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Author Topic: Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling Chef, Pullman - ongoing discussion  (Read 564916 times)
jamestheredengine
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« Reply #1605 on: April 25, 2021, 08:03:33 pm »

GWR (Great Western Railway) have stopped all on train catering after a request from the ORR» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about) over concerns about how it can be delivered in a Covid secure way. 

Some on-train catering has now been reintroduced.
My wife was pleasantly surprised by this yesterday. Weekend box and a cup of tea!
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #1606 on: June 12, 2021, 01:57:18 pm »

I hear that the PAD» (Paddington (London) - next trains)-PLY» (Plymouth - next trains) Pullman Dining service is being relaunched on Monday 14 June on the following trains.
* 1A86 - 13.15; Plymouth to Paddington.
* 1C94 - 19.04; Paddington to Plymouth.
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broadgage
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« Reply #1607 on: June 13, 2021, 11:04:34 pm »

Whilst I am pleased to hear of this, it is regrettable that the GWR (Great Western Railway) website still refers to "Pullman dining being being suspended until further notice" which will not encourage patronage.
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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.
IndustryInsider
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« Reply #1608 on: June 14, 2021, 09:00:33 am »

On the Pullman page it doesn’t say that: https://www.gwr.com/travelling-with-us/pullman-dining
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stuving
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« Reply #1609 on: June 14, 2021, 10:12:50 am »

On the Pullman page it doesn’t say that: https://www.gwr.com/travelling-with-us/pullman-dining

No, but the booking engine won't let you search for a train - with no explanation. And AFAICS (As Far As I Can See) there is no route via links on the site to that Pulman page anyway. The on-board catering page, which ought to, doesn't mention Pulmans - and from some pages the page-foot link to "on-board services" lead to a "page does not exist". Not a shining example of the webmaster's art, really.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #1610 on: June 14, 2021, 10:20:49 am »

I navigated to it by selecting ‘Travelling with us’ and then ‘Pullman Dining’ from the main website.

Information could be much clearer I admit, but there is a soft launch today so presumably if that goes well then over the coming weeks it will be advertised properly?
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broadgage
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« Reply #1611 on: June 14, 2021, 06:09:42 pm »

Did the Pullman appear on the up train ?
And is it likely to appear on the down service which is due to leave in under an hour.
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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.
bobm
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« Reply #1612 on: June 14, 2021, 08:58:17 pm »

It did indeed appear on the 13:15 ex-Plymouth and is advertised as being on the 19:04.



GWR (Great Western Railway) very much wanted to launch this quietly to ensure the necessary new processes were in place before a more high profile unveiling.  I also suspect this week was chosen to get staff up to speed before next week's planned lifting of further restrictions - which has of course now been delayed.

What is being delivered is a simpler menu with less interaction between staff and customers.  Drinks are brought to the table but you pour themselves.  There is no ice or lemon nor the traditional roll and butter.  The food is brought already plated - there isn't silver service.

That does all feel a bit strange but the food once delivered is as good as ever.



The price structure has been changed with a flat rate of £25 for two courses and £30 for three.  Steak is notable by its absence but I gather that is only temporary because of last minute supply problems.  The pricing compares very well with the previous price structure.  (shown here for comparison)


Time for the traditional photos of "what I ate".


Terrine of confit duck & chicken


Pan fried cod loin


Err.. cheese and biscuits

The apple and celeriac remoulade was particularly tasty and the carrot and cumin barley risotto very filling.

So from that point of view a success.

However there are a number of issues GWR will be working on.  The biggest one is the number of diners they can accommodate.  It varies slightly depending on whether the service is formed of 2X five cars or a nine car and whether any tables are laid up in the neighbouring coach.  However in essence you are looking at single figures per service unless you have a number of groups of two travelling together.  For the moment it looks like three or four sitting together, even from the same household, is out due to the requirement to keep the aisle seats free.

There is then the added complication of the seat reservation system.  Currently it is allocating non diners seats in the restaurant area.   There were two today who couldn't really be moved because all the seats in the adjoining first class coach were also reserved.   The service was formed of 2X5 and there were spaces in the first class section at the other end of the train but of course you can only reach them by walking along the platform.  However with luggage and the fact the sets were correctly formed with first class at each end and not in the middle you cannot really expect people to make that sort of hike.

The reduced prices are a bonus and some compensation for the lack of silver service.  I gather the price will be the same when steak is available.  Although on the menu there also isn't any port yet either.

Today there were three members of staff from before the service was suspended, including the chef, with others being trained.  I also gather London staff will be trained with a view to introducing the service on the 13:04 Paddington to Plymouth and the 18:15 return hopefully by the end of the month.

Given the low key launch it was perhaps not surprising that I was the only one dining but I suspect that suited them today as there were issues with the handheld units sales are recorded on.  The whole meal had to be entered in one go at the end and not course by course so if there had been a number dining it would have taken a while to create all the bills.

Track & Trace is in operation if you are dining - although strangely not if you are just sitting in the coach and not eating (or eating your own food).

So overall a pleasant enough experience and full marks to GWR for getting it off the ground.  I do feel they have been caught out slightly by today's decision to delay the further relaxing of restrictions, but if they can get through the next few weeks I can see it becoming more popular.

One big bonus - the ability to travel without wearing a mask for the first time in nearly a year!


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broadgage
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« Reply #1613 on: June 14, 2021, 09:34:55 pm »

No steak Sad
No port  Sad
No silver service  Sad

But as you point out these problems should only be temporary.
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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.
JayMac
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« Reply #1614 on: June 14, 2021, 10:49:31 pm »

No steak Sad
No port  Sad
No silver service  Sad

No mention of IETs (Intercity Express Train) being unsuited to the job.

You surprise me broadgage!  Wink
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #1615 on: June 15, 2021, 06:40:18 am »

No steak Sad
No port  Sad
No silver service  Sad

But as you point out these problems should only be temporary.

Live on the edge a little Broadgage - there is more to dining than steak and chips - give something else a try!

(And take a hip flask!)  Smiley
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« Reply #1616 on: June 15, 2021, 07:02:55 am »

(And take a hip flask!)  Smiley

Let's see ... not ScotRail, not TfL» (Transport for London - about) ... yes, that would be allowed.  Don't you love the consistency of rail travel!
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« Reply #1617 on: June 15, 2021, 11:15:36 am »

Some years ago I had a bottle of red wine with me that I planned to have with a Pullman meal. I was prepared to pay corkage but was told by the team leader I wasn't allowed to drink my own wine while dining aboard. This seemed like a very silly 'rule' as I could drink it anywhere else on the train. My complaining led to me being declined service, followed by a false accusation to the TM(resolve) that I was being 'rude and aggressive'. That saw me booted out at Reading.

The complaint to FGW (First Great Western) led to a personal meeting with the Customer Service Director. Fulsome apologies, confirmation that there was no 'rule' on own drinks while dining, and a free meal. These days I think you'd be okay with your own hip flask full of a decent LBV.

I think the team leader on that occasion was having a bad day.
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bobm
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« Reply #1618 on: June 16, 2021, 02:24:52 pm »

GWR (Great Western Railway) have now put the menu on the website - https://www.gwr.com/~/media/gwr/pdfs/menus/pullman-2021/pullman-combined-menu-2021.pdf?la=en

Slightly easier to read than the image posted in my report and includes wines too.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #1619 on: June 16, 2021, 03:40:19 pm »

Quite a significant price reduction on what it cost previously then?
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