GNER Restaurant Car Capacity

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by ryan125hst, 29 Oct 2019.

  1. ryan125hst

    ryan125hst Established Member

    Messages:
    1,094
    Joined:
    2 Jun 2011
    Location:
    Retford
    As you may have seen from another recent post of mine, I have been looking into restaurant services on trains by using the Wayback Machine recently. One thing I wanted to ask about was the capacity of the restaurant cars on GNER. On their 225’s, they used a whole first class carriage which has 46 seats. On their HST’s however, they used the TFKB (Trailer First Kitchen Buffet) which has half of the carriage taken up by the kitchen and buffet counter, resulting in the carriage only having 17 seats.

    Given that HST’s are used on London to Inverness and Aberdeen services which, I would imagine, encourage people to eat in the restaurant given the length of the journey, was the capacity of the restaurant car on the HST sufficient or did it regularly get full? Did they use some seats in the adjacent carriage if required? Or, was the restaurant provision of the 225’s too generous and therefore they only used part of the carriage?
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

    Messages:
    7,196
    Joined:
    26 Jan 2009
    Location:
    Central Belt
    It did get full and they needed to turn people away. Remember the mk4s were turned in the mallard refurb. But on both sets it wasn’t uncommon to have tables set in the adjacent coach.
     
  4. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,685
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    I always thought that on non-Pullman services or whatever GNER called them, restaurant service was in the SV on 225s and TRFB on 125s. On Pullman services, meals were served at all first class seats.

    I believe that's how BR did it and I thought GNER remained that way until the Mallard refurbishment.
     
  5. Sad Sprinter

    Sad Sprinter Member

    Messages:
    319
    Joined:
    5 Jun 2017
    Location:
    Way on down South London town
    Alas, on my only trip on GNER to Leeds when I was 10, I remember my dad promising me we would have breakfast in the restaurant car. After reminiscing over his wonderful breakfast he had on the Yorkshire Pullman in 1993 (he still goes on about it), but unfortunately my mum banned us from using the restaurant car. Why? I don’t know. Mothers, eh?
     
  6. wellhouse

    wellhouse Member

    Messages:
    316
    Joined:
    4 Oct 2009
    Location:
    West Yorkshire
    Failed Unit remembers correctly. On Peak Services GNER often laid up tables in half the First Class carriage next to the catering vehicle.

    Even on BR Pullmans, full meal service was not offered in all First Class carriages. (I found out the hard way back in the 80s)
     
  7. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,685
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    What about off peak?

    I see, I thought the "Pullman services" were marketed as meals at all seats in first, I must've picked that up of something else.
     
  8. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

    Messages:
    7,196
    Joined:
    26 Jan 2009
    Location:
    Central Belt
    Off peak it was just the buffet car laid up. (Or half of coach k following the refurbishment)
     
  9. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,685
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    That's what I had thought and what I'd meant in my other post, but I kind of garbled it.

    Not a lot of seats though at 20.
     
  10. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

    Messages:
    7,196
    Joined:
    26 Jan 2009
    Location:
    Central Belt
    On the services I used it was fine. Sometimes people were asked to come back later, say York if it was full at London. But I don’t actually ever remember it full off peak or heading to London. The 1700 ex London was often full. I do remember them running out of food on London - Edinburgh services. At Dinner you always prayed when they got to you they still had your preferred meal.
     
  11. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,685
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    They gave first class tickets priority though didn't they?

    Still a problem today, buffet/restaurant or trolley, they sell out often stupidly early in the day too
     
  12. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

    Messages:
    7,196
    Joined:
    26 Jan 2009
    Location:
    Central Belt
    yes. First class always had priority it was standard that often got turned away.
     
  13. JB_B

    JB_B Member

    Messages:
    797
    Joined:
    27 Dec 2013
    GNER also offered a full restaurant service on their class 373 operated services (which surprised me at the time).
     
  14. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,685
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    I believe they fitted some removeable equipment into the 373s to allow this to happen
     
  15. JB_B

    JB_B Member

    Messages:
    797
    Joined:
    27 Dec 2013
    That make sense - I was expecting Eurostar-style catering but it was the proper GNER.
     
  16. ryan125hst

    ryan125hst Established Member

    Messages:
    1,094
    Joined:
    2 Jun 2011
    Location:
    Retford
    Presumably they didn't reserve seats nearest the buffet car to allow this to be possible? Would they set the table as standard on peak dining services or would they only set the table once the buffet car was full?

    I forgot about the Pullman services, I think they were withdrawn in the early GNER days, although I was too young to know about them at the time.


    I didn't realise they did this on quieter services, it makes sense of course. I always assumed the whole coach was the restaurant on every service.

    A Class 373 was formed of two half sets and so had two buffet cars. Was the restaurant service offered in both halves of the train or just one? I guess it would have been possible to walk through to the other set so maybe two restaurant carriages weren't needed?
     
  17. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,685
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    I think they were withdrawn at the time of the Mallard refurbishment, when all the sets went to one identical formation instead of some sets having an extra First at the expense of a Standard
     
  18. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,685
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    It appears that the sets were required by Eurostar to be maintained ready to go into Eurostar service at a moments notice and so GNER-equipped them with modular removeable kitchen equipment.

    These modifications enabled GNER to fulfil it's policy of making full breakfasts available
     
  19. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

    Messages:
    7,196
    Joined:
    26 Jan 2009
    Location:
    Central Belt
    Re seat reservations you could reserve in the restaurant. The “executive” tickets which included meals vouchers in the package would have the seat reserved in the restaurant. Normally the coach adjacent so you didn’t need to move after you have eaten.
     
  20. ryan125hst

    ryan125hst Established Member

    Messages:
    1,094
    Joined:
    2 Jun 2011
    Location:
    Retford
    Did GNER provide two restaurant cars on Class 373 operated services given the fact that they were made up of two half sets, or was there only one restaurant car? Presumably both buffet cars were used?
     
  21. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,685
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    No idea I'm afraid, the book I have on the history of GNER only gives a short entry about the fitting of modular equipment, nothing about whether both kitchen-buffet cars were used in service.
     
  22. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    6,685
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Edit - BOTH Café-Bars were apparently staffed when possible.
     
  23. ajrm

    ajrm Member

    Messages:
    43
    Joined:
    1 Feb 2019
    Oddly, GNER (and its successors) never employed chefs at Aberdeen so the restaurant service on the Aberdeens was only ever available south of Edinburgh. I never understood the logic of this given that (I believe) there was always a chef on the Highland Chieftain. It's the same today, which explains the footnote in the current breakfast menu that replaces the fried egg on certain services with a 'tasty [sic] soufflé' as there's no chef to fry the egg...
     
  24. 43096

    43096 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,744
    Joined:
    23 Nov 2015
    There was always a chef on the Chieftain. The Inverness crews provided a superb service - although I’ve not done the Chieftain for many years. One of my railway highlights: full breakfast on the up Chieftain out of Inverness in glorious weather, through stunning scenery and with a Paxman Valenta in full cry at front and back of the train.
     
  25. wellhouse

    wellhouse Member

    Messages:
    316
    Joined:
    4 Oct 2009
    Location:
    West Yorkshire
    I can't recall now whether this was GNER or BR, but the Restaurant Car Receipt pads listed 'Inverness Breakfast' as a cheaper option. I was told that this didn't include all the items in the usual breakfast, and the steward advised me that kippers were a bargain on the Chieftain, as they were charged at the same lower price despite being identical to those served elsewhere.
     
  26. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

    Messages:
    845
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2019
    This rings a bell.

    In GNER days myself and partner were on a GNER service and got really messed about due to some sequence of errors etc and after a full complaint sent in to GNER CEO, we were offered by way of an apology, 2 first class return tickets to destination of our choice on GNER network. A rtn trip to Inverness on the Cheiftain each way was requested and granted.

    We had 2 dining car meals each way (not free). But I can't recall if that was kippers southbound. Northbound we didn't want to have the same pudding twice if that was avoidable, and the crew made sure that a different pudding was saved for the evening meal despite their being a crew change between lunch and dinner. Quality service.
     
  27. WesternLancer

    WesternLancer Member

    Messages:
    845
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2019
    In my experience I rarely ever had a problem with a Std class ticket, but it did require a bit of persistence on occasion, as I was travelling Grantham London and VV on standard class.

    Going south they were occasionally reluctant to serve breakfast at all, to anyone, getting on at Grantham, claiming that the 'kitchen had finished cooking', and they could give you the cold shoulder more easily if you had a Std ticket. I once recall producing the paper timetable from my pocket that illustrated the train served a meal to passengers joining at Grantham and getting a meal, slightly begrudgingly. When I came to pay and added a decent tip (I was genuinely grateful), more drinks and pastries came out for me to enjoy!

    Going north my approach would get on in the restaurant car at Kings Cross on the platform and explain that I was keen to eat but only going as far as Grantham, sometimes one would be seated immediately, sometimes asked to wait for 1st class ticket holders to be called - at which point I'd usually say that then there would not be enough time to then actually eat the meal, at which point staff would seat me. I never recall an occasion when that did not happen in fact. Going north this would usually be towards the end of the evening peak IIRC. I guess they would be aware that the seat could be reasonably re-offered to someone else after Grantham.

    A full 3 courses could be a challenge to get ordered served and eaten KX to Grantham but was achievable.

    Paying for these meals was far far better value then the current LNER 'free' offer in my view.
     
  28. GrimShady

    GrimShady Established Member

    Messages:
    1,682
    Joined:
    13 Dec 2016
    Yip I'm in full agreement about paying for the meals. Most of this complimentary stuff is rubbish. East Coast used to do a decent lasagna once a blue moon but the food has taken a sharp decline ever since the disgrace of VTEC.

    I would much rather pay extra for quality meals.
     
  29. Gcambo

    Gcambo Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    3 Oct 2016
    When first introduced to the ECML there were three types of catering vehicles, TRFB, TRSB & TRUK
     

Share This Page