First Great Western

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First Great Western

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69% positive

29 reviews from the community

Review of "First Great Western"

published 12/01/2005 | filmlover
Member since : 27/06/2004
Reviews : 39
Members who trust : 2
About me :
Pro Direct rail services to London
Cons Price, scheduling, overcrowding, Sunday works
Frequency of trains
Reliability of trains
Speed of trains
Safety of trains
How extensive is their Rail Network?

"Never on a Sunday"

Where do they operate?
South West providing train services between Wales and South West of England to London.

What are the problems?
- Cost of tickets – day return to London from South West more than £80 peaktime, more than £40 off peak (National Express £2 for funfare tickets, £7.75 day return).

- Overcrowding – peaktimes leaving London are packed. Friday 6’clock – standing room only.

- Railworks on Sundays – you do not want to travel on these days. many journeys are routinely, severely disrupted.

- Customer information – they do not always update the national websites ( or with changes to services so unsuspecting passengers turn up not realising trains have been replaced and rescheduled.

For example -
I’ve been travelling from the South West to Windsor each weekend for the past couple of months. The railworks on Sundays have made my journeys hell. The journey should take just over 2 hours and involve one change of train. For a few weeks there was a bus replacement for the first part of the journey. Then the train the bus met would arrive late so I would miss my connection. The worst week was when the national websites failed to mention that on the Sunday services would be severely disrupted. I had to get 2 buses and 3 trains to travel 85 miles. And not knowing about it beforehand meant I didn’t know what the connecting trains were so I turned up at stations late on the Sunday evening, no staff around, not many pssengers around with no clue what train to get next. Do you know how many trains at Reading station go to London Paddington? And how do you tell which of those are non-stop and which stop at your stop. Not easily that’s all I can say. Not a fun journey, in fact for a female travelling alone it was a bit worrying. And they still charge you the usual price for this nightmare.

Scheduled journey - 2 hours 16 mins, 1 change of train
Actual journey - 3 hours 46 mins, 2 buses, 3 trains and the journey is 85 miles.

When I complained they said they had published the details on their own site and that’s good enough. This means if your journey involves morer than one rail company, you’d have to check each of their websites before travelling because it won’t necessarily be on the national sites. Does this sound reasonable?

If this service was provided by a coach or airplane company they would simply go out of business.The ticket agents don’t even check that you know about the disruptions when they sell you the tickets.

So the moral is, it’s much cheaper to travel by coach, car and probably even plane. Don’t travel on a Sunday and if you do check the trains you think are running actually are beforehand.

Oh, and if this hasn't put you off, don't buy your ticket online. Check the prices and then go to the ticket office. Cheaper tickets are sometimes available that don't come up on the website.

Good luck.

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Comments on this review

  • IndiePrincess published 17/01/2005
    Generally speaking, I think First, as a company, are terrible for public transport.
  • petitesquirt published 13/01/2005
    Sunday is the worse travel day I reckon. The schedule and railworks put on into a car each weekend.
  • thespurs published 12/01/2005
    nice review, i am not served by first great western but i will bear in mind what you have said if i have to travel for football in the future
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Product Information : First Great Western

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Listed on Ciao since: 09/08/2000