Posts Tagged ‘First Great Western’

1204 First Great Western Reading-Guildford-Redhill train

August 26, 2016

1204 First Great Western Reading-Guildford-Redhill train, one toilet out of action, the other the toilet bowl full to overflowing. Disgusting.

And why do they cover the windows by the doors?

This is what we pay our extortionate rail fares for. And the profiteers, laugh all the way to the bank.

Nightmare of weekend rail works

November 8, 2015
railworks inadequate information at stations

railworks inadequate information at stations

Once again nightmare of weekend rail works and dysfunctional privatised rail companies.

Last weekend, rail works on Reading-Guildford section, of Reading-Guildford-Gatwick line.

This Sunday, replacement bus service as far as Reigate.

As last weekend and the weekend before, no information at stations en-route, no amended timetable, simply a poster notifying of rail works.

The coach was awful. Seat that reclined, no means to make the seats upright, very bad for lack of back support.

At Guildford, a man got on the coach and said where it was going.

Long wait at Guildford.

Guildford appeared to be closed. No trains. Cheapskates SouthWestTrains not even laying on coaches, local buses pressed into service.

Driver told all passengers to use seat belts. First time that has ever happened.

no information on the platform at Reigate

no information on the platform at Reigate

Getting off at Reigate, feeling dreadful.

No one at Reigate to tell passenger where to go. Station not open, so have to walk down the road to gain access to platform.

On platform no information.

Learn from passengers on opposite platform need to be on that platform for Gatwick.

Back out station, further down the road, across level crossing, and back down to gain access to opposite platform.

Two toilets on First Great Western train. One lacks water.

Return journey relieved to find no rail works. Relief short lived.

2008 Reading train shown on time. At 2010, when it fails to show, announced train has been cancelled. How could it have been on time?

Then an announcement to catch first train to Redhill, and pick up Reading train at Redhill. No information which platform first train to Redhill departing from.

Man on platform asked. Foreigner, long black hair in pony tail. He said Platform 1, claimed announcement to that effect. Not true. He said Reading train would wait at Redhill and there would be no delay.

Next train was 2029, running two-three minutes late, slow train stopping at all stations. It was therefore a blatant lie there would be no delay.

I doubted train would be held at Redhill, was tempted to wait at Gatwick for the next train in an hour’s time, but not knowing why the train had not arrived at Gatwick, and thus not knowing if next train would experience same problem, caught the train to Redhill.

At Redhill, as I had suspected, no train, the man had blatantly lied.

Luckily Redhill has train control.

The Gatwick train was running very late. At 2008, it was not even near Redhill. This begs the question why was it being shown on time? First Great Western Control decided to turn the train around at Redhill to make up lost time. They did not tell Southern Control until too late. Had they told them earlier, they could have arranged for passengers to be picked up, dropped off at Redhill, and still catch the train.

Redhill notified Gatwick of the situation, explicitly told Gatwick not to send passengers to Redhill, as there was no train.

Why did the man at Gatwick blatantly lie, say there was a train, when there was no train? Why did he send passengers on to Redhill, knowing there was nowhere for them to go?

Had no lies been told, simply train cancelled, catch the next train, passengers would have remained at the airport in the warm and dry, got something to eat and drink and caught the next train.

Gatwick is wishing to massively expand with a second runway.  The station cannot cope now with the existing passenger numbers.  Weekdays, the station forecourt is backing up into the airport. A problem easily solved if barriers removed and passengers pay on the trains, but Southern are refusing to remove the barriers. At weekends, nightmare of weekend rail works.

Re-nationalisation of railways long overdue.

Weekend rail works

November 1, 2015
notice of rail works no amended timetable

notice of rail works no amended timetable

For at least ten years, weekend railworks on the line Reading-Guildford-Gatwick and Gatwick-Brighton. One or the other, if very unlucky, both.

The first Sunday in November, first day of the month, it was the turn of Reading-Guildford, but also effected was Guildford-Aldershot.

Dysfunctional First Great Western, who do not give a damn about their passengers, no information at effected stations, other than a poster stating weekend railworks. No amended timetable.

A replacement bus, leaving twenty minutes earlier than  train would have departed.

No one at the station, no bus.

 no information of rail works on platform display

no information of rail works on platform display

I wandered onto the platform. No information on the display, other than a non-stopping train passing through.

One girl on the platform. I told her no train, a bus, running twenty minutes earlier. She did not know. Had I not told her, she would have been waiting for a non-existent train. It was lucky for her she was early for the train.

At Guildford, bus arrived early. Had it arrived at its scheduled time, there would have been barely sufficient time to buy a ticket and catch the waiting train.

Passengers treated as criminals.

Passenger coming in by replacement bus, should be allowed to walk through and board the train, and buy their ticket on the train.

On the train, a couple who had missed the train, or at least the replacement bus. They had arrived at the station, no information. They were now running an hour late, less than an hour to catch a BA flight to the US.

Return journey only marginally better.

Chaos at Guildford Station.

There should have been people at the station exit directing people to buses. There was not.

Half a dozen buses.

I asked. I was directed to a bus further down the line. No, I needed to catch the bus in the opposite direction.

First Great Western

September 21, 2015

This morning 1057 North Camp to Gatwick train was cancelled.

Only no announcements to tell passengers it was cancelled, no announcements to catch the 1034 train to Redhill, and then change at Redhill for Gatwick.

Luckily the train for Redhill was running late, else that would not have been possible.

Welcome to First Great Western, only now not called First Great Western, today a name change to Great Western Railway, which is an insult to Brunel.

On Sunday Jeremy Corbyn announced the People’s Railway. As each franchise expires, will revert back to the state,

When does the First Great Western franchise expire?

Justine Greening has decried as ideological driven. No, privatization is.

It is claimed competition has improved the service. What competition? These are private monopolies.

East Coast Mainline was successfully run under public ownership. End of last year it was handed to Richard Branson and Stagecoach.

British railways are owned by foreign state-owned railways.

Rumour has it that come January, there will be three trains an hour running to Gatwick, the semi-fast, the slow to Redhill will continue to Gatwick, and a third train added. New rolling stock. And possibly run through the night.

Dysfunctional First Great Western trains service

November 7, 2014
First Great Western poster

First Great Western poster

Dysfunctional First Great Western trains. Poster at station saying rail works on Sunday, amended timetable, but no amended timetable.

How are passengers to know when to catch the bus or train?

The nightmare of weekend rail works is bad enough, but now we do not even get an amended timetable to know when the trains or buses are running.

As I learnt last weekend, even the stations are not told.

Extortionate rail fares but piss poor service.

Weekend rail works no amended timetable

November 1, 2014

The nightmare of weekend rail works is bad enough in itself, but now the latest wheeze from First Great Western (arguably one of the worst train companies in the country), is no amended timetable.

I had noticed a poster last week, saying rail works this weekend. I assumed giving advance notice to then be replaced by an amended timetable, showing where had to catch bus, revised timetable.

I knew Sunday rail works, but had forgotten today too. I therefore arrived at the station, expecting to find I had missed the bus. To my surprise trains running. I enquired trains running? Yes. To Gatwick? No, a bus. I asked the times, did it arrive later?

The answer was unbelievable. The station did not know, they have not been told. And that was why there was no amended timetable posted, showing the revised times and the route bus not train.

Now it is bad enough rail works, being forced to get a bus. But now no times.

I was told passengers are now expected to contact the train company.

At Guildford, a girl wanting to get to Gatwick, tried on-line using her phone. No information.

The bus running to Gatwick, the passengers were advised chaos on M25 and M23, journey could take an hour and a half or more.

The service being provided by the train companies is already a disgrace. It has now got even worse.

The last couple of weeks, trains on the Reading-Guildford (then on to Redhill or Gatwick line) have been arriving late at North Camp, then running slow to Guildford, arriving several minutes late at Guildford. No apology, no explanation.

Last Sunday, Reading to Gatwick train, one toilet not working, one toilet no water.

Tuesday, Reading to Redhill train, one toilet not working, one toilet no toilet paper.

At Aldershot, Southwest Trains, more rail chaos, Guildford-Aldershot-Ascot train, only running as far as Aldershot, then change to a bus. Though with the third world cattle trucks Southwest Trains are now running on this line, passengers may prefer being transferred to a bus.

Last Sunday, bloody chaos at Gatwick and Brighton due to rail works.

Extortionate rail fares, and when the trains are not running to normal schedule, chaos of rail works, as was today and last weekend, no compensation is paid to passengers.

0907 Gatwick-Reading train First Great Western fail

October 6, 2014

An hourly train runs Gatwick to Reading, stopping at major stations and interchanges en-route.

One such station is North Camp. The exception being the 0907 Gatwick-Reading train. It stops as usual en-route to Guildford, then from Guildford, fast to Reading, passing through North Camp without stopping.

The only way to reach North Camp and other stations where the Gatwick-Reading train would normally stop is to alight at Redhill or Guildford and change to the stopping train.

Redhill is the better option as less time to wait.

This morning the slow train several minutes late.

Note: Slow stopping train runs Redhill to Reading.

The queues at Gatwick Station in the morning are appalling, stretching right back into the South Terminal. A major airport serving London, and yet a station ticket office totally inadequate to cope with the demand. The barriers should be removed, or at the very least left open at peak times, giving passengers the option to purchase a ticket on the train. But the greed-driven privatised rail companies would rather treat passengers as criminals than provide a service.

Disgusting First Great Western trains

June 22, 2013

I wonder how long it is going to be before First Great Western provide clean trains, with soap, with running water, with doors that lock?

So far this month every First Great Western train I have caught the toilets have been in a disgusting condition. Today was no exception, no running water on the 1502 Reading to Redhill slow train. One the three-coach trains, there used to be two toilets, on the recently refurbished trains there is now only one toilet. Year on year, we see a twice the rate of inflation rise in train fares for a deteriorating service. At the very least we expect to find celan functioning toilets.

So far this week, First Great Western have had to take at least two trains out of service on health and safety grounds. One because the locks did not work (on the train doors, not the toilet doors), another because the lights were not working.

What is deeply disturbing is that First Great Western has instructed its guards not to take trains out of service on health and safety grounds.

Lack of soap or water or both in the toilets is not a trivial matter. We now have bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics. One of which is e.coli. A situation not helped by companies like First Great Western who are helping to spread disease.

Soap is very effective at destroying bacteria, it breaks down the cell walls, as does the physical action of washing hands.

The matter was drawn to the attention of the guard who will file a report. Will anything be done? If my experience this month is anything to go by, no.

It is time for both Rail Regulator and the Health and Safety Executive to take action and hit First Great Western with a massive fine.

Disgusting First Great Western trains

June 7, 2013

Today no toilet paper in the one and only toilet on the 1234 Reading-Gatwick train.

Yesterday the toilet was in a filthy condition.

On Tuesday there were many problems, lock on the door did not lock, only a dribble of water, no soap, an unpleasant smell.

This is totally unacceptable. Either First Great Western are failing to spend the money to clean the toilets or their contractors are not carrying out what they are paid to do. Either way, First Great Western are deliberately spreading disease throughout their trains.

One option is to force a train out of service on health and safety grounds. This would incur a massive fine for First Great Western. The only problem is, it would greatly inconvenience passengers, and as this is the Reading-Gatwick train, passengers could miss their flights.

I reported to the guard, he said he would file a report. But then I did this on Tuesday, and yet no action by First Great Western.

The three-coach Reading-Gatwick trains used to have two toilets, the refurbished trains have only one.

Year on year we see rail fares rise twice the rate of inflation, and this is the disgusting service we receive in return.

Disgusting First Great Western trains

June 4, 2013
1234 First Great Western Reading-Gatwick train at Guildford Station

1234 First Great Western Reading-Gatwick train at Guildford Station

On the 1234 Reading-Gatwick train, three coaches only one toilet for the entire train, and it was not functional.

The lock on the door did not work, as you walked into the toilet, an unpleasant stench, the water from the tap was little more than a dribble, there was no soap.

Even at the end of the day, this would not be acceptable, at lunchtime, middle of the day, this is totally unacceptable. But it is typical of First Great Western trains, and has become the norm. For at least a decade, we have been hit by fare increases running at double the rate of inflation, and yet they cannot keep their toilets clean and functional.

I raised with the two guards on the train. They agreed, totally unacceptable and said they would file a report.

This is not a trivial matter. We now have bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics. One of which is e.coli. A situation not helped by companies like First Great Western who are helping to spread disease.

Soap is very effective at destroying bacteria, it breaks down the cell walls, as does the physical action of washing hands.

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