First Group rail branding

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by IanXC, 4 May 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. IanXC

    IanXC Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    4,656
    Joined:
    18 Dec 2009
    We've seen that First Great Western are rebranding to GWR in this thread, next up seems to be Hull Trains. Their website now has a new logo devoid of "First" and the 'flying f'.

    So it looks like we're seeing the final days of the First brand on the railways. The question is will a rebranding exercise go on at Transpennine Express before the new franchise or not?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

    Messages:
    6,629
    Joined:
    18 Dec 2012
    Location:
    Another planet...
    I'd like to think so, simply because I find their corporate colour scheme quite hideous... But I do think that FTPE is one of Firstgroup's better-run franchises (lack of capacity notwithstanding) so there's less incentive to rebrand. Also I believe the latest direct award only has a year or so to run, so it'd be a push to revinyl all the 185s and refresh the interiors in that timeframe.
     
  3. First class

    First class Established Member

    Messages:
    2,733
    Joined:
    9 Aug 2008
    The First Group reputation clearly affecting public perception. I think the FCC days poisoned the brand amongst the population. The WC franchise proves a point that commuters don't see franchises as individual operations, just "good" brands and "bad" ones.

    I also wonder whether First Group are eyeing up a sale of their rail operations and returning to a focus on bus/coach operation.
     
  4. Class377/5

    Class377/5 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,594
    Joined:
    19 Jun 2010
    Is been First plans for a few years to remove the First branding from all new franchises.
     
  5. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

    Messages:
    8,468
    Joined:
    25 Feb 2010
    The Government was encouraging it a couple of years ago, setting out rules that branding was a franchise rather than TOC asset and had to be available for the successor to use if desired for a suitable renumeration as well as discouraging generic corporate brands (First, Stagecoach, etc). But then that push kinda went quiet.
     
  6. TUC

    TUC Established Member

    Messages:
    1,522
    Joined:
    11 Nov 2010
    But, outside of the south east, are most people aware, or care less, about FCC's reputation?
     
  7. SPADTrap

    SPADTrap Established Member

    Messages:
    1,967
    Joined:
    15 Oct 2012
    But the same people said 'Bring back FCC' a while ago.
     
  8. 387star

    387star Established Member

    Messages:
    4,512
    Joined:
    16 Nov 2009
    Most people saying this is First Group rather than the Government but it might not look great for trains in first livery not being re branded with contracts not requiring it eg thameslink
     
  9. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,920
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Do you use the same fTPE I do? I think it's terrible, even if you take out the overcrowding issue. FGW IC is *far* better, though the regional services are a bit poor.
     
  10. Parallel

    Parallel Established Member

    Messages:
    1,417
    Joined:
    9 Dec 2013
    It will be interesting to see what happens once the IEPs arrive. Considering FGW's average age of rolling stock must be over 30 years old now, the IC services do well considering. Hopefully the new trains will bring better reliability and punctuality. Agreed, regarding the regional services, which are poor IMO.
     
  11. First class

    First class Established Member

    Messages:
    2,733
    Joined:
    9 Aug 2008
    Judging by the kick off when they "won" the West Coast, yes, people do!

    North associate them with 3-car packed TPE services, South associate them with FCC!
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,920
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    I continue to wonder what possessed TPE to think those units would be adequate. I know the Government prevented the fleet being increased in size later, but their bid was flawed from day one.
     
  13. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

    Messages:
    6,629
    Joined:
    18 Dec 2012
    Location:
    Another planet...
    The many and varied problems of TPE are not really of Firstgroup's volition, but more failings at the ministerial/regulatory level. Then again, a few people have said on this thread that they're quite happy with FGW... I'm sure most of us remember the protests and fare-strikes in the Bristol area at the start of the 'Greater Western' franchise, along with 153s in store at Eastleigh.
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    20,920
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    I think I would distinguish between fGW IC, and fGW regional. The former is reasonably decent (give or take trains rammed with Reading commuters, which is difficult to solve unless you got rid of HEx and implemented a timetable more like that from Milton Keynes Central, with fewer ICs stopping and a 100mph non-stop/one-stop local service, which isn't going to happen, especially with Crossrail). The latter, including the Thames Valley locals, is normally well presented but the actual service is poor.
     
  15. Clarence Yard

    Clarence Yard Member

    Messages:
    479
    Joined:
    18 Dec 2014
    Franchise bidders bid what the DfT require, not necessarily what the service needs! There was a time when the DfT wanted everything done with the minimum of rolling stock and the TPE bids reflected that.

    If Sir M. and his acolytes hadn't retired or moved on First Group would have been still stuck with corporate blue dirge for its rail fleet. The new regime doesn't seem to be so fixated but they could do with taking a look at the Stagecoach cleaning handbook to see how it should be done.
     
  16. Via Bank

    Via Bank Member

    Messages:
    531
    Joined:
    28 Mar 2010
    Location:
    London
    And with FGW, who've never really managed to shake off the 'cattle truck' image caused by severe overcrowding. The fact that slam-door trains are still in use doesn't help either.

    In reality, FGW, FCC and TPE couldn't be more different, but the bad reputation sticks to the First name and brand. That explains part of the uproar when they were awarded ICWC.
     
  17. paulravuslante

    paulravuslante Member

    Messages:
    301
    Joined:
    19 May 2010
    Location:
    West Drayton
    I've been on Hull Trains a few times and noticed that the staff making announcements never called it First Hull Trains, despite the branding being everywhere. Not sure about their new logo though!
     
  18. fgwrich

    fgwrich Established Member

    Messages:
    4,777
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2009
    Location:
    Between Edinburgh and Exeter
    Uh oh. Using a pink love heart and calling yourself Love xxx seems to be a little bit of the kiss of death in the bus world, as recently scene by Velvet bus and their Love Your Journey branding...

    Not entirely surprised by this sadly. I'd presume then that come electrification, the new proposed EMUs will come in a new livery for Hull Trains as well then.
     
  19. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

    Messages:
    21,254
    Joined:
    1 Feb 2009
    Location:
    UK
    How weird that we had First beating Virgin, which wasn't acceptable as Virgin are the best and First are evil - but then the paradox where Virgin won East Coast and was seen by many as another nasty private company that should never have been allowed to take over from DOR and its 'public ownership'....

    Edit: I've always thought we should have trains that look the same nationally, with minimal branding and maybe the operator name restricted to the front and rear coaches, perhaps low down where other stuff is written that's not really for customer use.

    Of course you then have issues with TOC-specific ticketing, although that's not a problem if you're showing on the new tickets the full name of the service - e.g. Hull Trains or Great Western Trains and no mention of the operator anyway.

    I'd also like to see stations more standardised in branding, which certainly helps when operators change and everything has to get repainted, or the name of a service is renamed somewhat unnecessarily.
     
    Last edited: 15 May 2015
  20. CockneySparrow

    CockneySparrow Established Member

    Messages:
    997
    Joined:
    14 Aug 2012
    Location:
    Stratford
    Unlikely, Yes FCC were bad on the Bedford route, they were ok on the Cambridge one to be fair, but its unlikely any of FCC if 10% of FCC customers will travel on any of their other franchises
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Looks like they are getting ready to sell the franchises and move away from rail if they can do that
     
  21. Mark62

    Mark62 Member

    Messages:
    249
    Joined:
    3 Apr 2014
    Rebranding normally happens when something is failing. I've seen quite a few hull trains stood in Doncaster and the coaches are invariably very low on passengers. Few get on at Doncaster. I suspect people prefer the superior comfort and service on the HST and Mark 4 stock rather than the discomfort of high speed running with noisy, vibrating underfoor engined DMU.
     
  22. Mugby

    Mugby Established Member

    Messages:
    1,060
    Joined:
    25 Nov 2012
    Location:
    Derby
    With a name that rhymes with worst, they were on a loser right from the start!
     
  23. 3141

    3141 Member

    Messages:
    956
    Joined:
    1 Apr 2012
    Location:
    Overton, Hampshire
    Since they've just agreed a franchise extension for FGW and are ordering new Hitachi A300 trains it seems unlikely they'd be trying to sell FGW. Also, I think they are involved in bidding for other franchises.

    Corporate branding is something that comes and goes. A new CEO or Chairman may ask "Why doesn't this company have a corporate brand?", and everyone rushes round saying "What a brilliant idea, sir, why yes, this will really make the public think we are just wonderful." Remember how, when Richard Bowker became CEO of National Express, they started corporate branding on their buses and trains? The thing that looked like Waitrose. Similarly, when a controlling group's reputation isn't great, debranding and some degree of new local identities may seem to be a way out of the problems.

    Either way, it gives an impression that things are being done, which is useful when the things that really ought to be done are just too difficult.
     
  24. Agent_c

    Agent_c Member

    Messages:
    933
    Joined:
    22 Jan 2015
    If First Great Western didn't trash their reputation enough, nothing would
     
  25. Class377/5

    Class377/5 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,594
    Joined:
    19 Jun 2010
    Were FCC bad? When about 70% of the issues were caused by NR, not sure I actually agree with that. Then again facts are often ignored on here.
     
  26. Domh245

    Domh245 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,927
    Joined:
    6 Apr 2013
    Location:
    Nottingham
    If you think facts are ignored on here, have a listen to the public. In the public's eye, FCC were awful, always late, always overcrowded, charged far too much money for tickets etc. Whilst those who know better recognise that FCC were a good operator, let down by NR, the general public just see the name on the train and in their bank statement and vent anger accordingly.
     
  27. LateThanNever

    LateThanNever Established Member

    Messages:
    1,005
    Joined:
    18 Jul 2013
    Quite! Eject that man from the board - but give him a medal for speaking truth unto power!
     
  28. TheNewNo2

    TheNewNo2 Member

    Messages:
    904
    Joined:
    31 Mar 2015
    Location:
    Canary Wharf
    FGW have a fairly decent reputation I believe. Not that any TOC has a stellar reputation.


    Take a ride on it between London and the rest of the ECML and they're rammed when I've been on them. I doubt most people care much what type of train they're on. The latest Passenger Focus survey gave FHT's trains a 92% rating, vs East Coast's 89%. People care about journey time and ease of use. In the ease bracket Hull Trains wins hands down, on the grounds that they provide semi-regular services, whereas East Coast provides one train per day direct.


    I personally wouldn't use an HST if they didn't have opening windows, they are inferior to modern high speed DMUs in almost every other respect. I won't deny they're a good train, and a long-serving one, but it's high time they were flogged off to the heritage sector.
     
  29. Class377/5

    Class377/5 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,594
    Joined:
    19 Jun 2010
    That doesn't make it right nor informed. Just igorant of the truth and a lack of willingness, but that seems to be the pattern for the masses these days.
     
  30. Via Bank

    Via Bank Member

    Messages:
    531
    Joined:
    28 Mar 2010
    Location:
    London
    While FCC's performance improved towards the end of their franchise, their train and station presentation, customer information strategy, etc. were appalling. FCC's trains were grubby inside and out, and the stations were grim, foreboding environments, added an extra dystopian air by the automatic announcements about "First Capital Connect [being] pleased to announce that crime has fallen by over forty per cent!"

    And running a DOO service that serves two international airports without a PIS, and without even bothering to make sure station signs lined up with train windows - that's basically inexcusable.

    Not saying the current incumbent operator is any better (they're not) but FCC's shabby, poor VfM reputation is well deserved.
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2015
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page