Review of "First Great Western"

published 29/10/2006 | esteban1985
Member since : 11/10/2006
Reviews : 18
Members who trust : 0
About me :
Not for me
Pro if your lucky you can get a seat
Cons slow, unreliable, expensive, rude, Very Very Late
Frequency of trains
Reliability of trains
Speed of trains
Safety of trains
How extensive is their Rail Network?

"Avoid First Great Western at all costs!"

I HATE First Great Western trains. you may think that is a little harsh but let me explain just how shocking their service is and then you'll think i've been very reserved with my judgement.

Firstly i'll give you some general information. FGW run trains between London Padington and the South West and generally anywhere else in the south west area, this includes Reading, Portsmouth, Southampton, Cardiff, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and down into Cornwall. Their trains are generally pretty old, they do have a few new ones but you'll be lucky to get one of those, they never have enough carriages, and although they say they are the most reliable train company in the UK i find it hard to believe.

So why am i so negative, i'll give you a few examples of the shocking service. In July i got FGW trains from Portsmouth to Plymouth. On the outward journey the first train broke down, although they did get a replacement relatively quickly i did end up missing my connection at westbury, and because they recently cut the number of trains going through westbury i had to wait over an hour for another train. By the time i eventually made it to Plymouth i was 2 hours late. Now I wasn't all that bitter about this, its one of those things that happens every now and again so i forgot about it, however i did make sure i gave myself a nice big 40 minute gap at Westbury on my return journey, ensuring i couldn't miss it.

So on the return journey i got on my train at Plymouth, which did not have any working air conditioning (this day just happened to be about 34oC), in order to fix this problem they stopped for nearly an hour at Exeter station, meaning i somehow actually missed my connecting train again. After waiting another hour at Westbury i finally got on my 2nd train only for this one to break down at Southampton, meaning i had to get off and wait for another train. Then in the most unlikely hattrick of bad luck the third train broke down Cosham, about 10 miles from Portsmouth. When i finally got to portsmouth it was nearly 10pm, i was supposed to get back at 6.30! To make things even worse i did try to get my money back for the trips but they replied saying that "unfortunately we can only offer refunds to season ticket holders" so i even ended up having to pay for those awful trips

Ok two bad journeys isn't good, but since then i have moved to Cardiff and still have to use FGW to get to Portsmouth and all 6 trains i have been on have been at least 1/2 hour late.

Finally a word on the price. When i started at Plymouth university in 2003 a return to portsmouth cost £19, it now cost £36. So in the last 3 years the price has nearly doubled and the service has got even worse.

My advice is that if it is possible to avoid using FGW then i would do so.

OK i have read some of the other reviews who seem to think that they are quite good, so either i'm increadibly unlucky or they are working for first great western.

to add to my previous story i have a few more, i went home this weekend, friday evening to be exact and despite leaving at 5.30 from Cardiff on what should ahve been a 3 hour journey i didn't get home till nearly 11. If that wasn't bad enough this evening the exact same thing happend, although i did get back at 10.30 this time, however because there was only 2 carriages both times i had to stand for most of both journeys so by the time i got there i was tired and very fed up. I reitterate my point. DO NOT USE FGW YOU WILL NEVER GET TO WHERE YOU WANT TO GO!!!!

in summary FGW trains are slow, old, unreliable, noisy, dirty, cramped and generally a harrowing experience

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Comments on this review

  • Razzmond published 14/05/2008
    Inaccurate. FGW gets me wherever I need to go, sure there are sometimes delays and whatnot but you have to understand these things do happen. People complain about track work, what would they rather do? Wait for a few extra minutes or have their train make a hasty exit off the track? I think if you dont like them you shouldnt use them
  • voyagerdude220 published 19/12/2006
    I would normally be leaving a comment t hat you've been a bit biased on this review, but seeing its GWF (Great Wesern Farce) or Last etc I would agree with you. I've not used one of their trains yet since the timetable change, but the local ones are normally crammed between Bristol Temple M & Taunton (1 or 2 carriages instead of the booked 3/4 is quite normal on services throughout the ex- Wessex Trains network)
  • oll1e published 08/12/2006
    Although I would sympathize with you, I would disagree that FGW should be completely avoided. I travel on the Paddington line, and experience no major problems unless it is something out of their control. The Cardiff to Portsmouth Line used to be operated by Wessex Trains, FGW only took over that section in April, it's not going to suddenly turn itself around, be patient, and perhaps, service and train quality as a whole will improve.
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Product Information : First Great Western

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Listed on Ciao since: 09/08/2000