West Coast Catering - Going, going, gone...?

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Masboroughlad

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I really do hope that this is not true. I thought it was really only Arriva that butchered trains like this.....

Long train journeys need some form of shop buffet. And to do away with/ dumb down first class catering - it is just profits over service again.

Sadly, sounds as though all 4 bidders may have considered it....

http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2012/07/13-union-claims-880-jobs-at.html

Even worse for all those poor folk that could lose their jobs.
 
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Failed Unit

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I cant believe that Virgin will remove it if they retain the franchise, the only winners would be East Coast.

Not really, people on most of the West Coast route have no choice. Glasgow can go to East Coast but I can't image Carlisle, Manchester and Liverpool doing so and they are much bigger markets.

Easy jet will be the winner, no free food here but at least you can eat at the airport.
 

STEVIEBOY1

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Id be very supprised if First Group scaled back the catering considering the service provided on Great Western. Same with regards to Virgin.

What is the catering now on FGW in 1st & Std Class? on Weekdays and Weekends/Bank Holidays.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
What's the point of first class if you can't even get a meal?

I agree, I guess there would just be some kind of trolley service throughout the train, with maybe free tea/coffee for 1 st class passengers. Seems a shame, you pay more and more & the service gets less & less.
 

Butts

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Id be very supprised if First Group scaled back the catering considering the service provided on Great Western. Same with regards to Virgin.

Is First Groups catering similar to EC and Virgin - ie complimentary in 1st Class?
 

SS4

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Not really, people on most of the West Coast route have no choice. Glasgow can go to East Coast but I can't image Carlisle, Manchester and Liverpool doing so and they are much bigger markets.

Easy jet will be the winner, no free food here but at least you can eat at the airport.

I concur. Birmingham (maybe Wolverhampton) passengers will be lost to Chiltern and London Midland given that these two options are cheaper for journey times that are fast becoming comparable on Chiltern and LM on price (and those saddos like me who think Desiros are more comfortable than Pendos)

That said I'd imagine more people go first class for legroom and quiet than for a meal. I'm tempted to state that it's basically a fuss over nothing at the moment.
 

All Line Rover

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I'm tempted to state that it's basically a fuss over nothing at the moment.

It is. If Virgin scrapped the catering in First Class why would business travellers bother paying significantly extra on evening meal services? If catering was scrapped entirely (which I very much doubt), it would be a good opportunity for Sainsbury's to open more Local stores anyway!
 

MidnightFlyer

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Is First Groups catering similar to EC and Virgin - ie complimentary in 1st Class?

ScotRail and TPE is free hot drinks and biscuits; FCC has nothing (though that isn't really comparable here). Hull Trains have a free meal service, which I believe is very good, and FGW is much the same but slightly more than TPE; they do however retain the excellent Travelling Chef on some services, which although costs extra, is probably the finest dining on any British rail service, along with ATW's Premier Service.
 

fgwrich

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ScotRail and TPE is free hot drinks and biscuits; FCC has nothing (though that isn't really comparable here). Hull Trains have a free meal service, which I believe is very good, and FGW is much the same but slightly more than TPE; they do however retain the excellent Travelling Chef on some services, which although costs extra, is probably the finest dining on any British rail service, along with ATW's Premier Service.

Not forgetting the usually sold out Resturant services too!
 

Failed Unit

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Is First Groups catering similar to EC and Virgin - ie complimentary in 1st Class?

FGW is really the same as national express when they ran ECML, a few resturants, a few with at seat (travelling chef) and tea and snacks.

To be honest, I think it won't upset many who travel to Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. The 2 hour mark in standard will just mean picnics, the 1st class passengers are mainly there for peace rather than freebies. But people going to Bournemounth for example travel longer and don't even get coffee.

Saying that suspect it is an option the bidders looked at, along with many others, it doesn't mean it was proposed. Just like in the business I am in, we look at all options just to prove they are not viable. Remove catering will cost X, save Y and result in a revenue difference of Z. Not happening but we have looked at it!
 

Ferret

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It is. If Virgin scrapped the catering in First Class why would business travellers bother paying significantly extra on evening meal services? If catering was scrapped entirely (which I very much doubt), it would be a good opportunity for Sainsbury's to open more Local stores anyway!

I always thought that a major part of VWC's revenue stream was from 1st class, hence the number of FC carriages on the 390s. If that's the case, how would they expect to maintain that if they removed the FC catering?! It would surely blow a hole in their figures from the outset. It doesn't quite make sense.

What I could see happening is a similar thing to XC - removal of the shop and a standard class trolley being used. This was rumoured to be part of Virgin's unsuccessful bid to retain XC last time round, and as we all know, was part of Arriva's successful bid!
 

Failed Unit

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But the 1st class coaches are normally empty at the times I travel. I wonder if a bidder has looked converting one of them standard on the remaining 9 coach trains giving 6 standard and 3 first.
 

Clip

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Did anyone read the whole story and then notice this from Alstom at the bottom

However, Alstom denied that it has been discussing the details of the bids. A spokesman said: "We do not know about the future catering proposals of the West Coast Main Line franchise. There has been no meeting with the RMT on the subject.

So is the RMT just making things up here or what?
 

Squaddie

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What's the point of first class if you can't even get a meal?
Larger seat, more legroom, better ambience, separation from the hoi polloi...

The complimentary food in first class is rarely anything to write home about; I'd always prefer to get something at M&S before boarding. A simple trolley with hot and cold drinks and snacks would be sufficient.
 

Bridge189

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We've had this barrage of retention tank fluid from the RMT before in relation to FGW, NXEA and NXEC of which none came to be true and now VT. I would say it's 90% garbage. The RMT seen to constantly wheel out catering as the most venerable group in order to make some noise.

I seriously doubt 800 jobs are at risk on the WCML regardless of who gets the franchise.

I know who I believe over the RMT and Alstom over the supposed (or not) "talks".
 

Simon11

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Looks like more scarmongering, more garbage from rmt.......
Rmt are more like school kids spreading rumours, why can't they just report on facts and wait to see what really happens?
I can't really see the current food service being downgraded since generally there is plenty of spare capacity to offer first class meals. Without decent food, they could wave goodbye to business passengers paying £400 for a return to manchester.
 

whhistle

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Birmingham (maybe Wolverhampton) passengers will be lost to Chiltern and London Midland given that these two options are cheaper for journey times that are fast becoming comparable on Chiltern and LM on price.
In this busy world though, I suspect many people would prefer speed over a bit of food. Not saying I agree or disagree with the rumour mill at the moment, but I wouldn't suggest it's as drastic as loosing thousands of passengers to other operators. Although I do agree the Chiltern product is getting a lot better. Still see them as a local operator though, not exactly Intercity Express.
 

krisk

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Twaddle, that is all.

Catering provision adds value, I fly with BA instead of Ryanair as the service is better including the fact I get fed and watered.

Breakfast on an intercity route means longer in bed as I know on boarding I will get coffee and sonething hot to eat. On the way home I can unwind with a G&T and a bite to eat.

I dont doubt things will change but to just say on Friday you get fed but on Monday you no longer get anything will lose custom.

What I would like to see in a new franchise is:

Breakfast remains
Hot option in the day, even just around lunchtime
Evening meal is a full meal
Lighter version on shorter routes
Sandwiches at a weekend

On quieter off peak runs a FC coach could become a Premium, pay £15 and you get a FC seat, a coffee and use of the plugs and free wifi. Ok on Birmingham trains, can't be done on Glasgow runs. It would also be subject to demand so if there were delays the Premium offering on that train would be withdrawn.
 

Masboroughlad

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Twaddle, that is all.

Catering provision adds value, I fly with BA instead of Ryanair as the service is better including the fact I get fed and watered.

Breakfast on an intercity route means longer in bed as I know on boarding I will get coffee and sonething hot to eat. On the way home I can unwind with a G&T and a bite to eat.

I dont doubt things will change but to just say on Friday you get fed but on Monday you no longer get anything will lose custom.

What I would like to see in a new franchise is:

Breakfast remains
Hot option in the day, even just around lunchtime
Evening meal is a full meal
Lighter version on shorter routes
Sandwiches at a weekend

On quieter off peak runs a FC coach could become a Premium, pay £15 and you get a FC seat, a coffee and use of the plugs and free wifi. Ok on Birmingham trains, can't be done on Glasgow runs. It would also be subject to demand so if there were delays the Premium offering on that train would be withdrawn.

I like the sound of all of that. I agree I think good catering adds to a long journey. We'll never get it, but it would be nice to see a bistro car that anyone could use on a long journey (waits for the adverse comments about wasting space etc - I know, I just mean in an ideal world.......)
 

Mutant Lemming

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I cant believe that Virgin will remove it if they retain the franchise, the only winners would be East Coast.

Can't see it as Virgin would probably prefer to not even run up to Glasgow and use the sets to operate more runs to the North-West and West Midlands. The only real winner would probably be the airlines.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Twaddle, that is all.

Catering provision adds value, I fly with BA instead of Ryanair as the service is better including the fact I get fed and watered.

.

So why are Ryanair so popular ?
 

David10

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Am I right in thinking that the bidders would include various costed options for catering levels and it would then be up to the DfT to decide which one to take? One would hope lessons have bean learnt from the CrossCountry shop and FGW buffet abolitions.

With East Coast claiming first class patronage to have risen by 20-30% largely on the back of the relaunch of First Class catering would think it unlikely to be withdrawn completely.

http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/about-us...ry-as-thousands-upgrade-on-east-coast-trains/
 

Ferret

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In my opinion Ryanair to Ireland is fine, four hours to the Canaries no thanks

Agreed. I once went to Torp with them for a pittance - they laughably quote it as being near to Oslo! Well, I'd never done Norway before so it seemed like a good idea. Both flights were highly rancid, they went on and on foisting crap on you over the PA, and I hated every minute.

 

rail-britain

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One would hope lessons have bean learnt from the CrossCountry shop and FGW buffet abolitions
Clearly not, as Cross Country removed the shop, and then FGW removed the buffet
Greater Anglia appear to performing a similar reduction in on-board catering

Sadly the public perception is still that of an expensive buffet car in the centre of the train
The winners have been those travelling First Class, where they had to pay for all these food and drinks item in the past but they are now included
However, the general standard of this has reduced and so it is now surprise it is to be simplified (as applied at East Coast)

I personally doubt there will be a complete withdrawal of the catering on West Coast (shop and at-seat service in First Class)
I suspect the confusion is over the transfer of some services (between Scotland and Preston) from West Coast to FTPE, in effect removing the shop and at-seat service in First Class on these services, as part of the next franchise period
[example, the current 04:28 Glasgow - Euston is to be curtailed to Preston, with FTPE operating a new 04:30 Glasgow - Manchester service in its place]
 
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The extra 20%-30% is on off-peak trains where the extra freebies have had an effect where reasonable advance tickets are available, however there has been no change in peak time numbers from what ive seen so its very difficult to say how much extra bottom line revenue has being created. I guess this will be scrutanised when bids for the EC franchise are put together
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Clearly not, as Cross Country removed the shop, and then FGW removed the buffet

The FGW trains ive travelled on have had buffets, or is it just the Plymouth/Cornwall services which have them (as these are the only services ive been on)
 

185

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Can't see it as Virgin would probably prefer to not even run up to Glasgow and use the sets to operate more runs to the North-West and West Midlands. The only real winner would probably be the airlines.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


So why are Ryanair so popular ?

Because for the die-hard traveller.....
£55 rtn Tenerife (4hr flt)
£31 rtn Barcelona (2hr flt)
£14 rtn Oslo (2hr flt)

loss-leaders.... fill planes, there are always enough sales in the last few days at full whack to balance the median seat price into profit.
 

David10

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The FGW trains ive travelled on have had buffets, or is it just the Plymouth/Cornwall services which have them (as these are the only services ive been on)
FGW wanted to remove buffets from all but the long distance sets in a move to try and improve performance by saving weight. After this proved impractical it decided to replace 15 buffets with mini buffets. It has since admitted this was a mistake and seeing that the 15 withdrawn buffets are being returned to service, albeit rebuilt as TSOs with the benefit of hindsight it would have been better sticking with the status quo.
 
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