to ask the question is the buffet car profitable enough to keep or not? And I am afraid that the answer to that is probably in the negative. Given that no TOC (or TOC in their right mind, anyway) is going to give up a profitable income stream just for the sheer hell of it, we must at least consider this.
Shouldn't we consider why that might be and what might have changed? Given that some other train operators have recently ordered new trains with buffets, why is GWR struggling? Could it be something to do with the years-long understaffing and inconsistent service having now damaged reputation to the point where GWR non-premium on-board catering is regarded as only an improbable last-chance Hail Mary when you've failed to buy elsewhere?
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broadgage
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« Reply #1480 on: July 31, 2019, 01:11:27 pm »

For years FGW and GWR have not appeared to take catering seriously, with unreliable provision and I suspect a certain amount of attempted withdrawal by stealth.

There were various efforts to get rid off buffets, including removing the buffet car to increase performance, or add extra charter minutes. Then microbuffets replaced proper buffets on some services, including long distance trains when the wrong sort of train was sent.
Then we had a spate of closed buffets.

And then the steady run down of Pullman dining, from 10 trains a day in each direction to two in each direction at the low point. Whilst Pullman services are now taken more seriously than say 10 years ago, they are still lass frequent than was the case. Pullman services were withdrawn "temporarily" after the Hatfield accident. Most never returned.

Even the travelling chef service could have worked if properly run and provided reliably. All too often it consisted of a counter service of toasted sandwiches in a cardboard box, rather than the promised menu.
The travelling chef was also offered as a downgraded alternative on services that should have had a Pullman, rather than being an improvement over a buffet.

GWR have done their best to sabotage the already basic and minimal trolley service.
Trolley in other portion of a 10 car train.
No trolley
Static trolley.
Hiding in first class.


Advocates of the new trains pointed out how wonderous the trolley would be, and are presumably now suggesting that a static trolley is EVEN BETTER !

As GWR have said "no way" regarding bringing back buffets, hopefully a better operator might take over and allow buffets.
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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.
Timmer
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« Reply #1481 on: July 31, 2019, 01:21:23 pm »

As GWR have said "no way" regarding bringing back buffets, hopefully a better operator might take over and allow buffets.
I wouldn't hold your breath on that one. Whoever gets to run the next GW franchise will want to make money. Bringing back buffets will cost money and that's if Dft even let them do that.
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« Reply #1482 on: July 31, 2019, 02:04:52 pm »

Advocates of the new trains pointed out how wonderous the trolley would be, and are presumably now suggesting that a static trolley is EVEN BETTER !

You keep saying that you're presuming that we're suggesting that, but I don't think anyone actually is?

A 'static trolley' should be a very last resort when a train is too full.  The facilities to stable and serve from the trolley in the centre of the train (as well as heat urns and so on) is a useful feature on an IET, but sadly crowding is currently often used as an excuse to literally 'set up shop' there.

We are being told that catering sales are up since the removal of the buffet - but I would like to see a detailed breakdown of the figures.
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To view my GWML Electrification cab video 'before and after' video comparison, as well as other videos of the new layout at Reading and 'before and after' comparisons of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/
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« Reply #1483 on: July 31, 2019, 02:18:24 pm »

A 'static trolley' should be a very last resort when a train is too full.  The facilities to stable and serve from the trolley in the centre of the train (as well as heat urns and so on) is a useful feature on an IET, but sadly crowding is currently often used as an excuse to literally 'set up shop' there.

But is it? The train I was on on Monday (1A19 1356 from Chippenmham) was delayed a bit, but still had plenty of seats free, and yet had a static trolley announced.
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« Reply #1484 on: July 31, 2019, 02:30:43 pm »

A 'static trolley' should be a very last resort when a train is too full.  The facilities to stable and serve from the trolley in the centre of the train (as well as heat urns and so on) is a useful feature on an IET, but sadly crowding is currently often used as an excuse to literally 'set up shop' there.

But is it? The train I was on on Monday (1A19 1356 from Chippenmham) was delayed a bit, but still had plenty of seats free, and yet had a static trolley announced.

That's what I'm saying.  If used properly and under the right circumstances it is a useful facility, but too often (like you describe) crowding is used as an excuse when it isn't actually the case, and staff park up there regardless. 

Sometimes it can be more justified - if you have a 9-car and you are on your own then you are doing first class duties as well, and finding time to do that properly as well as do a trolley service throughout the train can be a big ask.  It's easier to park the trolley in the storage facility and open it up for service as and when you can.  That is better for the first class customer as the old way was to say, "If you want anything then you'll have to come and get it from the buffet", but it's not as good for the standard class customer.  The answer there is to provide enough staff of course.
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To view my GWML Electrification cab video 'before and after' video comparison, as well as other videos of the new layout at Reading and 'before and after' comparisons of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/
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