Petition to bring back the buffet on GWR

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by irish_rail, 19 Apr 2019.

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

    CharlesR Member

    Messages:
    139
    Joined:
    11 Apr 2019
    I’m fed up of this conversation becoming a battle, I’m merely reminding people of the subject and the reason it’s here, not to lock people up and throw away the key
     
  2. FGW_DID

    FGW_DID Established Member

    Messages:
    1,845
    Joined:
    23 Jun 2011
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    That is correct, next time you see one of the trolleys, look on the side and you’ll see a little plate with “property of Hitachi” on it. The trolley has its own dedicated cubby hole where once the trolley is locked in correctly, the hot water urn can be slid out from the trolley into what is presumably the ‘heating dock’ and replaced with a fresh one. But as you say useless if it’s not staffed or stocked, however if there’s no catering staff available there would be no buffet available anyway so a bit of a moot point.
     
  3. Bishopstone

    Bishopstone Member

    Messages:
    1,056
    Joined:
    24 Jun 2010
    Location:
    Seaford
    I see, in a Q&A with GWR MD Mark Hopwood on another forum, he states that sales of food and drink have *increased* since IET trolleys replaced HST buffets.

    So, I guess when the trolley fails to make it through the length of the train, one explanation is that it’s being stopped en route, very frequently, by people who want to buy stuff: an opportunistic coffee and cake because it’s there, seat-side. The answer to this ‘victim of success’ problem would appear to be selective use of additional trolleys on the busiest trains, where this can be commercially justified.

    I note various posts predicting a downturn in custom to Devon and Cornwall, for GWR, as a consequence of the ‘downgraded’ catering offer and the ambience of the IETs. I recall similar doom-laden predictions in 2016 when First Class was reduced from 2.5 to 1.5 coaches on the HSTs. How did that work out?

    London to the west country is a fantastic market to be in; hardly anyone notices or cares what type of train they’re travelling on, and my take is that year on year growth will continue, unless we hit a serious recession.
     
  4. Fast Track

    Fast Track Member

    Messages:
    45
    Joined:
    19 May 2019
    I know I am not alone in always having sought out the knife and fork or cup symbols on timetables. It’s added value and a unique selling point.
     
  5. jimm

    jimm Established Member

    Messages:
    4,926
    Joined:
    6 Apr 2012
    This is a joke, isn't it?

    Let's see, a brand new long-distance train fleet; a new timetable on the way later this year with a London-Penzance service at least every two hours all day and two trains per hour between Plymouth and Penzance all day (with three trains in the hours when XC services run) and improved local services in Devon as well; West Country branch lines probably the busiest most of them have been in their entire history, with huge growth in the years since FGW took over from Wessex Trains; Eight of the 10 daily GWR Pullman restaurant services run between Plymouth and Paddington, etc.

    Clearly no one gives a toss about the W of E...
     
  6. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

    Messages:
    7,493
    Joined:
    26 Jan 2009
    Location:
    Central Belt
    Exactly.

    I think the reason people pick the train is speed, price and comfort. (In any order) comfort will of course include buffet / trolley but that will be low down on the list compared to comfort of the seat.

    If rail on rail competitors exist then the buffet / trolley may be a factor in the choice. While we have no competition i suspect speed / price drives the choice.

    As we have very little rail competition I heard when BA removed the “complementary” catering they lost passengers to easyJet not wanting to pay BA prices for easyJet service. That competition doesn’t exist on rail in most of the UK. Most people have no choice in operator if they choose rail. The person doing London - Bristol won’t take the coach / car because the buffet is gone. They will if the buffet is gone, the seat is uncomfortable and the service is unreliable. But I suspect uncomfortable seats will drive them away quicker then no buffet.
     
    Last edited: 6 Aug 2019
  7. Failed Unit

    Failed Unit Established Member

    Messages:
    7,493
    Joined:
    26 Jan 2009
    Location:
    Central Belt
    It is when selecting the 1000 over the 1030. But if all services are trolley only would you drive or take the coach?

    I used to take the real intercity operator over XC on east coast. But if both operators offer no real catering then it would be price that drove my decision. East coast / LNER win because of better facilities over XC. Should this change it will purely be down to who is the cheapest.
     
  8. Master29

    Master29 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,297
    Joined:
    19 Feb 2015
    Brand new trains that are of poor interior quality and non existent catering services on many trains with static trolleys. What huge growth exactly are you telling us about? It`s still the same number of lines since Beeching swung his axe. West country lines the busiest in their entire history you tell us but I thought you were the one telling us all a while back this wasn`t the case and we didn`t need longer trains to Penzance. Pullman is the same as it ever was so a pointless statement. Growth isn`t through the non existent hard work of GWR or the DaFT but because the rail infrastructure is already there and it`s a holiday region of the UK. This growth as you put it has nothing to do with the work of GWR? Granted there is a good frequency increase between Penzance and Plymouth however but who travelling to London wants to change at Plymouth because Cornwall is lumbered with 5 car units.
     
  9. Master29

    Master29 Established Member

    Messages:
    1,297
    Joined:
    19 Feb 2015
    Except it`s hardly a market as there`s no competition. It`s like saying Water companies will make a profit this year. As to the rest, we shall see shan`t we.
     
  10. pt_mad

    pt_mad Established Member

    Messages:
    2,777
    Joined:
    26 Sep 2011
    I actually heard a passenger ask a member of staff whether there was a buffet car on a class 700 recently. There is definitely a customer base who'd like a walk up buffet on any long distance route. As to whether it would make business sense well that's another issue.
    I guess there are those who fundamentally believe that there should be a full range catering offering on all intercity services as a service to the public, even if it couldn't turn a profit. And there are probably those who would rather see more seats or plenty of advance fares if it meant it had to be a trolley and others who wouldn't expect anything to operate in the business world unless it could viably make money.
    Personally I like the romantic notion of being able to walk to an appealing looking counter and being able to stand there for five minutes chatting to the next person. Nothing at all makes business sense about that but that is from a railway lover's perspective!
     
    Last edited: 6 Aug 2019
  11. CharlesR

    CharlesR Member

    Messages:
    139
    Joined:
    11 Apr 2019
    Oh, I’ve given up. They clearly don’t understand the benefit from these improvements and instead reply with something about splitting the train at Plymouth or the standard of the new trains.
     
  12. Goldfish62

    Goldfish62 Established Member

    Messages:
    3,787
    Joined:
    14 Feb 2010
    DB's provision of at least a bistro on every InterCity service except the awful IC Twindexx is quoted by them as making a hefty direct loss, but they consider it an essential part of the overall package of providing a quality product for long distance services.

    That an individual part of a service does not have to make a profit in its own right, as long as overall its provision makes a positive contribution is of course sound business sense. This is what is distinctly lacking in our railways given the transitory and highly specified nature of the franchise system.
     
  13. HamworthyGoods

    HamworthyGoods Member

    Messages:
    488
    Joined:
    15 Jan 2019
    DB’s recent consistency in actually providing the BordBistro (very good when provided) is actually very poor with it often being closed etc.
     
  14. Goldfish62

    Goldfish62 Established Member

    Messages:
    3,787
    Joined:
    14 Feb 2010
    So I understand, although I've managed to avoid that situation and. However, that's a day to day management issue, rather than delineate change to the catering offer. DB's competence, or lack of, in actually operating anything is of course a whole topic in its own right.
     
  15. stj

    stj Member

    Messages:
    109
    Joined:
    15 Apr 2019
    Its a shame these Inter-City services on GWR have gone downhill.We had high density HSTs,reduced First Class capacity,reduced restaurants now no buffet and packed trains so the trolley cant move.They have become glorified commuter services that are even acceptable not to have a seat.What next,remove seats to get more people in?
     
  16. jimm

    jimm Established Member

    Messages:
    4,926
    Joined:
    6 Apr 2012
    How about pausing for a moment to try to absorb what other people are saying?

    If there is a static trolley, then that is clearly an existent catering service, not a non-existent catering service. And I said nothing about the catering services anyway, because everyone seems to have an entrenched position and this thread is not going to change anything in that respect.

    My reference about huge growth was to the branch lines, as the punctuation I used throughout the post to separate the various points is intended to indicate. Just look up passenger figures for the branches in Devon and Cornwall in the early 2000s then compare them with the most recent figures. FGW/GWR staff and managers in the area have put in plenty of hard work since 2006 to develop those branches, with the sterling support of the Community Rail Partnership.

    As this reference was about the branch lines, I stand by anything that I have said previously about loadings on IET services to and from London when they are running west of Plymouth. Not all of them justify provision of a 640-seat train at all hours of the day and night all year round, so please stop pretending that the entire population of Cornwall is on trains to and from London seven days a week, year-round, topped off by tourists (who travel in varying quantities throughout the year, with traffic still heavily weighted to the summer months).

    Rather a lot of passengers in Cornwall only want to get to other places within Cornwall, or go as far as Plymouth, so I think you will find rather a lot of them will be more than happy to get what will be a more frequent service to make those sorts of journeys.

    The Pullman service is not 'the same as it ever was' - the pair of trains worked by a London-based crew is a recent improvement to the service, as opposed to the old two out, two back system worked by Plymouth crews only which applied for many years.
     
  17. liam456

    liam456 Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    6 May 2018
    sometimes it's a battle you can't win;

    > "poor interior quality"
    > This is, of course, objective fact.

    > "catering services"
    > fair enough, that's what we're debating

    > "Beeching"
    > oh not that old chestnut

    > "short trains to Plymouth"
    > you couldn't split HST's and 5 car splits at Plymouth are an extremely effective way of maximising capacity and matching capacity to demand but that's irrelevant cause I can't walk through a full rake of Mark 3's....

    > "Pullman"
    > I think the point was the proportion of Pullman services based on route in the west. (EDIT: ok, you were right on this one too)

    > "Growth isn`t through the non existent hard work of GWR or the DaFT but because the rail infrastructure is already there"
    > just... what? The growth was organic??? the extra trains spawned in from the great siding in the sky?
     
    Last edited: 6 Aug 2019
  18. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

    Messages:
    4,985
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2009
    It's disengenuous to be so selective with Pullman history in the Great(er) Western franchise area. The ten services today, as a number, are nothing to shout about.

    Take the entire time First Group have been majority operators of the Great(er) Western franchise. In 1999 there were 11 breakfast Pullman services, 11 lunch/dinner Pullman services, and 6 Pullman Bistro services. A total of 28 weekday services offering full restaurant menus. And that total was in a timetable when fewer long distance services were operated to and from Paddington.

    Think what could be done today with the uniform fleet of fully equipped kitchens that GWR have at their disposal.

    Buffets are out. That's perfectly acceptable to me. I understand that the trolleys are showing modest profit. Now let's see a full service restaurant offering across a couple dozen services once again. Push the Pullman brand, advertise, innovate.
     
    Last edited: 6 Aug 2019
  19. Mintona

    Mintona Established Member

    Messages:
    3,195
    Joined:
    8 Jan 2006
    Location:
    South West
    I’ve heard a rumour that the Pullman loses an awful lot of money each month (and has done for a long time) but GWR like to still run it as it is unique and well liked.

    But I’m not sure that an increase in Pullman trains is likely.
     
  20. Goldfish62

    Goldfish62 Established Member

    Messages:
    3,787
    Joined:
    14 Feb 2010
    Although I have heard anecdotally from crews that takings are down on the West of England Pullmans on services which are formed of 2x5, thus excluding those who want to eat, but are in the wrong section of the train.
     
  21. Mark J

    Mark J Member

    Messages:
    76
    Joined:
    12 May 2018
    At the end of the day GWR's catering is appalling at best. The First Class offerings are a joke compared to other operators.

    Rather than re-instating buffets on Class 800 trains surely a better solution could be sought.

    As the nine car sets set already have kitchens on board it wouldn't be too hard to implement, however do the five car sets also have kitchens, or an area for food to be prepared/warmed up?

    With the greater use of technology can't some kind of app be created, whereby you can order food and drinks to be delivered to your seat? Food and drinks could then be brought out on a trolley to your seat, or at busy times some kind of announcement that if you order food and drinks, to go to Coach x to pick up your order.

    The kitchens seem to be unused for the most part, so surely it makes sense to get greater use out of that asset.
     
  22. irish_rail

    irish_rail Established Member

    Messages:
    1,200
    Joined:
    30 Oct 2013
    Location:
    Plymouth
    I do feel the pairs of 5 cars should be running round all day on the busy bristols and Cardiffs, with the 9 cars used for Pullmans and preferably a buffet.
     
  23. CharlesR

    CharlesR Member

    Messages:
    139
    Joined:
    11 Apr 2019
    All IETs come equipped with a kitchen that is currently used for the Pullman only.
     
  24. Mark J

    Mark J Member

    Messages:
    76
    Joined:
    12 May 2018
    What an utter waste of that asset. The kitchen could be used on all services to prepare hot buffet items for the whole train.

    My idea would involve selecting what you want from an App, then selecting your seat and row number, paying for your items on the App, then 5-10 minutes later your items arrive at your seat.
     
  25. liam456

    liam456 Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    6 May 2018
    I agree, what an excellent idea. I hope someone in the know won't tell us why it can't be done...
     
  26. Mark J

    Mark J Member

    Messages:
    76
    Joined:
    12 May 2018
    It's no different to what you get in pub chains such as Wetherspoon and now Greene King pubs.

    I'm in Coach D and want a bacon roll and Coffee. I simply use the App and enter my details, repeat customers can have the ability to store their details in the App. The information is then relayed to a computer/order printer in the kitchen area, with the food and drink being prepared there and brought to my seat when ready.

    This would eliminate the need for a physical counter.

    Another option could be the existing at seat service is retained with the addition of ordering hot items from the person serving, with the items being delivered when ready.
     
  27. 4141

    4141 Member

    Messages:
    138
    Joined:
    21 Dec 2015
    Wouldn't be any use for me, as I don't have a smartphone, or any mobile in fact...and before anyone says, yes, I know I'm in a minority...
     
  28. RLBH

    RLBH Member

    Messages:
    875
    Joined:
    17 May 2018
    If you're going down the 'at-seat order' route, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to order from the trolley steward as they pass.
     
  29. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Established Member

    Messages:
    10,981
    Joined:
    14 Nov 2011
    Location:
    Caerphilly
    Would these people with the app give the impression that they could be queue jumping if they get served first
     
  30. Mintona

    Mintona Established Member

    Messages:
    3,195
    Joined:
    8 Jan 2006
    Location:
    South West
    How does the app know which train you are on?
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page