Monday, April 28, 2008

Buffet, or no buffet? That is the question

Did everyone catch Dom Joly's Complainers tonight? I'm quite glad I wasn't in it to be honest, as he did rather take the mickey out of everyone, to say the least, but well done everyone who took part, it's always nice to see FGW getting a bit of a roasting. It was particularly good in the way it highlighted the ridiculous situation where FGW doesn't have enough carriages, as it is still one of those issues I simply can't get my head round.
In other news, I hear on the grapevine of something really scandalous. An e-mail arrived in my inbox, bearing the following message:
"Did you know that FGW are experimenting with doing away with the buffet car on at least 6 sets running between Cardiff and London? It's being done completely on the quiet and they're waiting to see how many complaints they get, which I reckon is going to be an awful lot. In fact, we need to encourage everyone to write in or that's going to be it - no buffets."
Now this really is serious. We finally get our much-deserved First Class Off-Peak Upgrade and then they threaten to take away our flapjacks?
Please, someone say it's not so!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hey, Welsh people, want to be on the beeb?

Hello all
I have been contacted by BBC Wales, who are making a 30 minute programme on the transport problems between Wales to London. As I have mentioned before, I've had more than a few requests for I Hate First Great Western badges from Welsh people, so if you're Welsh, fed up with FGW, and have a yearning to see your face on the big screen (or at least the medium- sized one in the living room), please write to me with your contact details to, and I will pass your details on to the producer.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Train pushers, and the new timetable

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

The ignorant and the gay, and an appeal for help

Now listen, I'm not averse to a bit of healthy criticism. I realise that not everyone in the Thames Valley and the west of England hates First Great Western.
I also realise that to many, this blog has extremist tendencies, with my use of the word 'hate' appearing to have echoes of 'hate crimes', 'hate mail' and other not-very-nice things.
I don't even mind being told to get a life, since to those who don't use FGW on a regular basis, the depth of feeling about it cannot easily be understood.
What I do object to, however, is the suggestion that not only are we, the FGW-hating public, a bunch of saddos, we are also gay.
Surely, I mean really, honestly, are we not aware these days that accusing someone of being gay is not an insult? It also immediately reveals you as someone ignorant, whose comment I have to delete from my blog because it is offensive, thereby depriving you of your right to voice your opinion.
Also, if you think we're sad for spending so much time complaining about a train company, how sad are you when, on coming across the blog, feel so much rage that you feel compelled to spout your badly-spelt feelings, thereby showing that you yourself have nothing better to do than get all annoyed about something that you don't like. Either say something sensible, or: Just. Go. Away.
There, I feel much better now. I'm just getting annoyed at the amount of time I have to spend cleaning up the blog, although I suppose that's the price you pay for putting something on the internet in the first place.
Anyway, that's not what I was going to talk about today. I was, in fact, going to ask all those of you who are supporters of the blog to help a campaign group which is campaigning for a better service for the nice people of Wiltshire. Please sign the petition here to persuade First Great Western that the draft timetable they've agreed really will have the support of the people who will use it. They'll be very very grateful, and perhaps Wiltshire will get the service it needs.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

First Class? Hardly

My business (okay, it was a friend's birthday) took me to Paddington last night for a bite to eat and a few drinks.
It seemed ridiculous for me to take South West Trains to Waterloo instead of First Great Western to Paddington, so I bit the bullet and got onto the dreaded Slough train. The journey there was fine, apart from being crowded and dirty, but so far so normal, it came on time so that was the main thing. On the journey home, I took advantage of my free off-peak first class upgrade (see previous post for how you can receive yours) and got into the first class section of the 2214 Paddington to Reading train.
Now, I realise that these small stopping services don't have swish carriages, but honestly, there was very little to differentiate this section of the train from any other. It was covered in rubbish, the seats were torn, and various annoying loud people came and sat in it even though they didn't have first class tickets ("Come on, it's fine, they don't check at this time of night").
To be honest, there's no point in having a first class section on these small chuggy trains, because to call them 'first class' is a bit embarrassing. They're just a very slightly cleaner, very slightly quieter area where there's a door protecting you from the full horror of what's going on in the rest of the train. And, the worst thing of all - there's no free cake and tea!
I realise that there's usually no train manager working on these trains, but, as I've said before, there should be, because travelling in the evenings on FGW is a horrible horrible experience, and those people who pay for a real first class ticket must be horrified when they see what their extra millions have bought them.
Note to self - arrange to go out in Waterloo next time.