Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Many thanks for all your supportive messages on my newfound cyclist status, it's good to know there are plenty of other people who've given up relying on public transport to ferry them around, and are taking to their own two wheels. I may have to invest in a new bike sometime soon, as the one I've been given has been sitting in someone's garage for a few years. The front wheel is wobbly, the brakes don't really work and the whole frame's a bit small for me, but I'm having a surprising amount of fun, specially since I discovered that you can cycle round Dorney Lake, which is where the rowing for the Olympics is going to be. It's a brilliant man-made facility full of birdlife and rabbits, and no traffic. It's also measured out for the rowers, so you can log how far you've cycled, if you like doing that sort of thing.
Back to First Great Western News, and I've found the website for last night's Week In Week Out programme, which was all about FGW, with Christian Wolmar travelling from London to Paddington and asking the hard questions we all want answered. You can watch it here for the next six days. Try and ignore that funny woman with the badges, there are some crazy people out there.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Posted by Helen at 12:19
Monday, April 28, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Here's a suggestion for how First Great Western staff can help get round the overcrowding problem. Watch this video.
I'm not sure how long this has been around, but I think it's excellent.
Basically, we know the trains are going to be packed at busy times, and to a certain extent, we accept that. Let's just push as many people as we can onto each one. I'm sure the casualties will be minimal.
In other news, the May 2008 timetable is out. Find it here. How is it for you?
In the interest of fairness, as I am an exceptionally fair person, I took First Great Western yesterday, as I needed to get to West Drayton, and SWT don't go there.
The train was on time, pretty clean, and not overcrowded, a textbook journey.
If you're wondering why the picture is of sweets, freefoto doesn't have any photos of sardines, and I thought this one looked jolly instead.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The Swindon-based train operator agreed the £29m investment package after discussions with the government. Extra drivers and guards will be recruited to resolve a staff shortage.
FGW announced that five extra three-carriage trains will be leased for the troubled Cardiff to Portsmouth service. Compensation for delayed passengers next year will increase by half, on top of the doubling of compensation already announced for this year.
There will be extra discounted tickets available, better information systems and £4m will be spent on staff training."
Monday, February 25, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Now, I'm not sure how this happened, but my ire is beginning to turn and point (can ire point? If it doesn't, I think it should start, and, why not, let's have it stamping its feet too) firmly in the direction of the DfT. Sure, we all like to hate FGW, because they're the ones running the trains, and they've certainly made their share of mistakes, but it rather gets on my nerves when MPs start slagging off the company, when the DfT are the ones who are pulling all the strings.
Read the following, from the Sky News website: (read the full report here)
Chancellor Alastair Darling criticised First Great Western while in the West Country city of Bristol.
"I know there have been very great problems with this particular franchise that have gone on far too long. Frankly, the travelling public using the line are entitled to expect far better reliability and punctuality in a far better service. First Great Western need to get a grip of it. But I know that the Transport Secretary is very focused on this."
And fellow MP Dawn Primarolo said: "I share the rage of thousands of passengers regularly when I'm on a service where I can't get a seat, I'm tired, and I can't get home.
"I think they (First Great Western) have got to be given a clear ultimatum to improve the service. If they don't, we need to reconsider (renewing their franchise)."
Righty ho, so it's all their fault and not yours at all in any way then? The problem is, I don't believe it. It's just all such a lot of finger-pointing crap, and not in any way helpful to sorting out the problem of GETTING THE TRAINS TO RUN ON TIME!
Yes, FGW have their problems with staff-shortages, being a bit rubbish at giving us information sometimes, and putting up prices, and all of those things are their fault. But if they weren't so shackled by the DfT, they'd be able to sort out some of their problems and get the service improved.
I'm quite riled now. Which is a shame, as I'm off on holiday next week, so was having a lovely term's-out kind of Friday.
I'm all for getting a few "I Hate the DfT" badges printed, but I think there would be a queue of car drivers ahead of us, and who ever heard of a government department listening to anyone anyway. Golly, I've gone all political. Someone bring me a magazine full of celebrity gossip, quick!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Happy Valentine's Day everyone, unless you hate the whole concept, in which case, happy 14th of February, hope it's a good day generally and the shops full of gaudy red hearts don't get you down too much.
I had plenty of time to look at the inescapable flowers and assorted sentimental goo this morning. I arrived at Slough station to find that the fast train I usually miss had been delayed, which meant that I caught it, and sped into London, arriving 15 minutes earlier than usual, and arriving at my destination with plenty of time for a relaxed stroll into work, rather than the usual swearing and huffing and puffing.
Talking of huffing and puffing, in my continuing quest to work from home, I've realised that I'm definitely going to have to build some exercise into the equation. I've worked out through a process of counting (yes, I'm that weirdo walking up and down with my lips moving) that I get through at least half of my recommended 10,000 steps a day just by walking to the station, walking between platforms, walking between tube stations, and walking to my work. And back again. Whereas, the distance from my bed to the kettle and from thence to the computer is approximately 20 steps, and although these are in the form of stairs, I don't really think that's going to be sufficient to keep me fit and healthy. Even wearing my heaviest dressing gown and with the occasional trip to the phone or front door. Which is a worry. Mind you, with the extra three to four hours a day Former Commuting Time (FCT) I'll have at my disposal, I could go to the gym, have a shower, maybe even get dressed too and possibly interact socially with some people in my area. It's a tempting prospect. I must start a list of more 'Things To Do With My FCT', when I've got a moment.
Finally, I must draw your attention to the following site, which will also be appearing in my links list on the right hand side of the blog. Lee Fletcher from the First Great Western Coffee Shop has, along with several other people and groups, started a new site called "Campaign Against New Beeching Report", or CANBER, which campaigns against the closure of existing rail stations and train services nationwide. Find it here. Give it a visit, as it's only if we all get together and complain that anything will get done. Muttering under your breath in a packed train will not change the world. Eh, I'm right philosophical today.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Friday, February 01, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
First Great Western (FGW) apologised for poor service and said it would also freeze fares and car park charges until the end of the year.
Most season ticket holders are expected to pay the previous year's prices when they renew their 2008 ticket.
The move comes days before a planned fare strike by disgruntled passengers.
Pressure group, More Train Less Strain, said it had received widespread support for the protest scheduled for 28 January across the West Country".
On to business.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Thursday, January 03, 2008
It is a letter from Andrew Haines, FGW's Chief Operating Officer, apologising about December's bad service, and offering season ticket holders two day's worth of travel vouchers as an apology.
All you have to do is write to the Freepost address provided and give a copy of your ticket, and, hey presto, free vouchers come through the door. My letter is already written and posted. Hopefully the aforementioned vouchers will arrive before I renew my ticket in February.
So, a slightly more Happy New Year after all. I stand corrected.
Ah, New Year. A time for fresh new beginnings, soon-to-be-broken resolutions, and the feeling that a new page has been turned, an opportunity to get fitter, get a better job, get to work on trains that run on time, and are not crowded. Ah.
I, like many of you, went back to work yesterday after a longer-than-usual break. It's delightfully quiet on the trains this week, I got a seat on the tube from Paddington this morning, which is unheard of. However, despite being delighted about arriving at work early, the only reason I did so is because the fast train from Slough that I usually miss was badly delayed, so I caught it. Everything was delayed at Slough this morning. It seems the system still isn't working, and they can't blame passenger numbers, because most of us aren't even there to get annoyed by it.
So, what has the New Year brought for First Great Western? Well, fare rises for a start. That got everyone talking on New Year's Day, probably because there wasn't much other news. I won't be getting all irate about that until February, when my season ticket runs out, but expect to hear some pretty loud bellyaching then.
No, I'm most aggravated by the fact that I'm really looking forward to the promised snow, and it hasn't come. Also, if it does come, I shall be forced to be annoyed about it messing with the trains, rather than stomping about enjoying it and throwing it and making it into snowmen as I did in my childhood. Being grown up is rubbish and forces you to be grumpy about things that used to be fun. Remember how cool it was to travel by train when you were a child? Perhaps we should try and recreate that innocence of youth, and be genuinely surprised every day when we arrive at the station and find that the train isn't there. Then we could all play clapping and skipping games while we wait for it to arrive. At least it would confuse the hell out of the staff, who seem pretty grumpy themselves about working on the trains, something they too would have thought brilliant as children.
Or maybe we should bring the age of steam back. Even adults think steam trains are cool. Choo choo!